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Mr BoShambles
10-11-2007, 02:07 PM
From Nick Cohen's brilliant new book:
It wasn't just the undoubted miseries and inequalities of wealth and power the liberal order brought with it that was being condemned by the [post-modern] theorists. The victories of the Enlightenment, the vote, welfare, bills of rights, the separation of church and state and the emancipation of women, homosexuals and blacks, which previous generations had fought and on occasion died to achieve, were now all treated as parts of 'the hegemonic' and included in condemnations of a monolithic world order that made no distinctions. The theorists could not and did not want to discriminate, because discrimination would force them to admit that not everything was rotten in their societies and some victories had been worth winning. In the past people who believed in total opposition would offer a revolutionary programme to overthrow the established order. With no revolutionary programme available, the theorists offered a quasi-satirical attack on the double standards of the democracies instead. and;
As epistemic relativism infected leftish intellectual life, all the old universal criteria, including human rights, the search for the truth and the scientific method, became suspect instruments of elite oppression and Western cultural imperialism. His point: the current lack of conviction in any ideal - amongst the contemporary left - is demonstrated by a cultural relativism which justifies/turns a blind eye to all manner of persecution and oppression in other parts of the world on the basis that 'they're not like us, they've got a different regime of truth, you can't apply the same standards'. The actions of totalitarian dictators and religous fundamentalists can seemingly be justified and if not supported then certainly understood as a response to this so-called hegemonic structure of liberal markets, intellectual freedom, democracy and human rights. So much then for the traditional leftist stand against fascism, instead we have a growing 'West-bashing' sentiment combined with a sad apathy to the suffering of peoples in other parts of the world - Darfur, Zimbabwe, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea etc etc. In effect its all the fault of the 'West' (government and business alike) and thus the response of the left is passivity and isolationism. What a sad reflection of the left today - self consumed and devoid of principle!

ChineseArithmetic
10-11-2007, 03:40 PM
What a sad reflection of the left today - self consumed and devoid of principle!

Depends on whether you think Nick Cohen is 'reflecting' what's really there or engaging in the construction of a very large straw man.

noel emits
10-11-2007, 04:03 PM
The anti-rockism of the new left?

Gavin
10-11-2007, 04:23 PM
Those dastardly relativists on the... left?



JEREMY PAXMAN:
So there is a distinctive British foreign policy. Does it have an ethical dimension still?

TONY BLAIR:
Of course it does, yeah.

JEREMY PAXMAN:
How then can you publicly endorse a country which bans political parties, bans trade unions and uses institutional torture?

TONY BLAIR:
The country being?

JEREMY PAXMAN:
Saudi Arabia? You called it a friend of the civilised world.

TONY BLAIR:
Yes, but it is also important to realise that if we want a secure progress in the Middle East, we should work with Saudi Arabia. I don't decide... Ethical foreign policy doesn't mean that you try to decide the government of every country of the world. You can't do that.

JEREMY PAXMAN:
You called it a friend of the civilised world.

TONY BLAIR:
It is. In my view, what it is doing in respect of the Middle East now...

JEREMY PAXMAN:
It chops people's arms off. It tortures people.

TONY BLAIR:
They have their culture, their way of life.

ChineseArithmetic
10-11-2007, 04:26 PM
"The anti-rockism of the new left?"


I get the impression Nick Cohen is more like some ageing raveista still nursing grudges about an argument he had about the correct definition of 'balearic' back in '89.

Gavin
10-11-2007, 04:26 PM
The anti-rockism of the new left?

Hmm... can't quite parse this, but seems interesting... Popism definitely had that air of contrarianism by people who know better trying to show how clever they are (at least in its worst manifestations); do you think that liberal imperialists like Hitchens and Cohen are playing a similar game?

Mr BoShambles
10-11-2007, 04:34 PM
Those dastardly relativists on the... left?

whats your point Gavin? that Tony Blair can't seperate from what is morally right and wrong? any regime that chops off peoples arms (to use Paxmans example) is surely to any on the political left (and for that matter any decent person) simply abhorant. agreed?

ChineseArithmetic
10-11-2007, 04:38 PM
whats your point Gavin? that Tony Blair can't seperate from what is morally right and wrong? any regime that chops off peoples arms (to use Paxmans example) is surely to any on the political left (and for that matter any decent person) simply abhorant. agreed?

How about a regime that kills people in the electric chair?

Gavin
10-11-2007, 04:45 PM
whats your point Gavin? that Tony Blair can't seperate from what is morally right and wrong? any regime that chops off peoples arms (to use Paxmans example) is surely to any on the political left (and for that matter any decent person) simply abhorant. agreed?

Yes, it's abhorrent. Many things are.

My point is that this caricature of a nebbish, hypocritical leftist playing pomo games to justify his own prejudices (pathological hatred of The West) applies just as well to the imperialists.

I probably shouldn't indulge this obvious baiting, but how can anyone think that handing Iraq to thugs like Cheney is something we are REQUIRED to cheerlead for? That we've "lost our souls" otherwise? There are certainly problems with the left, otherwise these absurd arguments wouldn't get traction, but a lack of faith in Bush's violent oil grab is not one of them.

Mr BoShambles
10-11-2007, 04:46 PM
How about a regime that kills people in the electric chair?

how about it? indefensible IMO. however at least those executed in America for instance get a trial with judge and jury - somewhat different to the arbitrary torture and executions practiced elsewhere in the world.

Gavin
10-11-2007, 04:50 PM
how about it? indefensible IMO. however at least those executed in America for instance get a trial with judge and jury - somewhat different to the arbitrary torture and executions practiced elsewhere in the world.

Yes, we should certainly praise and support unflinchingly this stunning achievement.

I like how you called it indefensible before defending it.

noel emits
10-11-2007, 04:52 PM
Hmm... can't quite parse this, but seems interesting... Popism definitely had that air of contrarianism by people who know better trying to show how clever they are (at least in its worst manifestations); do you think that liberal imperialists like Hitchens and Cohen are playing a similar game?
I was wondering if there was a comparison to be made between the anti-rockist position of relativism and 'the current lack of conviction in any ideal' BoShambles mentions. A paralising inability to take a stand - of course this has always been more of a problem for the left then for the right.

Not sure why or where Tony Blair comes into it as he's clearly is not on the left in any understandable sense - he's more of cynical poptimoportunist in that whatever his stated position is, he's really always going to go with what floats his boat / facilitates his agenda. Or perhaps that makes him the perfect exemplar of this syndrome.

OK- it's not such a great comparison, I was just musing on indicators of the general cultural stalemate.

It's interesting to me because although in theory something like 'anti-rockism' appears to make a good deal of sense, in practice of course I have strong opinions and preferences and absolutely feel that some things really are better than others.

Mr BoShambles
10-11-2007, 04:57 PM
Yes, we should certainly praise and support unflinchingly this stunning achievement.

I like how you called it indefensible before defending it.

no defence just simply a recognition of the difference (between standing trial with presumption of innocence until proven guilty against getting dragged out of bed one night, being tortured and then killed) which is apparent to surely everyone yourself included? i don't support the death penalty in any instance.

Gavin
10-11-2007, 04:58 PM
Not all poptimism/anti-rockism is bad really, some is quite thoughtful, but I don't get behind "evaluating music on its own merits" as valid criticism -- it's lazy, and you get contorted apologies for albums from Disney Channel characters from people who should know better. It's not a criticism that points to better music. One must have standards, eh BoShambles?

Anyway, I do see parallels, but I'm a tad hungover and the coffee hasn't kicked in.

Gavin
10-11-2007, 05:01 PM
i don't support the death penalty in any instance.

Then why apologize for it with this harping on "trials and juries" as if that somehow ameliorated all the gross injustice of the death penalty, something both conceptually disgusting but also ABHORRENT in its administration through an incredibly unfair for-profit legal system?

Sounds like you've lost yer way, chap.

noel emits
10-11-2007, 05:08 PM
Then why apologize for it with this harping on "trials and juries" as if that somehow ameliorated all the gross injustice of the death penalty, something both conceptually disgusting but also its ABHORRENT administration through an incredibly unfair for-profit legal system?

Sounds like you've lost yer way, chap.


The actions of totalitarian dictators and religous fundamentalists

Yeah, have to say these things may be closer to home than 'other parts of the world'. Calling criticism of injustice in your own backyard west-bashing is just as bad as excusing other regimes because it's 'their business'.

Mr BoShambles
10-11-2007, 05:12 PM
Then why apologize for it with this harping on "trials and juries" as if that somehow ameliorated all the gross injustice of the death penalty, something both conceptually disgusting but also its ABHORRENT administration through an incredibly unfair for-profit legal system?

Sounds like you've lost yer way, chap.

No lost my way at all.... don't like the death penalty in any guise full stop.

As a seperate issue i believe that every person should be entitled to fight their case (against whatever charge) through the judicial system from the startpoint of presumed innocence.

That some societies provide no such basis for the administration of law is wrong and should be righted. Furthermore that in some such societies torture and execuation are common punishment is wrong and should be righted. Its doubly wrong if you see what i mean...

Gavin
10-11-2007, 05:16 PM
That some societies provide no such basis for the administration of law is wrong and should be righted. Furthermore that in some such societies torture and execuation are common punishment is wrong and should be righted. Its doubly wrong if you see what i mean...

And by "should be righted" you of course mean "should be invaded." Because that's why countries are invaded: to right wrongs, just like your grandpa told you in his stories about "The Good War." Because wars typically lead to greater justice and safety, at least if the good guys win.

And what are these magical anarchist societies without law?

Mr BoShambles
10-11-2007, 05:26 PM
And by "should be righted" you of course mean "should be invaded." Because that's why countries are invaded: to right wrongs, just like your grandpa told you in his stories about "The Good War." Because wars typically lead to greater justice and safety, at least if the good guys win.

And what are these magical anarchist societies without law?

There's nothing 'magical' about them. Yes all societies have laws but how they are administered - in terms of judicial process - varies enormously. I'm sure Amnesty have some information about this which I'll dig up later. Suffice it to say right now that the application of law is far more arbitrary in some places than others which i'm sure you can recognise.

gotta go out now but this is interesting... more later.

Gavin
10-11-2007, 05:34 PM
gotta go out now but this is interesting...

At least one of us is getting something out of this.

The Boondocks episode "A Date With The Health Inspector (http://www.vidilife.com/index.cfm?f=media.play&vchrMediaProgramIDCryp=D33DB3AB-1F79-4CEE-BC33-3)" is a much more potent allegory for the Iraq War (and the justice system!) than some appropriated Amensty stats....

And for your interest in law and order, you should remember that the Iraq invasion was a gross breach of international law.

ChineseArithmetic
10-11-2007, 06:41 PM
I think Nick Cohen's recent ranting is as much about him as anything else. As one of the 'pro war left' he's now on a crusade to present anyone who opposed the war as outright apologists for islamic fundamentalism. He seems to be having a bit of a mid-life crisis, mixed in with the inevitable all consuming hubris that seems to overtake anyone who gets a weekly column in a newspaper and some kind of score settling that I know nothing about as I have no involvement with left wing activism, so don't know who he's fallen out with, or indeed care. Some Dissensus types may be able to provide some insight into this.

It is true that those on the left, in following their traditional instincts to oppose discrimination against ethnic minorities and the Republican Party's appetite for war and oil, can end up going down the route of 'my enemies enemy is my friend'. The world is more complex than that, but Nick Cohen is too obsessed with his own agendas to have any more nuanced take on things.

hundredmillionlifetimes
11-11-2007, 12:30 AM
Then why apologize for it with this harping on "trials and juries" as if that somehow ameliorated all the gross injustice of the death penalty, something both conceptually disgusting but also ABHORRENT in its administration through an incredibly unfair for-profit legal system?

Ah, yes, and with apologies for this ostensible derailment given my tangential/tendential mood tonight, but I blame the re-introduction of capital punishment in the US in 1976 largely on ... the now late Norman Mailer! [You can see him in acting-out pseudo-macho action in this clip from a ridiculous film he made in the 1970s (http://youtube.com/watch?v=5XU4jpnJWFY). Send in fucking Hemmingway - and his favourite bull]

His overbearingly romanticised central theme of the untamed male libido/id being more virtuous and more deserving of our castrated 'empathy' than educational, mechanical, chemical, or state-sanctioned brutal attempts to regulate or control it - well, he laboured extensively on this topic, and, indeed, it was what motivated him to defend Gary Gilmore's "right" to be properly state killed/executed - rather than rot-away in prison - according to the then ignored - mid-1970s - criminal law, in order for Gary to become a "virtuous" male again, to become, or fully realise, the "real" man mystique through the ultimate masculine goal of authentic self-sacrifice. Not only flushed with success there, but it also later spurred Mailer, ironically, to lobby - successfully again - for the release of another killer "who shows writing ability", and who subsequently went on to kill yet again. Mailer, in later 'more mellowed' years of course, professed his "regrets", the short-sightedness - and the very real, destructive long-term consequences - of his own misguided actions back then. Presumably, then, that's why he never once bothered to subsequently campaign for a reversal of those self-same destructive policies following his cathartic 'regrets.'

But Mailer became the archetypal living instantiation of a certain misplaced literary bias, manifested by what he became, as much for his past 'political interventions'. Of what he became versus what he could have been. Essentially, as he even admitted in his autobiography, he was a failed novelist, having mistakenly settled for the latter after abandoning a brilliant career as a superb and incisive political reporter/war correspondent [and his best writings to this day remain his political commentary, though his more recent contributions were - unlike a Chomsky, say - highly opinionated and poorly researched] to persevere with the anachronism, with the myth of writing The Great American Novel, which never happened and was never going to happen. Mailer seems manacled to a pre-1960s mindset, frantically oblivious or in denial about the social and cultural transformations that began in that decade: his autobiography is riddled with such tell-alls as "when I meet novelists and their wives". Eh, right, Norman. Where was Mailer hangin' out these past 40 years? But I suppose such as Toni Morrison, Nadime Gortimer, Anita Bruckner etc, many superior literary figures to Mailer, were just mere feminist fluff.

He's naked and he's dead, all right.

noel emits
11-11-2007, 12:37 AM
Whether it's Mailer's doing or not it's impossible to see how a sane society could be built around such a stinking rotten core.

hundredmillionlifetimes
11-11-2007, 12:52 AM
Whether it's Mailer's doing or not it's impossible to see how a sane society could be built around such a stinking rotten core.

A 'sane' society that still fully supports 'manifest destiny' and 'white man's burden', now on a global scale, while keeping all the millions of its skeletons firmly tasered in its closets; not sure what you ultimately mean by trivialising what I said about Mailer with a 'Whether it's Mailer's doing or not'. Let's not try to understand, let's just absolutely condemn, it's so much easier, cuz by definition none of us superior-removed beings are ever culpable ...

noel emits
11-11-2007, 12:58 AM
A 'sane' society that still fully supports 'manifest destiny' and 'white man's burden', now on a global scale, while keeping all the millions of its skeletons firmly tasered in its closets; not sure what you ultimately mean by trivialising what I said about Mailer with a 'Whether it's Mailer's doing or not'. Let's not try to understand, let's just absolutely condemn, it's so much easier, cuz by definition none of us superior-removed beings are ever culpable ...
I was saying that I think capital punishment and the threat thereof isn't the basis of a humane, peaceful grouping of people. Attitudes have a way of filtering through and violence breeds violence. It's in the nature of children to see their 'leaders' as tribal elders.

Like I said, I don't know about Mailer and you had prefaced your post as a derailment so I was responding mostly to Gavin's comment about the death penalty.

To be honest I thought you were mostly joking about Norman Mailer being responsible for the reintroduction of the death penalty.

hundredmillionlifetimes
11-11-2007, 01:10 AM
Like I said, I don't know about Mailer


But you didn't say that, you crudely dismissed the reference. So you're hardly in a position to pontificate on the subject. You're sounding like you'd prefer not to know, instead just vacuously moralize.


and you had prefaced your post as a derailment

I did so because the subject is somewhat removed from the thread topic.


so I was responding mostly to Gavin's comment about the death penalty.

An unannounced derailment is not a derailment!

noel emits
11-11-2007, 01:17 AM
Oh for fuck's sake. I saw what Gavin had said about capital punishment and I made a brief comment about it. That's all you twit.

'Whether it's Mailer's doing or not' means 'I don't know', because I don't. How is that pontificating?

noel emits
11-11-2007, 01:29 AM
Maybe you are been keen for someone to respond to your casting of Mailer as the hub of a cultural nexus that lead to conditions being right for the reinstatement of the death penalty to become possible.

Or at least I think that's what you are saying.

Anyway I was wondering when someone would get around to sampling his bit about marijuana on desert island discs for a cheesy dubstep wobbler.

hundredmillionlifetimes
11-11-2007, 01:30 AM
Oh for fuck's sake. I saw what Gavin had said about capital punishment and I made a brief comment about it. That's all you twit.

Now you've viscerally forgotten what you've just written.

No, you were responding not to Gavin's but to my post when you made the knee-jerk dismissal.


'Whether it's Mailer's doing or not' means 'I don't know', because I don't. ?

No, it means that you think that such crucial historical matters are irrelevant to any discussion of capital punishment in the US. Which of course they always are for 'twits'.

noel emits
11-11-2007, 01:33 AM
Sorry gov, you can't tell me what I was responding to. And you can't tell me what I meant by it neither. I've explained and it's plain to see anyway.

nomadologist
11-11-2007, 01:34 AM
Is this thread a joke? It's the left that is PRO economic reparations, and ANTI-warmongering "involvement" in third world conflict only when there is capital gain to be had by the self-interested.

nomadologist
11-11-2007, 01:38 AM
how about it? indefensible IMO. however at least those executed in America for instance get a trial with judge and jury - somewhat different to the arbitrary torture and executions practiced elsewhere in the world.

PFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF.

Those executed in America get fucking set-up by Rockefeller drug laws, thrown into jail at high enough bail so they'd never make it and have a fighting chance at a fair trial, can't afford decent lawyers (many court-appointed lawyers fucking SLEEP through their "clients'" trials), and then are sent into the vicious cycle of: get through a sentence alive and without too much PTSD from being raped and tortured in prison, go back to the real world unable to secure a job with a living wage and without any marketable skills, get involved in a life of crime again to afford living or simply because it doesn't matter any more because your life is over. Get sent back to jail. Repeat cycle endless times.

hundredmillionlifetimes
11-11-2007, 01:39 AM
Maybe you are been keen for someone to respond to your casting of Mailer as the hub of a cultural nexus that lead to conditions being right for the reinstatement of the death penalty to become possible.

Or at least I think that's what you are saying.

.

Your thinking is wrong. I wasn't 'casting' Mailer in any role; I was stating the widely-documented campaign he orchestrated for the re-introduction of the death penalty in the US, a campaign he came to subsequently 'regret' [though did absolutely nothing about it] when he realised that it would also be systematically applied to those who have no wish to be so executed/murdered by the state 'in a manly way', especially the innocent.

nomadologist
11-11-2007, 01:41 AM
Your thinking is wrong. I wasn't 'casting' Mailer in any role; I was stating the widely-documented campaign he orchestrated for the re-introduction of the death penalty in the US, a campaign he came to subsequently 'regret' [though did absolutely nothing about it] when he realised that it would also be systematically applied to those who have no wish to be so executed/murdered by the state 'in a manly way', especially the innocent.

HMLT is right.

noel emits
11-11-2007, 01:48 AM
Your thinking is wrong. I wasn't 'casting' Mailer in any role; I was stating the widely-documented campaign he orchestrated for the re-introduction of the death penalty in the US, a campaign he came to subsequently 'regret' [though did absolutely nothing about it] when he realised that it would also be systematically applied to those who have no wish to be so executed/murdered by the state 'in a manly way', especially the innocent.
Well good, good. I'm very glad you were able to state that in a less convoluted way.

And I'm pleased to read and talk about it.

But -

I . was . not . talking . about . this . when . I . very . simply . registered . my . disgust . at . capital . punishment.

noel emits
11-11-2007, 01:50 AM
HMLT is right.
Whatever, I wasn't disagreeing with him, just making an attempt to understand what he was going on about. Something I was only doing because he got all neurotic about me 'dismissing' his post when I was responding to something else.

Sheesh.

Mr BoShambles
11-11-2007, 01:50 AM
Is this thread a joke? It's the left that is PRO economic reparations, and ANTI-warmongering "involvement" in third world conflict only when there is capital gain to be had by the self-interested.

No joke Nomadologist. What economic reparations are you (and some on the left) advocating? And why exactly?

hundredmillionlifetimes
11-11-2007, 01:53 AM
Sorry gov, you can't tell me what I was responding to. And you can't tell me what I meant by it neither. I've explained and it's plain to see anyway.


I Am Telling You, and Demonstrating It, and it is plain to see. You stated:

Whether it's Mailer's doing or not it's impossible to see how a sane society could be built around such a stinking rotten core.

That was a response to my post, not Gavin's, as I don't recall any reference to Mailer in Gavin's post.

And all you 'explained' was your eagerness to avoid the subject [Mailer's collusion in the re-introduction of the death penalty] in order to engage in suitably meaningless, pious platitudes.

And I'm neither your 'gov' nor you 'twit.' [And, to be quite frank, if the death penalty were to be introduced in your country tomorrow, you really wouldn't lose any sleep over it, would you?]

noel emits
11-11-2007, 02:00 AM
I Am Telling You, and Demonstrating It, and it is plain to see. You stated:

Whether it's Mailer's doing or not it's impossible to see how a sane society could be built around such a stinking rotten core.

That was a response to my post, not Gavin's, as I don't recall any reference to Mailer in Gavin's post.

And all you 'explained' was your eagerness to avoid the subject [Mailer's collusion in the re-introduction of the death penalty] in order to engage in suitably meaningless, pious platitudes.

And I'm neither your 'gov' nor you 'twit.' [And, to be quite frank, if the death penalty were to be introduced in your country tomorrow, you really wouldn't lose any sleep over it, would you?]

Last word, and just to clear this up in case anyone else is bothering to read.

My intended meaning in saying 'Whether it's Mailer's doing or not it's impossible to see how a sane society could be built around such a stinking rotten core.', apart from the brief and polite acknowledgment of what you had written above was very simply:

"I DON'T LIKE THE DEATH PENALTY'

Edit - in fact I'm not going to trivialise my own point because I believe I was saying something of more substance than a 'meaningless, pious platitude', but maybe that's how a heartfelt abhorrence reads to you. You took my acknowledgment of your post AND simultaneous admission of insufficient knowledge to comment ('whether it's Mailer's doing or not') as their precise opposites, dismissal and pontification. Indeed you are the one who dismissed my point - that the vileness of the death penalty spreads through a society. And while we're on it, although I did not know about Norman Mailer's campaign, and that is indeed interesting, surely this is somewhat simplifying what has to be a more complex series of events and causes?

I am no longer concerned with what you think I meant, but if you refuse to accept my explanation of my own statement then you are calling me a liar and you can sod off.

nomadologist
11-11-2007, 02:01 AM
No joke Nomadologist. What economic reparations are you (and some on the left) advocating? And why exactly?

For example: some people on the left advocate reparations for slavery. Many on the left favor economic 'free trade' reform so that the severe asymmetry of power within the WTO can be somewhat counterbalanced. Many favor social programs that attempt to give an economic leg up to those who are born underprivileged. There are several thousand of these I could mention.

The reasons why are complex and vary by example, but they are usually quite obvious. People on the left favor economic reparations and countermeasures to class stratification because it would benefit the lower and lower middle classes, and in turn help level the playing field for people who want to achieve success and financial stability in life but otherwise would simply be unable to do so.

Mr BoShambles
11-11-2007, 02:20 AM
For example: some people on the left advocate reparations for slavery. Many on the left favor economic 'free trade' reform so that the severe asymmetry of power within the WTO can be somewhat counterbalanced. Many favor social programs that attempt to give an economic leg up to those who are born underprivileged. There are several thousand of these I could mention.

The reasons why are complex and vary by example, but they are usually quite obvious. People on the left favor economic reparations and countermeasures to class stratification because it would benefit the lower and lower middle classes, and in turn help level the playing field for people who want to achieve success and financial stability in life but otherwise would simply be unable to do so.

Ok lets take this bit by bit. So how would you/the left reform free trade to address the asymmetry of power between states (which would exist in a world of 'free trade' or not)? And how would increased protectionism benefit the lower and middle classes in the worlds poorer countries? Is it not true that in many cases tariffs, barriers and quotas have an adverse effect on the lives of the majority in any given society while acting as a tool to priviledge the elite and the state monopolies they support. I am as against the stupid economic nationalist type protectionism we exhibit in the West as I am elsewhere... our agricultural subsidies being the best example.

Not sure exactly what kind of social programs you are suggesting. Generally speaking, although social/redistributive programs can often be ineffective and sometimes even counter-productive, I'm not against them per se. Depends on their intentions, how well planned they are and ultimately how effective they are in each individual case.

Mr BoShambles
11-11-2007, 02:31 AM
For example: some people on the left advocate reparations for slavery.

Oh yeah and as for this bit, as you're fond of saying.... PFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF.

Slavery was and - where it is still practiced - is horrific and unjust. Which slaves (or their descendents) do you want to be reparated? All current slaves and all the descendents of slaves in the world need to be reparated right? And by whom exactly? And how logistically is this process possible?

Very interested in what you have to say here.....

bruno
11-11-2007, 02:56 AM
the current lack of conviction in any ideal - amongst the contemporary left - is demonstrated by a cultural relativism which justifies/turns a blind eye to all manner of persecution and oppression in other parts of the world on the basis that 'they're not like us, they've got a different regime of truth, you can't apply the same standards'. The actions of totalitarian dictators and religous fundamentalists can seemingly be justified and if not supported then certainly understood as a response to this so-called hegemonic structure of liberal markets, intellectual freedom, democracy and human rights. So much then for the traditional leftist stand against fascism, instead we have a growing 'West-bashing' sentiment combined with a sad apathy to the suffering of peoples in other parts of the world - Darfur, Zimbabwe, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea etc etc. In effect its all the fault of the 'West' (government and business alike) and thus the response of the left is passivity and isolationism. What a sad reflection of the left today - self consumed and devoid of principle!
it's always about doing what's best for others, isn't it. but troops and money will never be mobilised to liberate, this is pure fantasy. which is why it hasn't and will never happen in the case of the poor suffering peoples you mention, not until they have something to offer in return.

i don't know how 'leftist' this is but i feel it's the decent thing to do: respect the limits the other party has set out, engage constructively, negociate, nudge them in the right direction, let them find a way out of their own problems. or invade and pillage outright but spare us the lies about why you're doing it.

hundredmillionlifetimes
11-11-2007, 03:11 AM
Whatever, I wasn't disagreeing with him, just making an attempt to understand what he was going on about.

You made no such 'attempt'; on the contrary, you summarily dismissed everything I was saying about Mailer.



Something I was only doing because he got all neurotic about me 'dismissing' his post when I was responding to something else.

Sheesh.

Again, you were directly responding to my post, dismissing it as irrelevant, and now - in your pop-psychological ignorance - you're yet again resorting to abusive, derogatory terms (neurotic, twit, etc), in a pathetic - and properly neurotic-paronoid - attempt to cover your tracks.

Mr BoShambles
11-11-2007, 03:16 AM
it's always about doing what's best for others, isn't it. but troops and money will never be mobilised to liberate, this is pure fantasy. which is why it hasn't and will never happen in the case of the poor suffering peoples you mention, not until they have something to offer in return.

i don't know how 'leftist' this is but i feel it's the decent thing to do: respect the limits the other party has set out, engage constructively, negociate, nudge them in the right direction, let them find a way out of their own problems. or invade and pillage outright but spare us the lies about why you're doing it.

Sorry Bruno just to be clear - the stance that you are advocating is that we should not interfere in the goings on in any other sovereign state apart from quiet words every now and again if we think its necessary right? Perhaps we can make moral judgements regarding what we think is right or wrong but we cannot force these on other people/societies? Is that it in a nutshell?

bruno
11-11-2007, 03:22 AM
ina nutshell, yes. i'm anti intervention for whatever bullshit reasons are given for it but above all because i believe in self determination and the dignity that comes with it.

edit: same stance as here http://www.dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=3696, and firmly against so-called multilateral interventions as well.

hundredmillionlifetimes
11-11-2007, 03:40 AM
Sorry Bruno just to be clear - the stance that you are advocating is that we should not interfere in the goings on in any other sovereign state apart from quiet words every now and again if we think its necessary right? Perhaps we can make moral judgements regarding what we think is right or wrong but we cannot force these on other people/societies? Is that it in a nutshell?

Sorry, just to clarify, but who is this 'we' that you invoke here? The Chinese? The Iranians? The Russians? The Japanese? The South Africans? The Cubans? The Venezuelans? Given that they're so ruthlessly busy 'interfering in the goings on of other sovereign states'.

Perhaps they should all maybe take your advice, maybe get together, and - like the US - immediately establish 1,000 belligerent military bases in 135 countries around the world in order to enforce their 'moral judgements.' Starting with the US and UK ...

Maybe [as the UN would say].

noel emits
11-11-2007, 10:17 AM
You made no such 'attempt'; on the contrary, you summarily dismissed everything I was saying about Mailer.
Well you are wrong. But so what if I had ignored your post you pompous *******? It was unnecessarily verbose and convoluted as usual. I will say what I wish to say whether you deem it sufficiently deferential to your self important bletherings or not.

Again, you were directly responding to my post, dismissing it as irrelevant, and now - in your pop-psychological ignorance - you're yet again resorting to abusive, derogatory terms (neurotic, twit, etc), in a pathetic - and properly neurotic-paronoid - attempt to cover your tracks.
Yeah name calling is low. You have to understand it was because you were being a total ******* ******* ***** and claiming I was lying when actually you had misinterpreted what I'd said.

Sorry everyone.

(That's not a "pathetic populist appeal to the approval of the 'other'", it's a considerate acknowledgment that no-one else cares about this bickering.)

nomadologist
11-11-2007, 01:01 PM
Ok lets take this bit by bit. So how would you/the left reform free trade to address the asymmetry of power between states (which would exist in a world of 'free trade' or not)? And how would increased protectionism benefit the lower and middle classes in the worlds poorer countries? Is it not true that in many cases tariffs, barriers and quotas have an adverse effect on the lives of the majority in any given society while acting as a tool to priviledge the elite and the state monopolies they support. I am as against the stupid economic nationalist type protectionism we exhibit in the West as I am elsewhere... our agricultural subsidies being the best example.

Not sure exactly what kind of social programs you are suggesting. Generally speaking, although social/redistributive programs can often be ineffective and sometimes even counter-productive, I'm not against them per se. Depends on their intentions, how well planned they are and ultimately how effective they are in each individual case.

If you'd studied economics at all, you'd realize that there IS a happy medium between "protectionism" and changing economic policy so the third world doesn't constantly get shafted. Just because the EXISTING quotas/tarrifs/etc do not work well, this does not mean NEW ONES couldn't.

"Can often be ineffective"...show me the numbers on this?

Mr BoShambles
11-11-2007, 10:31 PM
If you'd studied economics at all

You know nothing about me... to be frank you are both presumptuous and just plain rude. I'm interested in an open debate, you may not like some of my points and vice versa but resorting to this kind of shit is completely unecessary.

nomadologist
11-11-2007, 10:36 PM
Excuse me? If you've studied economics, by all means use some to add depth to your points-of-view.

I think it's just plain rude and presumptuous to start a thread that is obviously intended to bait the non-conservative leaning posters (which includes most people on Dissensus) into an argument about the same old "Leftist" strawman that gets touted on here constantly by the usual suspects.

hundredmillionlifetimes
11-11-2007, 10:36 PM
Well you are wrong.

On the contrary.


But so what if I had ignored your post

We can now take that as a final, grudging admission.


you pompous *******?

Your posts here are the very definition of pomposity ("T'll say whatever I like even when I'm obviously wrong.").


It was unnecessarily verbose and convoluted as usual.

You had some difficulty understanding it?


I will say what I wish to say whether you deem it sufficiently deferential to your self important bletherings or not.

Very Norman Mailer. Proceed with your incoherent adolescent babblings.


Yeah name calling is low. You have to understand it was because you were being a total ******* ******* ***** and claiming I was lying when actually you had misinterpreted what I'd said.

It was you who made such a claim about yourself, finally admitting it above.


Sorry everyone.

Yet another acknowledgement of your embarrassing droolings hereabouts.


(That's not a "pathetic populist appeal to the approval of the 'other'", it's a considerate acknowledgment that no-one else cares about this bickering.)

If you couldn't care less about all of this (something I already pointed out about you up-thread but which you predictably denied), then stop clogging up bandwidth with your infantile ravings and fuck off ...

nomadologist
11-11-2007, 10:38 PM
Normal Mailer just died--just saw the obit today...

Let's put this Mailer shit to rest, yeah?

Gavin
11-11-2007, 10:39 PM
Normal Mailer just died--just saw the obit today...

Let's put this Mailer shit to rest, yeah?

Dead but already forgotten...

Guybrush
11-11-2007, 10:49 PM
In Mr BoShambles defence (not that he cannot defend himself), most economists are still much more sceptical of tarifs and other trade barriers than are laymen, to say nothing of politicians.


And how would increased protectionism benefit the lower and middle classes in the worlds poorer countries?
That’s the somewhat sticky part: it probably wouldn’t. Certainly not short-term, anyway. Long-term? It’s hard to say. On the other hand — would increased protectionism benefit the lower and middle classes in the U.S.? Quite possibly, hence why almost all of the topline Democrats are much more sceptical of free-trade/globalization/you-know-what-I-mean today than they were ten or so years ago.

Mr BoShambles
11-11-2007, 10:58 PM
Thanks Guybrush :D

nomadologist
11-11-2007, 11:04 PM
Ok, first, I am also sceptical of tariffs and trade barriers.

If you'll scroll up, you'll see that I don't think the current modes of economic approach to globalization and the "developing" world are sufficient or even justified on any level. I would argue for drastic policy shifts that would END interventionism and protectionism and promote third world development without military occupation, invasion OR NGO-style efforts to "rebuild" through aid-funded charity.

Yes, this would be highly complex and difficult to determine.

Mr BoShambles
11-11-2007, 11:33 PM
I would argue for drastic policy shifts that would END interventionism and protectionism and promote third world development without military occupation, invasion OR NGO-style efforts to "rebuild" through aid-funded charity.

Ok Nomad, using your superior economic nous would you be kind enough to outline how you would go about promoting this 'third world development' that you refer to? (Don't forget that your first three policies are ENDING military interventionism, economic protectionism, and NGO style programmes.)

It might be worth just explaining what you consider the word 'development' to mean - a definition would be good.

Oh yeah I'm still interested in those economic reparations for slavery that you were talking about before. Any thoughts on how you would put together a policy for this as well?

nomadologist
11-11-2007, 11:37 PM
Ok Nomad, using your superior economic nous would you be kind enough to outline how you would go about promoting this 'third world development' that you refer to? (Don't forget that your first three policies are ENDING military interventionism, economic protectionism, and NGO style programmes.)

It might be worth just explaining what you consider the word 'development' to mean - a definition would be good.

Oh yeah I'm still interested in those economic reparations for slavery that you were talking about before. Any thoughts on how you would put together a policy for this as well?

I will outline my ideas at length later when I don't have other windows open with readings I need to do. These are not simple ideas and this will require more energy to focus than I have right now. I'm a little, eh, tired.

Second, I never said that I *personally* think that reparations are a great idea, or an unproblematic one. I said that many people on the left feel this way, in order to add a counterpoint to your one-dimensional and downright ridiculous characterization of a monolithic "left"...

nomadologist
11-11-2007, 11:39 PM
"nous" is so overused on Dissensus...I wish people would just use "knowledge" when they mean it...

hundredmillionlifetimes
12-11-2007, 02:22 AM
Normal Mailer just died--just saw the obit today...

Let's put this Mailer shit to rest, yeah?

Jeez, Nomad! His death was precisely what prompted me to mention him in the context of a death-penalty discussion [I titled the post 'Norman Mailer (1923-2007)'].

But the discussion here has long passed on from Mailer, as you might have noticed, to an idiot poster refusing to concede that he might be wrong ...

nomadologist
12-11-2007, 02:38 AM
I figured this was why. I'm not sure Noel understood why you focused on Mailer. I think it was all a miscommunication, but II can't really be bothered to read throug the whole exchange (it's rather boring.):cool:

Ah well, I'm in Brooklyn now, I will not be bothered or called to sit round on a computer much, so the threads will be left clear for the more apostolically liberal among us. I will be busy getting fucked and tben leaving my apartment. Probably killing puppies and cursing at grannies while driving hummers three blocks to vote for whichever candidate is pro-legalization of street drugs. You know, stuff like that!

swears
12-11-2007, 12:29 PM
Marxian thought has always assumed that the breakdown of the pretenses of humanistic culture would yield a reality that was more responsive and coherent than that of humanistic illusionism. Yet behind the mask of humanism there exists not the truths of materialism but the nightmare scenarios of logic and determinism. There emerges a crystalline world responsive only to numerical imperatives, formal manipulation, and financial control.

-Peter Halley

In the negative part of Professor Hayek's thesis there is a great deal of truth. It cannot be said too often — at any rate, it is not being said nearly often enough — that collectivism is not inherently democratic, but, on the contrary, gives to a tyrannical minority such powers as the Spanish Inquisitors never dreamed of. Professor Hayek is also probably right in saying that in this country the intellectuals are more totalitarian-minded than the common people. But he does not see, or will not admit, that a return to 'free' competition means for the great mass of people a tyranny probably worse, because more irresponsible, than that of the State.

-George Orwell


Over here we always knew the Labour Party was our enemy just as much as the conservatives.

-Stewart Home

swears
12-11-2007, 01:01 PM
So, like I guess these guys are saying that sometimes the left is bad, yeah?

But the right is like, still worse.

matt b
12-11-2007, 01:34 PM
this highlights the stupidity of defining 'the left' as a homogenous group- orwell was clearly of 'the left'- a self proclaimed conservative (small c) anarchist, yet he's slagging off another part of 'the left'. wtf?

gek-opel
12-11-2007, 01:39 PM
Indeed and it is this kind of desire for a homogeneity of "left" political identity which drives morons like Nick Cohen into their pointless little diatribes (along of course with his bizarre desire to metastasize his own mid-life crisis swing to the right into a diagnosis of the world- relativistically he's remained the same, it is the "left" which has changed haha...)

vimothy
12-11-2007, 05:20 PM
Depends on whether you think Nick Cohen is 'reflecting' what's really there or engaging in the construction of a very large straw man.

Yes -- and I guess that would depend on whether or not one stopped reading this thread with this post ...

So here's Blair, summing up exactly the left's attitude to other societies:


They have their culture, their way of life.

Which is surely Cohen's point, and, as if it didn't need any more proof, here's ChineseArithmetic again to ram it home after only half a page:


How about a regime that kills people in the electric chair?

vimothy
12-11-2007, 05:32 PM
this highlights the stupidity of defining 'the left' as a homogenous group- orwell was clearly of 'the left'- a self proclaimed conservative (small c) anarchist, yet he's slagging off another part of 'the left'. wtf?

But isn't this what leftists love most -- disagreeing with one another?

And anyway, this is also true for Cohen: a leftist slagging off other parts of the left. And, of course, there are other leftists who broadly agree with him: Hitchens, Geras, Kamm, Aaronovitch, Kouchner, Berman, etc, depsite still being leftists.

vimothy
12-11-2007, 05:40 PM
In the negative part of Professor Hayek's thesis there is a great deal of truth. It cannot be said too often — at any rate, it is not being said nearly often enough — that collectivism is not inherently democratic, but, on the contrary, gives to a tyrannical minority such powers as the Spanish Inquisitors never dreamed of. Professor Hayek is also probably right in saying that in this country the intellectuals are more totalitarian-minded than the common people. But he does not see, or will not admit, that a return to 'free' competition means for the great mass of people a tyranny probably worse, because more irresponsible, than that of the State.

-George Orwell

Though, happily, Orwell was quite wrong about that.

gek-opel
12-11-2007, 07:26 PM
But isn't this what leftists love most -- disagreeing with one another?

And anyway, this is also true for Cohen: a leftist slagging off other parts of the left. And, of course, there are other leftists who broadly agree with him: Hitchens, Geras, Kamm, Aaronovitch, Kouchner, Berman, etc, depsite still being leftists.

Really? (some of them) are avowedly of the left... but pretty much sound in almost every sense as if they are centre-right. Is this a bit like those albums being tagged as "metal" cos the guy who made them used to be into black metal, but now sounds pretty much exactly like a 3rd rate MBV? Methinks so.

nomadologist
12-11-2007, 07:37 PM
Really? (some of them) are avowedly of the left... but pretty much sound in almost every sense as if they are centre-right. Is this a bit like those albums being tagged as "metal" cos the guy who made them used to be into black metal, but now sounds pretty much exactly like a 3rd rate MBV? Methinks so.

hahahaha

noel emits
13-11-2007, 02:01 PM
I think it was all a miscommunication,
I see now that it appears the other poster assumed I was describing our society as 'sane' when I was actually criticising a policy that I saw as contributing to the madness. So yeah, miscommunication.

nomadologist
13-11-2007, 02:29 PM
I see now that it appears the other poster assumed I was describing our society as 'sane' when I was actually criticising a policy that I saw as contributing to the madness. So yeah, miscommunication.

For some reason, the way you phrase some of the things you say in this and a couple other threads confuses me, too--sometimes it sounds like you're defending the opposite viewpoint instead of your own. I think it's because rhetorically you give a lot of ground to the "other side" before you get to the business of criticizing? Not trying to be critical myself, here, I've just noticed this...

noel emits
13-11-2007, 02:34 PM
For some reason, the way you phrase some of the things you say in this and a couple other threads confuses me, too--sometimes it sounds like you're defending the opposite viewpoint instead of your own. I think it's because rhetorically you give a lot of ground to the "other side" before you get to the business of criticizing? Not trying to be critical myself, here, I've just noticed this...
No, that's interesting. Maybe I do, I'll have to think about it.

I did assume that it was clear from what I said, and maybe other posts, that I would never in a million years describe our society as 'sane'!

Assumptions lead us astray don't they. Same as if you assume people to be stupid that's what you'll tend to see. Although often it's a fair assumption ;)

Thing is though on forums like this we have to use some short-hand, we can't explain our entire thinking in every post! It's about trying to meet people half way, making a little effort to receive their signal. With reference to what you said about my rhetorical style, I believe the most fruitful discussions are about exchanging ideas and playing them off against each other. If it's just about point scoring and trying to prove the other person wrong you won't learn anything and you won't have a very nice time either.

vimothy
13-11-2007, 02:45 PM
[Is this a Xasthur reference?]


Really? (some of them) are avowedly of the left... but pretty much sound in almost every sense as if they are centre-right. Is this a bit like those albums being tagged as "metal" cos the guy who made them used to be into black metal, but now sounds pretty much exactly like a 3rd rate MBV? Methinks so.

Who in that list is centre-right? Only Hitchens and Aaronovitch are possibilities. And in Hitchens case, it's impossible to properly tell, IMO, since he is, in his own words, a "single-issue voter" and only interested in the War on Terror. I suspect that the only reason you describe these people as centre-right is because they disagree with you on this very subject, which perhaps gives lie to the notion that the left is "not monolithic". (Although, apparently this fact was not a problem when we were discussing Nick Land's opinions on the left).

Maybe your analogy holds true -- but I doubt it. I think it's more like fans saying that Dimmu Borgir is not Black Metal because they think that they've sold out.

gek-opel
13-11-2007, 03:46 PM
[Is this a Xasthur reference?]
Who in that list is centre-right? Only Hitchens and Aaronovitch are possibilities. And in Hitchens case, it's impossible to properly tell, IMO, since he is, in his own words, a "single-issue voter" and only interested in the War on Terror. I suspect that the only reason you describe these people as centre-right is because they disagree with you on this very subject, which perhaps gives lie to the notion that the left is "not monolithic". (Although, apparently this fact was not a problem when we were discussing Nick Land's opinions on the left).

Maybe your analogy holds true -- but I doubt it. I think it's more like fans saying that Dimmu Borgir is not Black Metal because they think that they've sold out.

I was actually referring to Alcest...

vimothy
13-11-2007, 03:49 PM
I was actually referring to Alcest...

Fucking great band, though. Not into them?

Have you heard any of Neige's other stuff - Pest Noire (trad raw BM with lots of solos) or Amesoeurs (awesome cross between Alcest and Pest Noire)?

gek-opel
13-11-2007, 03:57 PM
Fucking great band, though. Not into them?

Have you heard any of Neige's other stuff - Pest Noire (trad raw BM with lots of solos) or Amesoeurs (awesome cross between Alcest and Pest Noire)?

They're ok. Not heard his other stuff yet. My issue with the whole MBV metal scene is that most of it ends up being waaay too lame and not metal enough... with the possible exception of The Angelic Process (but they've just taken relatively conventional gothish metal and put it at the bottom of a massive reverb chamber...)

vimothy
13-11-2007, 04:01 PM
They're ok. Not heard his other stuff yet. My issue with the whole MBV metal scene is that most of it ends up being waaay too lame and not metal enough... with the possible exception of The Angelic Process (but they've just taken relatively conventional gothish metal and put it at the bottom of a massive reverb chamber...)

Le Secret was more BM than the album. You might like Amesoeurs, since they retain more of a BM edge. Still if you want to listen to something Beherit or Black Witchery, then that's what you should do.

hundredmillionlifetimes
13-11-2007, 06:09 PM
Really? (some of them) are avowedly of the left... but pretty much sound in almost every sense as if they are centre-right. Is this a bit like those albums being tagged as "metal" cos the guy who made them used to be into black metal, but now sounds pretty much exactly like a 3rd rate MBV? Methinks so.

Vim's over-exposure to iraq-war metal has finally snapped all remaining synaptic-firing possibilities between his Right (wing) Brain and his now-schrivelled Left Brain. Once a left-winger always a left-winger, especially after moving to the right. Aren't U2 still a 'punk band'?

"‘Philanthropy is like hippy music, holding hands,’ Bono claimed. ‘Red is more like punk rock, hip hop, this should feel like hard commerce.’

gek-opel
13-11-2007, 06:12 PM
‘Philanthropy is like hippy music, holding hands,’ Bono claimed. ‘Red is more like punk rock, hip hop, this should feel like hard commerce.’

This quote is just utterly sick-making.

hundredmillionlifetimes
13-11-2007, 06:42 PM
This quote is just utterly sick-making.

Yeah, breaking all bounds of enunciated credibility, I had to re-check this more than once, but there it is (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4650024.stm). And as always with Mr Demiurge, his Freudian slips dispense with all cult-stud notions of such symptoms being mere random semiotic material:

"Here we are, fat cats in the snow," said Bono at the start of the launch, only to correct himself: "I should say winners in the snow" ... "I really, really hate losing," Bono said, adding that he had turned to corporate winners so that the Global Fund could make money "in the slipstream, in the wake of these companies".

Semiologists have all just died of asphyxiation.

nomadologist
13-11-2007, 07:34 PM
Not just semiologists!

Gavin
13-11-2007, 07:51 PM
Red, the perfect color for liberal communists like Bono :p

hundredmillionlifetimes
13-11-2007, 10:02 PM
Red, the perfect color for liberal communists like Bono :p

Maybe congealed blood-red instead: in the case of the liberal communists their philanthropy and charity-giving serves as a masquerade, a humanitarian fiction that serves to mask, redeem and legitimize their underlying 'hard commerce' and pursuit of profit, whereas with the latest breed of Bono clones, no need anymore for charity. Consumerism now is itself always-already humanitarian. The loaded ideological message: just keep on consuming as it itself will solve all poverty, disease, conflict, and inequality; how could there be anything the matter with consuming if it can achieve all of that too, shouldn't we be consuming much harder, exploiting much smarter, if we want to do even more Good in the world? ... no need for politics anymore. This, the ultimate core of the neo-liberal ideology which has replaced traditional philanthropic capitalism ('liberal communism').

gek-opel
13-11-2007, 11:59 PM
Red, the perfect color for liberal communists like Bono :p

Red in tooth and claw, hey just like hard commerce!

vimothy
14-11-2007, 11:19 AM
Vim's over-exposure to iraq-war metal has finally snapped all remaining synaptic-firing possibilities between his Right (wing) Brain and his now-schrivelled Left Brain. Once a left-winger always a left-winger, especially after moving to the right. Aren't U2 still a 'punk band'?

What does "moving to the right" mean in this context? Does it mean supporting the Iraq war? Yes, pretty much. Even in those instances were the people in question have always been consistent in their support for liberal intervention and their opposition to Islamism (Berman or Kouchner, e.g.)? Yes, so it would seem. And even when they remain stated leftists (all except Hitchens, AFAIK)? Yes to that too, because, like the "Zionist" thing, apparently you don't have to know that you're ideologically committed to a cause to be committed to it.

But do tell in what sense Berman is on the right. Or Cohen. Or Kouchner ...

nomadologist
14-11-2007, 03:14 PM
You'd have to move the center back to the "proper" center, Gek, before Vimothy would be able to see how these "leftists" of his are in fact center-right leaning.

He's got his center mark firmly planted somewhere in Rush Limbaugh's studio.

vimothy
14-11-2007, 03:19 PM
You'd have to move the center back to the "proper" center, Gek, before Vimothy would be able to see how these "leftists" of his are in fact center-right leaning.

Just explain how, nomadologist, I'm prepared to accept that I'm wrong, if you can demonstrate that leftists like Kamm or Kouchner are in fact rightists -- you know, why and how.

nomadologist
14-11-2007, 03:29 PM
First, Kamm supported the war in Iraq. This immediately DQs him from being anywhere near what I consider far leftism. This puts him firmly in the center with right-leaning tendencies. He has been openly criticized for this and the sincerity of his leftism challenged by many for this reason (Peter Wilby among his critics...)

Kouchner has been called a "political enigma" even by conservatives!

http://www.iht.com/articles/2003/10/13/kouchner_ed3_.php

vimothy
14-11-2007, 03:33 PM
I rest my case:


First, Kamm supported the war in Iraq. This immediately DQs him from being anywhere near what I consider far leftism. This puts him firmly in the center with right-leaning tendencies. He has been openly criticized for this and the sincerity of his leftism challenged by many for this reason (Peter Wilby among his critics...)

Kouchner has been called a "political enigma" even by conservatives!

http://www.iht.com/articles/2003/10/13/kouchner_ed3_.php

nomadologist
14-11-2007, 03:35 PM
What do you mean you rest your case? You saying I'm right *grin*

I am not the only one, not by a long shot, who thinks these guys politically fall closer to the center-right than the left. I can find tons of links about it.

vimothy
14-11-2007, 03:40 PM
What do you mean you rest your case?

I am not the only one, not by a long shot, who thinks these guys politically fall closer to the center-right than the left. I can find tons of links about it.

Your explanation:


Kamm supported the war in Iraq (and in your opinion that makes him a rightist not a hard leftist, which I doubt he has ever claimed to be)
Kouchner has been called an enigma

is not an explanation at all. Don't post links, post some content.

nomadologist
14-11-2007, 03:48 PM
Of course it's an explanation.

Anyone who supports the current war is not traditionally "leftist"--they are one of the new centrists that make up probably 75% of people on the political spectrum.

The leftist values that are supposed to drive the left are: a concern for limiting foreign interventions in the form of war or violence, a concern for domestic issues including one's own poor, one's own educational problems, one's own crime, a concern for keeping the first amendment intact even in the face of idiocy like the Patriot Act, etc.

Do I really need to go through the traditional "leftist" values? Do I really need to explain how the FoxNewsification of American political discourse has lead to the lunacy you're spouting?

nomadologist
14-11-2007, 03:49 PM
Why should I not post links? You do it all the time. Why should I not refer to political discourse?

The problem is you don't WANT to hear the truth, you're going to hold your hands over your ears and/or refuse to read it when you know it's there.

So what's the point?

nomadologist
14-11-2007, 03:52 PM
His strong words of support for the United States at the height of trans-Atlantic tensions over Iraq surprised many in France and in the United States.

"People ask if I am pro-American, but I ask who is the U.S.?" Kouchner said. "It is false to say the U.S. does not like the UN — look at Clinton and Holbrooke. There are intelligent and unintelligent people in the U.S."

Uncomfortable even with his own political party, Kouchner clashed with the leadership of the Socialists over the handling of the heat wave this summer that left thousands of elderly people dead.

As his party's secretary general railed against the government as "passive and inert," Kouchner warned against reflexive criticizing of the government.

"Yes, there are summers with heat waves," Kouchner said. "If people think that the government can change the temperature, they are wrong."

Kouchner sees no contradiction in his role of gadfly and party member.

"The Socialist Party attacks me for a lack of discipline, but let's debate ideas instead," Kouchner said. "I just put forward the ideas I believe."

He said clashes inevitably arose because his primary focus was not within

the Socialist Party, nor was it the Socialist Party itself.

There! The Socialists are uncomfortable with Kouchner. THEY don't think he reps their values!

vimothy
14-11-2007, 04:05 PM
Of course it's an explanation,

No it isn't. It's just a statement of two facts:


1. Kamm supported intervention in Iraq
2. Some people have called Kouchner an enigma

An explanation would try to explain why being called an enigma makes Kouchner a rightist, rather than just proclaiming it.

It would be like me saying:


You're not a leftist because you didn't support the liberation of Iraq from a murderous dictatorial fascist

without explaining how this is inconsistent with leftism (which, of course, it is not).


Anyone who supports the current war is not traditionally "leftist"--they are one of the new centrists that make up probably 75% of people on the political spectrum.

So supporting liberal intervention makes Kamm a centrist? Or a centre rightist? And this is true for everyone, with any liberal intervention (Kosovo, etc)?

So you are saying that you can't support military intervention and be a leftist? So any supporting the Allies in WWII couldn't be a leftist? So one could be a nominal Marxist, like Makiya, and support intervention in Iraq (for which even you would surely be hard pushed to condemn him), and yet the one must cancel out the other? Even if you remain comitted to Marxism?


The leftist values that are supposed to drive the left are: a concern for limiting foreign interventions in the form of war or violence, a concern for domestic issues including one's own poor, one's own educational problems, one's own crime, a concern for keeping the first amendment intact even in the face of idiocy like the Patriot Act, etc.

Please -- these are your concerns, but they are the same concerns that everyone has, be they leftists, rightists or fascist anarchists, what defines the political spectrum is how these concerns are to be answered.


Do I really need to go through the traditional "leftist" values? Do I really need to explain how the FoxNewsification of American political discourse has lead to the lunacy you're spouting?

I have never seen Fox News and am completely uninterested in it.

What you should do is demonstrate they ways in which the so-called "cruise war left" (i.e. the writers mentioned above) are not actually leftists, i.e. the ways that leftism is incompatable with support for liberal interventionism (Kamm for instance, has written a book making the leftist case for a muscular foreign policy -- you might like to briefly address some of his arguments), and, equally importantly the ways that their politics which are not related to foreign policy are not leftist, but are in fact rightist.

vimothy
14-11-2007, 04:07 PM
Why should I not post links? You do it all the time. Why should I not refer to political discourse?

The problem is you don't WANT to hear the truth, you're going to hold your hands over your ears and/or refuse to read it when you know it's there.

So what's the point?

I just want you to explain in what ways and how Berman, Kamm, Cohen et al are not leftists. Refer to other people, by all means, but please add some content of your own.

nomadologist
14-11-2007, 04:11 PM
I JUST TOLD YOU WHY I THINK THEY ARE NOT "LEFT" ENOUGH. You didn't seem to like that answer, but it's still why I (and MANY MANY OTHER LEFTISTS) would say about these people and their lack of sufficient leftism.

If you don't like my ideas, feel free to search google, you will find ample ideas of others on the same topic.

nomadologist
14-11-2007, 04:11 PM
Writing inane and irritatingly LONG posts does not necessarily mean you have "more" to say, Vim.

nomadologist
14-11-2007, 04:15 PM
So supporting liberal intervention makes Kamm a centrist? Or a centre rightist? And this is true for everyone, with any liberal intervention (Kosovo, etc)?

So you are saying that you can't support military intervention and be a leftist? So any supporting the Allies in WWII couldn't be a leftist? So one could be a nominal Marxist, like Makiya, and support intervention in Iraq (for which even you would surely be hard pushed to condemn him), and yet the one must cancel out the other? Even if you remain comitted to Marxism?


YES supporting intervention makes Kamm a centrist. YES it is true for anyone, even people who believed in the intervention in Kosovo. NO you can't support military "intervention" and be a leftist. Absolutely NOT.

What are you talking about? There are no "Marxists" anymore. There may be people who read Marx, and sympathize with his ideas, but there is no such thing as politically vital or relevant "Marxism" after, what, 1960?



Please -- these are your concerns, but they are the same concerns that everyone has, be they leftists, rightists or fascist anarchists, what defines the political spectrum is how these concerns are to be answered.


Isn't this JUST WHAT YOU ASKED FOR? *MY* concerns? Not a link, but MY concerns?

vimothy
14-11-2007, 04:23 PM
I JUST TOLD YOU WHY I THINK THEY ARE NOT "LEFT" ENOUGH. You didn't seem to like that answer, but it's still why I (and MANY MANY OTHER LEFTISTS) would say about these people and their lack of sufficient leftism.

If you don't like my ideas, feel free to search google, you will find ample ideas of others on the same topic.

Exactly, that's what I said upthread -- you can't explain why they're not leftists, you just think that they're not because of their support for the war in Iraq, even though many of them have solid leftist credentials no doubt far greater than your own, with longer involvement in leftist politics, and pretty much all having gone to great lengths to explain their support for the war in leftists terms -- none of which you could be bothered refering to in your "explanation", to say nothing of any of their other none-Iraq-related politics.

The leftist values that are supposed to drive the left are:...one's own educational problems, one's own crime

-- Genius

All you have said is that support for the Iraq war makes you a rightist and / or centre-rightist. Anyone can do that. Just explain why, that's all I was asking, though doubtless you cannot.

Mr BoShambles
14-11-2007, 04:25 PM
Kouchner has been called a "political enigma" even by conservatives!

http://www.iht.com/articles/2003/10/13/kouchner_ed3_.php

FWIW i think Kouchner has got it bang on....


While he can create a storm of controversy, Kouchner likes to highlight his record, particularly his work with Médecins Sans Frontières and Médecins du Monde, organizations that send doctors to developing countries.

"You always hear criticism at the beginning of an idea," Kouchner said. "They used to talk about Hippies Without Borders, Doctors Without Diplomas, I've heard it all."

A basic tenet for the organizations, and Kouchner's fundamental belief, is the importance of intervention.

"I believe in the right to intervene," he said, "and people must recognize that humanitarian aid is political. A boat sent to rescue boat people is making an inherently political act."

To address peoples suffering, foreign intervention is often required. Be it aid agencies like MSF or the Red Cross/Crescent, multi-lateral peace-keeping forces or in some extreme circumstances direct/pre-emptive military invasion. This is not to say that intervention of any type will always work and its success clearly depends on a number of factors:
(1) the nature/complexity of the situation; (2) the planning and expertise of those involved; (3) the agency and intentions of other interest groups/actors affecting the crisis.

matt b
14-11-2007, 04:29 PM
FWIW i think Kouchner has got it bang on....


what if the rescue boat then bombs the shit out of the boat people's vessel, ritually humiliates all male survivors then rapes and kills the floundering women?

that's virtually anarcho-syndicalism.

nomadologist
14-11-2007, 04:29 PM
Exactly, that's what I said upthread -- you can't explain why they're not leftists, you just think that they're not because of their support for the war in Iraq, even though many of them have solid leftist credentials no doubt far greater than your own, with longer involvement in leftist politics, and pretty much all having gone to great lengths to explain their support for the war in leftists terms -- none of which you could be bothered refering to in your "explanation", to say nothing of any of their other none-Iraq-related politics.

The leftist values that are supposed to drive the left are:...one's own educational problems, one's own crime

-- Genius

All you have said is that support for the Iraq war makes you a rightist and / or centre-rightist. Anyone can do that. Just explain why, that's all I was asking, though doubtless you cannot.

"Doubtless you cannot". It's doubtless that you wouldn't have been able to pass a single one of the classes I've soared through with As...

You're bringing this discussion to a place that has very little to do with the original intent of the thread. Should we start a new thread called:

"Political Elementary School: What makes the right the right, and the left the left?"

I figured you were at least intelligent enough that I would not have to explain EVEN THIS, but if you insist...

Mr BoShambles
14-11-2007, 04:33 PM
what if the rescue boat then bombs the shit out of the boat people's vessel, ritually humiliates all male survivors then rapes and kills the floundering women?

that's virtually anarcho-syndicalism.

are you thinking of a specific event here?

nomadologist
14-11-2007, 04:34 PM
This whole thing is turning into *classic* Vimothy.

"But they claim to be leftists! That means they are! If you say that you are allied with a certain set of values, even if you flagrantly ignore those and your ideology ends up disagreeing with them on every level, you are still allied with those values! What, do you think someone could misrepresent their position in order to make a slimy political gesture toward "encompassing" the good values of the opposition while clinging to the bad ones from your actual alliances?"


"Apparently you can support an ideology without being a card-carrying member of the club! According to these loonies! Haha! Who has ever unwittingly supported a cause! How absurd!"

vimothy
14-11-2007, 04:35 PM
YES supporting intervention makes Kamm a centrist. YES it is true for anyone, even people who believed in the intervention in Kosovo. NO you can't support military "intervention" and be a leftist. Absolutely NOT.

Ok, so that's obviously your position -- are you going to explain why this is inconsistent with leftism and why people who remain leftist in every other aspect might be considered rightist simply by virtue of this fact?

No, of course you're fucking not. It seems as though you don't even understand the question.


What are you talking about? There are no "Marxists" anymore. There may be people who read Marx, and sympathize with his ideas, but there is no such thing as politically vital or relevant "Marxism" after, what, 1960?

What aboput Gavin?

Anyway, I'm talking about Kanan Makiya (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanan_Makiya), the Marxist Iraqi dissident who wrote The Republic of Fear and supported the US invasion.

But keep hedging and spluutering and avoiding the issue by all means.


Isn't this JUST WHAT YOU ASKED FOR? *MY* concerns? Not a link, but MY concerns?

I didn't ask for your concerns (leftists are concerned about "education" -- so is everyone, FFS), I asked for you to EXPLAIN WHY supporting the Iraq war is incompatible with leftism, and why people who regard themselves as leftists, who have left positions in all other categories than foreign policy, should be considered rightists, not to merely claim that it is.

Fuck around, nomadologist.

nomadologist
14-11-2007, 04:42 PM
Hahah. hahahahhaha.
hahhahahhahhahaahhhhhha.

Oh boy, now I see the real issue. "How could you hold a political office for the democratic or leftist party and actually be a conservative or center-rightist in your actual policy-decisions and views?"

Happens all the time, Vim. See: special interest groups, lobbyism, and political opportunism.

Supporting a war that is about flagrant economic self-interest and that has destroyed the lives of several million people who happen to live in the general geographic region where critical natural resources (which are less abundant all the time and which are universally acknowledged to be key in the future of political power plays in the global economy) is not leftist because REPEAT AFTER ME leftists believe in minimizing military intervention and limiting it to situations in which the ethical imperative to save people is clear and unclouded by self- and special-interest.

See, boys and girls, people on the left believe that the ethical imperative is to forego the use of violence by any means necessary.

matt b
14-11-2007, 04:42 PM
are you thinking of a specific event here?

shall we play a guessing game?

Mr BoShambles
14-11-2007, 04:46 PM
shall we play a guessing game?

as much as I'd love to I don't have much time right now so perhaps you could just come out with whatever your trying to say...

vimothy
14-11-2007, 04:46 PM
Hahah. hahahahhaha.
hahhahahhahhahaahhhhhha.

Oh boy, now I see the real issue. "How could you hold a political office for the democratic or leftist party and actually be a conservative or center-rightist in your actual policy-decisions and views?"

Happens all the time, Vim. See: special interest groups, lobbyism, and political opportunism.

Supporting a war that is about flagrant economic self-interest and that has destroyed the lives of several million people who happen to live in the general geographic region where critical natural resources (which are less abundant all the time and which are universally acknowledged to be key in the future of political power plays in the global economy) is not leftist because REPEAT AFTER ME leftists believe in minimizing military intervention and limiting it to situations in which the ethical imperative to save people is clear and unclouded by self- and special-interest.

See, boys and girls, people on the left believe that the ethical imperative is to forego the use of violence by any means necessary.

:mad::slanted::(:eek::confused:

I give up

matt b
14-11-2007, 04:49 PM
as much as I'd love to I don't have much time right now so perhaps you could just come out with whatever your trying to say...

are you a little simple?

use your knowledge and inagination to guess some places in thw world where claims are made about 'saving' and 'freeing' people, where in fact actions such as i've alluded to have occured?

hint: begins with I ends in RAQ

crackerjack
14-11-2007, 04:50 PM
YES supporting intervention makes Kamm a centrist. YES it is true for anyone, even people who believed in the intervention in Kosovo. NO you can't support military "intervention" and be a leftist. Absolutely NOT.

Even by your own Olympian standards this is mindboggling bollocks.

Ken Liviingstone would be amused to find supporting the war in Kosovo means he's now a centrist.

matt b
14-11-2007, 04:55 PM
i think anyone backing ian blair should be surprised to be called a 'leftist'

Mr BoShambles
14-11-2007, 05:00 PM
Hahah. hahahahhaha.
hahhahahhahhahaahhhhhha.

Oh boy, now I see the real issue. "How could you hold a political office for the democratic or leftist party and actually be a conservative or center-rightist in your actual policy-decisions and views?"

Happens all the time, Vim. See: special interest groups, lobbyism, and political opportunism.

Supporting a war that is about flagrant economic self-interest and that has destroyed the lives of several million people who happen to live in the general geographic region where critical natural resources (which are less abundant all the time and which are universally acknowledged to be key in the future of political power plays in the global economy) is not leftist because REPEAT AFTER ME leftists believe in minimizing military intervention and limiting it to situations in which the ethical imperative to save people is clear and unclouded by self- and special-interest.

See, boys and girls, people on the left believe that the ethical imperative is to forego the use of violence by any means necessary.

you patronising fuck... of course violence should be minimized (no one here is advocating wanton death and destruction). but as you admit there are some cases where there is an 'ethical imperative' to intervene, and you need to face up to the fact that violence may well have to play a part in the more extreme cases. also it is surely possible for the 'left' to always find reason for accusations of self-interest and thus render every intervention as imperialism. and surely the international community must do something about Darfur given the atrocities being committed there as we speak.....but then Sudan has oil resources so we best steer well clear of that one.

matt b
14-11-2007, 05:03 PM
you patronising fuck... of course violence should be minimized (no one here is advocating wanton death and destruction). but as you admit there are some cases where there is an 'ethical imperative' to intervene, and you need to face up to the fact that violence may well have to play a part in the more extreme cases.

have we started bombing pakistan and burma then? what have i been missing?

Mr BoShambles
14-11-2007, 05:10 PM
have we started bombing pakistan and burma then? what have i been missing?

no but I can only assume that you would be vehemently against this. i'm sure that you're not going to pretend that the regimes in these two countries are agreeable*. so how do you recommend that the international community/the 'West'/or individual 'Western' states deal with these kind of circumstances?

*edit: both to the values promoted by the international community or to the majority of the public in these countries.

nomadologist
14-11-2007, 05:10 PM
Even by your own Olympian standards this is mindboggling bollocks.

Ken Liviingstone would be amused to find supporting the war in Kosovo means he's now a centrist.

Supporting the war in Kosovo? I was talking about supporting American intervention in Kosovo.

matt b
14-11-2007, 05:11 PM
no but I can only assume that you would be vehemently against this. i'm sure that you're not going to pretend that the regimes in these two countries are agreeable. so how do you recommend that the international community/the 'West'/or individual 'Western' states deal with these kind of circumstances?

within the law would be a start

nomadologist
14-11-2007, 05:12 PM
have we started bombing pakistan and burma then? what have i been missing?

Yes, it was certainly imperative that we start with Iraq rather than Darfur. We might best beef up military spending rather than fund research into and widescale distribution of AIDS preventative microbial gels (which have had considerable success in clinical trials and are compatible with existing cultural codes of sexual conduct).

vimothy
14-11-2007, 05:16 PM
within the law would be a start

That being the case, what's your opinion on intervention in Kosovo, matt?

crackerjack
14-11-2007, 05:27 PM
Supporting the war in Kosovo? I was talking about supporting American intervention in Kosovo.

Livingstone supported the American-led NATO intervention in Kosovo. What did you think I meant, that he cheered on Milosevic?

nomadologist
14-11-2007, 05:36 PM
I wasn't sure what you were saying.

Kosovo was a tricky situation, I don't think intervention was necessarily *bad* or that a conservative strategy didn't help alleviate the issues there--I do think it could've been handled better, but it seems clear in hindsight that some military presence (if not *action*) was warranted.

This is about as centrist as you'll ever hear me get.

nomadologist
14-11-2007, 05:38 PM
Should we have a "political/military interventionism" thread?

crackerjack
14-11-2007, 07:13 PM
Kosovo was a tricky situation, I don't think intervention was necessarily *bad* or that a conservative strategy didn't help alleviate the issues there--I do think it could've been handled better, but it seems clear in hindsight that some military presence (if not *action*) was warranted.

Well I'm glad we can agree on that at least, even if it does seem to contradict what you wrote above.

Gavin
14-11-2007, 08:32 PM
It's not JUST humanitarian intervention though, it never is. It's incorporation into the expanding capitalist empire through the installation of client regimes at great cost to the people of those countries. It's imperialism. That's why I have trouble labeling Kouchner a leftist or a socialist (though I know little about his other politics -- Doctors w/o Frontiers) -- he is supporting capitalist empire, he's on board with Sarkozy's dive into French neoimperialism as foreign minister. Maybe he says he's leftist but he is not showing it.

Anyway, it's just labels. Useful as shorthand, perhaps, but otherwise they say more about the person using those labels. Cohen supports George W. Bush, and is a confessed fan of Paul Wolfowitz, quivering with ecstacy to be in the presence of such power. It's hilarious to me that he criticized Blair endlessly for being all image while trusting and supporting (even now) one of the lying-est most cheating-est, least transparent U.S. regimes ever. He is interesting to me only in that he symbolizes a certain wedge going on in the left, where capitalist co-optations of left rhetoric like identity politics and tolerance trump traditional leftist issues like class and imperialism. He is uninteresting to me as an actual politico because he is ludicrously black-and-white: once he picks a side he doesn't deviate, even now refusing to condemn British and U.S. abuses -- indeed, he accuses everyone else of deviating BUT him!

Gavin
14-11-2007, 08:36 PM
Also, for what it's worth, in the U.S. gay rights is still the litmus test for being liberal (no one uses 'leftist' except Bill O'Reilly against the Democrats) -- Iraq, none of the other shit matters really. I like to use leftist to distinguish between people against imperial adventures and people who think gays are cool and want universal health care but don't see the need to criticize "free" trade or the U.S. occupation. My use may be idiosyncratic, but it's useful shorthand.

nomadologist
14-11-2007, 09:18 PM
Well I'm glad we can agree on that at least, even if it does seem to contradict what you wrote above.

It doesn't contradict what I said--I said interventionism is not in line with contemporary (past 25 years or so) leftist foreign policy strategy. (Checked what I said, and what I meant by saying you can't be a leftist and support interventionism, of course I meant it is NOT a popular or feasible strategy among leftists for America to rule with a "big stick" as they say) Any objections to that?

nomadologist
14-11-2007, 09:20 PM
Also, for what it's worth, in the U.S. gay rights is still the litmus test for being liberal (no one uses 'leftist' except Bill O'Reilly against the Democrats) -- Iraq, none of the other shit matters really. I like to use leftist to distinguish between people against imperial adventures and people who think gays are cool and want universal health care but don't see the need to criticize "free" trade or the U.S. occupation. My use may be idiosyncratic, but it's useful shorthand.

These are good points.

I would agree with your use of leftist--important distinctions to make.

nomadologist
14-11-2007, 09:22 PM
Personally I have a huge problem with centrists who call themselves liberals, tho.

trouc
14-11-2007, 09:29 PM
Also, for what it's worth, in the U.S. gay rights is still the litmus test for being liberal (no one uses 'leftist' except Bill O'Reilly against the Democrats) -- Iraq, none of the other shit matters really. I like to use leftist to distinguish between people against imperial adventures and people who think gays are cool and want universal health care but don't see the need to criticize "free" trade or the U.S. occupation. My use may be idiosyncratic, but it's useful shorthand.

By this criteria, I think you'd find way more leftists in the US than liberals. The war is hugely unpopular right now; I'd bet immediate withdrawal would get more votes in a referendum than the legalization of gay marriage. Maybe this was your point though.

nomadologist
14-11-2007, 09:31 PM
I don't know, though, Trouc--the people who are against the war now see it more as a simple waste of time and money, I'm not sure they object on the grounds of American imperialism.

trouc
14-11-2007, 09:36 PM
I don't know, though, Trouc--the people who are against the war now see it more as a simple waste of time and money, I'm not sure they object on the grounds of American imperialism.

Hmm, good point, but anti-imperialism in the US has always had isolationist undertones. And, part of the problem with (hard) imperialism is that it ultimately just doesn't work very well (this is also a feature), so maybe we should be looking at this as an educational moment. Convincing people that imperialism's bad will be more effective if it hurts them, either through their kids or their pocketbook.

Slothrop
14-11-2007, 09:39 PM
It's not JUST humanitarian intervention though, it never is. It's incorporation into the expanding capitalist empire through the installation of client regimes at great cost to the people of those countries. It's imperialism.
Two questions:
- Do you apply this to other forms of intervention, eg economic sanctions as well?
- Assuming for the moment that military intervention would genuinely make a situation better (and I think it can, although the bar for how fucked up the situation has to be before that happens is extremely high - anyone saying this applies to Iraq at this stage is pretty clearly deluding themselves), aren't the commentators still supporting that intervention for the right reasons, even if the people making those decisions are making them for the wrong reasons? Can't they say that if the country was run how it should be run, we would be intervening in these situations where it would genuinely improve things and not in those situations where the only possible motive is self interest?

Gavin
14-11-2007, 09:55 PM
By this criteria, I think you'd find way more leftists in the US than liberals. The war is hugely unpopular right now; I'd bet immediate withdrawal would get more votes in a referendum than the legalization of gay marriage. Maybe this was your point though.

Well, the right successfully divorced gay rights from gay marriage.

I should clarify, my distinction has more to do with the initial invasion which liberals supported at the time. They've only backtracked because it's going badly (and all their criticism is about the "mishandling" of the war, not the principle of the invasion).

Plenty of people on the right are against the invasion now for a variety of reasons (conspiracy theories for one). Opposition to the war is not the sole determinant of leftism in my mind.



Two questions:
- Do you apply this to other forms of intervention, eg economic sanctions as well?
- Assuming for the moment that military intervention would genuinely make a situation better (and I think it can, although the bar for how fucked up the situation has to be before that happens is extremely high - anyone saying this applies to Iraq at this stage is pretty clearly deluding themselves), aren't the commentators still supporting that intervention for the right reasons, even if the people making those decisions are making them for the wrong reasons? Can't they say that if the country was run how it should be run, we would be intervening in these situations where it would genuinely improve things and not in those situations where the only possible motive is self interest?


1. I am for the cessation of the U.S. selling weapons. I am against using food&medicine as a weapon. Ultimately sanctions never work. I don't know what other interventions you might suggest... meddling in elections? I'm against that.

2. I would not make your assumption... but... I could give a fuck how people justify the invasion with all sorts of good intentions. The U.S. does not invade countries because of good intentions. It does it for money and power. I think it's a sad commentary on the West's militaristic cognitive dissonance that we have so many well meaning people going crazy trying to figure out how our army occupying other countries could possibly improve them.

Would Saddam have used chemicals on the Kurds if the military hadn't sold them to him? Would other countries be "less fucked up" if corporations weren't raping them and calling on Western governments' militaries to apply the lube? These are far more relevant and important hypotheticals in my mind.

Slothrop
14-11-2007, 10:19 PM
2. I would not make your assumption... but... I could give a fuck how people justify the invasion with all sorts of good intentions. The U.S. does not invade countries because of good intentions. It does it for money and power.
So even if an armed intervention would avert a major humanitarian fuckup you'd oppose it because if it did happen it wouldn't be happening for the right reasons? You can't talk about what should be happening - what would be happening if you ran the world, whatever - independently of what is happening?

Gavin
14-11-2007, 10:31 PM
So even if an armed intervention would avert a major humanitarian fuckup you'd oppose it because if it did happen it wouldn't be happening for the right reasons? You can't talk about what should be happening - what would be happening if you ran the world, whatever - independently of what is happening?

I guess you would have to show me the humanitarian fuckup that a bunch of heavily armed troops could avert without causing more fuckups.

As I've said before, the burden of proof that humanitarian interventions work is on those calling for them. Real proof, not hypotheticals... the hypotheticals already take interventionists at their word.

Man I sound like such a realist when it comes to foreign policy....

crackerjack
14-11-2007, 10:51 PM
It doesn't contradict what I said--I said interventionism is not in line with contemporary (past 25 years or so) leftist foreign policy strategy. (Checked what I said, and what I meant by saying you can't be a leftist and support interventionism, of course I meant it is NOT a popular or feasible strategy among leftists for America to rule with a "big stick" as they say) Any objections to that?

No, what you actually said was


YES supporting intervention makes Kamm a centrist. YES it is true for anyone, even people who believed in the intervention in Kosovo. NO you can't support military "intervention" and be a leftist. Absolutely NOT.

Now it you want to clarify to that to exclude one case where you yourself think intervention might have been justified, and to exclude leftists outside of America and to apply it only to some philosophy of "interventionism" rather than specific cases of intervention...then that's fine by me.

crackerjack
14-11-2007, 10:55 PM
fwiw, I think you're right about Kamm, though. Not because he supported the invsasion of Iraq, but because he also backs McCarthyism
http://oliverkamm.typepad.com/blog/art/index.html
votes Tory
http://oliverkamm.typepad.com/blog/2005/05/help_im_a_prowa.html
and writes like a pompous cunt.

hundredmillionlifetimes
14-11-2007, 11:18 PM
So any supporting the Allies in WWII couldn't be a leftist?

Vim, as usual, you have turned reason on its head once again. Support for the Allies in WWII=support for the Iraqi resistance today. Invading another country, especially one already crippled by over a decade of illegal sanctions and persistent bombing campaigns, is a war crime. The proper analogy is between today's US/UK invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and Hitler's invasions of Poland, Czechoslovakia, France, etc (or Japan's invasion of China). There's nothing controversial about any of this; it only appears so because the war criminals and their supporters are still in power and, in your case, because you are a propagandist for these imperialist criminals' continuation [nay, further expansion] of their war crimes. This places YOU in a position much worse, much more disturbing than some young British girl giving vent to her legitimate anger and rage at witnessing the attrocities being committed by her thuggish, mass-murdering government. Besides, it is those paranoid racists who falsely arrested her who have ACTUALLY committed a - further - crime. And, as Gavin previously alluded to, the racist underpinning of the reporting of that incident only makes matters worse - 'a British-born Muslim' ie your birthplace is no longer any guarantee of your primary nationality, particularly when your skin-colour, religion, or political beliefs conflict with an increasingly reactionary Establishment (like all-white Indie and pop bands draping themselves in the tricolour).

You want to know who 'The Enemy' is, Vim?

Take a long hard look in the mirror some time.

What you need to demonstrate, Vim, is why you are so deluded in believing these third-rate war-mongering rightist propagandists (Cohen, Hitchens, etc) to be leftist. An impossible task.



I should clarify, my distinction has more to do with the initial invasion which liberals supported at the time.

Perhaps we've slightly different conceptions of 'liberal' (a Cohen?), but I distinctly recall most liberals opposing the invasion, Gavin. Most of the world opposed the invasion [in all countries surveyed prior to the invasion, a substantial majority opposed].




They've only backtracked because it's going badly (and all their criticism is about the "mishandling" of the war, not the principle of the invasion).

As with Vietnam. ['Oh, but we'll get it right next time! Failure is not an option'].

Self-righteous losers always blame those who warned them in advance ('projection'), who opposed their suicidally destructive actions [like the right in the US retrospectively blaming the failure in Vietnam, the quagmire, on the anti-war protesters! It's the kind of loopy mindset that had Rumsfeld demanding that the onus was exclusively on those who stated that there were no WMDs in Iraq to 'prove' so. Because, you know, those cartoon drawings of trucks with "WMD' emblazoned on their sides were all the evidence the neo-cons needed].

Mr. Tea
14-11-2007, 11:32 PM
Alright, what about Sierra Leone? Is it not the case that troops operating both under the aegis of the UN and as UK armed forces helped disarm rebels, end the civil war and bring peace and stability to the country? If this is ringing fewer bells than our (mis)adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq, could this be a result of the fact that it wasn't a massive fuck-up, wasn't undertaken for ulterior motives and actually did some good? After all, bad news sells far more papers than good.

nomadologist
14-11-2007, 11:43 PM
fwiw, I think you're right about Kamm, though. Not because he supported the invsasion of Iraq, but because he also backs McCarthyism
http://oliverkamm.typepad.com/blog/art/index.html
votes Tory
http://oliverkamm.typepad.com/blog/2005/05/help_im_a_prowa.html
and writes like a pompous cunt.

Wow! Kosovo was probably a bad example for me to try to use as a unilaterally non-liberal one, but I knew this guy Kamm had to be pretty much dead center with secret tendencies.

I think that the pompous writing is sort of the New Right's rhetorical inflation style of choice, these days, which is partially why I try to respond to Vim in Limbaughisms. It seems to be what they respond to in the strongest emotional sense, so I like to give the people what they want.

It's really dragged political discourse (if you can call it that!) in the U.S. and its allied nations to new lows in recent yeasr.

Gavin
14-11-2007, 11:44 PM
Perhaps we've slightly different conceptions of 'liberal' (a Cohen?), but I distinctly recall most liberals opposing the invasion, Gavin. Most of the world opposed the invasion [in all countries surveyed prior to the invasion, a substantial majority opposed].


U.S. liberals. You know, if you want to consider the Democratic Party liberal. People here still think the reason they continue to support the war is because of a lack of backbone. "Why won't Nancy Pelosi stand up to Bush?" Because she agrees with him.

Haha, one exception to those countries:


Days before the March 20 invasion, a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll found support for the war was related to UN approval. Nearly six in 10 said they were ready for such an invasion "in the next week or two." But that support dropped off if the U.N. backing was not first obtained. If the U.N. Security Council were to reject a resolution paving the way for military action, only 54% of Americans favored a U.S. invasion. And if the Bush administration didn't not seek a final Security Council vote, support for a war dropped to 47%. [6]

An ABC News/Washington Post poll taken after the beginning of the war showed a 62% support for the war, lower than the 79% in favor at the beginning of the Persian Gulf War.

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

Gavin
15-11-2007, 12:08 AM
Alright, what about Sierra Leone? Is it not the case that troops operating both under the aegis of the UN and as UK armed forces helped disarm rebels, end the civil war and bring peace and stability to the country? If this is ringing fewer bells than our (mis)adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq, could this be a result of the fact that it wasn't a massive fuck-up, wasn't undertaken for ulterior motives and actually did some good? After all, bad news sells far more papers than good.

Taxpayer funded troops cleaning up De Beers' mess... hmm, maybe a band-aid until the next inevitable civil war funded by diamond interests.

http://www.counterpunch.org/naylor03162007.html

nomadologist
15-11-2007, 12:23 AM
Now it you want to clarify to that to exclude one case where you yourself think intervention might have been justified, and to exclude leftists outside of America and to apply it only to some philosophy of "interventionism" rather than specific cases of intervention...then that's fine by me.

Somewhere close to the beginning of the thread, I tried to make a case for the fact that politically there should be room for the possibility of political intervention that happens on a level and at a point chronologically in such a way that it renders military action as "interventionism" unnecessary. I think that point got lost in the shuffle. I did admit that this would not be a very "easy" route to take, and that it would require quite a bit of careful strategy and economic contortion.

nomadologist
15-11-2007, 12:26 AM
Taxpayer funded troops cleaning up De Beers' mess... hmm, maybe a band-aid until the next inevitable civil war funded by diamond interests.

http://www.counterpunch.org/naylor03162007.html

Depressing!

mistersloane
15-11-2007, 12:39 AM
Taxpayer funded troops cleaning up De Beers' mess... hmm, maybe a band-aid until the next inevitable civil war funded by diamond interests.

http://www.counterpunch.org/naylor03162007.html

We went through the desert up to Namibia, and it was all shrub and red sand and nice and then suddenly the sky on the horizon got dark and the soil got grey and I'm like 'what's that' and it was a gigantic area of land that De Beers owned, with 33,000 volt fences and 1,000 foot high mounds of earth. You needed to apply for a permit 5 days in advance to go through it (bearing in mind it's a THROUGH road to Namibia) whereby they'd do checks on your personal history, and then allow your through. It was one of the worst vibes I've ever received from any part of land. We sodded that off and went a different route and broke down 300 km from anywhere and were helped by a friendly drunk 300lb Boer, and when we explained where we'd come from, he just said 'De Beer's a cont'.

hundredmillionlifetimes
15-11-2007, 12:40 AM
U.S. liberals. You know, if you want to consider the Democratic Party liberal. People here still think the reason they continue to support the war is because of a lack of backbone. "Why won't Nancy Pelosi stand up to Bush?" Because she agrees with him.



Ah yes, I forgot about the American 'liberal' (now globalized as just 'liberal'): left-liberal on social issues ('I demand my rights') and centre-right on economic and foreign-policy issues.

nomadologist
15-11-2007, 12:44 AM
De Beers seems a good candidate for the remaining plaques for companies that are "One of the Truly Aphotic Forces in the Existing World"

nomadologist
15-11-2007, 12:44 AM
Ah yes, I forgot about the American 'liberal' (now globalized as just 'liberal'): left-liberal on social issues ('I demand my rights') and centre-right on economic and foreign-policy issues.

I try not to count those

mistersloane
15-11-2007, 12:46 AM
De Beers seems a good candidate for the remaining plaques for companies that are "One of the Truly Aphotic Forces in the Existing World"

ethically aphotic. I like it. and usually end up marrying people like that.

nomadologist
15-11-2007, 05:45 PM
Can I be the maid of dishonor in your wedding?

Mr. Tea
15-11-2007, 06:04 PM
Taxpayer funded troops cleaning up De Beers' mess... hmm, maybe a band-aid until the next inevitable civil war funded by diamond interests.

http://www.counterpunch.org/naylor03162007.html

Note that I'm not debating the *causes* of strife in the region - I know full well how incredibly corrupting and damaging the diamond industry is in general - but armed intervention, in this case, did some good, didn't it?
It stopped an extremely vicious civil war, and I'd certainly call that 'good'.

I agree that some kind of economic stability is going to be the only thing that can prevent wars like this happening again there and elsewhere in Africa, of course.

Gavin
15-11-2007, 07:08 PM
Note that I'm not debating the *causes* of strife in the region - I know full well how incredibly corrupting and damaging the diamond industry is in general - but armed intervention, in this case, did some good, didn't it?
It stopped an extremely vicious civil war, and I'd certainly call that 'good'.

I agree that some kind of economic stability is going to be the only thing that can prevent wars like this happening again there and elsewhere in Africa, of course.

I think a violent humanitarian intervention into De Beers corporate headquarters would do a lot more good.

Mr. Tea
15-11-2007, 07:21 PM
I think a violent humanitarian intervention into De Beers corporate headquarters would do a lot more good.

Probably. Remember when Madonna - who totally loves, like, Africa and AIDS orphans and stuff - toured with that huge cross covered with (I believe) 8 million quids' worth of diamonds? Quite what she thought she was doing...I mean, it just beggars belief. She should team up with Bono.

nomadologist
15-11-2007, 09:40 PM
That cross didn't have diamonds on it, it had disco ball mirrors!

Mr. Tea
15-11-2007, 11:21 PM
That cross didn't have diamonds on it, it had disco ball mirrors!

The one I heard about had diamonds and rhinestones on it.

Edit: hmm, it looks like the cross was meant to be covered in diamonds, but wasn't in the end. Bah, how disappointing. Shame on you, Madge!

bruno
21-11-2007, 07:42 PM
i'd like to see what the interventionists come up with for the kosovo mess that lies ahead, they can't just turn their backs now, can they.