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Biden Pandemic Adviser Calls for Four to Six Week National Lockdown
#61
Paul Brower: Address My Post
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#62
(03-30-2021, 05:41 PM)Einzige Wrote:
(03-30-2021, 03:56 AM)pbrower2a Wrote: . I don't know what Marxist-Leninist school Einzige belongs to,

I've said this before and I'll say it again: none of them. My sympathies are with what is broadly called "left-communism", from Antonie Pannekoek, the Dutch Council Communist (and his American heirs like Paul Mattick) to Amadeo Bordiga.

"Marxism-Leninism" simply refers to the State capitalist dogma of the Soviet Union. As I am not sympathetic to the Soviets after 1922, I am not sympathetic to "Marxism-Leninism".
Quote:OK. I accept the clarification. I may need to read up on Pannekoek. 

Quote:
Quote:but even I can admit to learning something from Marx. Marx is obsolete; what other thinker who died in or before the year in which Harry Truman was born could be fully up-to-date on a topics that are anything but  stagnant?

What other thinker who died in the year Harry Truman was born in anticipated the computerization of the economy and the Information Age? (Grundrisse, "Fragment on Machines")

Karl Marx sas far ahead of his time in predicting that great advances in technology, including the technologies of production of basic human desires, would bring about the irrelevance of any social order that depends upon creating and exploiting scarcity as a means of command-and-control. Such could be any of several nightmares of science fiction (Huxley, Bradbury, and of course Orwell). 

Like you I severely distrust economic elites unless they show some basic human decencies. If you cannot distinguish Bill Gates from Donald Trump, then you are simply a doctrinaire anti-capitalist. Donald Trump is practically a Marxist stereotype of a plutocratic pig. Those plutocrats who exhibit some sentimentality (and sentimentality is a woefully-inadequate basis of morality) can at least be selectively "nice" to favored workers. Donald Trump falls short even of that. 

Failures of political systems or economic orders in a post-industrial world are not failures of technology; those are failures of morality. No major religion endorses unbridled greed. The one major religion that has gotten that rap (Judaism through the infamous Protocols) refutes such through its scriptures and the behavior of the devout. Unbridled greed requires a pay-to-play system that requires obscene brutality to enforce. 

Much of the Crisis of 2020 is the end of the economic norms that result from economic scarcity. Perhaps economic scarcity can exist when supply chains are disrupted or if plutocratic pigs with roughly the same morality as Donald Trump. Economic scarcity comes with assumptions that egregious display of wealth and power are assertions of desirability as a person. Such egregious display shows that one has attachments to primitive drives. It is no nobler than a peacock showing its plumage to a peahen, but at east a peacock has an excuse for such behavior because such is as innate as a tiger having a relish for such a tasty bird. 

The end of scarcity will have its scary features. The status symbols that people sought as proof of their desirability as mates and as salves for doing tasks that they loathe will lose their meaning. Unless the elites can restrict access to opportunity or make such opportunity contingent upon paying far too much for basic needs such as food or housing, poverty becomes irrelevant as a threat. 

Perhaps control of the means of necessary consumption (food, shelter, medical care, transportation, and intellectual enrichment) now has more potential for abuse than does control of the means of production. Those two used to coincide. Much that used to be certainty in the age of industrial scarcity is no longer so. Humanity will be obliged to act, and the common man will do well enough at that. Economic elites will be more of a question. It's not the castles and palaces that they might own; it is instead ways of life that depend upon some of them getting to do what they want without any constraint of moral suasion or principle that is their threat if only as individuals. 

A corollary applies to the end of an Age of Scarcity: people will need to work fewer hours to meet their basic needs. Such has its consequences. That implies that they will have more unstructured time, and many people handle that badly. I see a solution in liberal arts education for anyone who can derive benefit from it -- free. With that people will find more imaginative uses of time than some that I disparage for mindlessness. 


Quote:Karl Marx, I assume:

Quote:Nature builds no machines, no locomotives, railways, electric telegraphs, self-acting mules etc. These are products of human industry; natural material transformed into organs of the human will over nature, or of human participation in nature. They are organs of the human brain, created by the human hand; the power of knowledge, objectified. The development of fixed capital indicates to what degree general social knowledge has become a direct force of production, and to what degree, hence, the conditions of the process of social life itself have come under the control of the general intellect and been transformed in accordance with it. To what degree the powers of social production have been produced, not only in the form of knowledge, but also as immediate organs of social practice, of the real life process.

The Fragment goes on to state the following:

Quote:... But, once adopted into the production process of capital, the means of labour passes through different metamorphoses, whose culmination is the machine, or rather, an automatic system of machinery (system of machinery: the automatic one is merely its most complete, most adequate form, and alone transforms machinery into a system), set in motion by an automaton, a moving power that moves itself; this automaton consisting of numerous mechanical and intellectual organs, so that the workers themselves are cast merely as its conscious linkages.

The fact that Marx distinguishes the "mechanical" and "intellectual" organs of this automaton is evidence that Marx was aware of the possible function of machine intelligence in capitalism. This wouldn't actually require an impossible feat of prognostication - proto-computers like the Difference Engine, the Eureka Machine, etc. were known to the Victorians. Their integration into capitalist production would have been obvious to a materialist like Marx.

The old idealist-materialist divide in philosophy strikes again, even in Marx. Some things really don't change. Much of the value that a capitalist America creates is so-called intellectual property, even if such "intellectual" property is rap music, pornography, and some thoroughly-awful novels. I can practically write some of the prose:

"He bought me this; he bought me that; we went to a pricey restaurant that the movers-and-shakers like he frequent; we went to his mansion and had great sex".... 

or

"I mowed down Vietcong while breaking the siege against some stronghold of the Republic of Vietnam. I got to meet the third daughter of the mayor of that city, I bought her this and bought her that, her family's servants cooked us some wonderful food, and, well, it was all worth it."

(OK, it is beginning to sound much like material from The Adventures of Baron von Munchausen, which really is good.  

Quote:This is a description of networked capitalism from three years before the American Civil War.

Nobody who was Marx's contemporary wrote anything this insightful. Not Ricardo, not Veblen, nobody.

I have noticed that, and for that I give Karl Marx much credit. A specter haunts all the plutocrats, bureaucratic poseurs, political hacks, shyster attorneys, and lame-brained clergy: the end of the age of scarcity. The world after scarcity will fit some continuum between socialism and libertarianism, but none of us can be sure. Many of the old certainties (many of them swinish in character) will be smashed like a 2004 Buick Regal that is no longer mechanically reliable enough even for sporadic use.

Oh... I apologize about associating you with Lenin, trotsky, Stalin, Mao, et al.     
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#63
Part of the reason Americans are not resisting tyranny now is that they are either too young to know what freedom is or too old to care.

Americans are lazy, scared, ignorant, defeated, degraded, divided, and distracted. Why go out and risk getting arrested and killed fighting tyranny when they have weed, beer, food stamps, A/C, and TV?

Americans also think freedom wouldn't benefit them and tyranny only affects others so they try to ignore or justify being unconstitutionally wiretapped, groped by the TSA, being tracked with license plate readers, stopping for checkpoints, and being stopped and frisked. Americans don't know history and they think that tyranny won't get worse.

Another reason Americans are not resisting the police state now is because there is no money in fighting tyranny. No one ever became a billionaire by fighting tyranny.

Americans are whistling down to the concentration camps and don't even know it.
Reply
#64
(03-30-2021, 09:18 PM)c1940 Wrote: (predictable bilge on how Americans are destined to the slaughter because they are so decadent)



I have a suggestion for you. The Major League Baseball season is about to start. That must be more interesting than your tales of woe.

Play ball!
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


Reply
#65
How about some optimism. I may not be the cheeriest fellow around, but finally more people have been inoculated against COVID-19 than ever contracted the disease. There's much pent-up demand, and that will revive much of the commerce in America. People will be doing recreational travel again. If I had the funds I might take a trip to Texas, which COVID-19 has ravaged, and visit some places that I haven't been for nearly thirty years. I used to live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and I'd like to see it again. Austin and San Antonio are great places to visit.

It's easy to start to dislike a place where one has lived under a near-lockdown. Life gets stale, and old friendships get shredded.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


Reply
#66
There is no rule of law now.

If the CDC can ban evictions then what is to stop the FCC from mandating that all restaurants must give free ice cream cones to every customer?

The US is finished.

The government is not legitimate.

The government doesn't obey the law.

All hope is gone.

Americans are under house arrest.

The borders are closed

Churches are closed.

Schools are closed.

Guns are banned.

Protests are illegal.

Everything is illegal.

You are being wiretapped 24/7.

You have no rights.

Trials are cancelled.

Elections are cancelled.

The US is not a democracy. The elections are rigged, ballots are forged, and the electronic voting machines can be hacked.

The politicians and judges are bought off and blackmailed.

The economy has collapsed.

Concentration camps will be opened soon.

The Internet will be shut off.

Property will be nationalized.

Nothing will ever improve.

Why bother buying a house if you don't know if the government will shut down your business?

Resist.

You have nothing left to lose.
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