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  #201  
Old 12-06-2010, 12:02 AM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by pod2 View Post
Did you read the wikipedia entry on libertarian socialism? Because it pretty much a) describes how any societal change should be popular, democratic, and anti-idealist/vanguard and b) explains how change should be open to a general approach of exploration rather than doctrinairism that characterizes both neo-cons and Leninists (both of whom Chomsky has been vociferous critics).
I like to avoid wikipedia for most things, as it tends to be a very bad source on academic matters (also on pretty much all LDS topics), other than being a sometimes useful bibliography.

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Specifics might start with, how about not participating in and carrying out atrocities and war crimes? Torture, aggression (a Nuremburg-level offence), assassination, illegal occupation, etc. There is enough there to occupy most of our time, without needing to go to the next step.
We're talking about his domestic policy, not his foreign policy platitudes.


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First the Holocaust denialist claim: he has said, numerous times, that to even enter the DEBATE about whether the Holocaust occurred is to LOSE ONE'S HUMANITY (please, click the link).
And then out of the other side of his mouth he championed the work of a stupid Holocaust denier. He is also on record in private conversations expressing skepticism about the Holocaust. He's mentally deranged, and as Mao's writings also illustrate, consistency is generally not present in genuinely deranged people.

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The 'propagandizing' you mention seems to be asserting that the US bombing made some contribution to the strength of Pol Pot and his subsequent horrors, also to comparing the Cambodian atrocities to Indonesian atrocities that were happening at the same time, with US support and complete silence on the part of Western media.
No, it is in suggesting that the genocide wasn't happening, and trying to downplay its level. You have yet to deal with this.

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As to the idea of a 'participant'-- he considers us, as US citizens, taxpayers, voters, who can avail ourselves of the most open, radically supportive state of "freedom of speech" in the modern era-- he considers us as culpable for the behavior of our nation. If we disagree, the onus is on us to find the most effective way to object and to end our participation.
Because it's totally plausible for non ivory-tower pseudo intellectuals* to do this.

*to be clear, Chomsky has contributed a substantial amount to the field of linguistics, and while much, if not most, of his work is fundamentally flawed and will cease to be relevant in the next fifty years, it is still impossible to ignore. His work on current affairs and political philosophy, conversely, is utter drivel, and a great illustration that academics should not step out of their field. His field is linguistics, and it makes about as much sense for him to write on politics as it would for Putnam to critique Moby Dick.
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  #202  
Old 12-06-2010, 12:13 AM
pod2 pod2 is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

It would be interesting to hear what you think of all those figures who yelled so loudly to condemn the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia that ended the atrocities. Are they to be criticized? Because, unlike Chomsky, who insisted that the Cambodians not be used as propaganda exercises and cited State Dept. numbers, these people were actually screaming about how wrong it was to end Pol Pot's regime of terror.

I assume that, because you seem so agitated that Chomsky once said that there was only evidence of murders merely numbering in the "thousands" instead of the "millions," you will go absolutely apesh#t about the US's response, which was to IMPOSE SANCTIONS on the Vietnamese for ending the genocide, and then supporting Cambodian elements who demonstrated continuity with the Pol Pot regime.

Or is your ire restricted to those who demonstrate insufficient political correctness about "officially recognized" crimes while bringing up far more important and overlooked crimes in which WE ARE IMPLICATED?
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  #203  
Old 12-06-2010, 12:18 AM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by pod2 View Post
It would be interesting to hear what you think of all those figures who yelled so loudly to condemn the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia that ended the atrocities. Are they to be criticized?
You betcha.

Buckley, btw, called for an invasion of Cambodia.

Quote:
I assume that, because you seem so agitated that Chomsky once said that there was only evidence of murders merely numbering in the "thousands" instead of the "millions," you will go absolutely apesh#t about the US's response, which was to IMPOSE SANCTIONS on the Vietnamese for ending the genocide, and then supporting Cambodian elements who demonstrated continuity with the Pol Pot regime.
It was morally wrong, absolutely. After-the-fact negotiating is not as bad as actual propagandizing while the worst regime in human history was inflicting on its citizens an insane beast from hell of a system.
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  #204  
Old 12-06-2010, 12:34 AM
pod2 pod2 is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
We're talking about his domestic policy, not his foreign policy platitudes.
So, your stance is that you don't think he has much to say about the direction domestic economic affairs should head? Too much to link, just do some research.

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
And then out of the other side of his mouth he championed the work of a stupid Holocaust denier. He is also on record in private conversations expressing skepticism about the Holocaust. He's mentally deranged, and as Mao's writings also illustrate, consistency is generally not present in genuinely deranged people.
I would love to hear about these "private conversations." The link I provided shows a quote that goes much further in the direction of condemning Holocaust denialism than I think you probably have-- and he has said things to this effect many times. Have you debated Holocaust deniers?

As a libertarian, he supports the freedom of speech. When a loathesome French "intellectual" became subject to prosecution by the French state, he wrote an essay expressing the value of the freedom of speech and of the press (which, to be clear, is much more protected in the US than in other Western nations). This was immediately hailed as evidence that Chomsky was a holocaust denier! Please don't tell me that you can't tell the difference between the ACLU and the tea-partiers, KKK'ers, and anti-globalization protesters for whom they fight to be free of first-, fourth-, and fifth-amendment rights violations.

Ughh, that sentence was a complete mess. Sorry, operative, I've got to call it a night soon.

Being a first grade teacher, I don't accept excuses from a kid who has just thrown sand in another kid's face-- he can't just say, "Well, there's this other kid who was punching this girl in the playground that I saw on TV. How come you aren't making THEM sit out?" I have to say, "Give me a break. Sit out. You throw sand again, you're going to stay in the office for recess." I know that this allegory probably made NO sense whatsoever to you, but it totally does to me. And with that, I bid you good day. Maybe we'll pick up again tomorrow.
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  #205  
Old 12-06-2010, 12:50 AM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by pod2 View Post
So, your stance is that you don't think he has much to say about the direction domestic economic affairs should head?
I'm just waiting for some specifics re: process. What does he want and how do we get there?

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Too much to link, just do some research.
Humor me. I gave you Nesbit's critique of Rousseau, give me Chomsky.


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I would love to hear about these "private conversations."
This comes from a Dershowitz column from a few years back.

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The link I provided shows a quote that goes much further in the direction of condemning Holocaust denialism than I think you probably have-- and he has said things to this effect many times. Have you debated Holocaust deniers?
No and I would not lend them the legitimacy of an actual debate because there is no debate, just as there is no debate about 9/11--only the mad rantings of conspiracy theorists against the overwhelming body of evidence.


Quote:
As a libertarian, he supports the freedom of speech. When a loathesome French "intellectual" became subject to prosecution by the French state, he wrote an essay expressing the value of the freedom of speech and of the press (which, to be clear, is much more protected in the US than in other Western nations). This was immediately hailed as evidence that Chomsky was a holocaust denier! Please don't tell me that you can't tell the difference between the ACLU and the tea-partiers, KKK'ers, and anti-globalization protesters for whom they fight to be free of first-, fourth-, and fifth-amendment rights violations.
Here's what Chomsky actually wrote:
"Dr. Robert Faurisson has served as a respected professor of twentieth-century French literature and document criticism for over four years at the University of Lyon-2 in France. Since 1974 he has been conducting extensive historical research into the "Holocaust" question. Since he began making his findings public, Professor Faurisson has been subject to a vicious campaign of harassment, intimidation, slander and physical violence in a crude attempt to silence him. Fearful officials have even tried to stop him from further research by denying him access to public libraries and archives."

That is not defending Faurisson's right to speak. That is legitimizing and championing his insulting, pseudo-scholarship. There is no "'Holocaust' question."

Here, by the way, is an excerpt from Faurisson's garbage:
"the alleged massacre in gas chambers and the genocide of the Jews is part of one and the same lie, a gigantic political and financial racket for the benefit of Israel and international Zionism"

That is not "respected" historical research. It is madness. Of course, Chomsky has no problem with such madness. From a letter he wrote:
"I see no anti-Semitic implications in denial of the existence of gas chambers, or even denial of the holocaust. Nor would there be anti-Semitic implications, per se, in the claim that the holocaust (whether one believes it took place or not) is being exploited, viciously so, by apologists for Israeli repression and violence. I see no hint of anti-Semitic implications in Faurisson's work ..."

So, either Chomsky is an utter moron, or an utterly deranged maniac, a man with a derangement similar to Mao's.
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  #206  
Old 12-06-2010, 01:07 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
Enter AemJeff with the useless response to what was an engaging and productive conversation. Keep up the quality contributions, Jeff.
If anyone besides you thinks your contributions have been "engaging and productive," they're keeping it well-hidden.
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  #207  
Old 12-06-2010, 01:07 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by AemJeff View Post
Heh. "I don't know anything about what he's actually said; but I know what he secretly believes, in contradiction to all the things he's, in fact, written (but I haven't read!)"
Shorter of the week.
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  #208  
Old 12-06-2010, 01:09 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
No, you're just being your usual useless self. But I can see where this is confusing for you.
No, he's getting off good zingers, and that's never useless. Especially when dealing with wingnuts who'd rather type than think.
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  #209  
Old 12-06-2010, 01:11 AM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
I wouldn't be surprised if he hasn't (I've read fairly little of Chomsky, admittedly). He might not even be aware that their philosophies are the same--it might have been subconscious influence or just happenstance that they ended up awfully similar to one another (it wouldn't be the first time two philosophers happened upon similar points without either consciously referencing, or perhaps even being aware of the other). But whether it's conscious, unconscious, or incidental, I think it's still there.
ROFL.

Making it up as you go along.
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  #210  
Old 12-06-2010, 01:14 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
I don't need to read all of the writing ...
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Originally Posted by operative View Post
... (I've read fairly little of Chomsky, admittedly).
The comedy never stops.

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
... to note what he is.
You mean, to retype the propaganda and hate speech you've had jammed into your head. As in:

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
Chomsky is human excrement and the world will be better off when he no longer wastes oxygen.
I seem to remember the operative getting hysterical about people making jokes about Dick Cheney a while ago. I guess it's okay to wish death when you're SERIOUS!!!1!, though.

Wingnut values.
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  #211  
Old 12-06-2010, 01:15 AM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by AemJeff View Post
Heh. "I don't know anything about what he's actually said; but I know what he secretly believes, in contradiction to all the things he's, in fact, written (but I haven't read!)"
LOL! That captures it perfectly.

I love how the conversation evolved from "Chomsky doesn't offer any solutions, all he does is criticize and complain," to "Chomsky wants to impose a radical totalitarian vision on America and take away all our property."

I've read a lot of Chomsky over the years, but couldn't recall anything specific he ever said about private property. So I decided to just do a quick Google Search, and this is what I found, from a Washington Post chat:


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Washington, D.C.: I've read a lot of your works and i can't figure out where exactly to locate you in terms of political philosophy: social democrat, socialist, communist? One useful barometer would be to know if you believe in a right to private property? if, yes, what are the limits of that right?

Noam Chomsky: The terms have been so debased that they are hardly usable. I think a decent society should protect rights to private property within limits, but not concentrations of private power that infringe on the freedom and rights of others, including exploitation of labor, and that convert any democratic forms into what have been called sometimes "hierarchical democracies," like ours, in which some have vastly greater influence over public policy than others. Spelling all of this out is a complex matter that raises many issue and problems that are impossible to address here.
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  #212  
Old 12-06-2010, 01:20 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
I like to avoid wikipedia for most things, as it tends to be a very bad source on academic matters (also on pretty much all LDS topics) ...
The operative is the sort of person who believes Conservapedia.
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  #213  
Old 12-06-2010, 01:22 AM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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And here comes the cavalry-- thanks, guys (graz, AemJeff), even if this is mostly a mopping-up 'operati'on at this point.
No, it is we who owe the thanks to you. Your posts have been wonderful. Great having you in the forum.
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  #214  
Old 12-06-2010, 01:25 AM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
The operative is the sort of person who believes Conservapedia.
Oddly enough, reading this, it seems plausible that it really has been his source here.
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  #215  
Old 12-06-2010, 01:25 AM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
I don't need to read all of the writing of a disgusting, lying, scumbag, Holocaust-denialism championing, Khmer Rouge propagandist to note what he is. Chomsky is human excrement and the world will be better off when he no longer wastes oxygen.
Damn, operative, the depth of your unhappiness is truly profound. Whatever happened to you -- you have my sympathy.
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  #216  
Old 12-06-2010, 01:29 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Oddly enough, reading this, it seems plausible that it really has been his source here.
Heh. Can't believe I didn't think to check. I usually only read Conservapedia for their dinosaur and denialism articles.
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  #217  
Old 12-06-2010, 01:51 AM
Florian Florian is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
In a letter to Mirabeau, he writes, "It is of the essence of a society to breed a ceaseless war among its members; and the only way to combat this is to find a form of government which shall set the law above them all.""
Rousseau was simply repeating Hobbes here---that with civil society begins the war of all against all. In the same letter he says that Hobbes' Leviathan is the only alternative to a government of laws, a republic in which the "general will" rules. Whatever the difficulties of Rousseau's doctrine of the general will, it is anachronistic to make it into the harbinger of 20th century totalitarian movements, which were inspired by entirely different "ideals." After all, Rousseau thought that the best form of government would be an elective aristocracy, and that "democracy," by which he meant "direct democracy" would be impossible---except in places like Corsica!

This critique of Rousseau as a "totalitarian" is hackneyed and no longer accepted by most scholars.

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This is, in fact, very similar, almost identical even, to Chomsky's view. His libertarianism is not one of the individual being sheltered from government but of society being sheltered from itself--the 'greed' of private property, etc.]
I don't know about Chomsky, but Rousseau certainly never advocated the abolition of private property. Nor did he say anything about "the greed of private property." He was against extreme inequalities of wealth--which is an entirely different matter--because when there is too great a difference between the rich and the poor, the government tends to becomes an instrument of the rich.

What Rousseau says about property is exactly what Hobbes and Locke say about it: that the state (the social contract) makes property "legitimate," which is only to say that there can be no property outside a political order. How can anyone dispute such an obvious truth?

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Going on, and very significantly:
"The traditional bonds of society, the relationships we generally speak of as social, are the ties which to Rousseau symbolize the chains of existence. It is from these that he desires to emancipate the individual, and to replace their gross inequalities with a condition of equality approximating as nearly as possible the state of nature. "Each citizen would then be completely independent of all his fellow men, and absolutely dependent upon the state: which operation is alwways brought by the same means, for it is only by the force of the state that the liberty of its members can be achieved."
Gross distortion. This is nothing but a loose and tendentious paraphrase of the Social Contract. What Rousseau says is that social contract "rather than destroying natural equality (=equality of men in the "state of nature"), on the contrary substitutes a moral and legitimate equality for whatever physical inequality nature may have placed between men, and that while they may be unequal in force or in genius, they all become equal by convention and right ("droit=right, law)." Contrat social I,9.

Last edited by Florian; 12-06-2010 at 04:29 AM..
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  #218  
Old 12-06-2010, 05:26 AM
Wm. Blaxton Wm. Blaxton is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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That (emph. added) is what I was thinking when you said a belief in property rights is inherently liberal. Most people call me a liberal. I consider property rights a necessary evil only, and look forward to the day when our species is less graspy.
What this illustrates is that in the United States, the term "liberal" is often wrongly applied to everyone whose politics are, broadly speaking, left of center or -- to use a term that has come back into vogue recently -- "progressive."

Obviously labels are fuzzy around the edges, but the liberal tradition in political philosophy has been dominated by thinkers who believe that "the true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every citizen in his person and property and in their management" (Jefferson), that government must "equally respect the rights of property, and the property in rights" (Madison), that government exists to protect rights to "life, health, liberty, and possessions" (Locke), that we have a basic liberty "to hold and to have the exclusive use of personal property" (Rawls), and that although the government may have a duty to promote equality, it must do so "without impairing the security of property which is the product of personal exertion" (as opposed, by implication, to that which is not) (J.S. Mill).

Within the liberal tradition, there are many different justifications of the right to individual personal property (is it "natural"? instrumental?), and various thinkers have placed different limitations on this right or have called for its dramatic reform (see, e.g., Mill, who wrote that "the laws of property have never yet conformed to the principles on which the justification of private property rests"), but it's still an essential element of liberalism. To quote the "liberalism" entry on Wikipedia (only because the entry happens to be correct): "Through all these strands and traditions, scholars have identified the following major common facets of liberal thought: believing in equality and individual liberty, supporting private property and individual rights, supporting the idea of limited constitutional government, and recognizing the importance of related values such as pluralism, toleration, autonomy, and consent."

There is an alternative, colloquial use of the term "liberal" which simply means "left of center" -- merely the opposite of whatever is meant by "conservative." If you're using "liberal" in this manner, then sure, Noam Chomsky is a "liberal," but then again, so are Bakunin and Kropotkin and Che and so on, which means that this colloquial use is pretty useless. (I'm not comparing Chomsky to Che, any more than I would say that Mill is indistinguishable from non-utilitarians like Locke or Rawls; I'm just using Che as an example of an obviously illiberal figure who was nevertheless on the left.)

It's true, as Pod2 argues, that Chomsky often cites liberal theorists among his influences (although this is clearly self serving in some instances), and that he has liberal tendencies even on certain issues on which there are actually substantial differences in leftist opinion (e.g., he's a free speech absolutist -- which is certainly not true of everyone on the left). But the liberal and anarchist traditions are opposed to one another on the most basic level, whatever their superficial similarities, because they are rooted in wholly different assumptions about human nature and potential.

Also, to make one small correction, I didn't say that "a belief in personal property rights is inherently liberal." This would be incorrect, since many non-liberals also believe in property rights. What I said is that "the liberal political tradition ... places great emphasis on property rights," which is true.

Last edited by Wm. Blaxton; 12-06-2010 at 05:32 AM..
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  #219  
Old 12-06-2010, 05:49 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by Wm. Blaxton View Post
What this illustrates is that in the United States, the term "liberal" is often wrongly applied to everyone whose politics are, broadly speaking, left of center or -- to use a term that has come back into vogue recently -- "progressive."

Obviously labels are fuzzy around the edges, but the liberal tradition in political philosophy has been dominated by thinkers who believe that "the true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every citizen in his person and property and in their management" (Jefferson), ... [...]
Okay, thanks for the detailed answer.

Quote:
Also, to make one small correction, ...
Also noted. Sorry for the error introduced by my sloppy paraphrasing.
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  #220  
Old 12-06-2010, 08:37 AM
Wm. Blaxton Wm. Blaxton is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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I'm afraid we'll just have to disagree here. It is helpful to analyze institutions, because they lead to certain kinds of outcomes, they process certain incentives and have their own kinds of priorities. Totalitarian states behave differently from democratic ones NOT because the people in a totalitarian state just happen, coincidentally, to all make bad decisions. Institutions matter, but I probably am misstating or misunderstanding your point here as well.
I guess my point is this:

The best you can hope from any public institution in a democratic society is that it will harness and constrain human acquisitiveness and competitiveness and individualism and direct these and our other better characteristics towards good ends. Public institutions may do less than this, but you cannot expect that will do much more -- that is, you cannot expect that they will change the "general inclination of all mankind [towards] a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death."

One reason they can do no more than this is because men make institutions; institutions do not make men. Institutions will be no more altruistic or community spirited or reasonable than men are individually: which is to say, not terribly.

Voluntary institutions are admittedly somewhat different, not in their ability to change human nature (they can't do it, either) but in their composition. A voluntary institution like Medicins sans Frontiers might be made up solely of people who are more altruistic than 99% of their fellow humans, so in this sense they differ somewhat from public institutions.

But you cannot imagine that men as a whole will ever collectively become anything other than what they are today -- that is, motivated mostly be self interest. If you do, you're in for a big disappointment, and in trying to reset human nature, you may even make some extremely tragic mistakes. This is why I'm a liberal and not a leftist: liberalism begins with the observation that men are by nature acquisitive; anarchism and communism begin with the hope that it might someday be otherwise.

As for the source of my beliefs on this, I actually recommend the work of a Chomsky disciple: Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate. Pinker, like me, really likes Hobbes (with the qualifiers re: Hobbes' prescriptive agenda that he enunciates in this short vid).

Last edited by Wm. Blaxton; 12-06-2010 at 08:42 AM..
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  #221  
Old 12-06-2010, 09:43 AM
Florian Florian is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by Wm. Blaxton View Post
One reason they can do no more than this is because men make institutions; institutions do not make men. Institutions will be no more altruistic or community spirited or reasonable than men are individually: which is to say, not terribly.).
Actually, that is not true---either as a philosophical statement or as a historical statement. Institutions do make men, if you consider that "institutions" include such things as laws, customs, manners (moeurs), public opinion, religious and philosophical beliefs, forms of entertainment, in short everything that anthropologists designate by the word culture.

But of course men also make institutions. The relationship is reciprocal and historical. If you start from the Hobbesian/Lockean assumption that men are basically nothing but egoistic little monads, in short American libertarians, I suppose you will end up with a picture of the world in which institutions are powerless to change anything.

As you do, despite your protestations to the contrary:

Quote:
But you cannot imagine that men as a whole will ever collectively become anything other than what they are today -- that is, motivated mostly be self interest. If you do, you're in for a big disappointment, and in trying to reset human nature, you may even make some extremely tragic mistakes. This is why I'm a liberal and not a leftist: liberalism begins with the observation that men are by nature acquisitive; anarchism and communism begin with the hope that it might someday be otherwise. ).
I am neither an anarchist nor a communist, but I know from history that "self-interest" is a paltry explanation of what moves most men and women most of the time.

Last edited by Florian; 12-06-2010 at 09:47 AM..
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  #222  
Old 12-06-2010, 09:46 AM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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The operative is the sort of person who believes Conservapedia.
Not really. I think I've contributed more academic material to discussions I've been in than anyone else on here. But feel free to keep inventing fictions.
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  #223  
Old 12-06-2010, 09:50 AM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by TwinSwords View Post
LOL! That captures it perfectly.

I love how the conversation evolved from "Chomsky doesn't offer any solutions, all he does is criticize and complain," to "Chomsky wants to impose a radical totalitarian vision on America and take away all our property."

I've read a lot of Chomsky over the years, but couldn't recall anything specific he ever said about private property. So I decided to just do a quick Google Search, and this is what I found, from a Washington Post chat:
http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Ch...tPOP_Chom.html
"There are no rights of property, only rights to property that is, rights of persons with property. Perhaps I have a right to my car, but my car has no rights. The right to property also differs from others in that one person's possession of property deprives another of that right if I own my car, you do not; but in a just and free society, my freedom of speech would not limit yours."
I guess you haven't read enough. Well, join the Aemjeff/bjkeefe club.
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  #224  
Old 12-06-2010, 09:52 AM
operative operative is offline
 
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[QUOTE=pod2;191457]I would be impressed if you found a quotation that "explicitly" shows this.

See my response to TS.
Quote:
Do you think that George Orwell and Adam Smith are also secret authoritarians and Rousseau-ian (but only in the special way that leads to maniacal Maoism-Leninism), because they are avidly anti-capitalist and anti-Bolshevik (that's Orwell) and object to the division of labor and the unjust rule of "merchants and manufacturers" (that's Smith)? Because that's where Chomsky stands.
I haven't read enough Orwell to really comment. Smith promoted the concept of self-interested competition; Chomsky rejects it. So I would draw a huge degree of separation between the two.
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  #225  
Old 12-06-2010, 08:01 PM
Diane1976 Diane1976 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by whburgess View Post
Can someone explain how Wikileaks is not a news organization? It seems as if this should be a main question--but few are discussing it.

Don't we have many cases of people in the government leaking classified information to NYT and other established news media--which in turn publish the information?

It is true that NYT and others will let the government see what they have and listen to any concerns of the government before its published. They will redact information that they agree with the government should be redacted.

Didn't Assange do the same thing? Didn't he ask the State department and the Defense department to go over the stuff before he published it?
I don't get this either. Some people are actually under the impression that Wikileaks hacked into US computers, which is, of course, not true. One of their own employees, a very low level one, was somehow able to access large amounts of secret information and turned it over to Wikileaks.

The media has been reporting on government leaks for years, and the same people who are condemning Wikileaks are happily writing about the information. Of course, the advance in technology makes it easier to leak large amounts of information.

It seems to me the US government has a problem controlling its info and I don't think it's all the fault of one private, or Wikileaks.

From what I read, Wikileaks depends on its media partners to help edit the info, and they did ask the US government for help, either directly or through the NYT, in identifying info that would be harmful to individuals like the Afghan informants, but the government refused. They said the information was illegally gotten and they had no obligation to help "sanitize it".
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  #226  
Old 12-06-2010, 09:36 PM
Wm. Blaxton Wm. Blaxton is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Florian View Post
Institutions do make men, if you consider that "institutions" include such things as laws, customs, manners (moeurs), public opinion, religious and philosophical beliefs, forms of entertainment, in short everything that anthropologists designate by the word culture.
Institutions, laws, customs and mores very obviously affect human behavior. But they can't change deep human nature.

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Originally Posted by Florian View Post
If you start from the Hobbesian/Lockean assumption that men are basically nothing but egoistic little monads, in short American libertarians, I suppose you will end up with a picture of the world in which institutions are powerless to change anything.
Powerless to change anything? Uh, no; Hobbes and Locke -- neither of whom was a moron, after all -- obviously understood that governments, institutions, laws, customs and mores can affect human behavior. But powerless to change the deep nature of man? Yes.

And while you're plainly and grossly oversimplifying the "Hobbesian/Lockean assumption," the Hobbesian/Lockean view of human nature (ignoring, for the moment, the substantial differences between them) is the one that closest conforms with the recent revelations of anthropology and cognitive psych. They were right, it turns out.

Last edited by Wm. Blaxton; 12-06-2010 at 09:43 PM..
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  #227  
Old 12-07-2010, 03:42 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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The operative is the sort of person who believes Conservapedia.
Not really. I think I've contributed more academic material to discussions I've been in than anyone else on here.
The operative is the sort of person who thinks Conservapedia is written by academics.
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  #228  
Old 12-07-2010, 05:43 AM
Florian Florian is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Wm. Blaxton View Post
Institutions, laws, customs and mores very obviously affect human behavior. But they can't change deep human nature.

Powerless to change anything? Uh, no; Hobbes and Locke -- neither of whom was a moron, after all -- obviously understood that governments, institutions, laws, customs and mores can affect human behavior. But powerless to change the deep nature of man? Yes.

And while you're plainly and grossly oversimplifying the "Hobbesian/Lockean assumption," the Hobbesian/Lockean view of human nature (ignoring, for the moment, the substantial differences between them) is the one that closest conforms with the recent revelations of anthropology and cognitive psych. They were right, it turns out.
Thank you for telling me of the "revelations" of anthropology and cognitive psychology. If your remarks are any indication of their "profundity," I think you must have misunderstood them.

You are the one who made the grossly simplistic remark that "self-interest" is what motivates all people all the time, and that this is some profound revelation about human psychology, about the "deep nature of man." Gee really..who would have thought that! Just about every philosopher, historian and even theologian has said something along those lines since antiquity. Yes, Hobbes and Locke said different things. For one, Hobbes would not have agreed with the statement that "self-interest" is what motivates humans beings all the time.

I don't think you understood my remarks about the reciprocal relationship between history/culture and human nature. Mais peu importe, I am as little interested in what you have to say as you are in what I have to say.

Last edited by Florian; 12-07-2010 at 05:52 AM..
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  #229  
Old 12-07-2010, 07:23 AM
Wm. Blaxton Wm. Blaxton is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Florian View Post
Just about every philosopher, historian and even theologian has said something along those lines since antiquity. Yes, Hobbes and Locke said different things. For one, Hobbes would not have agreed with the statement that "self-interest" is what motivates humans beings all the time.

I don't think you understood my remarks about the reciprocal relationship between history/culture and human nature. Mais peu importe, I am as little interested in what you have to say as you are in what I have to say.
Speak for yourself. I'm interested in what you were saying.

You said that Hobbes and Locke assumed that "men are basically nothing but egoistic little monads, in short American libertarians," and that if one takes this view, "I suppose you will end up with a picture of the world in which institutions are powerless to change anything."

Clearly you were being ironic -- given that you're now lecturing me about oversimplifying, about conflating Hobbes and Locke, and about claiming that it would be a distortion of Hobbes to say that he believed that men are motivated by "self-interest" at all times. But the irony wasn't apparent in your earlier post. Perhaps your sophistication is wasted on me.

At any rate, you're right about my having oversimplified Hobbes, and human nature:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Florian View Post
You are the one who made the grossly simplistic remark that "self-interest" is what motivates all people all the time, and that this is some profound revelation about human psychology, about the "deep nature of man."
Well, I don't attempt to be "profound," and I don't trust people who do. (Flowery language and unnecessary lapses into French are also a bad sign, selon moi.) It's enough to try to be correct and precise ... which I wasn't. So fair enough: the "human beings are basically self-interested" line is both an oversimplification and not terribly interesting.

But here's my point: I agree with some version of what Steve Pinker (quoting Thomas Sowell, I think) calls the Tragic Vision of human nature.

Pinker has said of Chomsky:

Quote:
My MIT colleague Noam Chomsky ... believes that people have innate tendencies to cooperate, share, and produce creative works, justifying a kind of socialist anarchism. This is a rather romantic view of human nature that is innocent of modern Darwinism -- you can't be an anarchist unless you're a romantic, and you cannot be a romantic if you're a Darwinian.
Pinker then contrasts Chomsky with leftist thinkers who are, unlike Chomsky, fans of evolutionary psychology (Peter Singer, Robert Frank). That strikes me as a pretty fair critique of Chomsky from someone who is obviously familiar with the body of his work both in linguistics and on political topics. Pinker's Tragic Vision -- which he contrasts with varieties of utopianism adopted by Marx, Chomsky, B.F. Skinner, Mead -- can be summarized as the view that: "humans are inherently limited in virtue, wisdom, and knowledge, and social arrangements must acknowledge those limits."

In The Blank Slate (2002), he runs through some elements of the Tragic Vision:

Quote:
We are all members of the same flawed species. Putting our moral vision into practice means imposing our will on others. The human lust for power and esteem, coupled with its vulnerability to self-deception and self-righteousness, makes that an invitation to a calamity, all the worse when that power is directed at a goal as quixotic as eradicating human self-interest. [As] Oakshott wrote, 'To try to do something which is inherently impossible is always a corrupting enterprise.' ... The Tragic Vision looks to systems that produce desirable outcomes even when no member of the system is particularly wise or virtuous. ...

My own view is that the new sciences of human nature really do vindicate some version of the Tragic Vision and undermine the Utopian outlook that until recently dominated large segments of intellectual life. ...

The Utopian vision that human nature might radically change in some imagined society of the remote future is, of course, literally unfalsifiable, but I think that many of the discoveries recounted in the preceding chapters [of this book] make it unlikely.
I've excised huge chunks of his argument, but we're writing on a discussion board, not in a journal, so it will have to suffice. Anyhow, I agree with all that, and recommend the book, which nicely illustrates what I said above: namely, that Hobbes's view of man (if not his political philosophy) has been largely if not wholly vindicated by contemporary anthropology and cognitive psychology. It's certainly clear that he was more right than Rousseau.

And all of this suggests that while "institutions" -- adopting your extremely broad definition of the term -- can certainly influence human behavior (which explains differences between nations and cultures), they are themselves the products of men, and cannot mold or alter deep human nature and are rather reflections of it.

And as Pinker implies, none of this reflects well on Chomsky's political philosophy, such as it is.

Last edited by Wm. Blaxton; 12-07-2010 at 08:27 AM..
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  #230  
Old 12-07-2010, 07:57 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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I think I've contributed more academic material to discussions I've been in than anyone else on here.
Op! You're kidding, right?
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  #231  
Old 12-07-2010, 09:57 AM
operative operative is offline
 
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Op! You're kidding, right?
Either you don't follow my discussions very closely or I'm missing out on a few discussions that end up with academic references because I don't see them all that frequently, but I have referenced academic sources fairly frequently.

Deranged, militant partisans like bjkeefe and aemjeffe aren't likely to notice though.
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  #232  
Old 12-07-2010, 10:44 AM
Wm. Blaxton Wm. Blaxton is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by operative View Post
Either you don't follow my discussions very closely or I'm missing out on a few discussions that end up with academic references because I don't see them all that frequently, but I have referenced academic sources fairly frequently.

Deranged, militant partisans like bjkeefe and aemjeffe aren't likely to notice though.
In misrepresenting Chomsky as a crypto totalitarian, you've given them an excuse to keep defending him. There's enough wrong with Chomsky's stated views that there's no need to imagine that he's Stalin on the Charles.

I don't know about AEM, but Keefe is a pretty fair-minded guy. "Deranged" and "militant" are a bit much, no?
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  #233  
Old 12-07-2010, 11:10 AM
operative operative is offline
 
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In misrepresenting Chomsky as a crypto totalitarian, you've given them an excuse to keep defending him. There's enough wrong with Chomsky's stated views that there's no need to imagine that he's Stalin on the Charles.
It's hardly misrepresenting when he's on record propagandizing for the Khmer Rouge and when he explicitly rejects the notion of private property, which is the cornerstone of individual liberty in western civilization--this dates all the way back to John Locke and was at the foundation of the American state. You can not have a free society without a right to property, because otherwise society can demand anything of you--your goods, your labor, etc., because everything that you have is subject to the demands of the government.

Chomsky is just too dishonest to actually explicate the inevitable outcome of his philosophy.

Quote:
I don't know about AEM, but Keefe is a pretty fair-minded guy. "Deranged" and "militant" are a bit much, no?
Maybe we're reading two different posters. He is a blatant hypocrite (criticizing others for dehumanizing terms while constantly using them himself), and upon being called out on being a hypocrite, he simply upped the hypocrisy. His Palin derangement syndrome extends to obsessing over and insulting Palin's teenage daughter. He constantly misrepresents arguments of others, assumes bad faith, and generally behaves in the manner of someone with a very real mental illness.
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  #234  
Old 12-07-2010, 11:12 AM
Wm. Blaxton Wm. Blaxton is offline
 
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He constantly misrepresents arguments of others, assumes bad faith, and generally behaves in the manner of someone with a very real mental illness (emphasis added).
You're an idiot.
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  #235  
Old 12-07-2010, 11:13 AM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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You're an idiot.
Heh. There's an emerging consensus.
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  #236  
Old 12-07-2010, 11:25 AM
Wm. Blaxton Wm. Blaxton is offline
 
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If you think that such a trivial comment sums up the influence of Rousseau on Kant, I can dispense with reading the rest of your comments.
Funniest line in this whole thread. I just wish you'd written it in French.
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  #237  
Old 12-07-2010, 11:30 AM
operative operative is offline
 
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You're an idiot.
Sorry but I find that when one so routinely behaves as bjkeefe does, it suggests that something is malfunctioning--chemical/hormonal imbalance, probably.
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  #238  
Old 12-07-2010, 11:37 AM
graz graz is offline
 
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Sorry ... it suggests that something is malfunctioning--chemical/hormonal imbalance, probably.
So you're a mental health expert as well? Is losing every argument in all threads a sign of your superiority or just confirmation of your resolve?

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I think I've contributed more ... to discussions ... than anyone else on here.
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  #239  
Old 12-07-2010, 01:31 PM
Florian Florian is offline
 
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Funniest line in this whole thread. I just wish you'd written it in French.
Why? What is wrong with my English? Voici la traduction fran蓷ise:

Si vous croyez qu'une telle trivialit puisse r廥umer l'influence de Rousseau sur Kant, je me dispense de lire le reste de votre commentaire.
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  #240  
Old 12-07-2010, 04:20 PM
popcorn_karate popcorn_karate is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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But institutions themselves are bad only to the extent that human beings are, not the other way around.
no. actually there was a great study by milgrim in the 1960's
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment ) that pretty conclusively shows that the organization of an institution is more important than the personalities of the individuals going into it in determining how people will behave.
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