Noam Chomsky

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Der Effe said:
I don't know much about the European libertarian movement (isn't the biggest 'libertarian' movement here the anarchist movement?) but yeah, terminology is always open for debate. In the US a liberal is more or less considered to be left-wing, wheras here being a liberal is almost a synonym for neo-liberalism, thus right-wing. And a disease.
Historically libertarians are left wing, but in america it has been kind turned upside down. Just like conservatism has become some weird ultra nationalist reactionary ideology. Gotta love the US :)
 
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riobonito92 said:
Chomsky's books on linguistics are harder to read than a UCI technical guide. The only person I know who claims to have read and understood New Horizons on Language and the Mind is a professor of linguistics and I think she is lying about the last bit.
I was in school in the 60's. As a result, I happened to have a couple of copies of old school newspapers stuck in storage. Ran across them a couple of years back, and one had an article by Chomsky. Reading over it, I thought to myself, "My god, we used to think this pap was intelligent?" I didn't bother keeping the paper any longer. Into the recycle bin.
 
In the US media the term "liberal" has come to basically mean left wing, I think because the right decided it was a bad word they could use to attack anything they didn't like. Thus even clearly iliberal ideas get labelled as liberal and after a point the less liberal someone is the more liberal they allegedly are, in the US.
 
Sep 20, 2011
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Vino attacks everyone said:
Historically libertarians are left wing, but in america it has been kind turned upside down. Just like conservatism has become some weird ultra nationalist reactionary ideology. Gotta love the US :)
Practically comparable to how Reagan and Thatcher - where is the vomit smiley when you need it - basically r*ped liberalism.
 
Descender said:
I came to know him as a linguist. I despise him as such.

He has been forced to tone down his mantra of Universal Grammar to a point where the term has pretty much been rendered meaningless. Inasmuch as it is true, it is irrelevant. Inasmuch as it is relevant, it is false.

He shouldn't have shunned the weak form of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis. It's stood the test of time much better than Chomskyan linguistics.
Being bilingual I don't think that the theory of linguistic relativity completely portrays reality, though I used to when learning a different language and living in a different culture from my own. I have now come to the conclusion, however, that while the forma mentis is indeed stamped, in part (even considerably), by language culture, there are certain universal traits which unify languages, and that this is ultimately based on the common human condition.

As for the rest, I can't see Hiero2's disparagement over one who brought a much needed objectivity into an analysis of power structures and how they operate toward creating conformism, even if most in the US seem to be in denial that this actually takes place in their own country. While his quote about how to maintain a sense of free-thinking being allowed, while reinforcing the supposition by the very constraints that control the debate was brilliant. I myself have experienced such faux freedom of speech on many occasions when simply bringing up an outsider’s contrary viewpoint and being merely attacked or derided for it, without objectively considering even for a second its content.
 
rhubroma said:
Being bilingual I don't think that the theory of linguistic relativity completely portrays reality, though I used to when learning a different language and living in a different culture from my own. I have now come to the conclusion, however, that while the forma mentis is indeed stamped, in part (even considerably), by language culture, there are certain universal traits which unify languages, and that this is ultimately based on the common human condition.
Non-deterministic linguistic relativity has been shown to be true in many experimental studies conducted since Chomsky espoused his Universal Grammar. He and other universalists like Steven Pinker have been forced to backpedal on a number of occasions when the evidence has proven them wrong.

Linguistic relativity does not rule out universal, innate and necessary truths about language, however.

EDIT: One of the most famous studies about the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis involved a number of monolingual Spanish and German speakers who were asked to describe certain objects. When the subjects were asked to describe a key (a word that is feminine in Spanish but masculine in German), Spaniards were more likely to use words such as "tiny", "mysterious" and "lovely", while Germans would tend to use adjectives such as "heavy", "hard" and "useful".

Source: http://pages.pomona.edu/~rt004747/lgcs11read/Boroditsky03.pdf
 
Mar 13, 2009
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The Hitch said:
In the US media the term "liberal" has come to basically mean left wing, I think because the right decided it was a bad word they could use to attack anything they didn't like.
This constitutes 95% of all misunderstandings between Europeans and Americans when discussing politics, IMO. One usually has to specifiy "economically liberal" when speaking to an American about a european liberal party
 
Descender said:
Non-deterministic linguistic relativity has been shown to be true in many experimental studies conducted since Chomsky espoused his Universal Grammar. He and other universalists like Steven Pinker have been forced to backpedal on a number of occasions when the evidence has proven them wrong.

Linguistic relativity does not rule out universal, innate and necessary truths about language, however.

EDIT: One of the most famous studies about the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis involved a number of monolingual Spanish and German speakers who were asked to describe certain objects. When the subjects were asked to describe a key (a word that is feminine in Spanish but masculine in German), Spaniards were more likely to use words such as "tiny", "mysterious" and "lovely", while Germans would tend to use adjectives such as "heavy", "hard" and "useful".

Source: http://pages.pomona.edu/~rt004747/lgcs11read/Boroditsky03.pdf
I believe I was making the same conclusion, namely that there exist simultaneously linguistic relativity and universalist conditions, which "colaborate" in portraying a more accurate model for how language operates in forming a worldview. In this sense being a purist in either camp seems like hubris merely to defend an intellectual position, which is never good thinking.
 
The Hitch said:
In the US media the term "liberal" has come to basically mean left wing, I think because the right decided it was a bad word they could use to attack anything they didn't like. Thus even clearly iliberal ideas get labelled as liberal and after a point the less liberal someone is the more liberal they allegedly are, in the US.
Actually it simply has to do with two variant definitions of "liberal." For the European liberal has always been taken in the economic, free-market, laissez-faire capitalism sense and originally applied to a social and fiscal conservatism of the burghers (and for a while, at least, was the enemy of the working class). This form of "liberal" comes before what follows.

By contrast in the US liberal has always been defined in the revolutionary social-political sense and bound to the type of left-wing democratic progressivism, which as a platform has always been inimical to the conservative worldview insofar as it works toward changing it. Hence being at liberty to live as one chooses by being given the same legal rights and civic status to gender, racial and minority groups as the conservative mainstream "way of life." Chomsky would place it within any position or movement that challenges the illegitimacy of certain authorities and manifested in such phenomenon as the suffrage, feminist, civil rights and peace movements, etc. Although as Chomsky has also pointed out, there is really only one party in the US today, the business one, which has rendered virtually meaningless any ideological distinction (as it had been defined especially among the Europeans until of late) between the "left" and "right" policy makers and hence the democratic and republican parties. As it has so often been said, a US democrat would belong to any of Europe's center-right liberal parties.

This is because liberalism (or neoliberalism), in the economic sense, has, in the wake of the US led capitalist West's triumph over communism in the post-Cold War, literally smothered out all forms of opposition to its global hegemony. The ideological struggle has found a clear victor, with all the natural consequences this has had for America's own left-wing, which, being in the predominant culture must conform to its predominating (economic liberal) praxis. There thus arises no need to make a distinction between economic liberalism and other economic models, since only the former de facto exists in its system.

This is further one example of what Chomsky has meant by there being in the US only simulated, but not real, free thinking going on, because within its monolithic two party system the prevailing business interests (plutocracy) have strictly limited the spectrum of acceptable opinion and hence policy range. Everything is "debatable" so long as the presuppositions of the liberal economic system are maintained and in no way challenged, which is "un-American" and hence anathema. This is why Chomsky also says that economic liberalism is not forging citizens, but consumers, not building communities, but shopping malls. At least that much is clear.
 
There is no dichotomy between economic liberalism (free-market) and cultural liberalism (drug legalization, gay marriage, etc.). Liberalism is an organic whole. Needless to say, it's all left-wing (Christopher Lasch and Jean-Claude Michéa showed it very well) !!
Adam Smith was a left-winger and seen as such in his days. So were Voltaire, Frédéric Bastiat, Bill Clinton or Dominique Strauss-Kahn. All apologists of free-market economy.

The cultural liberalism is a way of life that allowed companies to open new market that they could never have dreamt of in a traditional society. One has to read Michel Clouscard or Pier Paolo Pasolini to understand that. It started with the Marshall Plan and the riots of the late sixties were just one step further.

Only a traditional society with right-wing values can be social and solidary/charitable to the poor !!
 
Echoes said:
There is no dichotomy between economic liberalism (free-market) and cultural liberalism (drug legalization, gay marriage, etc.). Liberalism is an organic whole. Needless to say, it's all left-wing (Christopher Lasch and Jean-Claude Michéa showed it very well) !!
Adam Smith was a left-winger and seen as such in his days. So were Voltaire, Frédéric Bastiat, Bill Clinton or Dominique Strauss-Kahn. All apologists of free-market economy.

The cultural liberalism is a way of life that allowed companies to open new market that they could never have dreamt of in a traditional society. One has to read Michel Clouscard or Pier Paolo Pasolini to understand that. It started with the Marshall Plan and the riots of the late sixties were just one step further.

Only a traditional society with right-wing values can be social and solidary/charitable to the poor !!
You are simply confused and in a fog as usual. How is economic liberalism intrinsically left-wing, or at one with cultural liberalism as you see it? And how do you define cultural liberalism as in any way consistent with traditional conservative "way of life" values (like yours)? Only a traditional society can help the poor, because stands on higher moral ground? Baw! You mean as in a feudal or totalitarian one? If by "organic whole" you mean a common "tearing down of barriers," whether they be in the anti-protectionist and trans-soveriegn free-market sense, or as cultural barriers to legitimized personal freedom (drug use, gay marriage, etc.); then that's like saying both forms of "deregulation" conform to a comon cultural matrix simply because they involve liberty. In fact they are in polar opposition. Free-market liberalism in braking down economic barriers has, under its profit driven ideals, only increasingly worked toward creating class disparity and social division; whereas cultural liberalism simply demands, as with gay marriage, that each citizen be treated equally before the law and hence "unifies."

The advantage of the "old politics," when the ideologies still existed, was that among the progressive democrats the responsibilities seemed to fall upon (and perhaps were) the shoulders of the whole society and were more evenly spread over it: the social classes, unions, political movements, leadership. Each within that exterminated matrix had the sensation of recognizing his or her own place, "I'm here," within the collective enterprise. The neoliberal ideal, by contrast, of the sovereign individual that redeems or harms the Nation is the most undigested fruit of the new politics; and it is in itself a right-wing idea: anti-collective and anti-participatory in the democratic sense. If the old liberal style of politics doesn’t function anymore it’s because the idea of politics itself as the great mass architect of society has been extinguished, and given way to a media induced spotlighting that focuses on the charlatan. Such that the media publicity aspect has become synonymous with the very nature of politics, as in marketing, the very being of which is above all else communication and show.

I don't know why I even bother responding to your utterly nonsensical drivel, which you try to pass of as intelligent critique. Rather primitive and barbarous, I'd say. Then again, I'm debating with a Lefebvrian.
 
rhubroma said:
You are simply confused and in a fog as usual. How is economic liberalism left-wing, or at one with cultural liberalism as you see it? And how do you define cultural liberalism as in any way consistent with traditional conservative "way of life" values (like yours)? Only a traditional society can help the poor? Baw! You mean as in a feudal or totalitarian one?

I don't know why I even bother responding to your utterly nonsensical drivel, which you try to pass of as intelligent critique. Rather primitive and barbarous, I'd say. Then again, I'm debating with a Lefebvrian.
I think in a fairly muddled and sweeping way, these are parts of the condition he's trying to articulate

"Today, with the benefit of hindsight, I have come to see that the shift from redistribution to recognition was actually part of a deeper shift – from an era in which the Westphalian frame went without saying to one in which it has become contested. Thus, my diagnosis of the times has altered. To my earlier conception, centred on the conjunction of neo-liberalism and identity politics, I would now add another element: the current sense of uncertainty about the frame. This last element seems to me to be a defining feature of the present zeitgeist."

" West European Left was also demoralized. Faced the apparent "triumph of capitalism", many social democrats lost their nerve and rushed to accommodate neoliberalism. All this, too, belongs to the "post-socialist condition". But let me be clear. I am not saying that there no longer exist movements oriented to egalitarian redistribution or people who consider themselves socialists – I myself am one of them! However, such currents are isolated and on the defensive. Certainly, major labour and leftwing political parties no longer articulate claims for distributive justice in a serious way – at least at the national level."

http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2009-04-21-fraser-en.html

As is argued elsewhere, it's not enough to just separate left/right; conservative/liberal etc. and attach value notions to them. I thought even Echoes upthread acknowledged that was something he learned from Chomsky.

I guess that's only if looking at the US from a safe distance. Old party and tribal atavisms remain firmly entrenched otherwise.....
 
aphronesis said:
I think in a fairly muddled and sweeping way, these are parts of the condition he's trying to articulate

"Today, with the benefit of hindsight, I have come to see that the shift from redistribution to recognition was actually part of a deeper shift – from an era in which the Westphalian frame went without saying to one in which it has become contested. Thus, my diagnosis of the times has altered. To my earlier conception, centred on the conjunction of neo-liberalism and identity politics, I would now add another element: the current sense of uncertainty about the frame. This last element seems to me to be a defining feature of the present zeitgeist."

" West European Left was also demoralized. Faced the apparent "triumph of capitalism", many social democrats lost their nerve and rushed to accommodate neoliberalism. All this, too, belongs to the "post-socialist condition". But let me be clear. I am not saying that there no longer exist movements oriented to egalitarian redistribution or people who consider themselves socialists – I myself am one of them! However, such currents are isolated and on the defensive. Certainly, major labour and leftwing political parties no longer articulate claims for distributive justice in a serious way – at least at the national level."

http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2009-04-21-fraser-en.html

As is argued elsewhere, it's not enough to just separate left/right; conservative/liberal etc. and attach value notions to them. I thought even Echoes upthread acknowledged that was something he learned from Chomsky.

I guess that's only if looking at the US from a safe distance. Old party and tribal atavisms remain firmly entrenched otherwise.....
I think it's fairly clear that the old ideological distinction between "right and left" no longer holds up in the monolithic, business dominated world of the last several decades - as I already made clear.

I also think that the added part to my initial response articulates my layman's thinking on these issues further, especially in terms of Europe's demoralized left, which aren't I don't think incongruous with the quotes you post here.
 
rhubroma said:
I think it's fairly clear that the old ideological distinction between "right and left" no longer holds up in the monolithic, business dominated world of the last several decades - as I already made clear.

I also think that the added part to my initial response articulates my layman's thinking on these issues further, especially in terms of Europe's demoralized left, which aren't I don't think incongruous with the quotes you post here.
Right. I'm aware that you've argued that for awhile (the quotes I posted are already 4 years old, so coming out of the Bush years have already been superseded by the more subtle and oppressive reworkings of the Obama administration following through on that time.)

What's interesting then is that even Echoes is relatively clear on that breakdown on some registers , yet has recourse to the same division at different levels.

It's that comforting sort of disavowal that's of interest to me. Part of the problem with the Chomsky reception is that his analyses are often so stark and totalizing that they drop out any sort of reassuring lifestyle psychologies of the media era that would allow many of those nearer the center than him to identify with and incorporate his work.
 
aphronesis said:
Right. I'm aware that you've argued that for awhile (the quotes I posted are already 4 years old, so coming out of the Bush years have already been superseded by the more subtle and oppressive reworkings of the Obama administration following through on that time.)

What's interesting then is that even Echoes is relatively clear on that breakdown on some registers , yet has recourse to the same division at different levels.

It's that comforting sort of disavowal that's of interest to me. Part of the problem with the Chomsky reception is that his analyses are often so sweeping and totalizing that they drop out any sort of reassuring lifestyle psychologies of the media era that would allow many of those nearer the center than him to identify with and incorporate his work.
Echoes relies upon what he regards as a subtle theological interpretation of society, which tends toward the moralizing and is severely rigid in its application of the doctrine. For this, perhaps, he finds Chomsky at least not worth completely disavowing.

As for the rest, what's interesting to me is that when one's prejudices are accompanied by a sense of superiority, which is typical of those who assume a moral code, the partisanship he condems the "left" for is reciprocated by categorical judgements that only tend to reinforce the dichotomy he denies between the two liberal worldviews.
 
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rhubroma said:
Back on topic. Noam Chomski quotes:

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/n/noam_chomsky.html

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum - even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.
I get this quote from my postings over in the Armstrong thread in The Clinic:)

I think that what Chomsky is saying in the Vid below is, that we may like to believe we live in a democracy, but we don’t exactly. Actually we live in what is more akin to a totalitarianism and have in effect sleepwalked into it. That we have become knowingly accepting of the idea because it puts food on the table. I feel there is something in what he says, but it never seems resolvable. Like what of an alternative, this is left open.

http://youtu.be/2cNanUuUG64

Now if you could cross Noam Chomsky with Mark Twain, what an interesting homogamy that would make. I just want to cuddle them both, in a granddad kind of way.

http://youtu.be/fnF-7bqyKuo
 
horsinabout said:
I get this quote from my postings over in the Armstrong thread in The Clinic:)

I think that what Chomsky is saying in the Vid below is, that we may like to believe we live in a democracy, but we don’t exactly. Actually we live in what is more akin to a totalitarianism and have in effect sleepwalked into it. That we have become knowingly accepting of the idea because it puts food on the table. I feel there is something in what he says, but it never seems resolvable. Like what of an alternative, this is left open.

http://youtu.be/2cNanUuUG64

Now if you could cross Noam Chomsky with Mark Twain, what an interesting homogamy that would make. I just want to cuddle them both, in a granddad kind of way.

http://youtu.be/fnF-7bqyKuo
The concept of "dictatorship" is indeed interesting, because under more insidious forms it means creating consensus through conformism, which means controlling the way people think. I'm not sure which is ultimately more dangerous, because at least when the bludgeon is used the dictatorship's inevitable fate is sealed through the same means of enforcement.

I’d be interested in hearing Chomski’s views on the concept, in either its soft or hard aspects, relative to what’s currently taking place in the Ukraine.

I’m beginning to understand that the European Union that wants to cage certain economic discourses finds only the US inside. It’s about time, however, that it stops stirring up a clearly Russian population, even if the Western narrative doesn't say that. Where do we want the EU to arrive, dear Obama, in Manchuria? Thus Putin becomes the Tsar, as he is pressed into an imperialist mode in defense of another imperialism. Although as Chomski would sarcastically say its only imperialism when conducted by the enemy. In terms of a strategic justification for this, it's enough to remember that half of the natural gas that arrives in Europe from Russia, passes through the Ukraine.

One understands that it’s convenient for the West that Russia’s position is debilitated in order to divide the various lucrative procurements in the region, without even considering that another ex-Soviet state in the EU would mean a further enlarging of Europe’s business affairs. On the other hand, however, so too would delocalization further increase by transferring companies with underpaid Ukrainians, while creating unemployment in the places of origin. Empty funds that subsequently mainly get bought by the Chinese and not reinvested in the Ukraine. Either way the country loses passing from a political philo-Russian “dictatorship” (in a manner of speaking, because they should know who the real dictators are in those parts), to a philo-Western economy with a debt to pay towards gigantic Russia. The Ukraine is thus the last in a long line of victim states caused by Made in the USA state coups. Once Bill Clinton said. “You know why there has never been a state coup in the US? Because fortunately we don’t have an American embassy.” It's possible that the West will now be made to pay for the Kosovo breakaway.

This is ulterior proof of the disappearance of Europe’s left and of the breakdowns this has provoked at the international level. I’ve read, and some immigrants have confirmed this, that the social situation is critical and that there are gross differences between the cities and the countryside with a diffuse poverty. Notwithstanding that after the fall of the Soviet Union there were periods of economic growth in the various regions of Ukraine, even if there weren’t lacking restrictive classes that in addition to holding political power also appropriated the riches. Isn’t it thus a propitious time for a social revolution that unites, rather than divides the country? Instead the Ukrainians risk remaining victims to a maneuvered conflict, as usual by the same ones who have reduced them to poverty and that’s backed by the global powers.

At the same time this risks being turned into a situation that could drag Europe toward a reawakening of nationalisms and identities of all kinds.
 
Post Cold War "left demoralization" is only media "smoke and mirrors".

The USSR did not represent social welfare. Western Europe did. By 1945, in many Western European countries (or Western countries in general), the Welfare State was established by political right-wingers, such as General de Gaulle in France. It's this spirit that was destroyed by liberalism, in the eighties. Liberalism that became global in the nineties (free circulation of capitals) but that was mostly negotiated by the political left ! They destroyed the Welfare State that the Right established.

Jean-Claude Michéa showed very well that in the 19th century, the working class and syndicalist movement would never consider themselves left-wingers. Neither did Marx nor Engels because the Left advocated for free-market, yes indeed. Marx even borrowed many ideas from "romantic right-wingers" (Balzac, Burke, Carlyle). Michéa argued that there had been a historical compromise between the Left and the socialists after the Dreyfus affair. Only that is just true for France. Britain saw the same evolution at about the same time.

So when the communist parenthesis was closed, the Left just went back to its roots: LIBERALISM ! Societal issues (gay marriage, drugs, etc.) and anti-racism became their favourite struggle (even before the end of the Cold War), which actually has always been.

Another interesting note is that during the Cold War, the so-called Stalinians would always side with the Conservative (that was true for the French Communist with De Gaulle), while the Trotskyists would side with the Liberals ... and become their useful idiots (Hitchens is the typical example).
 
Echoes said:
Post Cold War "left demoralization" is only media "smoke and mirrors".

The USSR did not represent social welfare. Western Europe did. By 1945, in many Western European countries (or Western countries in general), the Welfare State was established by political right-wingers, such as General de Gaulle in France. It's this spirit that was destroyed by liberalism, in the eighties. Liberalism that became global in the nineties (free circulation of capitals) but that was mostly negotiated by the political left ! They destroyed the Welfare State that the Right established.

Jean-Claude Michéa showed very well that in the 19th century, the working class and syndicalist movement would never consider themselves left-wingers. Neither did Marx nor Engels because the Left advocated for free-market, yes indeed. Marx even borrowed many ideas from "romantic right-wingers" (Balzac, Burke, Carlyle). Michéa argued that there had been a historical compromise between the Left and the socialists after the Dreyfus affair. Only that is just true for France. Britain saw the same evolution at about the same time.

So when the communist parenthesis was closed, the Left just went back to its roots: LIBERALISM ! Societal issues (gay marriage, drugs, etc.) and anti-racism became their favourite struggle (even before the end of the Cold War), which actually has always been.

Another interesting note is that during the Cold War, the so-called Stalinians would always side with the Conservative (that was true for the French Communist with De Gaulle), while the Trotskyists would side with the Liberals ... and become their useful idiots (Hitchens is the typical example).
tread carefully with those remarks around here. Some of us might get a bit displeased ;)
 
Jan 20, 2013
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Echoes said:
Post Cold War "left demoralization" is only media "smoke and mirrors".

Another interesting note is that during the Cold War, the so-called Stalinians would always side with the Conservative (that was true for the French Communist with De Gaulle), while the Trotskyists would side with the Liberals ... and become their useful idiots (Hitchens is the typical example).
This one is for you, the much maligned Echoes;)

http://youtu.be/98uw-qzFq88

Hitchens started off as a Marxist and went in for some hero worship. Politics, It's a mash up!
 
horsinabout said:
This one is for you, the much maligned Echoes;)

http://youtu.be/98uw-qzFq88

Hitchens started off as a Marxist and went in for some hero worship. Politics, It's a mash up!
heard the interview before (know it was not minted on me, but still), and he has been quite clear on the point that he admires Trotskys writings, but as he says here, Trotskyism, and Trotksys "realpolitic" are 2 diffierent things.
 
Jul 10, 2010
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rhubroma said:
. . .
By contrast in the US liberal has always been defined in the revolutionary social-political sense and bound to the type of left-wing democratic progressivism, which as a platform has always been inimical to the conservative worldview insofar as it works toward changing it. . .
rhubroma said:
I think it's fairly clear that the old ideological distinction between "right and left" no longer holds up in the monolithic, business dominated world of the last several decades -. . ..
I would venture to say that yourself has succumbed to a stereotyping of the words without full consideration of same. For instance, your use of the word "conservative" in the first para quoted is typical US usage - and inaccurate at its nature. A US "conservative" is no longer "conservative", and hasn't been for at least 40 years, if not longer. What the US refers to as "conservative" is closer to groups who are right-wing, nationalist, militaristic, religiously fundamentalist and intolerant. Social "liberal" groups have often been, for the past 40+plus years - conservative in the dictionary definition of the word - NOT seeking further change - but rather seeking to maintain existing status quos. Treehuggers are often seen as "liberal" and seeking change - when what they really seek is to maintain the natural world that exists, or to restore it to a fairly recent state.

I would also venture to say that there is no "old ideological distinction". No historical universal definition of either "liberal", or "conservative", of "left", or "right" has remained static for long. Very little about such labels has remained static over the decades. There are many shades of grey, in many different palettes and mixtures of this and that and the other thing, in some unique combination.

About the only things that seem to remain somewhat static over time are a groups' views on military action, nationalism, and social welfare vs laissez-faire economics. You might think of some other conditions to include, but I think you will get my point. "Liberals" are not necessarily seeking change, and "conservatives" are not necessarily conservative.
 
Jul 10, 2010
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Oh, and one other thing. While Chomsky starts from an enlightened and perspicacious beginning - for instance, with an observation of the hypocrisy and greed that seems inherent in mankind and particularly obviated in the minimally regulated economic environments of modern Western economies, he takes his thinking to a sophist's elegant, but ultimately inaccurate, logic. In other words, he spouts a lot of fine talk, but his political ideas are not much better than idiocy. He goes off on tangents that divorce him from reality.

In my humble opinion, of course.
 
Jul 10, 2010
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Vino attacks everyone said:
. . . Trotskyism, and Trotksys "realpolitic" are 2 diffierent things.
The whole social improvement side of philosophy of the late 19th and early 20th century had its roots in two things: industrialization, and the "Romantic" views of the permeability and refinability of mankind. To the "Romantics", man was a refinable quantity. Thus the communists could think "we can change the way people behave.". And the anarchists could think "if there were no laws, man would get along because he would have to do so."

All the social "isms" were deeply contributed to by the unfriendly atmosphere and environments that quite literally grew out of increasing industrialization.

Industrialization and mechanization also increasingly made the old power structures obsolete and inadequate. This fact contributed to the rise of another set of "isms" - like fascism, and the communism that came to be in reality (as opposed to philosophy) - as nature abhors a vacuum, and what you had, off and on, was a power vacuum.

I think there are two very remarkable things learned in the 20th century. What we have come to realize over that century, is that there are economic values and behaviors that mankind adheres to - consistently over the centuries. And, that the city is one of the greatest of mankind's inventions. Communities and rules to govern them.
 
hiero2 said:
I would venture to say that yourself has succumbed to a stereotyping of the words without full consideration of same. For instance, your use of the word "conservative" in the first para quoted is typical US usage - and inaccurate at its nature. A US "conservative" is no longer "conservative", and hasn't been for at least 40 years, if not longer. What the US refers to as "conservative" is closer to groups who are right-wing, nationalist, militaristic, religiously fundamentalist and intolerant. Social "liberal" groups have often been, for the past 40+plus years - conservative in the dictionary definition of the word - NOT seeking further change - but rather seeking to maintain existing status quos. Treehuggers are often seen as "liberal" and seeking change - when what they really seek is to maintain the natural world that exists, or to restore it to a fairly recent state.

I would also venture to say that there is no "old ideological distinction". No historical universal definition of either "liberal", or "conservative", of "left", or "right" has remained static for long. Very little about such labels has remained static over the decades. There are many shades of grey, in many different palettes and mixtures of this and that and the other thing, in some unique combination.

About the only things that seem to remain somewhat static over time are a groups' views on military action, nationalism, and social welfare vs laissez-faire economics. You might think of some other conditions to include, but I think you will get my point. "Liberals" are not necessarily seeking change, and "conservatives" are not necessarily conservative.
I was speaking about once upon a time, I thought that was clear, even if as you demonstrate the canon is often arbitrary and highly unstable. Let's just say it serves a useful purpose in orienting a debate, even if this only leads to its further deconstruction as you have so done here.

I'm certainly aware of the transformation that American conservatism underwent after the war, from a strictly traditional identity in laissez-faire capitalism and minimal government presence in the market, to the type of bigoted and war-mongering nationalism of today. Certainly paranoia over the communist threat during the Cold War was in part behind its increasingly moralistic and judgmental worldview. Whatever the case, the major shift came in the 60's when the Republican party consciously abetted the Christian evangelists of the Bible Belt, till then traditionally southern democrat until civil rights, to get their votes. And then when the neocons took up a militaristic policy of empire management in the 80s, that, with the impact of Christian fundamentalism within the republican side, was accompanied by a theological outlook on America's global role as righteous enforcer of international justice. George Bush Jr. rather personified this theological perspective rather well.

At any rate to complicate things further, you have many today who claim to be fiscal conservatives, while cultural liberals, such has the business model been isolated from peoples’ moral prerogatives. This has meant that there is really only one political party in the mainstream US, the business one as Chomski has claimed. Hence the lack of any real, or at least significantly distinct, policy differences in matters of business between democrats and republicans. Whereas you will often today find people of both parties who are culturally liberal, even if among Republicans probably less.

What I found most helpful in your analysis was the role you mentioned that industrialization and "romantic" society, in an almost Wagnerian sense, played in building new ideas about human potential and social progress. The various political -isms of the early 20th century tried, not fortuitously, to provide adequate outcomes.
 

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