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  #121  
Old 12-04-2010, 11:14 AM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
 
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Default Re: WtF?

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Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
Everybody thinks that there some things in life worth conserving. So, no, that doesn't define conservatism.
I didn't think that I could sum up conservatism in a single sentence, Ocean! Rather, I was raising an objection to what I think is a pretty unfair characterization of a political philosophy by setting out a "necessary-but-not sufficient" term for discussion.

I'd be interested in hearing your definition of "conservative," though.
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  #122  
Old 12-04-2010, 11:32 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: WtF?

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Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
I didn't think that I could sum up conservatism in a single sentence, Ocean!
I'm sooo disappointed now.

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Rather, I was raising an objection to what I think is a pretty unfair characterization of a political philosophy by setting out a "necessary-but-not sufficient" term for discussion.
Yes, I got that with your reference to caricatures and all.

Quote:
I'd be interested in hearing your definition of "conservative," though.
All sorts of stuff I don't like. Some I mildly dislike, some I abhor.


But, why bother reinventing the wheel? There are formal definitions of conservatism, but conservatism (same as liberalism) has adopted different shapes throughout history and in various sociopolitical contexts.

This one captures some central differences:

Quote:
...as liberals stress egalitarianism's primacy and the social injustice that flows from unfettered individualism, while conservatives enshrine individual freedom and the social need for mobility and achievement as values "endangered" by the collectivism inherent in liberal nostrums.
Or this one lists its components for US brand of conservatism:

Quote:
Conservatism in the United States includes a variety of political ideologies including fiscal conservatism, supply-side economics, social conservatism, libertarian conservatism, bioconservatism and religious conservatism,[80] as well as support for a strong military.
Of note, the overlap between libertarianism and conservatism is very limited, probably reduced to small government, free markets and to some individual freedoms (with lots of exceptions due to social and religious conservatism).

The above quotes were taken from here.

Our Science Saturday was very timely, because I was just killing time on this thread...
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  #123  
Old 12-04-2010, 11:46 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
This is the opposite of what Nussbaum was arguing.
I didn't read the article. Should I? The few times I have tried to read her I have found her dull and platitudinous. In any case, that was a nice try on your part to say something not dull and platitudinous by referring me to the dull and platitudinous Nussbaum.

Last edited by Florian; 12-04-2010 at 11:54 AM..
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  #124  
Old 12-04-2010, 11:54 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 Wm. Blaxton View Post
Hmm, I'm afraid you might have misread me (in part because I used a rather confusing double negative). I said "humans are not at their best when unconstrained" -- in other words, certain constraints are required for humans to be at their best. But maybe I'm just misreading you ...
I did misread you-- sorry. I guess it depends on what kinds of constraints you think are helpful, and which ones lead to injustice, exploitation, etc. Finding the right kinds of constraints and eliminating the wrong kinds is the game. But I suspect I've devolved so far into platitudes here that it's just as difficult to disagree with them as it is to know how they apply in a given situation.
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  #125  
Old 12-04-2010, 11:59 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 Wm. Blaxton View Post
It's certainly true that individual people can end up doing nasty things because they've joined (or been born into) an institutional or national culture that encourages them to do nasty things or glamorizes nastiness -- or simply allows them to indulge their natural appetites.

But institutions themselves are bad only to the extent that human beings are, not the other way around.
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.
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  #126  
Old 12-04-2010, 12:02 PM
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 rfrobison View Post
Uh-oh, do I detect the seed of a tea partier about to sprout?

Great discussion between you guys, by the way. That Brax is sharp as tacks, if you ask me.
Could you explain why you think he is "as sharp as tacks." I find him as dull as a doormat.
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  #127  
Old 12-04-2010, 12:26 PM
chrisn chrisn 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
Then it seems you largely agree with Chomsky's criticism of cases where "idealists" are "controlling everything." We need MORE checks and balances on those that control things for their own institutional or selfish interests. Creating more democratic control, bringing pro-human values to bear on foreign policy, and reducing secrecy are ALL aimed at checking the power of interests that "control everything." To say, "Well, but Chomsky would just replace their ideas with his own," misses the point-- no one person's ideas should be structurally permitted to control everything, and we should be working to strengthen these checks, not apologizing for the status quo and demonizing those who are critical.
No, I don't, really. I think the moral depth behind some of his criticisms is profound enough to cause me to question some of what I find immoral in U.S. foreign policy as well as my own moral thinking (drone attacks, Sandinistas). But I also find his philosophy impossibly ideal, and I think there's more going on than simply making the U.S. better. "Strengthening those checks" also implies that those who desire the strenthening are those you question from a conservative position.

I do share with Chomsky a potentially Rationalist/Transcendentally Ideal Kantian influence, and this could be of some use (see the Daniel Deudney Bloggingheads). But I also have doubts. I bend away from Rousseau, and more toward Burkean Conservatism (against violent overthrow, as in France, which still lingers today in many ways)

Some secrets are necessary, absolute transparency is a myth, and a dangerous one.

Heck, I can even use Kant to argue and frustrate against the Human Rights spread of Western Idealism across the globe, as Kant's thought resists attaching freedom to any humanist or idealist project.
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  #128  
Old 12-04-2010, 12:39 PM
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 chrisn View Post
I do share with Chomsky a potentially Rationalist/Transcendentally Ideal Kantian influence, and this could be of some use (see the Daniel Deudney Bloggingheads). But I also have doubts. I bend away from Rousseau, and more toward Burkean Conservatism (against violent overthrow, as in France, which still lingers today in many ways)

Heck, I can even use Kant to argue and frustrate against the Human Rights spread of Western Idealism across the globe, as Kant's thought resists attaching freedom to any humanist or idealist project.
You can't have Kant without Rousseau, chrisn. Kant was a disciple of Rousseau, and an avowed "republican" who rejoiced at the overthrow of the French monarchy. (By the way, Rousseau was against the violent overthrow of existing governments).

What exactly do you mean by that second paragraph? Argue and frustrate against human rights? What does that mean? Kant was a firm "idealist," and a believer that history was the history of freedom.
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  #129  
Old 12-04-2010, 12:50 PM
Baz Baz is offline
 
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Default Re: Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch

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This American was not at all happy about that, as should be clear from reading the rest of my posts on Wikileaks on this site and my blog.
That would help if American citizens like you actually had a say in their governments poilicies, whether foreign or domestic. There's a reason why the majority of people when asked in polls will say their government acts in the interests of a tiny minority of special interests and not the people.

Quote:
As I said, I don't have a blanket objection to the idea of nationalizing an industry, especially if what was in place was broken. I do not, however, believe that all privately-held industries result in all profits going to "a few billionaire shareholders."
And thats not what I said, I was specifically referring to a countries natural resources which if privately controlled means the vast percentage of profits go to a ridiculously small number of people. Of course in a proper democracy this should be up to the people to decide how their natural resources are developed and allocated.

I'll check out your blog on the wikileaks post you mentioned. (I must say though, the Obama 08 slogan is a bit of a turn off).
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  #130  
Old 12-04-2010, 12:50 PM
look look is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by Florian View Post
You can't have Kant without Rousseau, chrisn. Kant was a disciple of Rousseau, and an avowed "republican" who rejoiced at the overthrow of the French monarchy. (By the way, Rousseau was against the violent overthrow of existing governments).

What exactly do you mean by that second paragraph? Argue and frustrate against human rights? What does that mean? Kant was a firm "idealist," and a believer that history was the history of freedom.
Florian, do you feel badly about the beheadings of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI?
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  #131  
Old 12-04-2010, 01:01 PM
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 look View Post
Florian, do you feel badly about the beheadings of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI?
No. Do you feel badly about the misdeeds of your ancestors?

But poor Marie..... If only she had never said "Let them eat cake (or "brioche" but she never said it...), she would no doubt have been set free.
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  #132  
Old 12-04-2010, 01:02 PM
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 Florian View Post
I didn't read the article. Should I? The few times I have tried to read her I have found her dull and platitudinous. In any case, that was a nice try on your part to say something not dull and platitudinous by referring me to the dull and platitudinous Nussbaum.
You obviously don't need to read the article, but as a general matter, I do recommend at least skimming before you offer up a disparaging summary. I've found that it helps avoid little mistakes like getting the author's easily-understood thesis perfectly backwards.

Last edited by Wm. Blaxton; 12-04-2010 at 01:05 PM..
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  #133  
Old 12-04-2010, 01:03 PM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by Florian View Post
Could you explain why you think he is "as sharp as tacks." I find him as dull as a doormat.
Hmm, I dunno, Florian. I thought he raised some excellent points. Perhaps I'm just a gentler critic.
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  #134  
Old 12-04-2010, 01:09 PM
look look is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by Florian View Post
No. Do you feel badly about the misdeeds of your ancestors?

But poor Marie..... If only she had never said "Let them eat cake (or "brioche" but she never said it...), she would no doubt have been set free.
I didn't mean as a people, I meant personally. The wiki account of her is quite sympathetic. Did she actually say 'let them eat cake'?
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  #135  
Old 12-04-2010, 01:19 PM
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 pod2 View Post
I did misread you-- sorry. I guess it depends on what kinds of constraints you think are helpful, and which ones lead to injustice, exploitation, etc. Finding the right kinds of constraints and eliminating the wrong kinds is the game. But I suspect I've devolved so far into platitudes here that it's just as difficult to disagree with them as it is to know how they apply in a given situation.
Not your fault. The sentence was constructed in a way that made it easy to misread.

Yeah, now we're talking at a very high level of generality. But here's what I think, to borrow from Hobbes: "I put for the general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death."

Some people believe that you can transcend this inclination, that it's merely the product of the culture or society in which we currently live, or that this is only an accurate description of the ruling classes, or that the removal of constraints or unjust institutions would allow us to be otherwise. I perhaps don't take quite as grim a view of man as Hobbes did, but I think he's basically right, and I submit that anarchy would look a far more like Hobbes's state of nature than it would like a socialist paradise.

Last edited by Wm. Blaxton; 12-04-2010 at 01:23 PM..
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  #136  
Old 12-04-2010, 01:58 PM
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 look View Post
I didn't mean as a people, I meant personally. The wiki account of her is quite sympathetic. Did she actually say 'let them eat cake'?
As far as I know the saying is apocryphal. It is found in Rousseau's Confessions---- written before the Revolution---and is put in the mouth of someone else, but I would have to look it up: "S'ils n'ont pas de pain, qu'ils mangent de la brioche."

I still don't understand your question.
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  #137  
Old 12-04-2010, 03:54 PM
chrisn chrisn is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by Florian View Post
You can't have Kant without Rousseau, chrisn. Kant was a disciple of Rousseau, and an avowed "republican" who rejoiced at the overthrow of the French monarchy. (By the way, Rousseau was against the violent overthrow of existing governments).

What exactly do you mean by that second paragraph? Argue and frustrate against human rights? What does that mean? Kant was a firm "idealist," and a believer that history was the history of freedom.
Kant did have a portrait of Rousseau in his study. Touche.

What I mean by the second paragraph is: He is an idealist, but Kant argues that virtue and happiness cannot be predicated upon each other. You cannot turn freedom into a motive for action; it's beyond such desires...and cuaght up in his metaphysics, which is questionable (Quine, Russell and logical postivism is one avenue against).

History is the history of freedom? Not necessarily, and certainly not institutionalized freedom. That would imply a kind of metaphysics that has to do with progress, and an end point (see Hegel, Marx, Communism).

Yet, in both egalite, fraternite and liberte and life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...

...there it is. Freedom.

Perhaps I can argue that in the American system and during the American revolution, America insisted upon the right of soverignty and avoided violence. The French insisted upon the rights of man and due to many other factors (monarchy, aristocracic inequality as well) came to violence.

I don't want to be a part of a group of idealists who in pursuing freedom, either codified through utilitarian arguments, through evo-psy metaphysics, through Kantian idealism and perpetual peace, through Chomskian anarcho-syndicalism and idealism, through Assange-like Wikileaks transparency idealism...

...eventually could take my freedom away as the ideas are followed to their logical ends.

I'm still working on it...
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  #138  
Old 12-04-2010, 04:04 PM
look look is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by Florian View Post
As far as I know the saying is apocryphal. It is found in Rousseau's Confessions---- written before the Revolution---and is put in the mouth of someone else, but I would have to look it up: "S'ils n'ont pas de pain, qu'ils mangent de la brioche."

I still don't understand your question.
French is the most beautiful of languages.

I only mean do you feel a personal sadness about their treatment at the end. Later they were pardoned, or there was an official declaration of regret, or some such. Just thinking aloud.
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  #139  
Old 12-04-2010, 04:10 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Originally Posted by look View Post
French is the most beautiful of languages.
I don't think I would say French is the most beautiful language, because I don't think one can objectively say that about any language. However, I agree that its sounds and cadence are very pleasant. Have you ever studied French? There are so many tools these days to learn languages. Have you tried?
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  #140  
Old 12-04-2010, 04:25 PM
look look is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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I don't think I would say French is the most beautiful language, because I don't think one can objectively say that about any language. However, I agree that its sounds and cadence are very pleasant. Have you ever studied French? There are so many tools these days to learn languages. Have you tried?
I took a semester of Spanish in High School and a semester of French in college. I've always wanted to become fluent in both. Well, semi-fluent, at least.
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  #141  
Old 12-04-2010, 04:37 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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I took a semester of Spanish in High School and a semester of French in college. I've always wanted to become fluent in both. Well, semi-fluent, at least.
I love languages. I learned English starting in grammar school, and then French in Junior high and high school. I picked up some Italian and Portuguese on-the-go. But if you don't practice, it's very easy to forget a language that you learned for a brief period or when you learn it as an adult.

If you have the opportunity to travel to areas where Spanish or French are spoken, it would give you the perfect opportunity, and excuse, to refresh your knowledge.

I've never used any of the new language courses that I see advertised all over the internet, but I've wondered whether they are good or not. I imagine that they would at least help me improve languages about which I have some general idea.
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  #142  
Old 12-04-2010, 05:05 PM
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
Yeah, I was trying to introduce a little more terminological precision into your thinking.
Something about motes and beams comes to mind here.
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  #143  
Old 12-04-2010, 05:18 PM
Wm. Blaxton Wm. Blaxton is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Something about motes and beams comes to mind here.
If you say so ...

I should concede, though, that your position seems to have attracted more support here than mine.

For what that's worth.

Last edited by Wm. Blaxton; 12-04-2010 at 05:22 PM..
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  #144  
Old 12-04-2010, 05:21 PM
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 Wm. Blaxton View Post

Some people believe that you can transcend this inclination, that it's merely the product of the culture or society in which we currently live, or that this is only an accurate description of the ruling classes, or that the removal of constraints or unjust institutions would allow us to be otherwise. I perhaps don't take quite as grim a view of man as Hobbes did, but I think he's basically right, and I submit that anarchy would look a far more like Hobbes's state of nature than it would like a socialist paradise.
Libertarian socialists or anarcho-syndicalists with whom Chomsky claims some affinity prescribe highly organized and structured societies. These structures and institutions would be designed to maximize participation, democracy, and human potential. This kind of "anarchism" is very far away from the complete absence of constraints that you are imagining. Of course, simply removing or destroying constraints and unjust institutions without simultaneously building more just ones to replace them would be disastrous.
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  #145  
Old 12-04-2010, 05:41 PM
Wm. Blaxton Wm. Blaxton is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Libertarian socialists or anarcho-syndicalists with whom Chomsky claims some affinity prescribe highly organized and structured societies. These structures and institutions would be designed to maximize participation, democracy, and human potential. This kind of "anarchism" is very far away from the complete absence of constraints that you are imagining. Of course, simply removing or destroying constraints and unjust institutions without simultaneously building more just ones to replace them would be disastrous.
If anarchism is consistent with the construction of "highly organized and structured societies" that place substantial external constraints on the actions of their members, then ... well, clearly I don't understand the term.

I always associated anarchism with the view that the state is unnecessary and bad, and anarcho-syndicalism with the view that the liberal emphasis on property rights (embodied in Locke's work and in the U.S. Constitution) is a means of oppressing workers. Once you start creating meaningful constraints on behavior (in the form of laws, interpreted by judges and enforced by police officers), then I'd have assumed that you're pretty far from "anarchism" as it's traditionally defined ...

But clearly I haven't read as much Chomsky as you have.

Last edited by Wm. Blaxton; 12-04-2010 at 05:50 PM..
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  #146  
Old 12-04-2010, 05:48 PM
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 Wm. Blaxton View Post
If anarchism is consistent with the construction of "highly organized and structured societies" that place substantial external constraints on the actions of their members, then ... well, clearly I don't understand the term.

I always associated anarchism with the view that the state is unnecessary and bad, and anarcho-syndicalism with the view that the liberal emphasis on property rights (embodied in Locke's work and in the U.S. Constitution) is a means of oppressing workers. Once you start creating meaningful constraints on behavior (in the form of laws, interpreted by judges and enforced by police officers), then I'd have assumed that you're pretty far from "anarchism" as it's traditionally defined ...

But clearly I haven't read as much Chomsky as you have.
I think that you're onto something here: Chomsky's worldview, just like the SDS' proclamation in the Port Huron Statement, is inescapably totalitarian in nature. It inevitably calls for a rigid, top-down organization of society in which the enlightened bureaucrats guide the less enlightened toward improvement. This is likely why Chomsky was so avidly defensive of the Khmer Rouge: they were transforming society and directly attacking every existing social order to replace them with new ones. It basically abuses the term 'libertarian', just as most Communist states have abused the term 'democratic.'

Last edited by operative; 12-04-2010 at 05:50 PM..
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  #147  
Old 12-04-2010, 06:02 PM
Wm. Blaxton Wm. Blaxton is offline
 
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I think that you're onto something here: Chomsky's worldview, just like the SDS' proclamation in the Port Huron Statement, is inescapably totalitarian in nature. It inevitably calls for a rigid, top-down organization of society in which the enlightened bureaucrats guide the less enlightened toward improvement. It basically abuses the term 'libertarian', just as most Communist states have abused the term 'democratic.'
Hmm, well, whether or not this is true, this is not the nature of my critique of Chomsky.

Chomsky calls himself an anarchist or an anarcho-syndicalist [edit: or rather, he is highly sympathetic to these views -- as I said above, he's cagy about his positive political theory]. And what is anarchism if not the absence of the state, the absence of courts and police officers? What is anarcho-syndicalism if it's consistent with the liberal emphasis on individual property rights?

But maybe I'm simply misunderstanding the meaning of these words, since Pod2 and bjkeefe seem to be convinced that Noam's stated anarchism is actually perfectly consistent with the liberal state -- the same state that enforces contracts and protects your right to own property and incarcerates people who steal your shit.

Perhaps it's stupid to get hung up on terms, but ... whew ... I'm starting to think they need to write their own political encyclopedia. "Anarchism: all things to all people." "Liberalism: see anarchism."

Last edited by Wm. Blaxton; 12-04-2010 at 07:03 PM..
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  #148  
Old 12-04-2010, 06:07 PM
operative operative is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

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Hmm, well, whether or not this is true, this is not the nature of my critique of Chomsky.
Yes, you're not agreeing that Chomsky is inherently totalitarian, but still, we're agreeing that Chomsky's view, even more I would say than the more conventional American liberal welfare state model, really does not meet any traditionally held concept of anarchy. Terms are mutable, though--American conservative and liberal are both bizarre bastardizations of the more historical interpretation, but they are long entrenched in the American lexicon so there's not much use in pointing out that they really aren't all that logical. This one's far from entrenched though, so there's still time to cut it off at the knees.

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Perhaps it's stupid to get hung up on terms, but ... whew ... I'm starting to think they need to write their own political encyclopedia. "Anarchism: all things to all people." "Liberalism: see anarchism."
Hehe. I guess just as 'libertarian' is attractive to American conservatives, even those with views that are very much not libertarian (restricting immigration, etc.), anarchism is attractive to American liberals, no matter the philosophical dissonance.
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  #149  
Old 12-04-2010, 09:08 PM
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 Wm. Blaxton View Post
But maybe I'm simply misunderstanding the meaning of these words, since Pod2 and bjkeefe seem to be convinced that Noam's stated anarchism is actually perfectly consistent with the liberal state -- the same state that enforces contracts and protects your right to own property and incarcerates people who steal your shit.

Perhaps it's stupid to get hung up on terms, but ... whew ... I'm starting to think they need to write their own political encyclopedia. "Anarchism: all things to all people." "Liberalism: see anarchism."
Yes, this is why Chomsky himself avoids the "anarchism" word because it is so misleading to many. When pushed, he has claimed some affinity for the anarcho-syndicalist tradition, and for Orwell's "libertarian socialist" direction. The society and economy envisioned by this tradition would be highly organized, but the state would not be there primarily to enforce private property rights. Instead, the economy would be organized around principles of democratic participation by the people in the economy (workers, consumers) instead of managers, bureaucrats, and bankers who have very different priorities.

Plenty of thinkers in the anarchist or libertarian socialist or democratic tradition do not think that property rights should be the main priority of social organization.
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  #150  
Old 12-04-2010, 09:23 PM
pod2 pod2 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by operative View Post
Yes, you're not agreeing that Chomsky is inherently totalitarian, but still, we're agreeing that Chomsky's view, even more I would say than the more conventional American liberal welfare state model, really does not meet any traditionally held concept of anarchy.
I am tempted to submit to your conception of "traditionally held concepts of anarchy," but I must resist. Chomsky supports struggle against totalitarian tendencies of all kinds. State capitalism as it exists in the US would be horrifying to true libertarians, and to their idols (Smith, Locke). Economic planning should not be carried out by secret, anti-democratic, totalitarian institutions like the modern trans-national corporation. Here is where Smith, the founders, and Chomsky agree. But this is opening another can of worms entirely.
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Old 12-04-2010, 09:44 PM
chrisn chrisn is offline
 
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Well, if he isn't a standard lefty (I love how you put it: we should just gradually move away from property rights...that approach has worked so well) then I think exploring anarchism through philosophical idealism could be worthwhile, but ultimately questionable. I brought it up in light of Assange. So far, a reasonable and well-thought conservatism is enough bulwark against the Chomskyites.

And Chomsky is cagy about his political philsoophy, because instead of making his own, he almost pathologically criticizes U.S. foreign policy from his own position. Thanks for the linguistic theory, Noam.
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Old 12-04-2010, 10:23 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Thanks for the linguistic theory, Noam.
You said that already, whburgess.
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  #153  
Old 12-04-2010, 10:53 PM
pod2 pod2 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by chrisn View Post
And Chomsky is cagy about his political philsoophy, because instead of making his own, he almost pathologically criticizes U.S. foreign policy from his own position.
Well, I'm not sure what you mean about "making his own." He has been quite clear about his priorities, and the role of intellectuals as citizens of powerful states (see essay beginning on p. 87). He has been quite clear about the philosophical and political traditions that he sees as valuable guides.

As far as criticizing US foreign policy, what would you do if you were a citizen of a state that was carrying out torture, invasion, occupation, and war crimes?
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  #154  
Old 12-05-2010, 01:26 AM
chrisn chrisn is offline
 
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Default Re: An Advertisement for Openness (Glenn Greenwald & Matt Welch)

Keefe-I said it twice for emphasis. I don't know what else you're talking about. I wouldn't mind you re-reading all of my comments though, as I appreciate the attention.

pod2-Thanks for the link. That's a rather fine discussion of the mind-body problem, a broad range of thought, including Cartesian mechanics, the Turing Test, Plato's idealism...etc. I think Chomsky is happiest in merging Rationalist/philosophically ideal concepts, some mathematics and high end analysis and the study of language. It's very impressive.

Myself, I find that applying logic directly to language is always an enterprise in metaphysics that I don't find primary, and which also has questionable empirical connections to the best we can hope to know of the natural world. I do believe there is an objective world and we do have knowledge of it, but that's my case to make. I'm closer to Kant than to Hume, to give you an idea and I have my doubts about logical positivism and the Vienna School and the Tractatus (and I should acknowledge Chomsky addresses the nature/language problem respectably, though I disagree).

As for his politics, I find Chomsky lost at sea, a man with no political experience, and little to no knowledge of the constraints that human nature places upon the politics, markets, politicians, and state actors that he so readily criticizes. He vainly appeals to international law with no almost knowledge of how it's made. His language becomes florid and loaded, and honestly, his cool analysis falls by the wayside. There's more than a little injustice in the world (and there I will give Chomsky much credit for recognizing it), but there's more in the world than Chomsky's metaphysics, and his much more than his politics.

You can do better. Plato's Republic isn't a bad way to go, if you appreciate an idealist's take on politics.
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  #155  
Old 12-05-2010, 01:35 AM
pod2 pod2 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by chrisn View Post
pod2-Thanks for the link. That's a rather fine discussion of the mind-body problem, a broad range of thought, including Cartesian mechanics, the Turing Test, Plato's idealism...etc. I think Chomsky is happiest in merging Rationalist/philosophically ideal concepts, some mathematics and high end analysis and the study of language. It's very impressive.
I guess either I wasn't clear enough, or you misunderstood. The essay I linked to is rather inconveniently embedded in a huge pdf file. It begins on p. 87 and is called "Writers and Intellectual Responsibility." You have to physically scroll down until you find page 87. All of the stuff about language in other essays is interesting, but way off topic. Sorry to have you wade through it all, but I do think that the points he raises in the "Intellectual Responsibility" article are worth considering when one approaches our own political and moral roles and responsibilities.
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Old 12-05-2010, 07:57 AM
Florian Florian is offline
 
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Kant did have a portrait of Rousseau in his study. Touche.
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.

Last edited by Florian; 12-05-2010 at 08:18 AM..
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  #157  
Old 12-05-2010, 09:27 AM
Florian Florian is offline
 
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French is the most beautiful of languages.

I only mean do you feel a personal sadness about their treatment at the end. Later they were pardoned, or there was an official declaration of regret, or some such. Just thinking aloud.
Personal sadness? No. But I agree that there is something sad about the downfall and death of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Louis was well-intentioned if not quite up to the job, Marie Antoinette was vain and frivolous, but did they deserve to die? No.
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Old 12-05-2010, 10:15 AM
Wm. Blaxton Wm. Blaxton is offline
 
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The economy would be organized around principles of democratic participation by the people in the economy (workers, consumers) instead of managers, bureaucrats, and bankers who have very different priorities. Plenty of thinkers in the anarchist or libertarian socialist or democratic tradition do not think that property rights should be the main priority of social organization.
Yes, and "the anarchist or libertarian socialist or democratic tradition" is clearly distinct from the liberal political tradition, which places great emphasis on property rights. Which is one reason why Noam Chomsky is not a liberal.
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Old 12-05-2010, 11:37 AM
pod2 pod2 is offline
 
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Yes, and "the anarchist or libertarian socialist or democratic tradition" is clearly distinct from the liberal political tradition, which places great emphasis on property rights. Which is one reason why Noam Chomsky is not a liberal.
Chomsky sees the traditions of Enlightenment liberalism as running directly counter to the structures of state capitalism that we see today. By your definition, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, von Humboldt, JS Mill were not liberals either. See, for example here, where Chomsky stands up to defend Adam Smith, et al. from modern-day revisionists.
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Old 12-05-2010, 12:47 PM
Wm. Blaxton Wm. Blaxton is offline
 
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By your definition, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, von Humboldt, J.S. Mill were not liberals either.
If John Locke, John Stuart Mill and Mikhail Bakunin are all part of the same political tradition, labels are truly meaningless.
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