Alright then, for those of you following along (and by the stats on my sitemeter, a whole lot of you are following along) with this whole back-and-forth between me and “dcbarton” on the thread over here, I’ve decided to pull what seem to me to be a few of his (I’m assuming this is a guy, just because I don’t see a woman being so chauvinistic- but ya never know I guess) key points/themes and addressing them a bit more directly. I am a huge fan of a good debate, but notice: a good debate. Debates require facts, logic, and a certain dexterity. That dcbarton so passionately denies the existence of class dynamics and supports a system that has only his exploitation as its goal is horribly unfortunate and all too common. The very nature of the conservative viewpoint is only “logical” if you’re at the top of the pyramid; and then it is only “logical” in a conventional sense, because it requires a certain heartless indifference to the plight of our fellow humans.
As for “dexterity”: I have to say that, while I entirely disagree with dcbarton, I am quite sympathetic to his anti-government leanings where he gets into a back-and-forth with “Mister Guy”. While I’d prefer for something like a natural disaster (well, or anything else at all) to not require the intervention of the government bureaucracy, the fact is that a public entity (or at least, theoretically “public” entity) is more progressive and desirable than private one, or as dcbarton seems to claim to desire, a cold individualistic stance that those people over there are “on their own” when in need. This is an important point, I think, because nothing is ever quick black-and-white. I think though, that for the anarchist, the point is often that we feel a moral responsibility to question, challenge, and hopefully do away with any and every form of inequality, exploitation, and injustice that people perpetrate over one another. This may or may not be a ridiculous attempt, but I would argue that to be sincerely moral we must always remain focused on reaching for the top while planting our feet firmly on the step we’re at.
“the rich aren’t taking anything from the poor. It is the rich that produce the products, goods and services that the rest of us want. It is the rich that create the jobs that the rest of us use to aquire the money we need to purchase those goods and services. The rich aren’t taking advantage of anyone”
You’ve got to be kidding me. Did you ever wonder how rich people got rich? Now, there are many examples of people who worked hard and acquired wealth that they didn’t have before. But what do they end-up doing, always, at some point in their economic ascent? They utilize someone else’s labor, time, resources in order to either “get more” or secure their place in the higher economic classes. They buy the building, they buy the equipment- they “own” something which they then use other people’s labor to exploit and gain from. This is pretty basic stuff. I can say it again in less “lefty” terms if you’d prefer, but this is the basis of capitalist economic relationships on the individualized level, and anyone- left of right- should teach this in political theory or economic courses. “Trickle-down” economics are pretty thoroughly discredited at this point, except maybe on Fox News and in the Wall Street Journal.
“My beliefs don’t make me an elitist or anti-humanitarian, they just mean I have s different view of how to solve the world’s problems, but in the modern world different views are not to be allowed, especially more conservative views”
Um, given that conservative views are massively dominant and pervasive throughout American culture, I’m not sure how can say your views are “not allowed”. More to the point though, I would say that your views are elitist and anti-humanitarian; you exclude, blame people for things that are in fact victims of, and generally support an economic system which is concerned first and foremost with the massive accumulation of wealth for a relative few while the vast majority of people are left to struggle and in many cases, not even “get by”.
As for views that are “not to be allowed”- I’ve never said your views “aren’t allowed”, I just intensely disagree. Because of that, I argue, name-call, and generally don’t have much interest in whatever point you’re trying to make. Of course you’re “allowed” to think and believe whatever you want to. My hope is to be able to embolden and empower people and try and educate people to be more brave and creative in their aspirations towards what this world could and should look like. Not everyone’s going to be able or willing to hear, think, or feel these things. You’re the one coming to an anarchist-run blog to espouse your backwards views, playing the victim doesn’t make too much sense.
“Do you think the old Soviet Union told the people of Russia what they were really getting?”
No, not at all. What evidence do you have that the United States is “telling the people” what we are really getting? I’ve got all of human history (um, and it goes back further than 5,000 years) to point to as evidence that no State has ever “told its people” what they are really getting. So while I’ll use every government, ever, as evidence that the U.S. is not, never was, and could never be a truly free and just society, you’re basing your love, trust and loyalty to this system on what exactly?
“Communism promises equality through government control of every aspect of a person’s life”
Pretty much true, though this is the contemporary definition of “communism”. Before the Soviet revolution, “communism” meant a system of direct participation by the people over the governance of their own lives, without the existence of a State. Stalin took to using this word because the idea resonated with the people; he then turned around a created a State (as Marx had advocated for) and he got what the anarchists (who took to being called anarchist-communists to differentiate between their vision and the Bolsheviks) all predicted: a State-run capitalist dictatorship just as bad, if not worse, than capitalism itself.
“The Russian people were all equal while standing in line for days on end to buy toilet paper, except for those in the Communist Party”
True. I do not believe in political Parties as a desirable mechanism.
“France is a good example of socialism. You couldn’t get fired for any reason, 32 hour work week, 30 days vacation every year….”
Sounds a least better than what we’ve got going for us in the U.S.
“….and an economy that was going down the toilet until Sarkozy came along and started to steer France away from socialism”
Mainstream-media informed crap. Sarkozy is fairly unpopular, has accomplished little to nothing of what he wanted to, and the French unions are more militant and effective than they have been in some time, with hundreds of thousands of people in the streets or on strike almost constantly- fighting against Sarkozy’s proposals. Please reconcile for me this statement (economy going down the tubes) with the one above it (job security, 32 hour work week, a month paid vacation- which leaves out public health care and higher education). Even in the late 1990’s-2000, the U.S.’s booming economy gave us 40 (ha! more like 50-60+) hour work weeks, jobs being lost overseas rapidly, little if any vacation (those jobs all went oversea, remember), mind-blowing higher education costs and entirely unaffordable health care.
“The Government’s duties are merely to encourage trade and national defense”
This is a perfect example of the libertarian-right’s folly. And by ‘folly’, I mean stupid, hypocritical, inconsistent, self-serving, un-grounded in reality, garbage. The State, for as long as it has existed, has at its core had only one real purpose: to justify, expedite, and secure the wealth (resources, power, capital) of the few who have it from the many who don’t. To this end, the State constantly seeks to expand its influence and reach in order to continually secure more resources. Often, it is more strategic for this to be done not by force, but by allowing regional powers (State’s) to do the same in their land and to merely “trade” with them. Of course, if there was no State and no privileged, elite, or ruling class of people who were seeking more wealth and power at the expense of others, there would be no need for a State. If there were no State’s, there would be no need for “national defense” except perhaps to guard the sheep from the wolves. So in reality, the two legitimate functions of the government which you claim are actually two symptoms of the government’s real role. If you would allow that the concentration of wealth, resources and power in the hands of the few over the many is immoral and unjust, you might be able to see that we the people are not well served by the existence of a State. If there was no one seeking to exploit us or the lands we live on, we could accomplish whatever “trade” we’d like without a bureaucracy and we would have no need for a military to “defend” us against non-existent enemies.
“Sebelius is as far left as Obama, Pelosi and Marx”
Okay, lets be clear: Sebelius, Obama and Pelosi are all capitalists. They’re generally for a more “socialized” or “liberalized” form of it than Bush, Reagan, etc, who favor “neo-conservative” or “free market” capitalism (and “free market” does not mean or have anything to do with markets or freedom). They all seek to maximize the wealth of an elite class of people though they think the government has very different roles to play in accomplishing this. Marx is a “socialist”, even a “communist”. He sought to create a world where everyone is free from exploitation, bosses, and government. However, he (wrongly) thought this could be best achieved through State ownership of most everything. You really need better sources for your political theory than Fox News.
“Disaster response is not the governments job, it is an individual responsibility”
See, like wolves, apes, elephants, ants (etc) humans are a social species. If we weren’t, we simply wouldn’t have societies. We come together in groups (packs, tribes, communities, whatever you want to call ’em) because we lack the tools, individually, to maximize our survival on an individual basis. Yes, within most social species there is the occasion where one individual goes out on their own and they can sometimes be quite successful at surviving. However, their survival rate is no where near as great as those that utilize the larger herd/tribe/community. Mostly, this is directly because in extreme or disaster situations the individual is not well-suited to survive. No, disaster response is not necessarily the ‘government’s job’ (I think above I say enough about the government); however, it is much more their job than the ‘individual’ who is simply not constructed to fare well alone in extreme situations. Speaking of extreme situations….
“I have also walked 5 miles each way to get to work in -60 temps because I had a job to go to and my car was broken down”
Um, this must have happened when you were living in Alaska, right before you moved to Oklahoma? See, here in Vermont we do get weather that goes down 35, 40 bellow zero, even colder. We quite regularly get whole weeks where the high temp may be five or ten bellow zero. It’s some of the coldest weather in the lower 48. For one thing, your extreme weather experience probably tells you that around 40 bellow, most cars don’t start anyway (they just weren’t made to do so, but occasionally you can get your rig going). Secondly, the records that I can find tell me that the coldest its ever been in OK is negative 27…. but that was in the year 1899. I’ll believe you’ve walked to and from work 5 miles each way, I’ll believe that at some point in your life you were somewhere where the temps dropped down close, maybe even to -60, I’ll even believe that you could possibly be over 109 years old (no, wait, I won’t believe that), and I’ll believe you have a broken down car, but unless your “walk” was on the back of a dog sled in the far North, I’m going to have to call this little antic-dote of yours total bull shit.