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January 24, 2005

Comments

Lawrence Krubner

zuzu, you're right about the mob violence leading to widespread violence in some situations. I think India is a good example of that.

Redistribution

The only one best positioned to 'redistribute the resources' is the one who earns them. The left and right politcal constructs are mere sugar coating. They all do the same thing. l do not recognise a so called need that puts a lead weight around my neck or takes the fruit off my trees.

The 'system' is only as strong as its weakest link. Once we denigrate individuals as mere cogs in the machine for some alleged social good (who decides that anyway?) we undermine the essential freedom that is central to our lives. All the 'isms' do exactly the same thing... they dress their competing self interest up in sanctimonious bodies of politic. Herd to sheeple behind it and claim a mandate. Stop trying to steal from me and l want try to steal it back from you.

Lawrence Krubner

"Once we denigrate individuals as mere cogs in the machine for some alleged social good (who decides that anyway?) we undermine the essential freedom that is central to our lives."

Still, we live, work and play in societies, and we have to pool enough resources to keep those societies functioning. We need police to protect property and basic rights, and we need basic infrastructure (ports, roads) for transit and for economic activity. These are social needs. Some resources need to be pooled to take care of those social needs. As to your question about who should decide how those resources are gathered and then spent, there are several options, but the one that's been increasingly popular in the West since the 1700s has been a liberal political order where the legitimacy of those in power is regularly tested at the polls, with majority will deciding the direction of a country while a semi-protected judiciary enforces protection for human rights, those rights given by one's Creator (pace Locke) which no one gave up during the transition from "state of nature" to the "state of law", rights so inalienable that a person can not even give them away if they wanted to (no one can sell themselves into slavery because their Creator did not want them to live as slaves). George W. Bush refers to elections as "accountability moments", which I think is a good phrase.

Lawrence Krubner

"Stop trying to steal from me and l want try to steal it back from you."

You've touched upon one of the central themes of liberalism, which is how to get people to stop living in a state of nature and start living in a state of law. The flip side of your question is simply "Why shouldn't I kill you and take all your money?" Hobbes's described the state of nature as a state of "war of all against all." In such a state, life is "nasty, brutish, and short." We must ask ourselves then how to get out of a state of nature and come to live in a state of law. Jefferson, when writing the Declaration of Independence, gave these questions, and the answers, a lovely turn of phrase, in what is probably the most concise summary of liberal thought ever put down on paper: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

Nature or Nurture

l disagree that life is brutal. It can be difficult but l dont buy into the negative view of eat or be eaten and that life and society are zero sum games. l think there's much more good than bad in the world. Its just thatthe bad gets constantly run in the media and the good gets reduces to a 30 sec cat stuck in a tree outro on the 6 o'clock news.

Most people are co-operative and competitie. A few power mongrels subvert. This is the problem l have with popularity contests as a way of electing the leaders. The politicians are largely the same beast, they just wear different colours and con us into believing they represent us. Democracy might be the best of a bad bunch, but the concept that 100m + 1 gets to push around 100m people doesnt sit well in my mind.

Its all well and good to put words on paper above a wax seal and a bunch of signatures. However it is the exercise of state power that dictates our headspace. That something is self evident yet needs to be written and codified strikes me as ironic.

Society is made up of individuals and therefore is the individual. We are just a bunch of people trying to rationalise our self interests and wrapping it up in some nebulous notion of 'the needs of society.' That just helps soften the blow and is a great lever of political manipulation.

Lawrence Krubner

"Its just thatthe bad gets constantly run in the media and the good gets reduces to a 30 sec cat stuck in a tree outro on the 6 o'clock news."

Are you saying that Hobbes was a dupe of the media? Are you saying he got too much of his information from the television? Are you saying that his actual experience during the civil war was of secondary importance to him?


"Democracy might be the best of a bad bunch, but the concept that 100m + 1 gets to push around 100m people doesnt sit well in my mind."

It didn't sit well with any of the major liberal thinkers, either, which is why the liberal view of democracy is "majority rule plus minority rights" rather than just majority rule. As John Stuart Mill said, tyranny of the majority is the worst kind of tyranny since it is the hardest to successfuly rebel against.


"Society is made up of individuals and therefore is the individual. We are just a bunch of people trying to rationalise our self interests and wrapping it up in some nebulous notion of 'the needs of society.'"

Or you could say we are a bunch of individuals trying to figure out how to get other individuals not to kill us. I don't want you to murder me and you probably don't want me to murder you. Each of us has an inalienable right to live in peace, unmolested by others. To defend that right, government is instituted among people.

Talking in Circles

Government kill more people than any individual ever has. The worst atrocities occur at the hand of government. Government is just a bunch of people aligned in common hegemonious self interest. l can defend my own rights.

wohf

Jeez Hugo, is everything really all about you?

mythago

Um, dude. It's a blog.

Talking in Circles

l thought the idea of a web log was to discuss issues of interest to the blooger and to elucidate ideas and awarness. Rather than get b(l)ogged down in self obsessed naval gazing.

mythago

Blogs, like all other forms of writing, run the gamut. It's kinda silly to berate somebody for being navel-gazing on an unpaid, self-published Internet work of their own devise.

Talking in Circles

It never silly to berate navel gazers.

Lawrence Krubner

It's stupid to be critical of personal reflection on a personal weblog. It's also stupid to be critical of someone for being personal when he's discussing his personal affiliation with a political movement whose best known slogan is "The personal is political."

Lawrence Krubner

"I can defend my own rights."

Then do so. Who's stopping you?

Hugo Schwyzer

Lawrence, your penultimate comment is absolutely perfect. Thank you, my friend.

craichead

Hey Lawrence-

I agree that much of that dialogue is doing nothing but detracting from some real good stuff going on here.

Anyway,

You mention "the personal is political." How do you feel about that -- for lack of a better term -- personally?

For me I think the path to a free society marked by peoples' self determination is to keep the personal and the political separate. Things like freedom of opinion and speech and the separation of church and state seem to be the most obvious statements of this view. In the end I think that the view of the personal as political is tremendously destructive.

What's your opinion?

Tilking in Circles

The political is the personal for those unable or unwilling to transcend the personal. Their egoes are far to large to step outside of themselves and challenge their own thinking. Their minds do not watch themselves.

Lawrence Krubner

If "political" means "What can Washington do?" then it's important to separate the personal from the political. If "political" means "What can I do?" then the personal is the starting point of all politics.

Personally, I'd like to see less of the former and more of the latter.

Lawrence Krubner

"There's still a whole lot of consciousness raising to do"

For sure, and on many issues. The incompleteness of our nation's commitment to equal rights for all is mirrowed inside of many of us, perhaps all of us. I was reminded of this yesterday when dealing with a 55 year old woman who considered herself a strong feminist and who had belonged to NOW and marched in protests 30 years ago, but who had never allowed her daughters to date blacks or Hispanics, and who was horrorified by the idea.

lata

Dear Sir,
Nice and surprising to write to you.You are an expert in gender studies.I'm a student of MA in English in East West University,Bangladesh.I want to prepare my dissertation on this fieid.Can you help me suggesting or guiding to prepare this?Actually,I want to find out a suitable research proposal on "in literature men's necessity determines women's fate".I can't understand which way I should follow.I've read 'Alcestis','A Farewell to Arms', 'A Doll's House' and some other texts. I am sorry to say that my depth of knowledge in this field is not sufficient.But my interest is there.Please give some ideas.I'll be really gratefull to you.Wishing you best of luck.Lata,Bangladesh.

Hugo Schwyzer

Lata, I am afraid literature is NOT my field -- history is. I wish you the best of luck.

shakeela

i visit ur website.God give me bless.
i want more about you.
pls ans soon wen u rec.thankyou.
takecare

shakeela

i visit ur website.
God give me bless.
pls u pray for me and mi sunday school class.
wen u rec pls short ans thanks.
salam in the name of jesus name.

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