Corpsey

call me big papa
Most ppl on here are lefties, I'd wager, as indeed am I, but I wonder if there are right-wing positions that you agree with, and conversely if there are leftist positions which are flawed or outright objectionable.

I guess what inspired this thread was reading Lionel Shriver's hotly debated speech about cultural appropriation, which made me wonder if my rather knee-jerk disdain for the notion of 'PC gone mad' is well founded, or as wooly-minded as I generally take the anti-PC case to be.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
I don't think I agree with any right wing policies that I can think of, though individual rightwingers might happen to believe things that I do too. Left-wing politics usually goes wrong in the international sphere, when some people of left-wing persuasion think they need to support horrible politicians simply because they claim to be socialists (while demonstrably not being), purely as a counterbalance to the right's support of horrible right-wing politicians (who usually claim to be advocates of liberal democracy).

Lionel Shriver is an odious libertarian who conflates valid criticism of the offensive crap she and others write, with an attack upon her freedom to write said offensive crap. Did you read about the plot of her book The Mandibles? Dear Lord:

http://www.vox.com/2016/9/14/12904942/lionel-shriver-identity-politics-sombrero

And as for her bizarre defence of Iggy Azalea...:

'according to the Daily Beast Iggy Azalea committed “cultural crimes” by imitating African rap and speaking in a “blaccent.” '
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Thanks for this, I wasn't aware of this book's plot, although she talks about it in her speech. I'd be interested to hear her defence of the stuff about mexican immigrants, etc. I find her personally rather detestable, and I expected the comments section (it being the Guardian) to respond negatively to Shriver's speech, but the response seems overwhelmingly in favour of her position vis a vis cultural appropriation.

It made me wonder if the rise of identity politics is a product of the left-wing that many on the left are increasingly wary of, or actively opposed to, rather than it being disdained strictly by the Clarksons and Hopkins that you'd expect.

The Brexit vote seemed to suggest that the left is losing, at least in this country. I see it stated again and again that Labour has lost touch with the working classes, for example in its attitude towards immigration. So I figure either the left is getting things wrong, or the masses are by and large right wing (due to, in the case of those who are voting against their own self interest, ignorance and media manipulation).

Plumping for the latter option means showing the contempt for the general population that the left is often accused of feeling ('Islington Socialists' etc.); OTOH, of course, the Tories don't get accused of being high-and-mighty in the same way, despite showing their contempt or lack of concern for the '99%' in almost 100% of their actions.

Maybe I've just let CiF tories get to me. :mad:
 

sadmanbarty

Well-known member
I’m trying to keep myself out of political debates on dissensus, so sorry in advance if someone responds to these and I don’t get back to you (that’s not to say you shouldn’t respond, I’d be interested in people’s thoughts). These range from things that I think, to things that I suspect or have seen a good argument for but haven’t explored properly yet. I’m sure there’s more; these are just off the top of my head. In no particular order:

Political correctness is anti-intellectual and anti-democratic

Trade unions were too powerful in the 70’s

Nuclear weapons are good

Capitalism is good

Globalisation is good

Western military intervention can sometimes be a force for good

Railways shouldn’t be renationalised
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
I haven't read the speech but I did read the frankly splenetic piece the Gruan published that a woman wrote in response to it (or rather, to the portion of it she heard before she marched out in ecstatic fury). It made me wonder if we'd hit 'peak Guardian', but I'm sure I've wondered that before. Every little shibboleth of the 21st century academic/journalistic capital-L Left was present and correct, right down to things being "problematic" and the sequence that starts "LGB..." containing no fewer than six letters.

I think an awful lot of people - many or even most of whom are not, in fact, horrific reactionary bigots and may well have perfectly good progressive credentials - are getting put off by the sanctimony, the weaponized victimhood and, frankly, the sheer unpleasantness that characterizes this sort of discourse. And the Guardian piece about Shriver's speech epitomized this, its every sentence blazing with demonstrative sanctimony.

On the subject cultural appropriation in particular: I think it's obvious that it's a real thing, or at least can be, but over the last five or ten years there have been so many high-profile alleged cases that were just so obviously spurious, in fact quite transparently a case of groups of white people trying to outdo each other in acts of ostentatious right-on-ness, that these days it's safer to assume any supposed instance is probably bollocks unless there is good reason to assume otherwise.
 

Leo

Well-known member
"A neo-conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality." -- Irving Kristol
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Ha, the sort of people I'm thinking of would rather be called child-molesters than "liberals".
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
I haven't read the speech
I think you have to read the speech to understand just how enervating it is, and (to my mind) why it would make someone disgusted enough to walk out.

Just because some cases of cultural appropriation were spurious, doesn't mean anything other than some cases were spurious. Which is the point that LS fails to understand. The idea that cases of cultural appropriation are mostly brought up by white people is also doublethink of the highest order. Might as well start with mentioning that the person who complained about Shriver is - not white?
 
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HMGovt

Bamber Clatscoigne
This is related, I think

The Intellectual Yet Idiot https://medium.com/@nntaleb/the-intellectual-yet-idiot-13211e2d0577#.hlpolfbbs

"The IYI pathologizes others for doing things he doesn’t understand without ever realizing it is his understanding that may be limited. He thinks people should act according to their best interests and he knows their interests, particularly if they are “red necks” or English non-crisp-vowel class who voted for Brexit. When Plebeians do something that makes sense to them, but not to him, the IYI uses the term “uneducated”. What we generally call participation in the political process, he calls by two distinct designations: “democracy” when it fits the IYI, and “populism” when the plebeians dare voting in a way that contradicts his preferences."​

This century is subject to deep currents that are washing away everything that's kept the edifice of the centre left above water.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
Yes, I appreciate that, but I'm thinking of cases where claims have unequivocally been founded on total bullshit and bad-faith "offence". Idiocy such as http://www.independent.co.uk/news/w...-cultural-appropriation-dispute-a6744426.html
Sure, and I accepted in what I said that some cases are spurious, and, indeed, bullshit.

But, even if some cases where cultural appropriation is alleged are silly, it doesn't change the fact that this following attitude can only be wrong and damaging: " these days it's safer to assume any supposed instance is probably bollocks unless there is good reason to assume otherwise." That attitude just assists in passing the burden of proof to those discriminated against, even though that's not your intention. The assumption should be instead that any instance probably true unless there's a good reason to assume it's complete bollocks, given that we live in a world where racism and discrimination of all kinds is routinely glossed over, and efforts made to make it seem like "it never happened" and the victim is mad.

Cases like the yoga one you linked to, also tend to be featured highly in newspapers for two separate reasons: (i) bad faith on the part of editors who want to deny that cultural appropriation is a 'thing', and make it seem ridiculous for their own purposes; and (ii) because they fit neatly into the 'you'll never believe this happened' section that most newspapers use as light relief - in those cases I don't think it's necessarily bad faith, but it can be very unfortunate in suggesting that the evil hand of political correctness is everywhere (which is after all what this debate boils down to, to a large extent at least).

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/15/canadian-gin-company-ungava-offends-inuit-people this is an interesting case from the past few days
 
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Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Cases like the yoga one you linked to, also tend to be featured highly in newspapers for two separate reasons: (i) bad faith on the part of editors who want to deny that cultural appropriation is a 'thing', and make it seem ridiculous for their own purposes; and (ii) because they fit neatly into the 'you'll never believe this happened' section that most newspapers use as light relief - in those cases I don't think it's necessarily bad faith, but it can be very unfortunate in suggesting that the evil hand of political correctness is everywhere (which is after all what this debate boils down to, to a large extent at least).
I disagree. I think cases like this hit the news all the time because they happen all the time. I also think that the Left's reflexive defence of "It's just nasty bigots bleating about 'political correctness gone mad' because they're annoyed that it's no longer acceptable to say 'poof' and 'paki'" is wearing thinner and thinner.

It's not a case of political correctness being "evil" - though that's not to say that people haven't said or done some highly spiteful and unpleasant things under the aegis of identity politics or 'social justice' - more that it very often seems to be self-defeating, either through associating progressive causes with hysterical irreason in the public mind or through severe cases of moral relativism and my-enemy's-enemy type thinking that ends up supporting the very kinds of ideology that any progressive should instinctively abhor.
 

vimothy

yurp
There does seem to be a notable movement away from universalism among some parts of the left (especially students and other young people). It's hard to see how this makes much sense in intellectual or moral terms, but does seem consistent with the ossification and general tenor of spiritual bankruptcy of technocratic liberalism. The more ridiculous these beliefs seem to be, the more fervently believers affirm them.
 

comelately

Wild Horses
P.J. O'Rourke put it pretty succinctly; "The Democrats say, 'We don't know what's wrong with America, but we can fix it.' The Republicans say, 'There's nothing wrong with America, and we can fix that.'"

The social democratic left has never really managed to deal with the fact that politicians, and bureaucracies, will almost always become corrupted to a lesser or greater degree. I think this tendency is strengthened by the culture we live in, for sure, but I think this is not a problem that's going to be fixed inside traditional state structures. John Harris said 2-3 years ago that the only viable future for the left is a 'libertarian' one.

But all that said, I think there's a danger of fatalism distracting from what really screwed the Left in the UK; Labour being unwilling to deal with the Liberal Democrats on electoral reform in 2010. If that had happened, things would be very, very different now. As Zizek said recently, the Left never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Other than that, (some of) the Right have understood that technological advances have masked much of the entrenching of inequality. I remember life before mobile phones, hell I remember when there was no Channel 4. You can argue that such stuff does not make a better quality of like maketh, but you're not going to be taken very seriously by many. Of course, the Right like to downplay the role of the (US Military) state in the development of much of this, but my Moto-G is still very much the product of late global capitalism and I like it. The Right allow the plebs to have big TVs and SKY, and then demonise them for having it. Neat trick.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
I disagree. I think cases like this hit the news all the time because they happen all the time. I also think that the Left's reflexive defence of "It's just nasty bigots bleating about 'political correctness gone mad' because they're annoyed that it's no longer acceptable to say 'poof' and 'paki'" is wearing thinner and thinner.

It's not a case of political correctness being "evil" - though that's not to say that people haven't said or done some highly spiteful and unpleasant things under the aegis of identity politics or 'social justice' - more that it very often seems to be self-defeating, either through associating progressive causes with hysterical irreason in the public mind or through severe cases of moral relativism and my-enemy's-enemy type thinking that ends up supporting the very kinds of ideology that any progressive should instinctively abhor.
You're wrapping yourself in knots trying to justify something absurd. I don't recognise the "reflexive defence" you've made up there - I just think it's the age old story that people don't want to look too hard at anything that implicates them or suggests that they could in some way be 'a bad person'. And that drive unites an awful lot of people, not just people who are 'nasty bigots', but those who are opportunist populists (my comment about media folk) and a huge mass of people who adopt this kind of 'Faux Reasonablist' view of "come on, we've thought enough about things like racism and homophobia and sexism. Any more thinking is just absurd, what do they want, the end of racism?! And besides, it's making me feel a bit bad about myself now". And they would rather flee from any iota of a suggestion that they might be a 'bad person' (perish the thought!) than take seriously other people's complaints of oppression, systemic racism (which after all is what cultural appropriation is part of) etc. Because it's easier.

I really don't understand what your investment is here in denying that cultural appropriation exists - after all, I gave you an example case from the past few days, which you haven't commented on - and is a very real thing, regardless of a few cases of silliness. You're behaving as though you're utterly naive about just how bigoted the world is (which I don't think you are) in order to try to prove some point - I don't get it.

I don't know what you're trying to say in the second paragraph, tbh. What 'hysterical irreason' and 'moral relativism' are you referring to? And what kinds of ideology?
 
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baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
@comelately - interesting point about the Lab-LibDem coalition that never happened. What do you envisage would have happened since then in that alternative universe, though?
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
The Right allow the plebs to have big TVs and SKY, and then demonise them for having it. Neat trick.
Sure, but pleb-demonization is not an exclusively right-wing sport. Witness the outpourings of post-Referendum rage from metropolitan socialists and liberals at the great unwashed white provincial working classes, who clearly should never have been given a say in the first place and should probably be kept in designated kennels of some kind where a responsible adult can keep an eye on them and make sure they don't cause any more trouble.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Other than that, (some of) the Right have understood that technological advances have masked much of the entrenching of inequality. I remember life before mobile phones, hell I remember when there was no Channel 4. You can argue that such stuff does not make a better quality of like maketh, but you're not going to be taken very seriously by many. Of course, the Right like to downplay the role of the (US Military) state in the development of much of this, but my Moto-G is still very much the product of late global capitalism and I like it. The Right allow the plebs to have big TVs and SKY, and then demonise them for having it. Neat trick.
I think this is OTM, insofar as I find it hard to accept that people living in poverty in the UK are not better off than they would be living in poverty in India, say, and that's because I assume they still have access to clean water, heating, and even TVs/phones. It's easy to assume that society as a whole is affluent because of these gizmos (and relative to other countries, the UK is affluent, one assumes). I was reading Terry Eagleton's 'Why Marx Was Right' recently, and he made me feel properly ashamed of myself for holding the belief (which he criticises, of course) that the developed nations are simply in the advanced stages of a process that the rest of the world will go through, meaning that one day we will all be affluent, or free from starvation, etc. And the same goes for the political system in, say, the UK - liberal democracy being the best possible system of social organisation.

Of course, on a global scale, all this affluence actually depends on the poverty of millions, and is creating an ecological catastrophe which will drag the whole world into the mire.

Though I'm too much of a self-doubting person to become a fervent believer in left-wing principles, it did strike me the other night that the right wing (i.e. anyone from the tories to combat 18) are the enemy of what I think society should be like. I often feel rather ashamed that I've never been on a political march or protest, believing them to be fairly ineffectual, but also most fundamentally because I can't be bothered and/or I'm scared to face riot police.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
You're wrapping yourself in knots trying to justify something absurd. I don't recognise the "reflexive defence" you've made up there - I just think it's the age old story that people don't want to look too hard at anything that implicates them or suggests that they could in some way be 'a bad person'. And that drive unites an awful lot of people, not just people who are 'nasty bigots', but those who are opportunist populists (my comment about media folk) and a huge mass of people who adopt this kind of 'Faux Reasonablist' view of "come on, we've thought enough about things like racism and homophobia and sexism. Any more thinking is just absurd, what do they want, the end of racism?! And besides, it's making me feel a bit bad about myself now". And they would rather flee from any iota of a suggestion that they might be a 'bad person' (perish the thought!) than take seriously other people's complaints of oppression, systemic racism (which after all is what cultural appropriation is part of) etc. Because it's easier.
You've completely missed my point. I'm not talking about intention - I mean what proportion of people, if asked in the street, would say racism and sexism are good things? - but about the concrete consequences of people's actions. Questions that take a bit of thinking about, such as "Will sharing this infantile infographic about refugees, full of specious reasoning and numbers and facts that could be complete bullshit for all I know, help reduce racism?" or "Will joining in this furious Twitter campaign to make this guy I've never heard of lose his job because he allegedly said something which, shorn of all context, could arguably be interpreted as sexist, help reduce sexism?".

Living inside your social-media echo chamber, dismissing out of hand any information that doesn't fit with your pre-existing worldview and mindlessly parroting everything your right-on friends say for fear that they might suspect you of not being right-on - now that is the easy option.

I really don't understand what your investment is here in denying that cultural appropriation exists.
Oh come on mate, do me a favour. As I already said a few posts ago:

Mr. Tea said:
On the subject cultural appropriation in particular: I think it's obvious that it's a real thing, or at least can be
I don't know what you're trying to say in the second paragraph, tbh. What 'hysterical irreason' and 'moral relativism' are you referring to? And what kinds of ideology?
OK, a few examples totally off the top of my head.

Hysterical irreason: Feminist groups who insist that men who oppose male circumcision must somehow be in favour of FGM, and must therefore be vigorously pilloried as vile misogynists. Or the Swedish MP who said it's morally worse for a Swedish man to rape a Swedish woman than for a Muslim immigrant to do so. Or look up 'donglegate' if you haven't heard of it. Seriously, I could go on all day.

Moral relativism: see pretty much anything Seumas Milne has ever written. People who can't accept that a country other the USA or Israel might be behind anything bad in the world and reflexively ascribe Russian attacks on Syrian hospitals (for example) to "false flag operations". People (hello zhao!) who can't even wait till the emergency response teams have finished picking up the bits of human offal following the latest jihadi bombing somewhere in Europe to start banging on about how it's all our fault, because Iraq. And so on, and so on, and so on.

Edit: I guess this is subject-creep from 'things the Right gets right' to 'things the Left gets wrong', but the two are related.
 
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Benny B

Well-known member
Hysterical irreason: Feminist groups who insist that men who oppose male circumcision must somehow be in favour of FGM, and must therefore be vigorously pilloried as vile misogynists.

.
hmmm, not too up on this issue but... why do I get the feeling that this is less about 'hysterical feminists', and more about MRAs insisting that male circumcision is 'just as bad' as FGM and getting the kicking they deserve?
 
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