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Arts and Culture

Troy Jollimore on Markets and Morality

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Posted on Jul 22, 2010

By Troy Jollimore

(Page 2)

Such failures of imagination, and other manifestations of weak agency, are significant in other objectionable markets as well. Some have objected to surrogate motherhood, for instance, on the basis that some women will be unable to truly anticipate the experience of pregnancy, and most women—unless they have done it before—will be unable to imagine how they will feel about giving up a baby they have carried to term. Others argue that contract pregnancies express a defective attitude toward either the baby (by turning babies into commodities) or toward women’s reproductive capacities: While these things are indeed valuable, they ought not to be valued in the same manner as we value paradigmatic market-exchanged goods.

Satz eschews the latter argument, since she wants to avoid controversial claims about which goods ought to be valued in which ways. Instead she offers an argument that relies on empirical claims about the background conditions against which such exchanges will, in the real world, take place; in particular, assumptions about the causes and effects of pervasive gender inequality. “The problem with commodifying women’s reproductive labor is not that it degrades the special nature of reproductive labor or alienates women from a core part of their identities, but that it reinforces (to the extent that it does) a traditional gender-hierarchical division of labor.” Pregnancy contracts, after all, give wealthy persons “increased access to and control over women’s bodies and sexuality” and reinforce “negative stereotypes about women as ‘baby machines.’ ”

As feminist scholars have recognized for decades, such negative stereotypes exert pressure on women and other vulnerable groups from the outside, but are perhaps even more harmful to the extent that they are internalized. If women themselves come to see themselves largely as “baby machines,” they are all the more likely to accept not only pregnancy contracts but worse forms of treatment. Satz is attentive throughout to the potential of certain sorts of markets to influence our beliefs, desires and self-conceptions. “Markets not only allocate resources among different uses and distribute income among different people, but particular markets also shape our politics and culture, even our identities.” Labor markets, in particular, raise deep and difficult issues by virtue of their ability both to create and reinforce massive power differentials and to influence the very preferences of the people who engage in them:

 

book cover

 

Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale: The Moral Limits of Markets

 

By Debra Satz

 

Oxford University Press, 264 pages

 

Buy the book

Human beings are malleable in a way that goods such as apples are not. We do not usually need to worry about the noneconomic effects of a market on the apples exchanged, but we do need to worry about whether a particular kind of market produces or supports passivity, alienation, or ruthless egoism. Labor markets may be structured so as to accustom people to being pushed around and managed by others. Widespread markets in women’s reproductive or sexual capacities (including quid pro quo sexual harassment contracts) might amplify gender inequalities by entrenching and deepening negative stereotypes about women. Unregulated education markets are compatible with children being treated as and raised as servile dependents. We need to pay special attention to cases like these, for they pose potential threats to the stable reproduction of democratic citizenship over time.

Recent economists have tended to take people’s interests and preferences simply as given, and to ignore the labor market’s role in shaping them. This error, Satz writes, is in sharp contrast to the more discerning treatment given to the question by Adam Smith’s generation of political economists—a group of thinkers that was concerned not just with questions of economic efficiency, but with those of economic morality as well. Smith’s thinking in particular turns out to have been somewhat more attuned to subtle economic realities than popular accounts of it would lead one to expect. For one thing, Smith supported regulating wages in a way that benefited workers: “Whenever the regulation …  is in favor of the workmen,” he wrote, “it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in favor of the masters.” He also strongly supported public education and regulation to prevent usury by limiting interest rates for loans, and was deeply concerned about the potential for labor markets to influence, if not warp, the rational capacities of workers forced to accept intellectually non-demanding employment. This is not to deny that Smith, the inventor of the concept of the “Invisible Hand” that pushed free exchangers inexorably to optimal outcomes, was, on the whole, pro-market; it is only to point out what level of simplification was needed to make him into the poster child for free market capitalism that he has become.

In addition to the examples I have mentioned, Satz addresses a chapter each to prostitution, child labor, and “voluntary slavery” (i.e. long-term labor contracts which in practice frequently turn out to be lifelong labor contracts, due to the difficulty of paying them off). I was slightly disappointed that she did not turn her attention to the question of carbon emissions markets, not only because of the timeliness of that issue, but because it is a more difficult and hence more interesting question to answer than that of, say, child labor or voluntary slavery (who is going to support those?).

Satz’s main contention—that the objection to noxious markets is best understood in terms of the threat they pose to the equal standing of individuals—turns out to be at least fairly plausible, and it is well argued for here. That said, I am not entirely convinced of her approach to each particular case. With respect to pregnancy contracts, for instance, she is probably right that the availability and perceived legitimacy of such arrangements helps to reinforce certain negative stereotypes about women, but is this really enough of a reason to place strong regulatory limits on them? Lots of things in our society reinforce negative stereotypes about women and other minority groups in much more direct ways: Hollywood movies, for instance. Yet these are for the most part tolerated. In the case of surrogate motherhood I suspect that, while there may be good reason to regulate or even ban such contracts, this reason may have less to do with broad worries about social perceptions of gender and more to do with the worry that individual participants—in particular, the surrogates—will be exploited.

But this is a matter of emphasis, nothing more. “Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale” is intelligent, insightful and on the whole convincing, and even those readers who already agree with most of Satz’s conclusions regarding the justifiability and permissibility of particular sorts of markets will learn from it. I hope, though, that it also finds its way into the hands of at least some of those who have come to regard unregulated markets as a panacea for society’s ills. It may not, in the end, change their minds, but it should at least provoke them to a more nuanced and sophisticated understanding of the issues involved. And they might learn something about Adam Smith, too.

Troy Jollimore is associate professor of philosophy at California State University, Chico. His book “Tom Thomson in Purgatory” won the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry in 2006.


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By Foucauldian, February 19, 2011 at 2:08 am Link to this comment

Shenon, I emailed you with a question.

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By Shenonymous, February 18, 2011 at 2:48 am Link to this comment

I think I understand.  I’ve sent an email with comments.

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By Foucauldian, February 17, 2011 at 9:51 am Link to this comment

Lastly, it’s not written with a scholarly audience in
mind, as you can gather.  To do the latter, I’d have to
be more rigorous, but I believe you know I can do both. 
It’s the content of the ideas presented and your
response to it that I’m interested in.

Report this

By Foucauldian, February 17, 2011 at 9:42 am Link to this comment

No idea where I’m going to go with this, Shenon.  I
don’t think I can develop this any further beyond
this point, unless I embark on some kind of empirical
study of the novel political forms - not exactly my
cup of tea.  Besides, we’re living in an extremely
fluid world, as evidenced by the turmoil in the Arab
world, so conditions are always changing.  It may
provide further food for thought and an opportunity
to make other connections in the hope of developing
the theme further.

Thanks for responding.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, February 17, 2011 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

Foucauldian - I apologize for not getting back to you sooner.  Your
challenge as given me much to read and think about and besides
participating in a couple of active forums where again I do not run
with the pack.  But that stuff has been on a side burner in the face
of some fierce weather that burst pipes in my house and other nasty
things so I have not been able to put my mind to your essays.  But
I have read all of them and have been writing notes as I work at
school on points that I want to address.  Also as a reader of many
many papers every semester I tend to read all writing for not only
content but grammatical structure that kind of slows me down as I
feel behooved to address those problems that I see interrupt the
writer’s thought and logic.  That is why I asked you what is your
goal with these essays.  Are they for publication or for your bloggers
or just your own ruminations?  I have finished looking at essay I a
second time and will read II again today as I will have some non-class
time in mid-day that I was looking forward to to read your papers.  I
think I will send my remarks via the email instead of on this forum. 

I am not really stressing over anything right now, meaning all on the
home front is quiet and good.

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By Foucauldian, February 17, 2011 at 8:53 am Link to this comment

Let me relieve you of some of your possible anxiety,
Shenon, concerning your long-awaited-for response.  I
had no expectations of you whatever other than hoping
you might want to join the conversation.  All
thinking is dynamic and fluid, always in experimental
stages and never a finished product, and I thought it
was reasonable of me to think you might subscribe to
this view.  If I was wrong in making these
assumptions, I’m just as ready to withdraw them
rather than to be imposing on you.

Nuff said.

Report this

By Foucauldian, February 7, 2011 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment

Again, I’m not looking for anything, Shennon, except
feedback from people whose thinking I value, so you
needn’t be unduly concerned with the thrust of your
forthcoming remarks.  Exchange of ideas, the back and
forth, is how thinking grows and develops - a simple
enough proposition to need not reiterate.

As to my own view of what I have done, perhaps the
following might help.  I believe I deconstructed the
concept of State.  The following remark from the main
thread (part III) perhaps says it best:

“I believe I provided an alternative paradigm/model
for understanding, interpreting, and analyzing
current events. It’s not on the economic front
(vestiges of my former thinking) that we shall
experience radical shifts and changes in
organizational structures, paving the way and serving
as a vanguard, so to speak, but on the political. To
be sure, the economic forces/conditions will
precipitate and drive events on the ground, provide
justification and rationale, even the impetus for all
kinds of movements and calls for change, no doubt
about it. They’ll continue to contribute to the
weakening of the State as an institution, but that
alone won’t do it because the State will continue to
jumpstart the economic system in place, provide it
with all the necessary means support, in the interest
of its own survival. It’s the inherent weakness of
the State, both in concept and in practice, that will
prove to be its own undoing - that’s the thesis. It’s
from within that the State will crumble.

“I’ve spoken time and again of the Eurozone as a
foretaste of the future. It’s still in its
experimental stages, but already we’re beginning to
see however slight changes in political structures
more so than in economic ones. Once again, the
economic ideas - in particular, concerns with
becoming more competitive, uniform currency,
relatively unrestricted travel for the purpose of
employment - may have paved the way to, and provided
the impetus for, the new political formation, but
it’s in the political, I insist, that the significant
shift has already taken place, more so than in the
economic. Anyway, I see in this experiment a pattern
that will be replicated over and over again in the
future (of course, at first with varying degrees of
success). In short, it’s a sign of things to come:
formation of administrative bodies over larger and
larger territorial domain, while the nation-states
themselves will begin losing, however slowly, their
absolute and preordained sovereignty rights in all
areas which up till now have been their exclusive
preserve, from criminal prosecution to right to wage
war. The authority vested in the Hague is one
example.”

Now, the second paragraph gives you a foretaste of
the direction I’m going.  So if you’re not
comfortable with commenting now, why don’t you wait
until I’m done with the conclusion?  I’ll post a link
on this thread for your convenience.

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By Shenonymous, February 7, 2011 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment

Far as I can tell Foucauldian, ThomasG and I have not let any
“interference” from others interfere in our discussion.  I don’t see
your comments, at any rate, as interfering.  Please feel free to say
what you wish.  I think you would anyway.  ThomasG and I have
always taken our time to interact, which now has been a long time
and on other forums.  We give much thought to our replies to
each other.  I confess sometimes my brain hurts from working to
make myself coherently clear.  But that does not stop me.  Things
such as we are discussing are not, usually, as simple as one might
think. 

I admit to procrastinating on making comments to your three-part
essay on anarchism, mainly because of the scope you cover and
complexity that deserves due thought.  Also there are two aspects that
I would be reviewing:  of course the content, and I would hope I could
be objective and set aside any opinion that could be considered biased,
although I am doubtful I can be completely neutral.  The other way is to
consider the grammatical and logical structure and details that as an
instructor in critical thinking I am always on the alert when reading and
evaluating student papers.  You may not appreciate some of my
thoughts on any of these matters.  I am hesitant to send you my
observations as I do not know exactly of what value they would be to
you.  You have many who are commenting from which you can draw the
conclusions you might be looking for.  Nor what is your end goal with
these essays, a book, a journal or blog article?  I do think your writing
is important and deals with a topic needing much discussion regardless
of my personal reaction.

Report this

By Foucauldian, February 5, 2011 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment

. . . so do carry on.

Report this

By Foucauldian, February 5, 2011 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

Anyway, I didn’t mean to interfere, to do carry on.

Report this

By Foucauldian, February 1, 2011 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

I don’t expect anything, Shenon, only interested in
your thoughts.

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By Shenonymous, February 1, 2011 at 1:14 am Link to this comment

ThomasG, what should be done is simply an ethical problem.  Not
that it is a simple problem to deal with The Dealers of Slumber. 
But what would be an ethical way to deal with them is a necessary
consideration.  One way would be to call them out, by name and
published using every possible media to do it.  Fight fire with fire
my sanguine headed Italian mother.  Often reciprocity works
except sometimes it doesn’t.  I.e., it would not work to enslave
enslavers for then the enslaved would not be any better than the
enslavers and they certainly would not be any better off.

There are some strong antithetical to wrongful tactics that are options,
in other words, civil disobedience, direct action and agitation.  We could
say it a little differently, where does activism end and rebellion begin?  I
find I am a peacenik type.

The mise-en-scene does seem to be as you describe and I haven’t
found much to disagree with you about in any of your paragraphical
scenes.  I don’t know if balancing the desire for opportunity and
comfort has much to do with morality.  Ethics maybe.  I see them as
different aspects of values in practice.  And you also have glossed over
those who are not actors either as Lords of Narcolepsy or Willful
Slumberers.  And yeah you do exaggerate but it is for theatrical effect,
so therefore it is allowed.

What can be done to stop the DopeDealers and what can be done to
rehabilitate the Slumberers?  A two-pronged dilemma.

You offered education as a remedy and I concurred.  But we both know
that is a slow process.  Long term and very slow.  You seem impatient,
however, to go after the DopeDealers.  I am reminded of an anecdote: 
It has to do with the psychology of advertising.  On occasion I invite a
colleague, a professor of graphic design and advertising to lecture to
my critical thinking class to teach the students how it is a profession in
manipulation and exploitation.  This is a profession that has its whole
intention to indoctrinate and propagandize the public at large into
buying particular products or to believe certain dogmas. There is a
lesson to be learned from that field of knowledge.

Since it is through mind control that you are seeking to rid the world of
the DopeDealers, then learning the art of thought reform (I am
assuming a non-violent project) is what is needed.  It is actually more
of a science in its structure but artful in its application.  In a non-
violent form, convincing argument then is a primary tool.  Shall we
discuss a protocol?  No doubt… to be continued.

Foucauldian, I have completed reading all three of your essays. I am not
sure what it is you might be looking for in the analytical review I’ve
made.

Report this

By Foucauldian, January 30, 2011 at 10:03 pm Link to this comment

Fascinating discussion.  I’m too dumbfounded for words.

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By ThomasG, January 28, 2011 at 3:01 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, January 28 at 5:08 am,

What I think is that we all, as human kind, trade our comfort and advantage for the discomfort and disadvantage of others, and that as both the comfort and advantage and the discomfort and disadvantage become ever increasingly concentrated, that we look only to our own comfort and advantage and do not consider what discomfort and disadvantage our comfort and advantage is derived from; that we as an American people have accustomed ourselves to living in an illusion of reality, rather than in objective reality, and that we should start to learn to live within the reality of our own means that are not based upon the disadvantage and discomfort of others.

What I think is that to be a moral people and a moral nation that the United States, as an American people, need to be more balanced in concerns of their own advantage and comfort, based upon the disadvantage and discomfort of others, and more balanced with regard to living within their own means that are NOT based upon the disadvantage and discomfort of others.

What I think is that we all, as an American people, need to spend some time in reflection, thought, and meditation under the bodhi tree, so that we can come to see more clearly what we have become, and be more capable of finding our way to where we need to be.

What I think is that here in America we have all been inculcated by sophism and propaganda to live in a dream, the American Dream, and that the time is approaching to wake up, to awake from the American Dream to the American Reality.

What I think is that the American Dream based upon the advantaged and the comfortable taking advantage of the disadvantage and discomfort of others is a bad dream, and that it is time for both the advantaged and comfortable as well as the disadvantaged and discomforted to wake up to American Reality.

What I have said is that “sleepers” are not the problem, and that democracy is not the problem; that self serving dope dealers dealing the dope of sophism and propaganda to the “sleepers” is the problem.

The question that we all need to ask ourselves is what can we do about the self serving dope dealers dealing the dope of sophism and propaganda to the sleepers.

If the United States is a moral nation, the question that should concern more people than not is:  What should be done about self serving dope dealers dealing the dope of sophism and propaganda to sleepers?  To the degree that the United States has become a self serving immoral nation, this question matters, NOT SO MUCH.

Where do you stand on self serving dope dealers dealing the dope of sophism and propaganda to “sleepers” here in the United States? ——And what do you think should be done about it?

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By Shenonymous, January 28, 2011 at 12:08 am Link to this comment

ThomasG – You seem to be spurring a side shoot of the topic we
have been working on.  Your new euphemisms for the exploiters of
the zombified as dope peddlers or dope dealers is a bit interesting
but aesthetically fits with the Montague’s wife metaphor but you fall
into hyperbole and excessive repetition that causes your diatribe to
lose its dramatic oomph.  I understood within the first couple of
sentences what you were saying and implying.  The problem as I see
it, if the exploiters, the users and abusers of the underprivileged and
disadvantaged are the problem, and they are the component in society
that is its scourge of misery, you say they must be eliminated.  But you
have not insinuated how that ought to be brought about. 

I never suggested the problem you present is what is to be done about
those who you think are the systematically oppressed.  If they exist,
then I agree that it will take time for them to achieve consciousness.  I
think the electronic age will speed up that process and education.  So,
ThomasG, what is your protocol “to get rid” of the dope dealers? 

I admonish caution in your blaming American Democracy.  It is not the
institution; it is the denizens of the institution.  But say it is American
Democracy that is the problem.  What is your replacement?

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By ThomasG, January 27, 2011 at 1:02 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

Representing a false view of advantage to those who slumber in order to exercise self serving control and power over them as sleepers is what politics is all about; and is where our dialogue about sleepers inevitably leads.

Self serving dope dealers:
http://www.hulu.com/watch/112523/the-american-ruling-class

Sleepers provide benefit and serve a purpose for self serving greedy people who want to benefit from power and control over them as those who slumber, power and control that is obtained by representing a false view of advantage to sleepers while they slumber so as to avoid awakening those who slumber.

The problem is not, what do we do about the sleepers? ——Enlightenment is a process and the sleepers will gradually awaken when the time is right for them to do so, if the sleepers are not prevented from awakening by self serving dope dealers plying them with sleeping pills as a means to an end of attaining self serving advantage from their slumber.

The problem is what do we do about the greedy self serving dope dealers who make the sleepers addicts to slumber by way of sleeping pills of sophism and propaganda, by way of sleeping pills that are a false view of advantage for the sleeper, that is of actual advantage only to the dope dealer, that enables the dope dealer to benefit from the sleepers’ slumber.

The solution with regard to sleepers is to get rid of the dope dealers who are peddling dope to the sleepers, who are peddling the dope of sophism and propaganda as their own self serving view of advantage to the sleepers, in order to delay the sleepers from awakening from their slumber of servitude that enables self serving benefit of the dope dealers whose interest is obtaining and maintaining a revenue stream of benefit from the sleepers’ slumber. 

The problem of dope dealers dealing dope to sleepers was a problem that needed a solution before our time; the problem of dope dealers dealing dope to sleepers is a problem in the present, in our time; and, the problem of dope dealers dealing dope to sleepers will be a problem in the future after our time has passed; the problem of dope dealers dealing dope to the sleepers is at the heart of the inequality of American democracy and privatized capitalism, and is a moral issue that will eventually destroy privatized capitalism and its servile handmaiden, American Democracy, if the policy of dealing dope to sleepers is continued to delay the awakening of the American Populace, a 70% majority Common Population of the United States that is starting to rouse itself from slumber in spite of the dope dealers and the dope they deal.

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By ThomasG, January 24, 2011 at 10:31 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous, January 24 at 6:55 am,

The problem on the internet and in the broader American society as a whole is in greater part those who distribute sleeping pills to the sleepers, marketed and distributed to them as the easiest means of attaining the advantage of sleeping. 

Those who are more awake than others know that others will make choices based upon a “false view of advantage” and that a sleeper will see not awakening from slumber as advantageous.

The problem is NOT the sleepers, they will arouse themselves if they are not subjected to dope dealers distributing sleeping pills to spread a false view of advantage to the sleepers that dopes them up to accept the view that to remain asleep is the easiest means of attaining advantage.

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By Shenonymous, January 24, 2011 at 1:55 am Link to this comment

Weeding through your post, there is nothing seen to disagree with. 
From my oblique observations, it looks like your perceptions are
20/20.  Assuming you are among the awake, ThomasG, aside from
making posts on TD, what do you do to awaken slumberers?  And
further, what do you do to propel those who are more awake into
spending energy to arouse the lethargic to spring to life?  What plan
do you have to get the abusers of others for their own advantage to
discontinue their self-serving behavior?  They use sloganized ideas
to dominate the drowsy.  Ought not other sloganized ideas be used
to have those in the twilight of consciousness see the value in liberty?

It isn’t a matter of right or wrong for the oppressed to rebel.  It is a
natural reaction and always occurs sooner or later.  To see that humans
ought not to be treated as lower bog animals or mindless sedated
somnambulists is merely to recognize that all humans in their humanity
are equal.  It is not a matter of morality, of right or wrong.  It is the
reality of the state of nature.  You say that to the degree one is awake
(“we” are awake) one ought to make a legitimate effort to cajole others
out of their sleeping state.  First, it would be respectful of their
humanity to ask them if they want to be awakened. Then it is imperative
that there is a clear idea of what it means to be awake in the context of
the simile you have developed.  For it would seem that only with that
kind of clear idea can the sleepers be convinced to awaken to their
exalted self.  So, what would that legitimate effort entail?  How do you
legitimately go about awakening those who you see are asleep?

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By ThomasG, January 23, 2011 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, January 23 at 3:23 pm,

Shenonymous said:  “What does it mean to do all that we can to arouse, to awaken?” — Shenonymous, January 23 at 3:23 pm Truthdig Forum ‘Troy Jollimore on Markets and Morality’ 

ThomasG’s Answer:  Do those who are more awake than others have a responsibility to do what they can to rouse the sleepers from their slumber? — Or, is it morally acceptable for those who are more awake to lull those who are less awake into continued slumber in order for those who are more awake to obtain advantage, benefit, and profit from those who slumber?

When I perceive the world around me, I do not perceive efforts by those who are more awake to rouse those who are less awake from their slumber, so that those who are awake can become more awake and serve their own best interests; I perceive, with very small exception, that those who are more awake are lulling those who slumber into continued slumber, that they promote a false view of advantage in order to obtain advantage and benefit from those who slumber, and do so in the name of the American Dream and democracy, together with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for all, as hollow subjective tropes of sophism and propaganda to promote their own false view of advantage as moral virtue, and keep the sleepers slumbering in service to their own self serving advantage.

How could it possibly be wrong for those who slumber, as they become more awake, to withdraw from those who class and culturally use and abuse them, into their own class and culture in service to their own best interests as did the Founding Fathers of the United States?

How is it possible that democracy and the American Dream with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for all can be defined as a false view of advantage that serves the best interests of others’ class and cultural advantage by socially engineering an American Populace of “wading web footed bog trotters” with their “Mildred” wives and “sleeper” children who serve the interests of others to the exclusion of their own best interests, much the same as cows, horses or sheep?

What does it mean to do all than we can to arouse, to awaken; it means that to the degree that we are awake that we should make a legitimate effort to rouse others out of their slumber to the same degree that we are awake, rather than to use our wakefulness as a class and cultural weapon to perpetuate slumber and a false view of advantage for our own economic and political benefit at the expense of others.

To the extent that a greater part of society is awake, benefit to society as a whole will increase, and to the extent that the lesser part of society is awake, benefit flows to the few at the expense of the many, in much the same way that cows and sheep are affected. 

Humankind are not cows and sheep and should not be encouraged, for the benefit of others by their slumber, to function as cows and sheep, as “wading web footed bog trotters”, “Mildreds” and “parlor families” seeking the American Dream with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for others at the expense of their own best interests.

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By Shenonymous, January 23, 2011 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

Awaken please, ThomasG! Awaken! (And by the way, good morning!)
But the trick is to find a way for the slumbering to awaken without
killing them! Without putting them permanently to sleep!  For here
again we must speak of numbers to have a good idea about the
scope of the problem.  And we must keep in mind the level of
consciousness that exists.  You do agree there are levels of
consciousness just as there are levels of economic wherewithal? 

It would seem, as both you and I have expressed from time to time,
that education is what is inside the arena, but we need to know the
keys, and just as importantly, where the locks are.  Once education
is effected, and a composite of knowledge and skills acquired, and
healthy attitudes developed, then how to synthesize all the above in
a most balanced way is when a robust society may evolve. 

The proper functioning of a liberal democracy requires citizens who
can think critically about social issues that would fill their minds and
thereby inform their judgments about proper governance and to
overcome biases and prejudice.

The people would need to arrive at understanding the existence of
social problems and accept the necessity for evidence in support of
what is asserted by anyone including you and including me to be true. 
Then how to apply their understanding for application is everything
isn’t it?  People need to learn to be purposeful, self-controlled,
especially in their judgments whereby they may make wholesome and
fitting interpretations through the ability to make analyses including
implications, possible consequences, and objections from alternative
viewpoints. Thus they may become liberated and have the force that is
aroused by such liberation.  The people must be taught, and must
learn, the habit of being inquisitive, to trust reason more than emotion
but not eliminate emotion completely as it is through emotion that
action is motivated.  Learning to be open-minded and flexible, honest
in seeing their personal biases, and learning prudence in making
judgments, and learning to reconsider grave matters are some of the
behaviors that will promote the realization of a person’s humanity.

ThomasG asks, “Do you think we should all, as human kind, aspire to
be like Henry David Thoreau’s wading web footed bog trotter and
Montag’s wife in Ray Bradbury’s novel, ‘Fahrenheit 451’?”

Shenonymous answers - Only if the trotter gets “talaria to his heels, or
those winged heels or sandals” like those of some Greek gods,” so that
he/she may escape from the slime.  And unlike Mildred, most do not
need sleeping pills if they be already asleep!  Why do so many just hang
by a thread to life?  It is the bane of ignorance I say. 

What does it mean to do all that we can to arouse, to awaken?  Unlike
the Buddha, shout out loud?

I remember at the ashram the periodic ringing of a bell reminding one
to awaken!  Are you suggesting a New Liberty Bell?

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By ThomasG, January 23, 2011 at 9:10 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous, January 23 at 7:02 am,

What is a proper role for external doctrine and creative change?—these are things I think about as I metaphorically sit under the bodhi tree and think about internal being, external being and sublimation of the binary nature of existence.

These concerns do not seem to have much relevance to people on the internet and elsewhere, but they should, because beneficial and meaningful external change will not happen without internal enlightenment and awareness to one degree or another.

Do you think we should all, as human kind, aspire to be like Henry David Thoreau’s wading web footed bog trotter and Montag’s wife in Ray Bradbury’s novel, ‘Fahrenheit 451’? ——or that we should all do what we can to arouse ourselves from our slumber and awaken?

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By Shenonymous, January 23, 2011 at 2:02 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous asks ThomasG:  ”Do you live a comfortable life?”

ThomasG’s Answer:  ”I am at peace with hanging out under a
metaphorical Bodhi Tree.  Why do you ask?”

Only for a slight, but introspective, digression.  For enlightenment,
ThomasG, of the sort Siddartha Gautama achieved (for whatever else
would you be hanging out even metaphorically under a Bodhi Tree?
),
you need only sit under your metaphorical Bodhi Tree for three days
and three nights of meditation.  Presumably you have a similar Bodh
Gaya and a metaphorical Mahabodhi Temple and wandered,
metaphorically, finally coming to this place.

A small anecdote from Indian lore: At Samath, after attaining
enlightenment, the Buddha encountered the five men who had been his
companions of earlier austerities.  On meeting the enlightened Buddha,
all they saw was an ordinary man; they mocked his well-nourished
appearance. “Here comes the mendicant Gautama,” they said, “who has
turned away from asceticism. He is certainly not worth our respect.”
When they reminded him of his former vows, the Buddha replied,
“Austerities only confuse the mind. In the exhaustion and mental stupor
to which they lead, one can no longer understand the ordinary things of
life, still less the truth that lies beyond the senses. I have given up
extremes of either luxury or asceticism. I have discovered the Middle
Way”. Hearing this the five ascetics became the Buddha’s first disciples.

So what could this allegory mean? 

Why did I ask?  It was not a frivolous question, ThomasG.

As I noted, I do not live an uncomfortable life.  And from your answer,
neither do you.  If you are really at peace, following the Path of the
Exalted One avoiding extremes, you would be teaching the peaceful
middle way of right action, right livelihood, right effort, right
mindfulness, right concentration, right attitude, and right view.  So I
hope you were not answering frivolously.  It would be all right if you
were.

But, if you were to abide, even metaphorically, in the Bodhi-Tree
metaphor, you would endure four distinct meditations each based on
an insight that the historical Buddha Gautama experienced. 

Just prior to his enlightenment (and yours too), the hours are divided
into four watches:  Recollecting human past lives, gaining knowledge of
the cycle of death and rebirth, this is a breakdown of the personality
and how its impulses and desires are blinding; identifying that all
conscious beings are affected by the cycle of rebirth and the law of
karma determines the quality and kind of rebirth and its ensuing
suffering; universal seeing that the cycle of causality leads to the cycle
of death and rebirth and seeing the means of liberation from this cycle;
the recognition of the state of enlightenment, awareness of how both
emptiness and fullness work together in the vast loftiness of freedom,
what it means.

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By ThomasG, January 22, 2011 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, January 22 at 8:23 pm,

Shenonymous said:  “Question:  Do you live a comfortable life?”

ThomasG’s Answer:  I am at peace with hanging out under a metaphorical Bodhi Tree.  Why do you ask?

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By Shenonymous, January 22, 2011 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment

Dang, misplaced italics indicator!  My apologies. That is a real flaw
in TD webdesign.  It will do that with bolding also.  Aaaargghh!
They ought to design it so that the mistake is kept within the post in
which is was created!

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By Shenonymous, January 22, 2011 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment

Good afternoon ThomasG.  Question:  Do you live a comfortable life?
I’d have to say that, relatively speaking, I do.

”I had read the BookJive review of Ehrenreich’s book, “Nickle and
Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America,” and the MotherJones review
of “Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream,” and
the longer in the Village Voice.  I have yet, this weekend, to watch the
video to which you provided a link.  Thank you.  These are opinions
(developed from experience) worth considering and discussing.  But
at the moment I have many things to do.  So later this evening or
tomorrow.

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By ThomasG, January 20, 2011 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, January 20 at 6:04 am,

Lewis H. Lapham has made a film called “The American Ruling Class” that expresses my concerns regarding class and culture and the American Populace in the following link:

http://www.snagfilms.com/films/title/american_ruling_class/ 

I think Mr. Lapham’s film is excellent as an instrument to help develop awareness in the American Populace with the exception of the solution advocated in the alternate ending of the movie.

The solution that the film, “The American Ruling Class”,  should have promoted is class and cultural awareness, education,  understanding, and unity to broaden the base of class and cultural advantage for the American Populace in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order as a 70% majority population of the United States that will effect equality, and thereby effect change through broadening equality on the basis of class and cultural unity, rather than individual contention against class and cultural unity and advantage of the American Aristocracy and the American Middle Class.

The point of origin on the way to class and cultural equality between the American Aristocracy, the American Middle Class, and the American Populace is the institutional implementation of causal education in the Public School System and the elimination of savant education; the 1st Step on the way is class and cultural education that promotes class and cultural awareness and equity of benefit between the three major classes and cultures in the United States, rather than a continuance of the Propaganda of the American Dream that promotes and perpetuates a false view of advantage.

There are many steps to be taken on the way to class and cultural equality between the American Aristocracy, the American Middle Class, and the American Populace, and the work that Lewis H. Lapham and Barbara Ehrenreich have done in making the film, “The American Ruling Class” acknowledges the problem; the way toward implementing a solution now needs to be advocated as effectively as “The American Ruling Class” acknowledged and documented the existing class and cultural problem in the United States.

If the American Populace is forced to contend for class and cultural equality with the American Aristocracy and the American Middle Class; contention must be for class and cultural liberty, freedom, and equity against class and cultural oppression and tyranny of the established class and cultural law and order of the American Aristocracy and American Middle Class, as patriots to a cause of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with freedom, justice, equality and equity for all of the American Populace as freedom fighters in the same manner as the Founding Fathers of the United States in a righteous cause, rather than as individuals engaged in criminal acts against the existing established class and cultural law and order of the State.

My message is now being represented by luminaries such as Lewis H. Lapham and Barbara Ehrenreich; I am encouraged by their efforts and I am quite certain that their efforts will be of importance with regard to the continued growth and expansion of awareness that will bring change with regard to the American Populace achieving equal class and cultural rights in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order that is inclusive of the American Populace.

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By Shenonymous, January 20, 2011 at 1:04 am Link to this comment

Just a quick note to ThomasG.  It is not that I am ignoring your last post
to me.  Besides having my mind on a couple of other TD forums, I have
beenat my job and am on a bit of an overload.

I don’t think the American Dream is solely within the province of the
Middle Class.  Maybe it is a ‘puffing’ up as you accuse, but that is what
‘aspiration’ means and it is, biologically speaking, what the human
organism has done since its DNA came on the scene.  Among other
things, hope floats.  And besides being Norman Mailer’s fourth novel,
socially it is a national ethos where democratic ideals are seen as the
promise of prosperity.  It seems a healthy aspiration.  And all humans
are inheritors of it.  How they go about it I think is really your criticism. 
How they have been conditioned to go for their heart’s desire.  People
naturally are innately subject to operant conditioning as Pavlov and B F
Skinner showed.  The exploiters of the world have keen insight into this
inherent human weakness.  Also the evolution of the industrial age that
has morphed into the technology age, in other words, evolution period,
is the way the world is actually supposed to go and this is a tacit
assumption.  That people cannot get ahead of the exploiters is not
really a fair criticism for their unsophistication or naïveté.  As evolution
proceeds the people collectively will move along the evolution path as
well as they are able but inexorably will move along it.  Perhaps you
and others are simply too impatient.  I think that impatience takes its
toll in stress.  The evolution of a large group of people cannot be
hurried.  It is in the genes.  The collective genes.  So the next best thing
is for those who are prescient to get rid of the exploiters (this is called
altruism).  But since we are civilized and wanting the collective to
become more civilized, we will have to civilly get rid of the exploiters. 

I am happy to talk about anything ThomasG.  So please bring out that
“dirty little secret” in better articulation.

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By ThomasG, January 18, 2011 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment

(repost)

Shenonymous,

Shenonymous said: “ThomasG, you always cause me to think hard.” —Shenonymous, January 12 at 3:52 pm, Truthdig Forum ‘Troy Jollimore on Markets and Morality’

Shenonymous said:  “If you are not against intellectual problem solving, I am very willing to continue to work our way through our differences.  It might take some time, but time ought not to be a factor where understanding and accord could be the consequence.” —Shenonymous, January 11 at 2:33 am, Truthdig Forum ‘Troy Jollimore on Markets and Morality’

The American Dream, which the foundation of the American Middle Class is based upon, is based upon falsely puffing up the American Middle Class, a 20% minority population, with genteel peasants of the American Populace, who are propagandized by the American Dream and the American Middle Class to accept a false view of their advantage and to see and choose absolute nonsense of the American Dream and of false membership of being a part of the American Middle Class as the easiest means of attaining a supposed advantage; this propaganda supports a singular version of class and cultural life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for all that is an illusion based upon disenfranchising the 70% majority Common Population of the United States, the American Populace as a class and culture by way of false induction of a large portion of the American Populace into the Middle Class, fractionalizing a portion into individuals that are not class and culturally represented, and making institutionalized reference to the balance as “The Poor”.

This is the Dirty Little Secret of American Democracy and I can readily understand why you and the American Middle Class as a whole do not want to talk about it — this problem will not be solved by not talking about it.

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By MarthaA, January 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment

The previous post was inadvertently sent under MarthaA.  While MarthaA agrees with the post, it is not a MarthaA post, and will be reposted as a ThomasG post.

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By MarthaA, January 18, 2011 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

Shenonymous said: “ThomasG, you always cause me to think hard.” —Shenonymous, January 12 at 3:52 pm, Truthdig Forum ‘Troy Jollimore on Markets and Morality’

Shenonymous said:  “If you are not against intellectual problem solving, I am very willing to continue to work our way through our differences.  It might take some time, but time ought not to be a factor where understanding and accord could be the consequence.” —Shenonymous, January 11 at 2:33 am, Truthdig Forum ‘Troy Jollimore on Markets and Morality’

The American Dream, which the foundation of the American Middle Class is based upon, is based upon falsely puffing up the American Middle Class, a 20% minority population, with genteel peasants of the American Populace, who are propagandized by the American Dream and the American Middle Class to accept a false view of their advantage and to see and choose absolute nonsense of the American Dream and of false membership of being a part of the American Middle Class as the easiest means of attaining a supposed advantage; this propaganda supports a singular version of class and cultural life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for all that is an illusion based upon disenfranchising the 70% majority Common Population of the United States, the American Populace as a class and culture by way of false induction of a large portion of the American Populace into the Middle Class, fractionalizing a portion into individuals that are not class and culturally represented, and making institutionalized reference to the balance as “The Poor”.

This is the Dirty Little Secret of American Democracy and I can readily understand why you and the American Middle Class as a whole do not want to talk about it — this problem will not be solved by not talking about it.

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By ThomasG, January 16, 2011 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, January 16 at 7:38 pm,

I agree that there is a wide variety of platforms for propaganda that support the ideal of a Middle Class as an all inclusive singularity.

The reality is that there is an actual Middle Class that is a 20% minority population and the greater middle class that you make reference to that is in fact the genteel peasants of the American Populace that are wanna be constituents of the Middle Class lost in the American Dream that are pursuing a false view of their advantage, living on credit much the same as Beau Brummell.

To include genteel peasants that are in fact a part of the American Populace to illegitimately inflate the size of the Middle Class serves the propaganda of the American Dream, but as we all know, when the bubble of the American Dream breaks, as happened in September 2008, the illusion of Middle Class status breaks into reality, and the genteel peasants of the American Populace that were falsely included to puff up the Middle Class are revealed for what they are, genteel peasant pretenders to Middle Class status that are subject to their actual status as genteel peasants of the American Populace, as was Beau Brummell.

You make the case for American Propaganda in support of the American Dream with hollow rhetoric, but the hollow rhetoric you use is as empty as the American Dream and the Middle Class singularity puffed up with genteel peasants to give it all inclusive size in support of singular existence that will support false life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for all that is a false premise based upon a nonexistent Middle Class singularity.

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By Shenonymous, January 16, 2011 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG.  As a rhetorical question, you answered by implication. 
But that is not too important since you were waxing philosophically
about politics.  I only comment on it since you insist on calling it a
question.  If you put a question mark at the end of any sentence it
technically is a question as there is some inflection expected once
uttered either out loud or in the head. Be that as it may, I considered
its content and while there is a flavor of truth, it is only a flavor and
turns out to be a hypothetical declaration. And inasmuch as you state
you “suspect” there is a congruence between 1776 and now, I have to
take your word that you are only surmising, uh, declaring a
hypothetical. 

http://themiddleclass.org/?gclid=CMjCqKqMv6YCFUbf4AodoTtSGA 
The site shows the middle class, or those who think they represent
middle class America, are not sitting still or keeping mum.  They have a
website who keeps the issues on the front burner and claim they are
keeping Congress accountable.  I think that is part of the egalitarian
process at work here in the US.

The numerical breadth of who makes up the middle class is extremely
wide, as I have already pointed out.  Check out the Wikipedia website
on American middle class.  Or if Wikipedia is too mundane, find a better
one on your own, or try
http://www.pbs.org/now/politics/middleclassoverview.html  a NOW PBS
program report that aired in June 2004 that discusses a survey of the
American people themselves which showed a contradiction to the
figures given by the Census Bureau.  The income statistics probably are
very little different six years later now in 2011.  The people in a
statistical report from the National Opinion Research Center (NORC), in
collaboration with the University of Chicago, define themselves as
“working class” or “middle class,” and includes:
•50% of those families who earn between $20,000 - $40,000 annually
•38% of those families who earn between $40,000 - $60,000 annually
•16.8% of those families who earn over $110,000 annually
If these numbers are in fact representative, and I question the 104.8%
that they add up to, but supposing there is some statistical device that
allows for overlapping because of the range on which the data is based,
the report would be reflective, but regardless, it is apparent that the
middle class is the largest segment of the economic strata in the United
States.  Curiously this report does not give a percentage of the poor
class (which at that time was 12.5%).  It would seem the middle class
folks are the ones that would need to be convinced to make any
significant changes and the poor class would be the by-product
recipient of benefits were any to be the trajectory for the middle class. 
I fail to see your point with respect to who is calling the shots.  The
middle class are part of the problem according to your critical
assessment.  But you are speaking about a democracy, or egalitarian
government.  Which is decided by the majority and the majority is the
middle class.  The elite super rich may have influence, but it is the
middle class majority that has the vote.  If any factor is tyrannical it
would have to be found within the middle class.  They are the ones that
have to be made vividly aware of the cleptocracy that defines the top
16.8% who gives lopsided support to the corportocracy, or corporate
America, that then engenders the lopsided wealth that is distributed
back to the 16.8% not the 88% middle class.  So what are seen as
promises by the Declaration of Independence, is only a statement, it is
not a legal document, does not establish any law. Where we see law are
the promises of the Amendments of the Constitution that guarantees
what is declared in the DOI, and is the binding document on which all
our laws of equality and freedoms are based.

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By ThomasG, January 16, 2011 at 9:34 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous, January 16 at 2:24 am,

ThomasG said:  “Is American choice based upon American freedom and privatized capitalism that provides an objective choice of nonsense, based upon a false view of advantage to the majority American Population and real objective benefit only to a tiny American minority population legitimate choice? —- And, are American ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for all based upon legislated law and order of, for, and by that same minority population, that excludes the majority population, ideals of objective freedom or ideals of actual oppression and tyranny?????” (Questions separated from original ThomasG, January 16 at 1:29 am post)

The answer to the 1st question that I posed in my ThomasG, January 16 at 1:29 am post, without equivocation,  is “No” regarding legitimate choice and that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for all in the context of the 2nd question is oppression and tyranny; these questions were not difficult to understand or answer for the Founding Fathers of the United States as stated in the Declaration of Independence, but they were difficult for Britain to accept.  I suspect that the same is true in our time at the present, and that the answers will not be accepted without contention by the American Aristocracy, the American Middle Class, and the U.S. Government for which they both stand, one duopoly under God that excludes the pursuit of happiness with life, liberty, freedom and justice for all except the American Aristocracy and the American Middle Class.

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By Shenonymous, January 15, 2011 at 9:24 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG, although you have put the first sentence of your last
comment in the form of an interrogative, you have really made a
declaration.  So the whole thing is simply a platform for you to
give your opinion.  I have reread it several times and I must lament
the fact that it is too abstruse to try to puzzle out what exactly you
are saying.  So I have to ignore that first paragraph-long sentence. 

Going to the second paragraph, which I suspect is an abbreviated
recapitulation, however, where your cryptic style was a tad more
navigable, I tried to see what significance it is that you again gave
reiteration to the notion that choices of nonsense are not unheard
of based on an inaccurate perception of what might be thought to be
advantageous and that there are the unscrupulous self-servers who
make a profit on the delusion of the deluded!  Yes, that does seem to
be the case. 

As to the last sentence, I agree to your observation that if the American
Populace does indeed operate to a significant degree on a false view of
what is advantageous, then it would invariably be time to change once
that view has been intuited.  They would then have an objective view
for authentic advantage(s).  But also once again, yours is merely an
empyreal observation and seems academic, meaning it is nice to see
that dynamic but not worth repeating over and over and over. 
Inasmuch as you and I agree on much more than disagree, I see
no further mileage to be had from the discussion.

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By ThomasG, January 15, 2011 at 8:29 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

Is American choice based upon American freedom and privatized capitalism that provides an objective choice of nonsense, based upon a false view of advantage to the majority American Population and real objective benefit only to a tiny American minority population legitimate choice, and are American ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for all based upon legislated law and order of, for, and by that same minority population, that excludes the majority population, ideals of objective freedom or ideals of actual oppression and tyranny?????

It is human nature to make choices of nonsense based upon a false view of advantage and it is human nature for those at the top of both the societal and economic pyramid to take advantage of the fact that it is human nature to make choices of nonsense based upon a false view of advantage.

It is time for a change for the American Populace, as a class and culture, from a false view of advantage to an objective view of advantage.

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By Foucauldian, January 14, 2011 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment

... definitive response ...

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By Foucauldian, January 14, 2011 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment

So Shenon, since you must skimmed through my piece by
now, could you respond on my thread?  (This one would
take you guys off track and I certainly don’t want to
budge in.)

BTW, I’m not looking for any definite response, just
your gut reaction, enough to get the dialogue going. 
Unfortunately, most of BC commentators (with few
exceptions) appear intimidated either by the subject
matter or abstract handling.  And I do value your
input.

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By ThomasG, January 13, 2011 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, January 13 at 6:44 pm,

I advocate representing what is within the frame of class and culture as it has objectively existed from time immemorial, and can be historically verified, rather than an ideal of an ideology, an idea existent in the mind, existent only in agreement, or belief.

Class and culture exists objectively in the United States at the present time in the same manner as class and culture has previously existed in Britain, Europe, and all other parts of the world.  Class and Culture, like anything else, can be parsed and subdivided but parsing and subdividing will not negate its objective unity.  For example, the human body can be parsed and subdivided into various components such as skin, bones, individual organs, cells, and etcetera, but the parsing and subdivision will not negate the objective unity of the body and the same process applied to class and culture is of the same causal effect and will not negate the objective reality of a unity of class and culture that is tacitly implied and admitted by the institutionalization of the American Middle Class as an icon.

When I talk of class, I talk of class and culture as a unity, and the unified nature of the American Aristocracy through both class and culture that passes benefit through class and culture from generation to generation, and of the same process applied to the American Middle Class; that same standard must be applied to the American Populace and represented in legislated law and order in the same way as with the American Aristocracy and American Middle Class. 

With regard to the objective nature of class and culture apart from ideology, agreement and belief are not requisite to its existence to the extent that traditional class and culture exists as a part of causal reality; if a rock is dropped from a high place it will fall downward irregardless of agreement or belief and class and culture as it has existed in the past also exists in the present and will continue to exist in the future.

What I am saying is that it is time in the United States to deal with class and culture as a causal reality that has, does, and will continue to exist as a causal reality, apart from the propaganda of American ideology that disadvantages 70% of the population of the United States by denying that 70% of the population, the American Populace, participation in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order that represents the best interests of that 70% majority common population, the American Populace.

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By Shenonymous, January 13, 2011 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

Good Morning ThomasG!  I see you well understand that democracy
cannot exist for an individual! The notion that it is antithetical to any
middle class, American or otherwise, cannot be true because that is
the only strata, the largest of a society, in which democracy could
work as it is supposed to. Using the element of time as when you
say “it is time” for a particular change to happen, perhaps you do
not recognize, is really a hollow command and is rhetorical since we
both know “it takes time” for change to take place, even if it is abrupt.

You also know I do not disagree that the public needs to awaken to the
conditions to which they have acquiesced for some reason or another
(which I claim are too complex that makes change next to impossible).
Such acquiescence is expedient, and I think you and I agree on that as
well. But expedience can appear to be, in the words of Aristotle,
efficient and people fall to Occam’s Razor, taking the easiest road to
Navigate Life. It could be as Hayek writes, a road to serfdom, but that is
how humanity has traveled over the millennia. Those such as yourself,
and I in my own inimitable way, including Foucauldian, as I believe it is
his agenda as well, who cognize social inequities and, hopefully, can
give articulate voice to the ramifications of letting things reside as they
are, do what we can to effect change.  If we disagree as to exactly what
form that change ought to take, I think that is quite all right, since a
dialogue is necessary working to eliminate negative effects that would
prohibit human survival. Human survival has no favorites except those
who are able to shun the negative conditions. Those who are successful
survive by combining with others: Not always with those who survived
in a healthy condition, as accident plays a large part in evolution; but
there will be those who do survive combine and procreate healthier
members. I don’t mean this in the physically evolutionary theater, but in
the drama of social thinking and what in the long run, if there is to be a
long run, will tend to help the entire species survive not simply
members located within the semi-closed systems of nations or states.

As previously expressed, it is the chronic competition of individual and
herd. As you progress through your post it would seem there is a
disconnect between the American Middle Class which is the largest
segment of American society and those who you seem to think are the
“wards” of the 1% wealthy (hardly aristocratic) and the anywhere from
25% to 66% middle class (as noted in the Wikipedia article on American
Middle Class). Let’s see that leaves, given math is universally absolute,
subtracting 26% to 67% from the 100% of all Americans, a value of 74%
to 33%, a very broad range of who would belong to the wards of the
other two classes. So, at 74% it would be significant, at 33% it would a
whole lot less significant, on who runs the government.

On the other hand, some believe American society is both sociologically
and economically so splintered that sharp class distinctions cannot be
made in reality, only hypothetically. The typical three-class model or
elite, middle class, and poor seems to have been eclipsed by many
more and complex descriptions in the latest sociological studies. I
believe this latter best illustrates the situation in the United States and
is the reason why politico-economic movements are difficult to get
started or sustained if one does get a foothold. The Greens have run
into this state of affairs as well as the horrid Tea Partiers, and the
conservative Constitution Party (which I never really ever heard of, duh!),
and Libertarians hardly have traction. Not counting the Democrats and
Republicans, there are and have been 52 other political parties in this
country.

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By Shenonymous, January 13, 2011 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment

2. A study reported in the 1996 NYT is most telling about the
‘class’ structure in the United States and I recommend that you visit
it. http://tinyurl.com/c73pp According to this table, the upper class
is considered the upper 20% and make from $100,000 to over a
million dollars a year. Also according to the data, this class structure
is based on four criteria: occupation, education, income (which I
assume means earning power) and wealth. These factors determine a
person’s position in this method of class distinction.

Assuming that is the kind of people they are, the average American
always pursues freedom of the kind the early Americans did and as
specified in the Amendments of the US Constitution.

Your comments, ThomasG, about the terms used for 235 years to
disadvantage the citizenry escapes my understanding.  I quite
understand the necessity of using like terms to evaluate particular
analyses, and I do understand the necessity of keeping operational
signs consistent in math problems but how you have intertwined your
logic as applied to the problem of benefits to either individual or the
society I’m afraid I was lost, I think.  Maybe I wasn’t.

While there may be class divisions such as poor or low, middle, or rich
and elite, class mobility is pretty much unlimited in the United States. 
A rich man can plummet to the bottom of the economic barrel or a
poor man can rise to earn the highest income and if any social bias or
bigotry exists it is not institutionalized.

In trying to see a classless society at work in the world, historically
speaking, and in the attempt to fall into a Marxist classless structure,
none that may have started out as classless remained classless. New
Zealand is a case in point. And where classlessness may define
economic status, race took its place in establishing social strata that
does affect economic levels as the M?ori and other Polynesians earning
less, having a lower standard of living and less education, and working
in lower status jobs than people of European descent.  Egalitarianism in
New Zealand is reported to be discouraging and denigrating ambition
and individual achievement, success is not a virtue.  Not one is to rise
above another and talent or extraordinary abilities are seen negatively. 
A classless society becomes what I call a pablum society with
homogenization, without variation as the norm. That kind of leveling I
believe that is antithetical to human nature and is a forced societal
arrangement, a coercion of a type.

Sweden is another case. According to Rudolf Meidner, while seen as
failed, it is fixable. In describing Sweden’s Model, Sweden is fanatical
about having full employment. As their history goes, they are also
passionate about equality. These two parameters conflict with other
aims of price stability (inflation), and efficiency.

Their universal welfare system has a cradle to grave structure and in the
80s its expenditures rose so high its state economy had to be financed
by Western Europe’s highest rate of taxes.

Classless society is not possible as vividly seen in Russian communism
where the classes of upper and lower did exist. As the youth were
dogmatically taught to protect the motherland, the politburo sat behind
high walls enjoying caviar. It is human nature that societies will remain
perpetually segregated in terms of race, gender…and hence, class. Ego
and ambition are ingrained handicaps for a classless society. We ought
not to forget Orwell’s Animal Farm and as an allegory of the attempt at
social classlessness, what happened there?

Believing without question in egalitarianism tends to blind one to
serious problems such as denying the reality of differences of physical
and intellectual wherewithal between individuals and between groups of
people. As a result, little to nothing is done to alleviate stressed poverty
and racism that naturally forms quasi-classes.

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By ThomasG, January 13, 2011 at 11:21 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

The idea that an American Middle Class can exist as a “singular class and culture” in the absence of being in the “middle” between other classes and cultures in support of singular ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for all that is singular in nature in the absence of class and cultural standards of different advantage and purpose is a repulsive idea that masks the difference advantage and purpose of the class and culture on one side of the American Middle Class singularity, the class and culture of the American Aristocracy, and masks the deprivation, difference, advantage, and purpose of the class and culture on the remaining side of the American Middle Class singularity, the American Populace.

After 235 years, it is time for class and cultural change that acknowledges the reality of three separate and distinct classes and cultures in the United States, that the American Middle Class singularity of American Ideology is in the Middle of the two additional classes and cultures, the American Aristocracy and the American Populace, and that the American Aristocracy and the American Populace have separate and distinct differences of both advantage and purpose.

To provide meaningful life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for all in the United States as a nation, the making and enforcing of legislated law and order must legitimately represent the class and cultural standards of difference, advantage, and purpose of all three (3) classes and cultures that exist in the United States as a nation that is inclusive of the classes and cultures that the American Middle Class and Culture is in the middle of, the American Aristocracy and the American Populace as classes and cultures that are a part of American Society that must be acknowledged and incorporated into American Ideology of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for all that is objectively represented in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order, rather than continue hollow representation as tropes, as has been the case for the past 235 years in the United States.

Choice of the American Ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for all based upon the false ideal of an American Middle Class and Cultural singularity that denies the existence of the American Aristocracy and the American Populace is, in the words of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, “... mistaken from a false view of our advantage.  We sometimes choose absolute nonsense because in our foolishness we see in that nonsense the easiest means of attaining a supposed advantage.”

It is time for the American Populace to awaken from the false view of its advantage that denies the American Populace participation in the legislation of law and order that is in the best interest of the American Populace, and consigns the American Populace to the status of children subject to and represented by the American Aristocracy and the American Middle Class in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order that has for the last 235 years represented the American Populace as individual children without sovereign class and cultural identity, without class and cultural equality of class and cultural rights equivalent to the American Aristocracy and American Middle Class.

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By ThomasG, January 12, 2011 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, January 12, 3:52pm,

Page 1 of 2

Shenonymous said: “therefore nothing can be done until all the ambiguity is displaced by specificity, by responsive politicians who would legislate on behalf of its constituents. This has to happen from the bottom up, from a local to national trajectory.” —Shenonymous, January 12 at 3:50 pm Truthdig Forum ‘Troy Jollimore on Markets and Morality’

Shenonymous said:   “Now I love reading Thoreau and I love his overarching view of humanity. But his aphorism about government is equivocated by his use of the comparative terms, “most,” and “usually,” and “sometimes.”  He did not use absolute terms such as all, always and all the time.  One size does not fit all.  I agree that if the class and cultural interests of the American Populace are to be served, and here is where you and I depart in agreement, I do not believe withdrawing from the Government will serve their best interests.  I believe they can force the government structure already in place to be responsive through the power of their vote. What is needed more than a physical rebellion, is a rebellion through education. A mandate realized through education is what will do it not only best but the fastest and most indelible, permanently.  For once one knows something, they cannot no know it.” —Shenonymous, January 12 at 3:50 pm Truthdig Forum ‘Troy Jollimore on Markets and Morality’

ThomasG’s Answer:    To be specific without ambiguity, representation of the entire society must be in like terms, and when unlike terms have been used for 235 years to disadvantage the American Populace, one must understand that this was not done by accident, that it was done with purpose to achieve class and cultural advantage.

The problem in the frame that you present is one where unlike terms are used in a mix to metaphorically represent a math problem; if one applied the unlike terms you suggest to multiplication and addition, you should readily understand that a solution could not be achieved that would be either a satisfactory sum or quotient unless like terms are used, and if one applied unlike terms of individual benefit and class and cultural benefit in a democratic equation, the equation will not in the same way yield a result favorable to individual democratic benefit.

It is therefore necessary to employ like terms for all classes and cultures involved, the American Aristocracy, the American Middle Class, and the American Populace.

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By ThomasG, January 12, 2011 at 4:32 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, January 12, 3:52pm,

Page 2 of 2

If individual democracy is to be employed, the very idea of an American Middle Class singularity is antithetic to the idea of individual benefit and representation of that individual benefit in like terms for the entire society, and if class and cultural democracy is to be employed, the very idea of an American Middle Class singularity as a class and culture in the absence of classes and cultures of the American Aristocracy and American Populace is a denial of like terms of political representation in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order that makes the “scheme of class and cultural democracy” an abhorrent joke that denies class and cultural representation to the American Populace by way of individual representation as an unlike term, rather than by class and cultural representation as a like term.

The terms of representation in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order must be like terms for all in the society; if all in the society are represented as individuals in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order that representation is an example of like terms being used in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order; and, if all of the society is represented by separate and equal classes and cultures, i.e., American Aristocracy, American Middle Class, and American Populace, that representation is an example of like terms being used in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order.

A solution to political equality in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order, a legitimate solution, cannot be found without first acknowledging that like terms of political representation and political equality will have to be used, otherwise the dialogue is flawed and false; this is the condition in the United States at the present time because under the American “sheme of democracy” the American Aristocracy are class and culturally represented, the American Middle Class are class and culturally represented and the American Populace are represented individually as wards of the American Aristocracy and the American Middle Class.

With regard to rebellion, the American Populace pursuing its own best interest if the U.S. Government will not enable that pursuit is not rebellion, it is the pursuit of freedom, the same freedom that the American Colonists stood up for and defended against Britain.

With regard to Henry David Thoreau and expedient means, I agree with what you said that “one size does not fit all” with regard to expedient means in relation to both established rights and those seeking equal rights, so that the form of expedience used in support of established rights must of necessity have to be countered with equivalent expedient means by those seeking equal rights; this is the context in which I have used the quote in my ThomasG, January 11 at 8:32 pm post on this thread regarding Henry David Thoreau:

“What I am saying is what Henry David Thoreau said with regard to government, “Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient.” And, if the class and cultural interests of the American Populace are to be served that the American Populace will also have to be expedient in the same way as government and that between the two differing expedients, an accomodation will have to be reached that serves a duality of best interest.”

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By Shenonymous, January 12, 2011 at 10:52 am Link to this comment

ThomasG, you always cause me to think hard.  And unfortunately
I have not the skill to be succinct in explication of my conclusions. 
I have a hard time distilling thoughts to clever and concise
apothegmatics.  Hence my need to break comments into multiple
posts.  Ahs do apologize, but a gal’s gotta do what a gal’s gotta do. 
Please tolerate my disfluency to be concise.

I am cognizant, ThomasG, of the direction you say a political war is
likely to be declared if more advantageous and responsive
representation is not forthwithcoming:  You say it will be action from
the government towards the people.  You put the US government in the
same relation to the people as the Crown was to the colonists.  I can
only think you mean that metaphorically since it is not imaginable or
plausible, nor logical.  But you are right if the people want change, they
will have to stand up for their best interests. Since culture means the
unique practices of a society, those concerns and values a society
generates, all their interests are cultural.  They will have to have the
conviction of their laws and beliefs.

The problem as I see it with our discussion is that universal concepts
used are prohibiting progress.  Universal concepts have a function to
provide a touchstone for testing reality, but that is their limitation.  It is
only when a specific instance is discussed that it may be measured
against what would be the paradigm or universal kernel of the idea that
holds for all instances.  When you talk about the American Populace, it
is one of those collective nouns for which assigning a behavior gets
blurred, is so indistinct that action is not in reality provoked.  To talk
about “their” own best interests is conceptually abstract so that what a
best interest or two or three gets lost in the abstraction and prevents
any action because they are subsumed under the absolution of all sorts
of “best” interests.  One cannot grab a moving target, nor an idea that
has no limits because it fails as an idea.

Power only has meaning within the scope of one and another, it has no
significance for an individual alone and unto him/herself, forgetting of
course the “power” of the body to negotiate the world as it can
according to its healthy condition.  Society comes first chronologically,
then culture emerges from the practices of that society. 

I too am interested in equal class and cultural rights for the American
Populace, but I will not break their application up into a class structure
for I see America as a whole, the 1%, 70%, and 20% all combined into
100%.  Rights in a democracy are rights for all.  It is inherent in the
meaning of democracy.  So are the concepts of life, liberty, and pursuit
of happiness, or as in the French declaration, property.  All these terms
are vague and indistinct universals or abstractions.  We have to talk
specifically about life, and what that means for a human being, quality
of life for one life that can be applied equally over all lives.  Liberty and
what that means to one and for all and if those polarities are
compatible, and if not where the compromise is that liberty retains
meaning for either one or the herd.  And whatever could happiness
mean for all?  It has no meaning except as it applies for each individual
which may or may not be compatible with each other.  How are those
differences negotiated in a rational respectful way.  We have to get to
specifics.  Nothing can be left ambiguous since ambiguity merely puts
ideas far away from reality.

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By Shenonymous, January 12, 2011 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

2.  I know of the plight of the Helots, I’ve read Spartan history
and their quasi-slave status in relationship with freemen and their
tenuous relationship with the Spartan state. The helots did have a
protocol towards freedom and that was via military service. This is,
in an ironic way, the means many young Americans, mainly men
because the military appeals more to the male of our species, gain
their freedom from the fetters of ignorance, who serve then get
subsidy for education as a benefit. One could call that a form of
winning one’s freedom from a meager life that is almost always the
promise to one uneducated. While for American boys, the contract for
military service is honored in the way of the GI Bills, though maybe not
as well taken care by the same promises of medical care as they should
be when their service winds them up injured, diseased, or otherwise ill. 
But that is an issue aside from the one about breaking the shackles of
ignorance.

The helots were not always so fortunate in that the state, Sparta, took
opportunity to pay their debt to the slave class by murdering them thus
wiping out their debt once and for all. The American government will
not engage in such means to alleviate their debt to the workers of the
nation, unless…unless the American government is taken over by the
republican conservatives who would do nothing to repay their debt of
national protection, national literacy and numeracy, national
foodstocking, national labor that provides for their personal wealth,
which essentially will cause the actual death of many underprivileged
Americans. On the other hand, if the government is in the hands of the
Democrats, those, that is, who are truly liberal minded, who think
about the vagaries of the ordinary citizen, who take the initiative to
equalize the resources in a fair and impartial, just way, then a decent
life has promise. I do not think every cent, economically speaking,
needs to be redistributed as communism would for reasons that it
depresses initiative, creativity, and personal will to achieve, which I
think is antithetical to human nature, and which I believe is the human
imperative to advance their humanity via natural evolution.

I think your metaphor of rebellion by the US government against its
population is gratuitous rhetoric as an expedience. The use of war as a
metaphor is also baseless and functions only as an illustration of the
emotional frustration that a government could only figuratively be
described as having when it does not reflect the wishes of the citizenry. 
It does not reflect those wishes because the wrong politicians have
been selected to be representatives. To speak that way is speaking too
holistically, too wholly, too entirely, too vaguely, too ambiguously,
therefore nothing can be done until all the ambiguity is displaced by
specificity, by responsive politicians who would legislate on behalf of its
constituents. This has to happen from the bottom up, from a local to
national trajectory.

Now I love reading Thoreau and I love his overarching view of
humanity. But his aphorism about government is equivocated by his use
of the comparative terms, “most,” and “usually,” and “sometimes.”  He
did not use absolute terms such as all, always and all the time.  One
size does not fit all.  I agree that if the class and cultural interests of
the American Populace are to be served, and here is where you and I
depart in agreement, I do not believe withdrawing from the Government
will serve their best interests.  I believe they can force the government
structure already in place to be responsive through the power of their
vote. What is needed more than a physical rebellion, is a rebellion
through education. A mandate realized through education is what will
do it not only best but the fastest and most indelible, permanently.  For
once one knows something, they cannot no know it.

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By ThomasG, January 11, 2011 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, January 11 at 2:33 am,

Shenonymous said:  “I will be clear and say that I do not think you are suggesting an armed insurrection.  It is just that is how the disagreement with the Brits turned out and you were making comparisons.”  —Shenonymous, January 11 at 2:33 am Truthdig ‘TroyJollimore on Markets and Morality’

Shenonymous said:  “But even then, I find it hard to believe there would be sufficient response to create a rebellion let alone a revolution.” —Shenonymous, January 11 at 2:33 am Truthdig ‘TroyJollimore on Markets and Morality’

Shenonymous said: “I do not see any benefit for the American public to withdraw from the US Government and set up a separate government.” —Shenonymous, January 11 at 2:31 am Truthdig ‘TroyJollimore on Markets and Morality’

ThomasG’s Answer:  The American Colonists were not represented in legislated law and order of the British, the American Colonists withdrew from British legislated law and order in favor of representing their own best interests in their own legislated law and order, and the British declared war on the American Colonists— the American Colonists did not declare war on the British ; in a like manner the American Populace will have to stand up for and represent their own best class and cultural interests of class and cultural law and order, and as with the British, it will at that point be up to the U.S. Government to accept the American Populace as a class and culture representing their own best interest of class and cultural law and order, or to declare war on the American Populace, rather than to allow the American Populace to be served by their own class and cultural law and order.

Rebellion is a frame that casts the best interest of the American Populace in contention with the vested interests of the U.S. Government; I am not at all interested in contention.  I am interested in best class and cultural interests of the American Populace.

I am interested in equal class and cultural rights for the American Populace alongside the American Aristocracy and the American Middle Class as classes and cultures, and both freedom and equality to make, enforce, and legislate class and cultural law and order alongside the American Aristocracy and the American Middle Class to provide life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with freedom and justice for all of the American Populace according to the standard of the American Populace as a free and equal class and culture.

I can understand how it would be in the vested interest of the U.S. Government to frame the best class and cultural interests of the American Populace with regard to legislated class and cultural law and order as “rebellion” because to do so would maintain the status quo of vested interests in the same way as the Spartans dealt with the Helots.

What I say, however, is that if there is to be “rebellion”, it will be “rebellion” by the U.S. Government against providing equal class and cultural rights to the American Populace by declaring war on the American Populace as the American Populace withdraws to serve their own best class and cultural interests, that the U.S. Government does not serve, and will not allow to be represented and served.

What I am saying is what Henry David Thoreau said with regard to government, “Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient.”  And, if the class and cultural interests of the American Populace are to be served that the American Populace will also have to be expedient in the same way as government and that between the two differing expedients, an accomodation will have to be reached that serves a duality of best interest

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By Shenonymous, January 10, 2011 at 9:36 pm Link to this comment

Hello Foucauldian.  I have always enjoyed debating with ThomasG,
that is after we got past the horrendous verbal violence of the earlier
encounters, which I’ve already said was laudable of both of us as we
both retreated into civility.  I rather much appreciate the notion of
argumentation without rancor.  I have not seen any sign of that in the
last two forums where we (he and I) have met, and it gives me much
encouragement that intelligent discourse by those with differing points
of view is possible.

I will read your website posts this evening, both Part I and Part II as I had
not seen the first one before.

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By Shenonymous, January 10, 2011 at 9:33 pm Link to this comment

1. ThomasG – I will be clear and say that I do not think you are
suggesting an armed insurrection.  It is just that is how the
disagreement with the Brits turned out and you were making
comparisons. 

I partly agree with you in your observations in your last post, and
logically, then, there are parts with which I do not.  If you are not
against intellectual problem solving, I am very willing to continue to
work our way through our differences.  It might take some time, but
time ought not to be a factor where understanding and accord could
be the consequence.  I agree with your observation that if the American
Populace (so described in deference to you) realizes it is not being
represented, that as a class,… and culture, in the creation of
legislation, there will be a resulting action.  I don’t agree that action
will accumulate a significant number of the majority of Americans to
‘withdraw’ from the democratic and capitalistic system. The magnitude
that would be required I suggest just is not there proportional to the
size, education, and multiculturalism of the population.  It would seem
that through some effective propaganda, many more would become
cognizant of how things stand for themselves and those they care
about because of the comatose behavior of the body politic and so
become disaffected enough to become involved in redirecting the
resources towards the general public’s own benefit. 

But even then, I find it hard to believe there would be sufficient
response to create a rebellion let alone a revolution.  The action I
envision is the power of the vote. And because of that Constitutionally
guaranteed power, I believe, contrary to your and perhaps others’
opinion, that Americans are represented both individually and as an
entire class of the several economic strata.  I also think that modifica-
tion of the economic basis of the present is possible, and that more
socialized capitalism can be accomplished with persuasive arguments
in its favor presented to the general public.

However, I am conscious of the fact that the representation that exists
may not be the most satisfactory nor manifests in the best outcomes. 
The relative merits of each piece of legislation would have to be
evaluated, and this is what I think we do to the degree that we can
given the time each of us has to put into the evaluation. We and the
media that is.  TD is one of the media.  There are hundreds of pieces
of legislation that occurs on a weekly basis in all of the levels of
government that affect we the people.  Nevertheless, for government
to be more successful and responsive to the people is a matter of
selecting politicians who reflects the wishes of the people from the local
level all the way up to the highest federal level.  I believe the people, in
the most abstract sense of the word ‘people,’ have not yet realized the
power they have through their vote.  It is for sure they vote as elections
prove it.  But I think many do not understand the gravity of being able
to vote.  Therefore, although they vote, I don’t think they understand
how they actually own their vote and the seriousness of the selections
they make.  Politician rhetoric intentionally confuses the issues.  And
the people are gullible and easily swayed.  Perhaps I’m wrong.  I also
believe as the new decade unfolds, more and more of the voting public
will, through the advantage of the electronic age, become more savvy as
to who will act politically on their behalf.

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By Shenonymous, January 10, 2011 at 9:31 pm Link to this comment

2.  I think we agree that the US Government must equalize the
resources both physical in terms of the general wealth including
that of the upper 1% and other material such as food, and to a
certain degree of decency, shelter, as well as legislated law and
order that would protect all individuals in the ways they would
need to be safeguarded.  I won’t list them, as they are well known.

It is not true that in the 235 years since the Constitution was ratified
that the American people have not been represented.  I just see that
for stretches of time they have not been represented very well.  There
have been golden years, years of flourishing, but there has been
doldrums.  To use our most current word, it has been cyclic.  I do not
see the Government as not enabling class and cultural participation as
that would be an assigned function of the majority of the American
people to find and elect those politicians who would legislate to make
that enabling happen.  The government is both politicians who legislate
and the people.  All citizens are part of the government.

I do not see any benefit for the American public to withdraw from the
US Government and set up a separate government.  It is not tenable
from the standpoint that setting up a government is an unimaginably
huge endeavor for the numbers and variety of people of which you are
talking about with respect to this country.  There are too many issues
that would need to be addressed such as security both personal and
nationally, trade and finances, health care, education, transportation,
and so forth.  I’m sure you get my meaning. 

I also think it is the nature of collectives of people to evolve in similar
ways and that whatever problems seen now will recur unless the seeds
of the problems seen by intellectuals who can educate the population
are coached to sprout correctly.  Then there is the problem of finding
a strong leader who is able to clearly articulate the best actions the
people ought to take.

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By Foucauldian, January 10, 2011 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment

I hope you’re enjoying yourself, Shenon.  In any
case, let me refer you once more to an article linked
in my January 6, 11:19, post.

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By ThomasG, January 9, 2011 at 11:44 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, January 10 at 3:23 am,

Shenonymous said:  “But I do not see that the American Populace will resolve the problems they see in the same way against their government as did the colonists against the Crown. I do believe that is the crux of our argument.  Taking up arms is not going to happen whether you want to berate my opinion about that or not.  And I think you are mixing your metaphors in a somewhat tangled way.” —Shenonymous, January 10 at 3:23 am Truthdig ‘Troy Jollimore on Markets and Morality’

ThomasG’s Answer:  I have not said or even suggested that the American Populace will resolve the problems they see against the U.S. Government as the Colonists did against the Crown.  Also, I have not said or even suggested that the American Populace should take up arms against the U.S. Government.

What I have said is that the American Populace is not represented as a class and culture in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order and that if the grievances of the American Populace are not redressed that those grievances will eventually result in the American Populace withdrawing from a system that excludes them from participation in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order and that the American Populace will start to engage in making and enforcing their own legislated law and order in the same way as the American Colonists did, and that it would be most likely that if the American Populace did so, that the U.S. Government would declare war on the American Populace, as did Britain on the American Colonists.

It would make more sense to me for the U.S Government to enable class and cultural political representation for the American Populace with regard to the making and enforcing of legislated law and order, so that the American Populace would have equal rights as a class and culture with regard to the making and enforcing of legislated law and order along with the American Aristocracy and the American Middle Class, as classes and cultures.

However, after 235 years of U.S. Governance that has excluded the American Populace from participation in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order that is representative of the interests of the American Populace, I do not see the U.S. Government enabling class and cultural participation of the American Populace in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order to be a realistic prospect.

The solution for the American Populace, however, is not to attack the U.S. Government.  The solution for the American Populace is to withdraw and represent its own interests as a class and culture to the extent that the U.S. Government refuses to do so and is feasible for the American Populace to do so; when this eventually happens, it will be up to the U.S. Government to decide what course the U.S. Government will take; i.e., to declare war on the American Populace or allow class and cultural participation of the American Populace in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order that is in the best interest of the American Populace and that provides class and cultural equality of rights with the American Aristocracy and the American Middle Class.

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By Shenonymous, January 9, 2011 at 10:23 pm Link to this comment

I read the dismal though brilliant Notes from Underground decades
ago.  I hope you are not a retired civil servant embittered by life or
one of those wretched seniors who has let his intellectualism jade
his view of society.  It is undoubtedly true that some people do
things without a purpose or nonsensical.  The “We” named in your
quote from FD, is itself not absolute.  I preferred The Brothers K and
the different versions of truth that he so skillfully provided. 

ThomasG – you are quite forgiven.  I do indeed agree with the
justification of the Founding Fathers (except I do rue the fact that there
were no Founding Mothers) for declaring their independence and for
writing a most wonderful document making such a declaration. 
Powerful to say the least and unifying.  And I also agree that there was
and still is wisdom shown in their written declaration.  I do not expect
you or anyone else to accept my beliefs and opinions.  It is my hope
and wish that you and everyone else would think for yourself.  I made
statements that I did not see your putative causal connection between
the Declaration of Independence and your prognosis of current political
dynamics.

In your most recent explanation of what you think, I would still say
that the grievance in 1776 and 2011 are not reflective images.  While
the social bile may have risen then as it does now, it was for different
reasons. And the collective psychology of the general population has
changed. I gave the historical basis for the declaration of independence
in 1776, taxes and British confiscation of their armaments and
incarceration of a few “patriots.”  The people of today do have
representation, but most, though not all, of the politicians are not
legislating as many of the population would like and I include myself in
that group of the discontented.  And if you can show there is precisely
the same grievance being redressed now as then, I would be more than
willing to accept your analysis as valid. 

However, there is a progression in your evaluation in seeing, ”that the
American Populace is in the process of awakening and as the American
Populace awakens, the American Populace will reject the choice of
absolute nonsense that in their foolishness they saw as the easiest
means for attaining a supposed advantage…”
  But I do not see that
the American Populace will resolve the problems they see in the same
way against their government as did the colonists against the Crown. I
do believe that is the crux of our argument.  Taking up arms is not
going to happen whether you want to berate my opinion about that or
not.  And I think you are mixing your metaphors in a somewhat tangled
way.

I agree that the reasons the colonists took to construct a preferable life
were valid and I agree that the current general American population
also have valid reasons to be discontented, I do not agree, however,
that those valid reasons are the same.

Due to the advent of vast electronic information availability and speed
of delivery, the general public, indeed, is becoming acutely aware of the
actions of their government as directly affecting their lives and in
undesirable ways and seeing that their government is composed of
many individuals who perform those actions.  I also believe that as a
society their remedy will be rational and to use the voting booth to
remove errant politicians who do not do as they want thus creating a
more responsive government.

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By ThomasG, January 9, 2011 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, January 9 at 7:00 pm,

I have not made a case for the awareness and understanding of the General American Population of the United States as you indicate.  My case for the awareness of the American Populace is the same as made by Fyodor Dostoyevsky in “Notes From The Underground”, as follows:

“Our choice is usually mistaken from a false view of our advantage.  We sometimes choose absolute nonsense because in our foolishness we see in that nonsense the easiest means of attaining a supposed advantage. ——”

My case for the American Populace is that the American Populace is in the process of awakening and as the American Populace awakens, the American Populace will reject the choice of absolute nonsense that in their foolishness they saw as the easiest means for attaining a supposed advantage in the same way that British Colonists did in the American Colonies.

The same analysis made by the Founding Fathers as justification for the Declaration of Independence is the analysis that I am making for the American Populace. 
Are you saying that you do not accept the analysis made by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence?

I am making the analysis that “legislation without representation” was a causal ingredient of the Declaration of Independence.  Also, that “legislation without representation” is a causal ingredient that is denying participation to the American Populace in a way that has a degree of equivalence to the complaints made by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence.

And, I am also making the analysis that the grievances addressed by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence is building toward a climax in the United States at the present time in 21st Century America and have a degree of equivalence to the grievances of the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence.

If you disagree with the justification of the Founding Fathers for the Declaration of Independence, you will also disagree with my application of the Founding Fathers’ grievances in the Declaration of Independence as justification to redress the exclusion of the American Populace from the making and enforcing of legislated law and order in the United States at the present time in the 21st Century and that is your choice.

My analysis is that the justification of the Founding Fathers was valid for the Declaration of Independence and that the justification of the Founding Fathers is valid today in the 21st Century to redress the same grievance for the American Populace.

My case for the American Populace is the same case made by the Founding Fathers of the United States in the Declaration of Independence, and my case is made for the same reasons.  If you disagree, that is your choice.

However, regardless of your choice, the analysis of the Founding Fathers for the reasons stated in the Declaration of Independence are just as valid today for the same reasons as they were when made by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence.

You will forgive me if I accept the wisdom of the Founding Fathers of the United States as being superior to your beliefs and opinions.

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By Shenonymous, January 9, 2011 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

It is not that I cannot perceive a possible cultural cycle in economic
cycles, as I have already indicated my understanding however shallow
it might be.  I just do not think your analysis presents your case
about the relationship of the American colonists of 1776 and today’s
situation of the awareness of the general American population.

Thomas asks – ”How is it that you propose that what you suggest is
achieved, if not by awareness and understanding of “past cultural
cycles”?

It is achieved by being conscious of the present and a look to the future
having taken a look also at the past.  However, history only reports it
does not instruct.  For some reason, humans have a mental block to
learn and act from events, which partly forms my reason to disagree
with your assessment of related historical events.  Granted there are a
few who do have insight into the gravity of self-serving human action
and can see dynamics carried forward into consequences of present and
future deeds. 

Patterns of perception are based on the ability to make comparisons
not on the cyclic nature of culture.  Cycles mean recurrent or repetitive
events with intervals between occurrences and the implication is that
there is no significant change, but rather the actual experience is the
ability of humans to make comparisons by observing similarities and
differences and to intuit the possible effect of options.  To see cycles,
many subsidiary comparisons are made.  Cycles can occur and do, as
the sun is seen to rise every morning for all tense and purposes south
of the arctic and seen to set as well. 

While cycles can be detected by making comparisons or through a
decisional process, cognizing patterns do not necessarily end up as a
perception of cycles.  There has to be certain repeated ingredients and
the repetition needs to be of a certain construction as well since
particular elements may show up in several unrelated events.

I refer you to http://tinyurl.com/2eeya9d  The Power of Comparison:
How It Affects Decision Making - Colleen Roller, January 5, 2011,
also Christopher K. Hsee, “Attribute Evaluability: Its Implications for
Joint-Separate Evaluation Reversals and Beyond.” Organizational
Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Vol. 67, No. 3, 1996.  A free
PDF download by the way.

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By ThomasG, January 9, 2011 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, January 9 at 1:35 pm,

Shenonymous said:  “I’m not so sure that is the “very” purpose of culture.  As I see it culture is a combination of the social collective’s efforts to solve encountered adversity.  The purpose of culture is to serve and fulfill biological, psychological, and social needs (nutrition, shelter, security from predation, health, reproduction, love and affection, self-expression and a sense of belonging).  It is all those things rolled up into a whole purpose.” —Shenonymous, January 9 at 1:35 pm

ThomasG’s Answer:  How is it that you propose that what you suggest is achieved, if not by awareness and understanding of “past cultural cycles”?

Shenonymous said:  “The cultural cyclical dissatisfaction by the American Populace you claim is symbolized by the Declaration of Independence I do not see as “cyclical” specific to the American Populace since it was the brand new effort of a new populace collective.  And I already gave an indication of the history of such declarations, which can hardly be said to be cyclical.  You have not made the case for that action in connection with the present.  While I do see the regular bitter complaint of the conservatives, I do not see a wave of discontented liberals about taxes or any legislation that would nullify the 2nd Amendment.  And I do see a regular reappearance of a chronic Republican move to modify the 1st but there are enough Democratic legislators that will block that every time.  There is an repeated attempt to whittle away in one administration but gets patched back in the next.  It is a pendulum action.” —Shenonymous, January 9 at 1:35 pm

ThomasG’s Answer:  The “case” as you say is one of “patterns of perception” based upon the “cyclical nature of culture”, the “cultural cycle”.

If you cannot perceive a “cultural cycle” in something as obvious as the Economic Cycle, I cannot impart that understanding, or understanding of other “cultural cycles” to you in the absence of your ability to perceive “patterns of perception”.

Understanding is knowledge to apply the beginning, the end, and all points in between of that same said knowledge, and the “cultural cycle” gives recurring patterns of perception and knowledge upon which to form valid conclusions; if you can understand this concept and apply it first as a method, and second as a means of understanding the “cultural cycle”, the concept will become clear to you. 

However, it is up to you to have the desire and drive to understand, it is not up to me or anyone else to do it for you.

If you have questions about “patterns of perception”, I would refer you to “Economics” by Paul A. Samuelson.

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By Shenonymous, January 9, 2011 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

Thomas G: “… that the very purpose of culture is the benefit of
awareness of cultural cycles.”

She:  I’m not so sure that is the “very” purpose of culture.  As I see
it culture is a combination of the social collective’s efforts to solve
encountered adversity.  The purpose of culture is to serve and fulfill
biological, psychological, and social needs (nutrition, shelter, security
from predation, health, reproduction, love and affection, self-
expression and a sense of belonging).  It is all those things rolled
up into a whole purpose.

Not being intellectually ignorant of the ‘cyclical nature of culture,’
nevertheless I am not wholly familiar with economics and have only a
vague understanding of what the term financialization describes.  In
short, I think it means a system that tries to distill all items of tangible
or intangible value into some sort of financial instrument, that is,
unique tradable property of capital such as cash, a mortgage, bonds,
etc., would fit into that detail and could be either equity based (showing
ownership) or debt based (loans on which a balance is indicated to be
paid back).  How this concept fits into what you are talking about I am
for all tense and purposes, not informed enough, so I would not know
if what you say has any validity or not.

The cultural cyclical dissatisfaction by the American Populace you claim
is symbolized by the Declaration of Independence I do not see as
“cyclical” specific to the American Populace since it was the brand new
effort of a new populace collective.  And I already gave an indication of
the history of such declarations, which can hardly be said to be cyclical. 
You have not made the case for that action in connection with the
present.  While I do see the regular bitter complaint of the
conservatives, I do not see a wave of discontented liberals about taxes
or any legislation that would nullify the 2nd Amendment.  And I do see
a regular reappearance of a chronic Republican move to modify the 1st
but there are enough Democratic legislators that will block that every
time.  There is an repeated attempt to whittle away in one
administration but gets patched back in the next.  It is a pendulum
action.

I also understand that those who possess Bourdieu-defined Cultural
Capital, that is, non-financial assets (high cultural knowledge that
ultimately contributes back as financial and social advantage) that
would assist an individual, or group, to change their position in the
social rank beyond actual economic means, i.e., the benefit of which
you write.  Cultural capital is most ordinarily acquired as people grow
up in advantaged economic households which in turn places them on a
mid to high social ladder. I would however disagree that being in that
position that population is aware of their cultural revenue stream, nor
do those who live at a zero point of cultural capital cognize that it is
that deficiency that keeps them on the bottom of the tank.

There are reasons for economic cycles, otherwise known as fluctuating
business cycles.  Their unpredictability is what you seem to mean by
“irregularity.”  It seems that an acute view would say that market
equilibrium is irregular, but it is possible that over a very long time, a
more balanced condition will average out.

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By ThomasG, January 8, 2011 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous, January 8 at 7:44 am,

What I am saying is that the very purpose of culture is the benefit of awareness of cultural cycles.  An example that comes readily to mind is financialization and the pretense in the absence of awareness of cultural cycles that financialization is something new that could not have been foreseen; when demonstrations of financialization as irregular cultural cycles has occurred in 15th Century Spain and subsequently Holland, Britain, and recently here in the United States, and it is apparent to those who are intellectually aware of the cyclical nature of culture.

With regard to “legislation without representation”, I cited the Declaration of Independence being indicative of culturally cyclical dissatisfaction by the American Populace with “legislation without representation” as a cultural cycle that is irregularly repeating in the same manner as the events leading to the Declaration of Independence and for the same reasons.

The purpose and value of culture is the cyclical nature of culture and the benefit provided to those who possess Cultural Capital, in this sense the revenue stream of awareness from the cyclical nature of culture that allows those with Cultural Capital to be aware, while those who live with “culture at the zero point”  are only aware of limited personal experience.

BTW, The so called Economic Cycle is a good example of the irregular cyclical nature of culture that everyone ignores and pretends to be nonexistent; this is something that I would feel less like a waste of time is being imposed upon me by providing, if you are unaware of this particular cultural cycle.

[Previously posted as MarthaA by mistake.]

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By MarthaA, January 8, 2011 at 11:30 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous, January 8 at 7:44 am,

What I am saying is that the very purpose of culture is the benefit of awareness of cultural cycles.  An example that comes readily to mind is financialization and the pretense in the absence of awareness of cultural cycles that financialization is something new that could not have been foreseen; when demonstrations of financialization as irregular cultural cycles has occurred in 15th Century Spain and subsequently Holland, Britain, and recently here in the United States, and it is apparent to those who are intellectually aware of the cyclical nature of culture.

With regard to “legislation without representation”, I cited the Declaration of Independence being indicative of culturally cyclical dissatisfaction by the American Populace with “legislation without representation” as a cultural cycle that is irregularly repeating in the same manner as the events leading to the Declaration of Independence and for the same reasons.

The purpose and value of culture is the cyclical nature of culture and the benefit provided to those who possess Cultural Capital, in this sense the revenue stream of awareness from the cyclical nature of culture that allows those with Cultural Capital to be aware, while those who live with “culture at the zero point”  are only aware of limited personal experience.

BTW, The so called Economic Cycle is a good example of the irregular cyclical nature of culture that everyone ignores and pretends to be nonexistent; this is something that I would feel less like a waste of time is being imposed upon me by providing, if you are unaware of this particular cultural cycle.

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By Shenonymous, January 8, 2011 at 2:44 am Link to this comment

It seems very much, ThomasG, like you are saying there is some sort
of a Spenglerian repeating political-demographic cycle of events and
the current history of the state of American society is a repeat of
1776. That is all right, if you want to theorize that way.  It is a classic
sociology theory.  Be that as it may, you are obliged to show a direct
relationship.  I do not see a relationship between the political power
that permeates all contemporary American society that is completely
based on and ruled by money and having a supermaterialistic ethos
with that which drove the colonists to detach from Britain. 

Given that today’s society, worldwide really, as abstract realities,
money, human intellect, organized labor and the military are the
interrelated sources of political power that translate into physical
strength or skills, the evolved intellect and analytical ability, the
Forengi* skills of acquisition that feeds into massive hoarding
of wealth and the organization of labor, I think it is far fetched to think
there is any similarity in the dynamics that manifested in the American
Revolutionary War and the ills of American society today.  If there is to
be a revolution against the forces of political power, it would in my
estimation, be only a trading places of the main theatrical characters
but the dynamic will stay the same, the same sources of power will
remain and a cyclic repetition does not describe the action.

*The Forengi are a fictional race highly political invented as characters
for the SciFi stories of StarTrek whose only purpose was to accumulate
wealth that would translate into power which would then provide more
opportunity for the accumulation, or acquisition, of wealth.

If you want to read my post as not appreciating the Declaration of
Independence as a participant of a cyclical cultural cause, I would have
to say it is not because of a disregard but that I do not agree with you
even though there is a predecessor to the Declaration of Independence,
in 1320 A.D., the Declaration of Arbroath, urging the Pope to recognize
Scotland’s independence.  But it took nearly 200 years before the Queen
of England recognized Scotland as a sovereign nation. 

However, as you can see, it is not the case that I am unfamiliar with the
concept nor do I argue against the existence of such cycles, but if one
is described, I would want to look at causal arguments closely.

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By ThomasG, January 7, 2011 at 10:51 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, January 8 at 2:47 am,

Shenonymous said: “Well America is not Great Britain and the people are different both
historically and now. At any rate, Britain instigated a war by sending troops to destroy the American depot of weapons in Concord and to arrest the resentful colonists who were unrepresented by elected members in Parliament,” Shenonymous, January 8 at 2:47 am

ThomasG’s Answer:  Can you say ‘cyclical cultural causation’?  If the cyclical nature of culture, in this case cyclical culture as related to the Declaration of Independence is disregarded, it is, most likely, because either one is aware and chooses to misrepresent cyclical cultural cycles, or it is because of a lack of cyclical cultural awareness as a result of awareness in a state of culture at the zero point, personal experience in the absence of cyclical cultural understanding.

You may mean well in what you are saying, or not.  In any event your post appears to me to be absent causal understanding of the cyclical nature of culture beyond culture at the zero point.

My argument is a causal cultural argument based upon the cycles of culture, rather than a savant argument of culture at the zero point; the former parallels cultural cycles, the latter seeks justification in the moment based upon personal experience.

If I have been too blunt in what I have to say, forgive me for I have just finished reading “Notes From The Underground” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and feel like to one degree or another I may have been in some way contaminated.

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By Shenonymous, January 7, 2011 at 9:47 pm Link to this comment

Well America is not Great Britain and the people are different both
historically and now. At any rate, Britain instigated a war by sending
troops to destroy the American depot of weapons in Concord and to
arrest the resentful colonists who were unrepresented by elected
members in Parliament, and who for a few reasons refused to pay
taxes to the King. Whereupon the states collectively determined
that the British monarchy, by his acts of tyranny, could no longer
legitimately claim their allegiance.  The unified action of 1776 is
much different than a 21st century American populace who for the
most part do pay taxes to their government, except for the relatively
few quasi anarchists or libertarians who would get prosecuted if found
out, while the rest of the population applauds that legal action, and
who do have elected representatives to their Constitutional government
body.  There is no practical significance what the relationship was
between Britain and the newly declared country and the state of mind
of the people of today and their government. 

The American Revolution was founded on a complexity of ideas and
actions of the Brits.  80 – 85% of the colonists revolted, and only a
small fraction remained loyal to the crown.  As John Adams wrote,
“The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people.”  There
is nothing equivalent to that measure of rebels or nearly the same level
of emotional investment in discontent in the US today.  There are plenty
of those who are disgruntled and disaffected at times, but rebels? 
Hardly.  Comparably, just a handful.  Time would be better spent if
actual solutions and resolutions could be created, like more regulation
of the financial world, a more equitable distribution of the wealth, more
devotion to sound education of the young that includes values
education as well as the basic three Rs.

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By ThomasG, January 7, 2011 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, January 7 at 9:05 pm,

Shenonymous said:  “The idea that the government will declare war on the people is ridiculous and you show not one trace of evidence for a call to arms or mobilization against the people.” —Shenonymous, January 7 at 9:05 pm Truthdig Forum, ‘Troy Jollimore on Markets and Morality’

ThomasG’s Answer:  Did the British Colonists in America declare war on Britain as a result of their issuance of the Declaration of Independence? —— Or, did Britain declare war on their British Colonies as a result of their British Colonies issuing their Declaration of Independence from Britain?

The answer is that Britain declared war on their British Colonies as a result of their British Colonies issuing their Declaration of Independence and this was, is, and will continue to be the standard of government behavior with regard to a population seeking independence to represent its own best interest when established government order does not represent that same population’s best interests.

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By Shenonymous, January 7, 2011 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG - ”With regard to the American Populace declaring war
on the U.S. Government, I agree with you, I do not see that
happening, and I do not suggest that that is a solution.  What I
do see coming is that the American Populace will declare its own
independence eventually, if the U.S. Government will not enable the
American Populace as a class and culture to have equal class and
cultural rights with the American Aristocracy and the American Middle
Class and subsequent to that declaration of independence, it is quite
possible that the U.S. Government will declare war on the American
Populace.”
 

Shenonymous - It seems normal evolution for a “democratic” people to
continue to shape their government as they are able.  The cry of
victimization against my suggestion that the alleged 70% majority of the
American Populace have some complicity in their oppression is a fallacy
that says the “victim” is never at fault for their own happenstance. 
While not all are, some victims are.  It is an intentional
misconstructional defense and a reluctance to face reality.  A mass of
people is not like inexperienced children who physically do not have
much power, nor the mental maturity to understand the world and
circumstances in which they live.  That precludes the masses’ insight
into their own destitution.  Yes, of course, if they do have any
consciousness of their own plight, unlike turkeys who drown by looking
up when it rains, they will have evolved the collective mind to declare
their desire for independence, eventually and precisely as you admit. 
The idea that the government will declare war on the people is
ridiculous and you show not one trace of evidence for a call to arms or
mobilization against the people. 

In order for us to beware of such a Cassandra prophesy, however, since
in the case of danger, foresight is always better than hindsight, what do
you think we should look for in the way of signs the government is
making such a move?  What does your augury tell you?

It is a given that in the fullness of time a society becomes aware of
much about itself and it is only in the fullness of time that the American
populace have acted, acts, and will act.

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By ThomasG, January 7, 2011 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous, January 7 at 6:30 am,

Shenonymous said:  “If the majority of the common population is not befittingly, decently, or justly represented, I suggest it is because they are complicit in their not being thusly represented.” —Shenonymous, January 7 at 6:30 am Truthdig ‘Troy Jollimore’ Forum

ThomasG’s Answer:  Blame the victim; this sounds like King George and this argument was not sufficient to prevent the Declaration of Independence by the British Colonists in America.

Shenonymous said:  “In spite of any felt injustice or oppression, and in spite of the frustration felt by liberals, libertarians, anarchists, communists, socialists, in spite of being squeezed at the throat by the corportocracy, the American Populace will not declare independence and will not enforce any law and order beyond what is already structured and they will not declare war against their government nor change the Constitutional legislative bicameral Congress, the Executive Branch, and the Judicial Branch to the degree it would take to effect the kind of changes you envision.  I am not saying you are wrong to envision it. There simply is not the national will to do it and because of that if there are any changes, they will be made at glacial speed.  The energy or resources to do it quickly or violently is nonexistent.” —Shenonymous, January 7 at 6:30 am Truthdig ‘Troy Jollimore’ Forum

ThomasG’s Answer:  The will did not exist for issuance of the Declaration of Independence for many, many years, but the offenses over those years by the British subjecting the American Colonists to legislation without representation resulted in the Declaration of Independence by the British Colonists in America; the causal relationship that existed prior to the Declaration of Independence exists presently in the 21st Century, and the reality of the existence of the Declaration of Independence is proof of the validity and use of the same process by the American Populace to redress the same grievances.

The Declaration of Independence was a process, the American Populace’s Declaration of Independence is a process, the process has already begun and we will find out in the fullness of time whether or not it leads to the same result as the British Colonists’ Declaration of Independence as regards the making and enforcing of legislated law and order, or whether some other solution is achieved for the American Populace that will result in class and cultural equality in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order.

With regard to the American Populace declaring war on the U.S. Government, I agree with you, I do not see that happening, and I do not suggest that that is a solution.  What I do see coming is that the American Populace will declare its own independence eventually, if the U.S. Government will not enable the American Populace as a class and culture to have equal class and cultural rights with the American Aristocracy and the American Middle Class and subsequent to that declaration of independence, it is quite possible that the U.S. Government will declare war on the American Populace.

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By Shenonymous, January 7, 2011 at 1:30 am Link to this comment

I have a large and busy life outside of TD and do not feel the need
to visit on a daily basis all of the many forums that might be active
or interesting.  But I usually get around to responding to discussions
that still have an intriguing quality.  There is no tacit agreement
from me except in your imagination.

If the majority of the common population is not befittingly, decently,
or justly represented, I suggest it is because they are complicit in
their not being thusly represented.  The silence of the alleged 70%
majority common population is their tacit agreement to let their
representatives, and inept, incompetent, and opportunistic as they
may be, do as they see fit and do as they can. 

In spite of any felt injustice or oppression, and in spite of the
frustration felt by liberals, libertarians, anarchists, communists,
socialists, in spite of being squeezed at the throat by the corportocracy,
the American Populace will not declare independence and will not
enforce any law and order beyond what is already structured and they
will not declare war against their government nor change the
Constitutional legislative bicameral Congress, the Executive Branch, and
the Judicial Branch to the degree it would take to effect the kind of
changes you envision.  I am not saying you are wrong to envision it. 
There simply is not the national will to do it and because of that if there
are any changes, they will be made at glacial speed.  The energy or
resources to do it quickly or violently is nonexistent.

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By ThomasG, January 6, 2011 at 7:53 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

I take it that your withdrawal from dialogue relative to the American Populace, the 70% Majority Common Population of the United States, not being represented in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order as a class and culture in the United States, is tacit agreement and recognition by your uncharacteristic silence that the American Populace is not represented as a class and culture in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order in the United States, and that the prescription indicated in the Declaration of Independence is the only avenue available to the American Populace, if this class and cultural grievance is not redressed voluntarily that will allow the American Populace as a class and culture to be represented on an equal footing in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order along with the class and cultural interests of the American Aristocracy and the American Middle Class.

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By Foucauldian, January 6, 2011 at 6:09 pm Link to this comment

“In Defense of Anarchism, Part II,” as per link:

http://blogcritics.org/politics/article/in-defense-of-
anarchism-part-ii/

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By MarthaA, January 4, 2011 at 7:38 pm Link to this comment

Catherine Austin Fitts exposes the “tapeworm economy” of the United States that is re-wiring the financial system of the United States and the world:

http://www.realecontv.com/videos/post-collapse/re-wiring-the-financial-system.html

““Why not just expel the parasites?”

Catherine Austin Fitts was Assistant Secretary of Housing under George H.W. Bush.

She has an extremely sophisticated understanding of how the world’s financial system works right down to the “inconvenient truth” that revenues from the illegal drug business are essential for propping up the big money market banks. (Not a theory. Proven over and over again in criminal court trials.)

Fitts’ well thought out ideas about exactly what needs to be done to put the American economy powerfully back on course were not welcome in the crime-friendly Bush administration and she was driven from government.

In this fascinating interview, she talks about where things are ultimately headed, the the true nature of the threat we face, and what we can do to turn things around.

Absolutely must listening.”

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By ThomasG, December 31, 2010 at 12:27 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous, December 30 at 5:53 pm,

“The American Populace does participate in the making and enforcing legislated law and order.” —Shenonymous December 30 at 5:53 pm

ThomasG’s Answer:  You say that the American Populace does participate in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order.

What political party represents the American Populace, the 70% Majority Common Population of the United States as a class and culture? —The Democratic Party/Republican Party duopoly represents respectively the American Middle Class and the American Aristocracy as classes and cultures.  The House of Representatives is peopled by the American Middle Class and the Senate is peopled by representatives of the American Aristocracy, as they were both designed to do.  Where exactly does this participation of the American Populace as a class and culture manifest itself in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order?  And how is that participation manifested - subjectively or objectively, because participation as a trope is without form and substance, and is therefore irrelevant.


“ThomasG asks, “civilized to what class and culture?”  First of all I would characterized your and my discussion here as civilized.  Not like some savage-like interactions where verbal bashing and name-calling prevails. Your question is rhetorical since I was clear that civilized meant lawfulness.” —Shenonymous December 30 at 5:53 pm

ThomasG’s Answer:   You say civilized means lawfulness, but lawfulness according to what civilized standard, that is the question?

With regard to civilization and being civilized, I make reference to civilized as the cultural interdependence of a group of people.  In this sense, a civilization means the culture, or the way of life of a certain people and to civil-ize means to make, cause to become or resemble a civil standard.  In this regard, the Europeans considered Native Americans to be uncivilized, because the cultural standards of civilization of the Native Americans were different, and Hitler and the Nazis considered almost everyone, except the Germans, to be uncivilized because the cultural standards of people, other than the Germans, were inferior to the German standard of civilization.

The cultural standard of the American Populace, the 70% Majority Common Population is the standard of civilization that the American Populace must accept and respect in just the same way that the rest of the world rejected the cultural standard of the German Nazis in favor of their own many and varied cultural standards that were represented by the allies arrayed against Nazi Germany in World War II.

Therefore, to be civilized to the cultural standards of the American Populace, rather than the cultural standards of the American Aristocracy and the American Middle Class is my meaning of being civilized to the American Populace; otherwise, the American Populace would be giving their consent to a false standard that was used to commit genocide upon the Native Populations of North America in the name of civilizing them, and used by Adolph Hitler and the Nazis to engage in a genocidal attempt at world domination to perpetuate what the world rejected as a false standard of civilization.

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By Shenonymous, December 30, 2010 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

”…are you saying that the U.S. Government will declare war upon
the American Populace, rather than let the American Populace
participate in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order,
as did Britain?”
  How you came to conclude this is what I’ve said,
ThomasG, has no basis except that you have invented the impression
that I did to make a point about something that already and
redundantly exists.  The American Populace does participate in the
making and enforcing legislated law and order.  We would have to
discuss to what degree but not that it does not exist.  The comparison
between colonial America and 21st century America is more than weak. 
It is not the case that colonists were to Britain as the general American
populace is to its government, much as you would like that analogy to
hold. 

Your mythologizing this resemblance of situation is not really helpful. 
You speak in generalities, i.e., ” the method employed by the
Founding Fathers is the method proffered by the Founding Fathers as a
remedy for the dilemma of the American Populace not being
represented in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order in
the United States.”
  You should be brave and be specific.  Exactly
what action are you promoting.  There are a few ways that could go. 
My remedy is to start at the local level and elect representatives who do
exactly that, represent the will of the people. 

ThomasG asks, “civilized to what class and culture?”  First of all I
would characterized your and my discussion here as civilized.  Not like
some savage-like interactions where verbal bashing and name-calling
prevails. Your question is rhetorical since I was clear that civilized
meant lawfulness. 

Civilized is related generically to Latin civilis, meaning civil, and a
cognate both to the Latin civis, meaning citizen, and civitas, meaning
city or city-state.  From 18th c. Ferguson, “Not only the individual
advances from infancy to manhood, but the species itself from rudeness
to civilization.”  In other words, from crude savagery to a cultured
society.  Also the concept embodies the concept of superiority and
maturity of “civilized” existence, in contrast with “rudeness or
coarseness, i.e., as in a lack of refinement or “civility.” The English
connotation refers to the “progress of mankind as a whole.”  The idea of
noble savage however emerges as counterintuitive to civilization,
civilized humanity, is seen as un-natural and leads to the seven vices of
wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony (popularly known as
the seven deadly sins). The Nietzsche and Herder view was seen to
inspire Nazism and German militaristic action.  So we are either civilized
or not!  I prefer to think of myself as civilized and have no admiration
for the Nazi point of view. 

How all of this relates to the current US political profile is the question
between us.  To what class does the word civilized apply and how shall
its culture be described?  The idea of class is an amorphous construct
for Americans.  People move in and out of the various designated
classes of this stratified more or less open society as their prosperity
changes.  In other words, there is social mobility based on wealth.  This
does not lend itself to huge proletariat anti-government movement. 
You have said yourself that such change has to be slow and methodical. 
So I suggest that you devise a program, a long term program, whereby
the change in the distribution of wealth and power is effected.  Then
commence to implement it.

It might be the case that there already is in place the mechanism to
redistribute the wealth and power, taxation and the proletariat voting
booth.  It seems that it is the politicians who are the obstruction to an
egalitarian society.  They are the ones to be removed.

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By ThomasG, December 29, 2010 at 7:32 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, December 29 at 2:14 pm,

“These laws were consciously constructed the basis of which is logical and consistent with the one natural law of human survival.  They are unassailable by law and lawfulness means civilized.  Progress from savagery.” Shenonymous, December 29 at 2:14 pm

ThomasG’s Answer:  You say, civilized, civilized to what class and culture?  That is the question.  I am suggesting that the American Populace should be civilized to the class and culture of the American Populace in the same way that the British Colonists desired to be civilized to their own British Colonies and law and order of their own British Colonies, rather than to Britain.
 

“And it is inarguable because it is a declaration of
action not because it is an argument.”—Shenonymous, December 29 at 2:14 pm

ThomasG’s Answer:  The credibility of my argument is the same as made by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence. 

My argument is for the same actions taken as the Founding Fathers, that the American Populace should in their own best interest declare their independence, so that they are free to make and enforce their own law and order that is in their own best interest, rather than to be subject to law and order that is not in their best interest and in which they have no part in the making and enforcing of.

I am not suggesting sedition, I am suggesting that the American Populace is not represented in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order in the United States and that the method employed by the Founding Fathers is the method proffered by the Founding Fathers as a remedy for the dilemma of the American Populace not being represented in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order in the United States.

Britain chose to declare war on their own Colonial British Colonies, rather than to let their British Colonies be represented in their British Parliament, so that the British Colonies could participate in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order; are you saying that the U.S. Government will declare war upon the American Populace, rather than let the American Populace participate in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order, as did Britain?

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By Shenonymous, December 29, 2010 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

oops, a Freudian typo?  That is man-made law.  Perhaps as a race,
man is mad.

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By Shenonymous, December 29, 2010 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

If I thought natural laws existed, I would naturally agree that
the rights specified in the DOI were unassailable on that account.
I don’t.  But that does not mean I don’t think they are unassailable. 
Man-mad law has seen to it that the rights of life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness (though often modified to include the right to
property and health, and justice, and free speech, press, religion,
etc., are guaranteed in and by the US Constitution.  These laws were
consciously constructed the basis of which is logical and consistent
with the one natural law of human survival.  They are unassailable
by law and lawfulness means civilized.  Progress from savagery. 

The doctrinaire assertion of class distinction by percentages has no
solid basis and exists only as a claim that there is a 10% this, 20%
that, and a 70% thisthat, without citing some results of empirical
research.  I realize that it is simply a way of talking and giving some
apparent statistical credibility to the rest of your argument.  There are
better ways of arguing your points.  It is irrelevant that the British
Government was overthrown.  The point is that people took matters
into their own hands and used strategies that were available to them. 
We all know, at least those who have read the DOI, the rationale for the
colonists’ action.  And it is inarguable because it is a declaration of
action not because it is an argument.  However, as a model for conduct,
which is why I think you are referencing the DOI, is to use it as a
nostalgic device but it will not serve to motivate the numbers of people
needed to start a movement.  It has no contemporary force.  It is
historic.  It’s sentiments, on the other hand, are quintessential.  It needs
restated in contemporary terms.  If you are suggesting sedition, then
that is at this time a federal crime.  You will not attract many disciples. 
If you are suggesting a protest, then that is a horse of a different
dapple.  Legally protest can come in the form of constructing a new and
separate party.  Re-Construction is the key idea, not De-Struction.

Warning sign:  Third-party formation has been attempted before with
some but little nationwide success.  They only raise consciousness and
sometimes effect changes as in save the whale.

Occasionally, your partner, MarthaA, has recommended revising the
Democratic Party from within.  I have read her comments and pretty
much have agreed with them.  I think that has a better chance of
changing the political portrait than putting money, time, and effort
into a movement that would end up only PITW.  It will take a great
deal of money and imaginative visionary thinking. Are you willing to
make the sacrifice?

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By ThomasG, December 28, 2010 at 7:06 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, December 28 at 9:52 pm,

[To a degree you are right, since this is not a direct democracy, it is a hybrid Constitutional Democratic Federal Republic. The populace of America have abrogated their law-making privilege to their representatives.  It may or may not be true that all such representatives do or do not work to legislate the laws and actions of their government.  Only a case-by-case inquiry would give that truth.] Shenonymous, December 28 at 9:52 pm Truthdig Forum Troy Jollimore..

ThomasG’s answer:  The ten percent (10%) minority of the American Aristocracy are represented by the Senate and the twenty percent (20%) minority of the Middle Class are represented in the House of Representatives.

Both the Senate and House of Representatives are peopled by a duopoly of Republican Party and Democratic Party legislators that are constituents of the American Aristocracy and the Middle Class; the seventy percent (70%) Majority Common Population, the American Populace, is not represented as a class and culture in either the House or the Senate, therefore, the American Populace is not represented in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order in the United States, because the American Populace is totally without political party representation in both the House of Representatives and the Senate of the United States and is thereby made subject to the enforcement of legislated law and order that intentionally excludes the 70% Majority Common Population, the American Populace.

Natural law was the foundation for the overthrow of British Government by the Founding Fathers and that ‘standard’ is the ‘standard’ provided by the Founding Fathers to redress grievances with regard to a lack of representation in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order; in this respect, I accept the judgment of the Founding Fathers as expressed in the Declaration of Independence.

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/”

The Founding Fathers of the United States chose for the people of the British Colonies to withdraw from law and order that excluded them from participation in the making and enforcing of that same legislated law and order, rather than to confront that law and order as criminals; that same choice is what the choice is of the 70% Majority Common Population, the American Populace, today, and for the same reason given by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence as stated above.

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By Shenonymous, December 28, 2010 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG – December 27 A reply in two posts.  The “Process of
awareness” is just that, a process [a series of actions that have
a particular result]
. The process that generated the Declaration
of Independence took time [all processes take time] and was
generated by long term offense [a relentless crusade] to a
population that was unrepresented in the making and enforcing
of legislated law and order that they were made to be subject to
[mainly because democracy had not yet been born as the form
of government that was to be America’s.]
; that same process
is going on here in the United States with regard to the American
Populace and the “Process of Offense” by those making and
enforcing legislated law and order against those who are forced
to be subject to legislated law and order who have no part in its
making and enforcing is slowly building awareness with regard to
oppression and tyranny in the same way as offense built prior to
the issuance of the Declaration of Independence. [To a degree
you are right, since this is not a direct democracy, it is a hybrid
Constitutional Democratic Federal Republic. The populace of
America have abrogated their law-making privilege to their
representatives.  It may or may not be true that all such
representatives do or do not work to legislate the laws and
actions of their government.  Only a case-by-case inquiry
would give that truth.]

Giving due respect, I visited most of the links you provided. I
didn’t say that I didn’t know what Natural Law is. But I do
question its existence, as well as “Natural” Rights. Having a tidy
library on the rights of man, the idea of laws that accord privileges
and protections to humans singularly or as a group, either
positive, or man-made, as opposed to natural or inherent rights
and laws, are topics with which I have more than given a passing
glance.  Various Greek philosophers and the Stoics onward, up to
Murphy, Finnis, Rawls, and Oppenheim, etc., had distinctive ideas
of what Natural Law meant and there continues to be debate about
what is the defensible view.  This topic might be a diversion from
what you are presenting.

While I don’t think theories of Natural Law lack sense as many
opponents of the idea have declared, the only principle or ‘law’ in
my evolutionist view that is natural law is reduced to that of
survival of the species.  Any further obligation is derived from the
right that each has to preserve their own life and contrary to that
no one is bound to regard as a duty what one might regard as
destructive to their security. But while all individuals of a group,
even though a group is composed of individuals, no one individual
has absolute importance and in that sense, equality for all humans
is the first logical and therefore a ‘natural’ or universally
distributed conclusion. All other rights and laws designated to
humans are created by societies as they find the need arises to
insure the natural right to survival, i.e., protection in various forms
and for a variety of reasons, e.g., contracts.

If any such laws exist, then “Ius Naturale” would be laws applicable
to men in a state of nature. Since ultimately that state is indefinite
except for the fact of their existence, such “natural” laws beyond
the law of existence do not exist.  All subsequent laws are derived
from this one and only natural law.

Adapt or perish! That is nature’s edict to all species and the only
natural law for the survival of a species. Humans are cultural
animals are able to make significant adaptations simply by
changing their location, modifying what nutrients are acceptable,
or their local culture, how they relate to other members of their
own species or other species.

I do believe in man-made laws and that these laws evolved out of
a perceived need to insure the survival of societies and by
extension survival of the individual.

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By Shenonymous, December 28, 2010 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment

2. – ThomasG
I’ve run across Spooner’s philosophy many times, and more
than many time have thought about what justice is (Plato’s
Republic is a better analysis) if justice is reified as an existent
ideal.  I do not believe that a moral duty, or how humans ought
to behave towards one another can be generated from what is
the case of how they do behave.

Nor do I believe that justice is a natural principle. It is a
prescription for how to provide more insurance for success of
the society.  Generally though after that, Spooner’s views, in my
opinion, are worth contemplating.

Dolhenty does not express anything different from most of the
natural law proponents and their doctrines.

Even though I am atheist, I have read most of Aquinas who
developed much of his thinking on natural law from reading
Cicero, see his Summa Theologica . 

In the debate about natural law and natural rights, Aquinas derives
the moral precept “one must not kill” is” by concluding from the
principle that one should do harm to no man,” which, in turn, is
extracted from the principle do good and avoid evil.  But the “is-
ought problem” materializes.  Aquinas tacitly assumed that to
harm another is to commit evil.  While this may be true, he has not
demonstrated it.  The fact that A harms B does not, in itse[f,
demonstrate that A has committed evil.  In fact, Felix Oppenheim
reminded us, “harming or even killing certain kinds of people-
enemies, i.e., Jews, slaves, deformed infants, old persons—has
been considered good and right in many ethical systems, even
though foreign to our own beliefs.

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By ThomasG, December 26, 2010 at 9:55 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, December 27 at 2:13 am,

The “Process of Awareness” is just that, a process.  The process that generated the Declaration of Independence took time and was generated by long term offense to a population that was unrepresented in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order that they were made to be subject to; that same process is going on here in the United States with regard to the American Populace and the “Process of Offense” by those making and enforcing legislated law and order against those who are forced to be subject to legislated law and order who have no part in its making and enforcing is slowly building awareness with regard to oppression and tyranny in the same way as offense built prior to the issuance of the Declaration of Independence.  Here are some links that inform on Natural Law:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_law

http://jim.com/spooner.htm

http://www.radicalacademy.com/philnaturallaw.htm

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09076a.htm

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By Shenonymous, December 26, 2010 at 9:13 pm Link to this comment

I can neither agree nor disagree ThomasG.  Reason is that I do not
know enough.  But let me assume your assessment in percentages is
correct.  Even if 80% of the American Populace had reason to withdraw
as did the Founding Fathers, I dare to guess less than 20% of that
80% would be interested enough to do anything about their lack of
representation.  The 70% will not make use of Natural Law to create
its own legislation.  First of all, Natural Law is not clearly defined
enough for any one to even rabble rouse them.  And most do not
even know that there is a Natural Law.  What you speak of are ideal
actions through justified rebellion.  A coherent movement.  But it is
my opinion that even if justified, at least in some people’s minds it
would be, not enough organization is likely that a movement could
begin. It would be a futile attempt and besides the market is looking
a tad better these days according to the financial analysts and the
indicators are pointing to a financial upturn.  That means less people
of the 70%, those who are not involved in the kind of discussion that
we are having here, would make any gesture towards major change.  I
do not mean to put on a pessimistic face, but I do direct my gaze
towards reality.

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By ThomasG, December 26, 2010 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, December 26 at 10:16 pm,

What I said is that Obama and his administration frame themselves as practicing “The Art of the Possible” and I would also add, as you indicate, as “pragmatists”; I did not say that this is my frame of Obama and the Obama administration.

What I say is that Obama and the Obama administration represent 30% of the American Population against the best interests of 70% of the American Population that are not represented in the making and enforcing of legislated law and order in the United States, and that for this reason the American Populace has the same cause of legislation without representation that the “so called” founding fathers had to withdraw from an oppressive and tyrannical law and order that does not include the interests of the American Populace and that the American Populace has a right under Natural Law to make its own legislated law and order to represent the best interests of the American Populace; what I say is expressed in the Declaration of Independence and what I say is that that same Declaration applies to the 70% Majority Common Population of the United States, the American Populace, at the present time in the 21st Century.

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By Shenonymous, December 26, 2010 at 5:16 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG -

There is pandering, and compromise, and wisdom.  Seems like
Obama took seriously Occam’s Razor and did what was expedient. 
If you want to scoff at his actions as the Art of the Possible, I could
not completely disagree.  Am I happy with his decisions?  No, I am
quantifiably not.  I am still burning about the continued tax evasion
by the wealthy.  I’ve listened for weeks now at what he himself says,
what his administrators say, what the bobble-head pundits say, what
his enemies say, what his friends say and quite frankly, with the power
the minority Republicans have to block any legislation and their stated
agenda to bring this president down I can’t say that I blame him for the
path he took.  Call it pandering, or capitulation, it really doesn’t matter
as he will be able to notch his belt a few times, maybe with half-assed
notches, but certainly not notches without cheese.  I don’t see that
under the circumstances notches grande was possible. And for that
I am sorry, but… and I say ‘but’ with qualification, we can thank the
politicians who call themselves Democrat for the position Obama was
put in to make such weak-assed decision just so the middle class
would not have been ravaged by the taxes that would have befallen
them.  I am pleased for DADT repeal and think START is the right
direction, so I don’t see Obama’s actions as a total negative. 

There is way too much to consider before I can be as cavalier as you
are ThomasG, about the failure of Obama and The Ugly of What Was
Possible… not the Art of It.  The word Art suggests that there was some
finesse or aesthetics that could have been haggled through to make it
more beautiful.  I do not believe there was much wiggle room and I
think Obama Wiggled As Much As Possible.  He got dregs I agree, but
dregs are more than nothing.  Some would have preferred that nothing
would have been the best net gain and to have let the taxes expire for
all.  I tend to agree with that but reserve some measure of pragmatism,
the Art of Pragmatism is not entirely without merit.  I will now have two
more years to assess ‘over the long run’ what he can do as the top
politician in the country.  But I go into those next two years very wary
and with the kind of Congress that we are now stuck with, low
expectations. 

We have what we have and the best I can say about it is that Liberals
and Leftists will have to find some peace among themselves then force
those who profess to be Democrats to actually commit acts as if they
really were concerned about the people.  Whatever is a legitimate
political agenda remains to be seen.  There is a talent to describing
problems but it takes skill to actually fix them.

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By ThomasG, December 26, 2010 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous,

I watched Meet The Press on NBC this morning, and by so watching brought to mind Obama being framed by himself and his administration as engaging in “The Art of the Possible”.  The “Art of the Possible” is political pandering in the absence of political representation by Obama and his administration of the political agenda of the Political Left.

“The Art of the Possible” that does not represent the causality of the Political Left, does not represent the beginning, the end, and all points in between of the Agenda of the Political Left, so that all of the Left know what they have given up for what gains, and know that they are being represented causally to achieve a Causal Agenda for the “Left”.

A Causal Agenda represented by Political Leadership of the Left will grow like a snowball rolling down a mountain side and will be renewed at the top of the mountain to represent the Political Agenda of the Left.

The“Art of the Possible” is not in any way political representation of the Political Agenda of the Left.  The “Art of the Possible” is accepting the Political Agenda of the “Right” and pandering to the Political Agenda of the “Right” without paying heed to and actively representing the Political Agenda of the “Left” at all, as a legitimate Political Agenda.

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By Anarcissie, December 23, 2010 at 12:31 am Link to this comment

One should consider using anarcissie at gmail dot com….

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By Foucauldian, December 22, 2010 at 8:50 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie,

A review of Richard D. Wolff’s online seminar on Marx’s class-analytics, as per link: 
http://blogcritics.org/politics/article/marxian-class-analysis-theory-and-practice/

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By Anarcissie, November 11, 2010 at 12:18 am Link to this comment

Congratulations.  It’s nice to see that at least a few cooperative enterprises aren’t being beaten up.

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By Shenonymous, November 10, 2010 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

I received a marvelous surprise in the mail the other day that is most
relevant to the conversation on this forum.  My not-for-profit credit
union gave me notice that the interest rate on a loan was cut in half
due to good payment record, that is a 50% reduction.  It also foretold
that as payments continued to be as regular and on time, that further
reduction would be forthwithcoming.  It will be a significant savings
that will go into my spendable capital, thereby encouraging an
investment, however relatively small it might be in the economy. Also
the principle will paid off faster, and that in turn, maybe not
exponentially, will also go faster as time passes.  I also note that the
interest on the original loan was better than that of competitive
institutions.

Since there are more than 400 thousand members, with outstanding
loans at approximately 385 million dollars, this action could put
millions of dollars back into the economic picture.  This shows that
credit unions, while the federal government does have some hand in
their operation in the form of NCUA guarantees up to $250,000, that
they are unique and sovereign entities that can act in the best interests
of its members.  Their mortgage rates are “historically low,” as well as
auto loan rates at 2.99% APR.  By increasing membership and keeping
operating expenses low, this credit union is considered among the top
25 in the country, keeping their capital reserves at 9.6% where
regulators consider 7% as well-capitalized.  Keeping the credit union
healthy means a better financial life for those within the scope of this
agency, its members.  This seems to be the best option to have as
secure and reliable a cooperative financial service as possible.  Taking a
look at the 2009 Annual Report, from what I can understand, it looks
like a sturdy and sound financial institution. 

While regular banks are closing, this credit union has just opened its
33rd branch. That says there are positive conditions afoot for this
collective method of financial management if it is well managed.

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By Shenonymous, October 3, 2010 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment

Think I’ll pass on the Obama Hands Tied forum. I’m spread too thin
as it is.  Need to prep for work and do a few other mundane things.
I’m sure they don’t need the ever loquacious She.  Besides the Bob
Woodward thing was on the news all last week.  As an ignorant
American citizen, seems like if America was going to go to war in
the first place for 9/11 then Afghanistan was the place, but Bush had
other ideas…and needs.  Now it looks like Afghanistan is only another
ZeroSum-er, meaning not much will come of American effort, and that
Pakistan turns out to be the right place to rout out al Qaeda and violent
Talibans.  It probably always was but perceived allies often are
deceptively treacherous.  It will be interesting to watch what happens
between America and Pakistan.  What do I know about it all?  Nothing. 
Only what I can piece together from the news.  And since the news is
specious at best, I don’t think I ought to even have an opinion. 

Our forum here is much more of the kind of discussion that I enjoy. 
At least it is possible I can be convinced or try to convince others of
other points of view that are offered as reasonable arguments.  This
forum has reduced down to only the three of us.  Don’t you think that
is funny?  In a humorous way.  It is kind of classic in a way:  An
anarchist, a traditional socialist, and a socialized capitalist.  Civilized in
our presentations. That is the way it is supposed to be, I think.

Zakaria had a very informative interview with the Premier of China again
today.  He spoke about freedom of speech and human rights.  The
Premier of China reads books about morality and the writings of Marcus
Arelius.

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By Anarcissie, October 3, 2010 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment

You might want to put your ideas in the Pfaff/Bacevitch thread, since I seem to have been tasked by the gods with defending anarchism.  Of course, that’s not totally irrelevant; any discussion of the war in Afghanistan raises fundamental issues about why ‘we’ are there in the first place.  The article you mentioned is awfully redolent of certain discussions of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s about Vietnam.  It is not just Mr. O who is the captive.

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By Shenonymous, October 3, 2010 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

Reading the review of Bacevich’s book, “Washington Rules,…” I feel I
should read the book but don’t have time right now as I am reading
a few several hundred other books.  So going on the article review,
something struck me as maybe also obvious to others that the basic
premise of the book about the silent coup against the presidency going
on applies also to what I call an unintentional coup by the news media. 
I say unintentional because I don’t think it is an overt intentionality,
maybe it is, but I don’t think so from having no evidence at all.  It is
my personal observational opinion that the news media are so hungry
for time fillers so that they can provide what is suppose to be news
but in reality is merely an incessant repetition of the most skimpiest
and banal news and to endow their contrived and graphically designed
pundits with more honor and wisdom than they deserve. 

Not sure if Bacevich or if it is Pfaff’s own words that wrote it that seems
Obama was presented with one plan and implied that was all there was
to his ensuing action. But that is not the truth.  There was no ‘seeming’
about it.  Obama actually was presented with one plan for troop
addition in Afghanistan when he had asked for several, and he was not
satisfied. As a result of his dissatisfaction, he asked again but more
plans were not forthwithcoming, so he gathered as much information
as he himself could and came up with his own 30,000 troop plan, which
is what he did.  It is really so very important to get the facts right
regardless of one’s own ideology.  Especially for those who would
criticize others.  See Fred Kaplan’s article for New America Foundation,
http://www.newamerica.net/publications/articles/2010/a_way_out_of_af
ghanistan_37683 or tiny url:  http://tinyurl.com/26qewa7
and Bob Woodward’s “Obama’s Wars.”

Yeah, so it looks like further evidence of forces at work to set up
Obama for defeat.  For whatever reasons some want to theorize, mine is
racism mixed with a difficult-to-challenge war machine reticence to end
the lucrative perpetual wars that America is caught up in.

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By Shenonymous, October 2, 2010 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment

You might be right, Anarcissie, but we know that a Constitutional
change is not really an option, and that you were joking.  I looked
up what it would take for an amendment to the Constitution.
http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/constitution/ 
It is an insanity to try for any progress with the current climate of
political psychopathy.  There is Obama on the one hand, let us say
left, banging the drum for campaign finance reform (Sept. 18 was the
lastest), then the SCOTUS on the right hand in their farcical ruling about
campaign contributions, then the faded feeble Congress, so it is at least
a three ring circus with only the public is an audience sitting on the bed
of nails.  This whole scenario reminds me of Ouspensky’s Strange Life
of Ivan Osokin, or the idiot hamster that keeps the treadmill spinning
for eternity. 

I’d like to take a look at the Bacevich book.  Way too tired right now to
do much of anything.  I’m reading Richard Wolin’s, “The Seduction of
Unreason - The Intellectual Romance with Fascism from Nietzsche to
Post Modernism”. And finding it enlightening.

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By Anarcissie, October 2, 2010 at 7:19 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous—I have decided to read some of the material over there.  I am somewhat tired of slagging WaPo flacks every day.

In regard to campaign finance reform, I think you will have to change the Constitution—a rather laborious procedure uncertain of success.  Even if it were not, I would be pessimistic about preventing the rich and powerful from continuing to manipulate the democracy, based on what I have seen in small communities.

I doubt if the US will disappear, but if it pursues an imperial path, history teaches us that it will certainly go bankrupt, at least financially and economically, like Britain and France and Sweden and Portugal and many others, and perhaps morally and physically as well, like Germany.  At that time another power or powers will take its marbles away.  The present political system does not seem capable of changing the imperial course, however.  The people, already treading nervously through the foothills of that bankruptcy, voted for ‘hope and change’; some of them thought they were voting for peace.  They got more of the same.  See the review of Bacevich’s book, http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/are_obamas_hands_tied_20100928/ for a related view of things.  It seems like a book one might actually want to read.

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By Shenonymous, October 2, 2010 at 9:50 am Link to this comment

1. Reply to Foucauldian

I think I navigated to the part you wanted us to read.
I’m not so much interested in the New Left.  There is a chronic
perception that something is at its end, or at an edge.  From the
Bye-Bye, Miss American Pie, Part I, “The remaining problem is that
we cannot talk about solutions forever. Decisions must be made
now. We know that the ways of the past were a failure. Politicians
from both sides of the aisle must now come together and decide.
If Obama fails, we all fail!”  I tend to agree with that last exclamation.

The thing that is almost always missed is the psychology of successful
change.  For an action to actually happen, a certain emotional stimulus
must motivate it. 

I agree that there are two issues of immediate importance: “campaign
finance reform and term limits. It’s high time to break up the
Washington crowd so as to free it from all suspicion of being beholden
to private interests…1) Limiting House and Senate seats to one term
only, two at most, would go a long way toward that end.” 2) Campaign
finance reform by setting caps on the candidates’ spending in their
election or re-election efforts, by breaking away from the too-long the
dominant adversarial model of big business versus the government.

It is the following paragraph that I find most completely satisfactory
and along the lines of my own thinking: “As part of the program, we
should encourage all manner of cooperative ventures — as between the
employers and the employees, or the owners and the consumers —
after the fashion of supermarket cooperatives in the seventies or credit
unions. There is plenty of room for experimentation, of populating our
stagnated business model with hybrid entities, and the government
should take the lead in encouraging the formation of all such. Far too
much attention has been given to the multinationals. It’s small and
mid-size businesses [that] are the mainstay of our economy, the largest
employer in fact, and they should be encouraged. It’s mainly from this
quarter, small to mid-size firms, that all the creativity and innovation
come from. Let’s never forget it.”

Regarding “the moral dimension,” I do not think the combustion of
action will sprawl into the world at large very soon, but will take a
typical evolutionary timeline as the idea of human rights seeps into the
consciousness of the people of the world who are not yet educated
enough.  But it seems true that it is a matter of time, I just think it will
take longer than you think.  Global change is glacially slow, or it
becomes radically eruptive and then damping down time is needed for
sub-societies to reorganize into some beneficial form.  I believe this is
what has happened in Cuba and actually Russia.  China has not had a
civil war but was surreptitiously taken over by an executive central
committee without public awareness of what was happening, or the
public’s agitated feeling of utter impotence to stop it.  I think what is
happening in China is the natural realization of a failed system.

I do not believe the US is on number days as a sovereign nation.  That
is a completely naïve view that immediately calls to mind wishful
thinking.  It is to underestimate the American public’s resolve and
temerity to preserve the unique kind of nation that it is.

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By Shenonymous, October 2, 2010 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

2.  Reply to Foucauldian
I think the romantic idea of a New World Order that will restructure
America is phantasmagorical and a misunderstanding of the nature
of the American mind, if that could even be entertained.  The
Trilateral Commission and Bilderberg phenomenon is in the first
place a megafabulation.  Real investigation into these and other like
theories yields first of all no provable evidence and second of all it is
a misreading of these groups’ original and current intentions.  NWO
is not, in the popular incarnation, a better solution than the present
misanthropy of megacorporatocracy.  The people themselves have their
own power to determine their own lives.  Fictions such as the popular
almost comic-book version of NWO is the result of a fashionable way of
pseudo-intellectualism that has come to predominate the thinking of
those who feel helpless from conditions beyond their control.  It is a
common retreat from powerlessness.

As one sociologist, Mark Fenster, said, “It is [like] a Petridish for
paranoids.”  I would designate NWO et al theories as oppressive
conspiracy propositions.  And they are unique in that they allegedly
explain what are perceived social inequalities, or worse, political
disenfranchisements. 

These kinds of theories are based on a certain group perception that
society is being exploited for some reason or another.  Also the
composition of the personality of conspiracists is as an insecure and/or
discontented people who feel a need for a tangible enemy on which to
externalize their anger and impotence.  Successful conspiracy theories
are those that to some level empower believers against what are
perceived as external forces that he/she blames for some unpleasant or
undesirable facet of their lives. Moeover, conspiracy theories serve to
absolve the individual of self-accountability since, if the individual is
felt as being oppressed by some powerful entity beyond one’s control,
individual efforts at self-etermination will always be futile and result in
nothing but a waste of time.  Often difficult to refute since no real
information is offered that can be proved or disproved.  They are
simply allegations that seems to dovetail in with some segment of the
population’s disappointment in the way things are.  There are little to
no prospects for any ultimate refutation and that state is what is really
scary.  It is just another form of psychological exploitation of an
ignorant public.

I completely disagree that America won’t matter in some imagined
future.  It is my belief it will be the only state that will matter.  The
waves of immigrants to American shores testifies it is a place of refuge
regardless of its political blemishes.

I do believe, however, whether or not there is a hand-shake agreement
between the news media and the Republican scheme for America, that
clever Americans will find ways to thwart that effort.  I say news media
only in the context that the news producers want very much to keep
some controversy going in order to feed their voracious need to fill up
the 24/7 contracts they have to present what is really very little news.  I
do believe they are the source of most of the unrest that keeps evrey-
thing festering.  Not as originators of the controversies but the
distorting perpetrators of it for their own nefarious selfish reasons. 

I also disagree that the American spirit is gone.  Spirit for me is an
enlivened mind and I think Americans, at least the common public, has
gotten too involved in survival and working for a living that their minds
are channeled towards that goal.  They tend to let others take care of
what they think they voted for until it is almost too late to fix it, then
they react in most extreme ways.  So it is my project to wake them up.

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By Foucauldian, September 29, 2010 at 11:04 am Link to this comment

Shenon, Anarcissie,

I didn’t suggest you read the entire blog, only
comments starting with, say, #2668.  Also see
http://blogcritics.org/politics/article/strategic-alliance-between-india-and-the/

I’ll elaborate on the interesting distinction made
between the concepts of “government” and that of “the
state” and provide you with the link to my paper when
done.

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By Foucauldian, September 29, 2010 at 10:52 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, Shenon,

I wasn’t suggesting you read the entire blog, only
the last two or three pages of comments, starting
with, say, #2668.

May I also refer you to another short article http://blogcritics.org/politics/article/strategic-alliance-between-india-and-the/ - and the few
comments, for interesting distinction between the
concepts of “government” and that of “the state.” 
I’m in the process of drafting a short paper in which
I’ll try to elaborate it, and I’ll provide you with
the link to the article when done.

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By Shenonymous, September 28, 2010 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment

I checked out the bye-bye blog. And it was too daunting to go
through all the comments.  So I found the one at Sep 23, 2010 at
9:17 a.m. and will read the ones from there to the last one.  I am
still working my way through it so I’ll save my remarks until I’ve
finished and given it some due thought.  I was interested in your
discussion of the dialectic since I have been a student of Plato and
Harry literally for decades.  Plato was the master of the dialectic
and his works are the paradigm example of it in action. From a
quick scan the comments look most interesting and I am curious
to see what I will find.  I appreciate your including me in your request
to consider what you said.  I’m juggling a few forums as well as working
and conducting fulfilling the needs of my non-electronic life.  I don’t
think I am unique in that respect, I’m sure you all have to do that too. 
I’m just trying to squeeze my life into my life.  The payoff is that I
found four baby tomatoes among the garden plants today and was
thrilled as I have been babying these plants for a couple of months!  I
am not much of a gardener and I’m more or less teaching myself to be
one.  Sorry to bore you all about this.  Maybe I get too enthusiastic
about such mundane and personal things, I guess.

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By Anarcissie, September 28, 2010 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment

There are your article and the 2694 comments which follow it, so the prospect of catching up is pretty daunting.  I did heroically read about half of ‘The Dialectic Suppression of Feminist Thought in Radical Pedagogy’, though, in spite of the fact that it quotes Hegel.  Now what?

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