Friday, December 05, 2008

Conservatives – the Stupid Party?

Yes, there are intelligent people who call themselves conservatives. Most of these hearken back to the humanitarian side of classical liberalism or to old fashioned Tory social consciousness. But they are few in number, cruelly thrust aside by neoconservative or neoliberal barbarism. (See my previous posting.)

It makes some sense that the wealthy and powerful should wish to conserve their power and wealth, even though this is done at our expense. It also makes sense that a host of toadies, such as loyal servants, hangers-on and wannabees, would have similar ideas to their masters. Then there are the various religious hate cults which the wealthy and powerful encourage. These "Christians" can be counted on to hate their neighbor, to be obsessed with the sins of the poor and ignore the atrocities committed by the master class. Combine the rich, the toadies and the nuts and you maybe get 20% of the population. But the cons can get up to 40% support. What about the other 20%?

It is hard for any rational, thoughtful person to be a right-winger. Even a basic knowledge of history shows us that to be "right" is to always be wrong. On every single issue of importance for the last 300 years the forces of progress have been correct and the forces of reaction dead wrong. Consider this list:
Parliament vs. the king. The right chose the king, parliament won. Slavery – the right supported the slave-owners. Universal male suffrage – the right opposed. Democratic and human rights for women, the right opposed. Colonialism – the left opposed, the right supported. Fascism, the left opposed, the right appeased, aided and abetted. Independence for the colonies, the right opposed. The US Civil Rights Movement, the right opposed. The women's movement, the right opposed. Environmentalism, the right opposed. Global warming, the right denies...

While the great mass of conservatives are not well educated and lack cultural sophistication, they in a sense, choose to be stupid. Ignorance is no excuse these days. With the Internet one can find an entire library of information on any subject in history with in seconds. Ignorance today is willful ignorance. To be willfully ignorant is to be stupid, even though you may not be so innately. To be willfully ignorant is to deliberately block out that which you do not want to know about, in other words, to be in a state of denial. But denial is not a conscious choice, like choosing brands of soup, but is rooted in sub-conscious repression.

Does the Conservative Mass Suffer From Stockholm Syndrome?

Dr. Gabor Mate in an interview given recently on CHLY, stated that people who are prejudiced against certain groups, in this case the homeless and drug addicts, are themselves emotionally wounded, but in a state of denial. In denying their own pain they deny it in others. The walking reminders of their own suffering, suffering that they have repressed, and therefore on the surface able to "cope with life", creates the "blame the victim" scenario. We are all familiar with the self-righteous letters to the editor (or even, shamefully enough, editorials) along the lines of "I was abused as as child but I didn't end up __________ " Or "These people could stop doing drugs if they wanted to." "They need to buck up, that's all." "The residential schools closed years ago, they are just an excuse."

I would take this further. One of the key aspects of conservative politics is the authoritarian personality. Statistically, someone with an authoritarian personality is far more likely to be attracted to the right than the left. Authoritarianism does not come out of the air, but is inculcated by authoritarian parenting. Such parenting by its very nature is abusive, as it is based upon repression, fear, and neglect of the child's emotional needs. The children of authoritarian parents are not allowed to express the rage that results from their parenting and thus repress it, giving rise to the state of denial. As adults they will fervently claim they adore their parents and their upbringing was the best imaginable.
Everyone with an authoritarian personality is a wounded individual. For the mass of ordinary people who have been subjected to an authoritarian parenting, the abuse does not end there. Throughout their lives they will be humiliated, bullied, and exploited by a range of authority figures such as teachers, police, bosses, politicians, bureaucrats and so forth. (Keep in mind these abusive officials are themselves deeply wounded individuals.)

What we then get is a form of Stockholm Syndrome. The dominated and humiliated tend to identify with their oppressors, in the same way that the kidnapped victims of terrorists sometimes identify with their captors. While the captive's affirmation of the terrorists is a result of both traumatization and the usually just cause (but not methods) of their captors, the mass conservative form is rooted in childhood trauma and subsequent repression.

The prejudices promoted by the rulers are similar to those that the conservative victim has learned from his parents. This provides the ideological link, in the same way the terrorists claims of fighting for freedom and justice, provide the link for the kidnapped. The childhood trauma and denial allow a shift from "I love my parents" (Who abused me - which is repressed) to "I love my boss" (Who bullies and exploits me – repressed) and "I love my President/Prime Minister" (Who sends my children off to be killed and squanders my tax money – repressed.)

A growing tendency toward humane parenting since WW2 has helped to undermine the dominant nature of the authoritarian personality. The right knows this, and hence the so-called culture war. It would be fine if we had several hundred years, but we don't. We face a triple threat – global economic crisis, global warming and peak oil. How do we neutralize the impact of, if not help cure the victims of conservative Stockholm Syndrome?

32 Comments:

Blogger Belinsky said...

I've also often wondered why so many people hold these beliefs that work against their self-interest. I wrote a post on my own blog quite some time ago expressing my frustration: http://thusspokebelinsky.blogspot.com/2008/06/most-vulgar-capitalist-ive-ever-seenand.html

I think the culture war idea, as you hinted at in your last paragraph, plays a big role. Plenty of people vote Republican only because they are pro-life, even though it's against their economic interest. The remaining question, as you put it, is "[h]ow do we neutralize the impact of, if not help cure the victims of conservative Stockholm Syndrome?" Well, challenging people's religious beliefs, which often fuel their right-wing authoritarian political beliefs, might be a start, but I doubt we find the answer to that question anytime soon.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Belinsky said...

Oh, not sure if I mentioned this, but I like the type much more now. Easy to read.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Renegade Eye said...

I think you need a materialist approach. It's like why did capitalism, beat out feudalism, or feudalism beat out slave societies?

The economic crisis, has the potential to create alliances we never dreamed of before. It will be harder to be against your own self interest. Call it a lost luxury.

Even healthcare is having cutbacks.

3:10 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

I agree Ren. But a materialist analysis has to be dialectical, to include all the real existing aspects and not engage in reductionism. This is what I always try to do, an integrated analysis, one that brings together economics, class, culture and the psychological. Class society gives rise to certain emotional pathologies which help to maintain that same class rule. (And few things in this world are more "material" than being smacked about as a child!) The question is not why people in a class society revolt, the major question is why they don't. For that we have to study the emotional pathologies, as well as the more obvious reasons.

6:35 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Think about the right-wingers who frequent your blog, Ren. Not one of them has any real stake in the system they defend with such vigour and animosity. We show them reams of facts, and they rarely if ever have the courage to say, "well, I never thought of that" , or "maybe you got something there." One or two of them may be psychopaths who delight in lying, indeed consider deceit a virtue, but most of them are simply acting in denial. This denial is an integral part of their character structure and the awareness that they are indulging in self-delusion would be more than they could handle emotionally. Something as powerful as this could only be rooted in a traumatic situation.

7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to believe that changing memes of right wing authoritarians would help solve the problem, but I believe now that this is an erroneous notion. We don't choose the meme, the meme chooses us. I think people identify with religion, propaganda slogans, etc, *because of* their authoritarian personality, not because the slogans, etc, make them that way.

Authoritarian and non-authoritarian behaviour alike are both a little innate and a little experiential. According to Altemeyer, meeting people outside of one's insulated clique (like when attending a large, diverse university) is a huge force in changing authoritarian attitudes.

Rural areas (at least in the US) can have pretty monotonous culture. This kind of environment breeds authoritarian followers. One possible approach here is to increase the cultural awareness of rural communities.

That being said, undermining religion and religious authority is always a priority. I've heard of skeptic camps for kids, kind of like the secular version of those creepy religious camps.

Empathy.

6:14 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

By "wrong" you mean "defeated". The people who thought Mugabe would be better than Smith, that Lenin would be better than the Tsar, that public housing would reduce juvenile delinquency and so on turned out to be dead wrong. The left is the Strong Horse, the right are the eternal losers. So as an anarchist it makes perfect sense to join up with the victors of the past, right? Support the Powers that Be!

9:45 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Also, the "authoritarian personality" is bogus nonsense made up by the same Marxists that gave us "false consciousness" to explain why the workers didn't overthrow the misery of West Germany for the joys of the DDR. David Friedman points how Altemeyer fumbles his authoritarian personality theory stuff here.

For the record, I'm a radical libertarian who doesn't believe in God and wants to abolish the federal government and its standing army.

9:49 AM  
Anonymous sunsin said...

Throughout their lives they will be humiliated, bullied, and exploited by a range of authority figures such as teachers, police, bosses, politicians, bureaucrats and so forth. (Keep in mind these abusive officials are themselves deeply wounded individuals.)

Or more briefly, as Auden put it:

"Those to whom evil is done,
Do evil in return."

11:59 AM  
Anonymous sunsin said...

There are also rather dim people who cling onto one idea and are so unsure or insecure they never dare to let it go, even partially. Recently, I was trying to discuss health care costs with a stranger in the local McDonand's, and I slowly came to the horrified realization that this person, while perhaps well-intentioned enough, simply could not grasp the concept of "per capita" costs. He was going on and on that health care was so expensive and that people would use too much if it were free, and I was trying to point out that the per capita cost in Canada was about half what it is in the US, and we get universal coverage as well. He tried, I think, but the idea of a per capita cost.... he couldn't wrap his mind around it. All he could cling to was "expensive."

12:04 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

You are engaging in a straw man tactic. The left as whole embraced anti-slavery as it did manhood suffrage etc. Only a minority of the left supported the Bolsheviks, only a minority thought highly of Mugabe etc. Much, but not all of the left, did support the creation of neo-ghettos of public housing. This was plainly a mistake, but the Projects were not a issue of global importance like say manhood suffrage or women's rights. The left is not immune to error, it is just on the big issues of freedom, democracy and social justice it has taken the morally correct stance and the right has supported the amoral status quo. To call the left the "powers that be" is absurd. It is against the entrenched powers of slave holders, imperialists, racists etc that we have struggled, and died by the thousands.

The concept of the authoritarian personality is hardly bogus nonsense, one has to exist in total denial to call it that. You don't need read Adorno or Fromm to know that it exists, you only have to experience life. The Frankfurt School were anti-Stalinists and hardly admired the GDR. The notion of false consciousness was overdone in the 1960's, (I know, I was part of the New Left) but as a concept does have some validity as an attempt to explain why some workers act against their own interests. I have read some of the attempts to denigrate the concept of the authoritarian personality, and I am not impressed. Anyone can string together a bunch of logical fallacies and create a "critique." Freidman's is no different as he plays games with the word authority.

Authoritarian leftists do exist, yet they are a minority, whereas neocons and neoliberals are almost exclusively authoritarian.

Yours is a strange libertarianism that apologizes for reactionaries and denies the existence of authoritarian attitudes in that sector of ther population.

5:46 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Sunsin, I had the same problem explaining the notion of percent to these dolts. Also at this moment a great herd of knuckle draggers thinks that Canada has a US style system of government. (In the US you vote in the government, in the parliamentary system you vote for members of parliament who then get together and form the government.) This is because they get their political knowledge from watching US TV.

5:54 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

You are an anarchist, correct? So why do you care at all for "manhood suffrage"? You're familiar with Spooner, I assume. Only the statist sees salvation through drawing ever more people in the political sphere. Given that most people are not anarchists/libertarians but tending to desire policies we would consider authoritarian (I am not referring to personality here), it doesn't seem at all incongruous to find liberals against democracy. Do you really think Wilson made the world safe in WW1 getting rid of the Hohenzollerns and Habsburgs? I would have preferred if the Austrian/German masses not been given the right to vote for such wretches, who in any world with a benevolent and active deity would have been shot by their betters (there is of course no God, no Providence or progressive Zeitgeist that should cause us to consider victors to be preferable to their opponents). The age of mass democracy has coincided with that of the standing mass army (I discuss this a bit with my historical materialist theory of decolonialism), before it Kings had to beg their Parliaments to raise money for war and periodically got overthrown and/or killed as a result. As a Stirnerite, I have no more inclination to be ruled by the thousands than the monarch. I will settle for nothing other than rule of myself.

In the case of the U.S Civil War (inaccurately termed, it was one group of local elites trying to slip from a larger structure rather than taking it over for themselves, similar to the U.S war of independence) the South were the underdogs. It was the larger, wealthier, capitalist industrial Union that had the upper hand (the South couldn't have hoped to conquer the North, only use the advantages of defense to prevent being conquered). The Republican Party may be the "Stupid Party", but it was they who defeated the Confederates, not a bunch of anarchists (if they had any power there'd be a lot more anarchy and a lot less governments). We are all taught in school that the American Revolution (led by slaveholders) was good while the Confederate secession was bad, but few can make a morally principled distinction between them (I encourage you to travel backward through the links in that AOTP discussion). It is just that the winners write the history books and only portray one of the groups of bastards as bastards.

you only have to experience life
It might surprise you to know that I am not a chatbot running on silicon, but an actual living human. I didn't find the evidence you cite supportive of your case. You should re-evaluate how iron-clad an argument for your argument it is.

The Frankfurt School were anti-Stalinists
So were Trotskyists, the folks that thought crushing Kronstadt and massacring class-enemies was A-OK and gave birth to the neocons. A Bolshevik is a Bolshevik as far as I'm concerned, and there's no way to put a "human face" on the jack-booted totalitarianism inherent in the dictatorship of the proletariat.

but as a concept does have some validity as an attempt to explain why some workers act against their own interests
Oh, and what are "their own interests" that you or a bunch of Marxists somehow know better than them! False consciousness is inherently unfalsifiable nonsense. I could easily accuse you of false consciousness for not believing that I'm infallible. I remember arguing with Robert Lindsay (whose blog has unfortunately been shut down) about why all the boats go from Cuba to Florida and even the Haitians avoid the Worker's Paradise and he said it's because they're too stupid to realize that gambling and fast food is bad for them while communism is good. There's no stopping point when you start denying people agency, you end up a totalitarian like Lindsay.

Anyone can string together a bunch of logical fallacies and create a "critique." Freidman's is no different as he plays games with the word authority.
If Friedman has strung together some fallacies, you should be able to point them out, but you have not done so. Friedman points out that Altemeyer is conflating different things in his surveys (because there was a result he wanted to find) which screws up his result. When he used a different survey for Russia the results were as Friedman predicted.

Authoritarian leftists do exist, yet they are a minority
Got some evidence? I'd say anarchists are a tiny minority.

whereas neocons and neoliberals are almost exclusively authoritarian
That's certainly true of neocons, but neoliberal is a less certain category and I'd rather not tar them all with authoritarianism. Mickey Kaus claimed that neoliberals are the heirs of the New Left, suspicious of the Democratic establishment, and while I can't say I endorse Kaus' views it shows a different plausible view of the political tendency.

Yours is a strange libertarianism that apologizes for reactionaries and denies the existence of authoritarian attitudes in that sector of ther population.
I do not view my arguments as soldiers on a battlefield. My opinion has no effect on the world, so I have no reason to prioritize solidarity over truth. The slaveholders, monarchs, theocrats, generalissimos and so on are dead and crushed into the dust. I am not worried that they will take heart from a comment I left on a blog and be resurrected to terrorize me. Additionally, I don't deny the existence of authoritarian attitudes (I think it's pervasive), I just think the pop-psychology of the "authoritarian personality" is bogus. A right-winger like John J. Ray can have great fun twisting around the theory to reverse the results, but it's all just another example of how politics is the mind killer (see my previous link).

8:38 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Anarchists have always been critical of universal suffrage and never seen it as providing liberation. However, we have always preferred democracy to despotism and the struggle for suffrage was more important than its goal. This struggle helped level the extreme hierarchies of the autocracies and gave dignity to the mass of working people. The Chartist Movement was the first mass expression of the working class and moved from suffrage to economic struggles. While working people have not proven infallible, the wars, fascism, racism and imperialism, that at least some of them have supported, would have existed regardless and did not develop as a result of working people having the vote. Other than when they have been fooled into supporting the master class, their struggles have proven liberatory, even though these reforms have in the main been enacted through the state. Think of the 8 hour day, pensions, unemployment insurance, universal health care. These are an immense burden lifted off the backs of us working people.

As a Sternerite, I don't expect you to agree with any of this because the difference lies between your view and that of social anarchism. These issues have been debated for 140 years, are irreconcilable and will not be settled here. So I don't wish to discuss these matters any further.

You don't need Adorno to understand that an authoritarian personality exists. All you need is authoritarian parents, having to endure an authoritarian teacher, an authoritarian boss and try to debate religious and political fanatics. What you find is this:

A black and white world view, rigidity and dogmatism, a high level of intolerance of others views, a refusal to argue logically or through evidence, a desire to force one's views on others, hostility to rational compromise, blaming the victim and other forms of scapegoating, deference to authority figures (Ghod, president, the wealthy, cult leaders etc.) paranoia (Commies under the bed, the Jews etc.) a belief in punishment and authoritarian parenting and pedagogy, conformity, an attraction to militarism, a belief that "we need a strong leader" , anti-intellectualism.

I had figured most of this out while a teenager. Experience soon shows that the people who are most likely to have most of these traits are right-wingers. There are extremist left-wing cults with many of these aspects but they are a tiny percent of the socialist movements as a whole. The vast majority of leftists I have known in my 43 years as an activist, would tend to score low on this list.

The Frankfurt School were not Trotskyists, or any kind of Bolshevik for that matter. They were independent socialists.

I have not used the term "false consciousness" in at least 35 years. It was an attempt to explain why some workers act in opposition to their own best interests. This is something that still needs explaining. Such as why would workers vote for a party that destroys their living stands and sends them off to be killed in an imperialist war? (Not your stories about Haitian refugees, of course they are going to flee to the wealthier country.)

Freidman plays games with the word "authority". Someone resisting a thief, bully or exploiter is not being authoritarian. Freidman would have us believe that unions are "an authority" and that workers resisting job-thieves (scabs) are acting in an authoritarian manner. Yes, a union run by gangsters would be authoritarian, but what about an anarcho-syndicalist union? Anti-abortion fanatics are trying to impose their rules on women. Women have the right to resist them, they are trying to resist an imposition on their freedom.

I have never put solidarity ahead of truth either. But I don't need to. Ordinary, working people, are in the main a pretty decent lot. It is rare to encounter someone as arrogant, as lacking in empathy, and as dishonest as your typical CEO or corporatist politician.

12:18 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

I should add that in years of debates in blogs it is rare to find a left-winger as hateful, intellectually dishonest and unwilling to abide by logic and evidence as do so many right-wingers. This is more evidence of an authoritarian personality as a rightist phenomenon. And doesn't it make sense that people who glorify greed, oppression, hierarchical authority, sexism, racism, class domination, war and empire - all forms of authoritarianism, would themselves be authoritarian?

12:28 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

democracy to despotism
I don't view the two as mutually exclusive. While I think the adoption of the Constitution was a mistake as it created an ever-expanding powerful central government, I am glad it had such anti-democratic restrictions as are contained in the Bill of Rights.

Who wants struggle? If struggle is your goal, you'd better hope never to attain victory. Maybe we should reverse all those gains so you can struggle against them again!

dignity
Let's hear it for the stupidity of dignity.

Other than when they have been fooled into supporting the master class
Which is all the time, because they are fools, and fools should not be given such authority (nor should anyone).

their struggles have proven liberatory
What? How? Do you have some index of liberatoriness, like perhaps the percentage of the GDP taken up the State?

Think of the 8 hour day
I weep for the poor, oppressed attorneys in BIGLAW that work far longer days and receive only a meager few hundred thousand dollars in compensation. Seriously, though, that would just be a restriction on workers and I don't see anything liberatory about it. I don't see anything positive about your other state-provided goodies, which now provide justification for restricting the right of people to smoke or eat unhealthy food (in my eyes the same sort of cultural elitist class warfare that gave us Prohibition, which was quite popular with Progressives and Suffragists). They'll take my bourbonified bacon and baconified bourbon when they pry it from my cold dead hands. There is no evidence that additional health-care provides better health outcomes, so Medicare is just another boon-doggle for our priestly cast in doctor's robes, whose monopolistic cartel is unquestioned by many who clamor for more cheap labor (Dean Baker being an honorable exception).

having to endure an authoritarian teacher
Right-Wing Authoritarian? What proportion of teachers identify as conservatives or vote Republican?

A black and white world view, rigidity and dogmatism, a high level of intolerance of others views, a refusal to argue logically or through evidence, a desire to force one's views on others, hostility to rational compromise, blaming the victim and other forms of scapegoating
Sounds like all of humanity to me, another reason not to let them vote.

Commies under the bed
You read the Left Conservative, so I presume you know McCarthy was right and the government really was infested with commies (and anyone who would investigate the Army must be an authoritarian!). He went down in flames because the establishment hated him and the CIA set out to destroy his career. The worst thing about McCarthy was that he was a populist, and populism relies on the People who are of course contemptible shits.

conformity
I was actually surprised to find that most people actually have an anti-conformist cognitive bias. But of course our culture celebrates anti-conformism.

Such as why would workers vote for a party that destroys their living stands and sends them off to be killed in an imperialist war?
The wealthiest voters went for Obama in the recent election. People don't find it so odd as to ask "What's the matter with Connecticut?", because our elites acknowledge that they vote for reasons other than just their pocket-book. But many of them (including anarchists) have such a low-opinion of the working class they can't perceive someone else voting based on multiple concerns (and they even get the economic self-interest analysis wrong). The rational self-interested voter hypothesis is wrong. So are a large number of other popular perspectives on politics, a number of which I discuss in Political myths and realities.

Do unions have leadership? If yes, then those leaders are an authority. Even if it's a council or something like that. Also, the idea that someone can "own" a job, making scabs "job-thieves" is even more laughable than the claim that one can own intellectual property. If you think people should be prevented from accepting employment that would seem rather tyrannical and authoritarian to me.

David Friedman's point on abortion (like me he thinks it should be legal) was people bucking the majority and the law (which Altemeyer had used to measure anti-authoritarianism). I've even seen video of pro-choice folks asking anti-abortion protesters what kind of punishment would who get abortion should have and they seemed to have trouble wrapping their brains around the concept. You emphasize that it is "right" for women (though they are actually more anti-abortion than men) to resist this imposition (I stopped believing in objective moral right and wrong when I stopped believing in wrong and I think it has helped me to avoid such confusion), but Friedman was never even arguing about whether it is right. He didn't see his arguments as soldiers that had to support his comrades, he saw certain arguments as true and others as false.

I should add that in years of debates in blogs it is rare to find a left-winger as hateful, intellectually dishonest and unwilling to abide by logic and evidence as do so many right-wingers
You identify with the left, so you are going to interpret evidence to make it look like you're side is better. I don't identify with anyone else (including the libertarian movement*) so I view people in general as rotten, without Blue or Green affiliation making a difference.

*No Treason used to have some pretty funny takedowns of the concept, but unfortunately they've ceased existing yet again.

4:31 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

You want to know about liberatory struggles. OK (For one you are totally wrong about single payer medicine. It is, in fact the only system that works.) But what is liberatory about it? I have NEVER IN MY ADULT LIFE had to worry about what might happen if I got ill. Nor worry about being bankrupted by medical bills. Nor have I had to shell out huge insurance payments – I pay $500 a year for complete coverage. What a liberation that is! What a burden of worry lifted! I worked at a union job and got 5 weeks of vacation – this allowed me the freedom to travel to Europe and Latin America. I also got a pension and was able to retire at 60. Of course, before we won pensions, I would have to have worked until I died, so my pension gives me many extra years of freedom. The 8 hour day and the 40 hour work week allows workers to plan their time, to have at least some control over their lives. It would be hell on earth to be always at the beck and call of your boss. In Canada and all other advanced countries – except the US – you can only be fired for a valid, work-related reason. In most US states you can be fired for any reason whatsoever. This means that the rights of free speech, press and assembly only exist on paper for workers.

All of these freedoms and many more were won by worker solidarity – and many of us were persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, and murdered by the parasitic classes in order to make these gains.

A black and white world view, rigidity and dogmatism, a high level of intolerance of others views, a refusal to argue logically or through evidence, a desire to force one's views on others, hostility to rational compromise, blaming the victim and other forms of scapegoating
Sounds like all of humanity to me...

None of the people I am friends with or associate with politically are like that. If they were, I wouldn't have anything to do with them, because I despise people like that. By the way, my friends/associates are not just anarchists, but are also Trotskyists, Cpers, Greens and Social Democrats. I have no friends/associates on the right because most of them are like my description above. Put bluntly, most right-wingers are assholes and I refuse to have anything to do with assholes.

"What proportion of teachers identify as conservatives or vote Republican?" See below, and furthermore most teachers in the 1950's, when I went to school were rightists.

Scabs are job thieves – they are taking away someone's job and their actions are preventing the strikers from winning. The only way to deal with low life like scabs is with a base ball bat.

The one thing that I can not understand, or stomach, about even the best of the US right, is this thing about MacArthy. It only shows that all ideologies have their loony side. Look, the CP in France had a million members and 25% of the vote 1945-60. even large numbers of the police – yes cops! were CPers. Most of the artists and intellectual class were Cpers, and those that weren't, were to the LEFT of the CP. The largest trade union federation – by far – was the CP's CGT. Was there this insane paranoia about communists? Nooo! The situation was even greater in Italy, and there too no paranoia. The US CP was minuscule by comparison – the weakest of any Western democracy – proof that many people are afraid of the unknown. (And if you want to believe that people are idiots – here is a clear example!)

US culture celebrates anti-conformism? Oh pleeeze! The most conformist of the western nations? You want to find non-conformists go to France or the UK, Canada even.

Only in the US would the Democratic Party be considered left and Obama, Bakunin help us, a "socialist". The DP is a centre-right party and the Repugiles are far-right.

You too are playing with the word 'authority" though at second thought maybe not. I guess to a Stirnerite any group is authoritarian, including anarchist groups. Fine with me. You can believe whatever you want.

"You identify with the left, so you are going to interpret evidence to make it look like you're side is better."

You are saying that I don't know when I am being insulted by some right-whiner. When someone calls me stupid, a moron, retarded, an idiot, a murderer, a terrorist etc because I don't buy their crack pot ideas, I assume that they are trying to insult me. I have also studied logic so I can recognize logical fallacies at a glance. When someone tries these tricks, believe me, I know it.

"I view people in general as rotten."

I don't. The majority (say two-thirds) of ordinary people are decent The real vermin are those at the top of the capitalist and governmental dog-pile and those who willingly do their dirty work.

Like I said before, the difference between anarchism and Stirnerism is unbridgeable. We will never convince each other of the correctness of our views because we have this fundamental difference over the nature of humanity. I salute you for your honesty in this regard, and suggest that we stop at this point – otherwise we will be just wasting our time.

11:39 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

I'll start with your conclusion. If we are honest people attempting to be rational we CANNOT persistently/forseeably disagree. If we respect one another we will consider each other's expressed view as evidence, and if our arguments have no effect that may indicate that those arguments do not carry as much weight as we believe (hence my remark about not being a chatbot). Hence, disagreement is disrespect. For people that I disrespect, I will not bother trying to have a sustained conversation with. But people I respect also respect you, so I take that as evidence that you are a worthwhile person to talk to and I hold out hope that progress is possible. I've seen it happen, even on the internet! Now I'm not saying I expect us to adopt all the same set of beliefs (I don't even have any inclination to convert anyone to Stirnerism) but I think we can have fruitful discussions and change our minds or even find that we didn't disagree as much as we thought.

NEVER IN MY ADULT LIFE
I like how you added in "adult" there. Because a child doesn't worry. They aren't responsible or independent. Their parents make decisions for them and have authority over them. A totalitarian state can make all your decisions for you and you won't have to worry. That's one reason why I don't think most people will adopt libertarianism. They are authoritarians and they want a strong authority, a big Mommy and Daddy in the form of the State, and the decline in the old faith in supernatural authorities has only made them cling more closely to it. My employer also provides health insurance, but I took the lowest paying version and if I had the option would take none at all in exchange for a larger paycheck. Because I don't want that decision made for me by some other authority, I want to be able to blow all my money on booze and die of liver disease IF I so choose. I don't think somebody watching over for me whether I want them to or not is "liberating", I find it infantilizing.

This means that the rights of free speech, press and assembly only exist on paper for workers.
I blog anonymously precisely because I want to be able to speak as bluntly as possible without any repercussion. Freedom will come not from overpowering anyone (I view any power capable of doing so as representing a threat to my freedom), but through finding it where it cannot be taken away. To reference David Friedman again, he once asked us to imagine a world in which leaders declared war and found tomorrow that they commanded an army of one for all their subjects had moved away. His son Patri is now trying to make that idea a reality with Seasteading.

I guess to a Stirnerite any group is authoritarian, including anarchist groups
That a group or person call themselves anarchist or even anti-authoritarian means little. Stirner actually spoke of a Union of Egoists, which may be any case in which we come together for mutual benefit. I see the world as full of positive-sum games for cooperation, but I don't let the game become a spook haunting my head. I may even decide like Odysseus that it is in my interest to bind myself to the mast, but it will be me making that decision.

A black and white world view
I see this echoed in your litany of the bad right and the sainted left. Do you not also see things in black-and-white? There's a joke that goes "There are two kinds of people in this world: those think there are two kinds of people and those who don't." I see one kind of people.

a high level of intolerance of others views
You say that and then go on to say "I can not understand, or stomach, about even the best of the US right". Is that not intolerance for other views? Perhaps some views shouldn't be respected, but then you have little grounds to complain about the intolerance of others.

a desire to force one's views on others
Like how you want to violently force scabs with baseball bats? I find that frighteningly authoritarian. We could grant for the sake of argument that such behavior is proper, but then again you have less grounds to complain about your opponents.

hostility to rational compromise
And then you say "most right-wingers are assholes and I refuse to have anything to do with assholes". And you wouldn't bother to glean any reasonable argument/evidence or accept any compromise emanating from the mouths of such assholes, right? I even agree with you that they're assholes. I think most people are assholes.

MacArthy
I hate to be pedantic (no, on second thought, I don't) but Mac is for Scotsmen and Mc for the Irish. McCarthy alleged that at the highest levels of the federal government there were paid Soviet agents. The Venona transcripts proved that, in fact, there were. If someone is simultaneously in the employ of two governments (and not merely local piddly-wink stuff but among the most murderous on the face of the earth) I see nothing wrong with having their acts brought to light. Of course many ninnies confuse McCarthy with HUAC, even though the H changes for House and McCarthy was a Senator. HUAC was actually formed when Stalin was our buddy, and it was used to persecute Trotskyites and isolationists like the much-maligned Charles Lindbergh (who I defend here). Dalton Trumbo even went to the FBI and ratted out people that wrote him letters about Johnny Got His Gun, whose publication he ceased as soon as Kremlin's line on war changed. Before then the CPUSA was putting up posters of Saul Alinsky saying "This is the face of a warmonger".

The situation was even greater in Italy, and there too no paranoia
Haven't you heard of the strategy of tension?

The most conformist of the western nations?
I don't quite know how to measure that, but have you heard the saying "I'm an anti-conformist, just like everybody else"? That's the point about the Brin article I linked to. People can celebrate anti-conformism while remaining conformist. Ayn Rand formed an irrational cult dedicated to reason. And then the guy who wrote "Sociology of the Ayn Rand cult" formed a cult of his own. But getting back to the point about conformism, it's not about being like someone else. It's about not being THEM. THEM are the conformists. And if you can make yourself stand out among the anti-conformists by being especially fantastically anti-conformist (once again, engaging in the same status competition as the rest) it makes you really cool. But we all jump to misinterpret things like the Asch conformity experiments so we can say that so many people are pathetic sheep except for us, the enlightened and bold free-thinkers.

You are saying that I don't know when I am being insulted by some right-whiner
Like I said, I agree that they're mostly assholes. I think people in general are assholes. Because I don't have any sense of solidarity the lens I look through doesn't have the world come out black and white.

6:15 PM  
Blogger Renegade Eye said...

Larry: TGGP should visit Beakerkin's blog, to see if there is such a thing as an authoritarian personality.

TGGP: It's true that the Stalinists helped the prosecution of Trotskyists at the Smith Act Trials. Later the tides would be turned on the Stalinists. I don't think McCarthyism, was a victory for anarchism.

The capitalist North was the progressive force in the US Civil War. Your anarchism has a soft spot for McCarthy and chattel slavery. Karl Marx didn't talk about socialism in the abstract, he supported the Union and Lincoln.

Disconnected factoids don't a commune make.

7:16 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

I forgot to add in response to Larry on the only workable healthcare system, he should check out this from Roderick Long.

Beakerkin didn't seem like anything special to me.

I didn't claim McCarthy was a victory for anarchism, he was just another patriotard (credit where credit's due to the racist-fascist fucks that came up with the term). I said McCarthy was factually correct about the presence of communist agents as proved by Venona, even though his name has become a catch-word for irrational paranoia and persecution. I stated in addition that because he went after people in government there's no reason for an anarchist to be upset by his actions. If Hitler and Stalin had strangled each other to death I'd call for breaking out the champagne.

I used to be thoroughly Whig and imbibed the Kool-Aid of historical "progress". You're right about Karl Marx, but I don't consider him any sort of authority. I'd side more with Spooner (or Charlie Anderson) on the Civil War, though I don't believe in his "natural law". I was taught by those awful right-wing authoritarian teachers in school that the Confederates were evil slaveowners completely unjustified in seceding, while the Founding Fathers were noble heroes (who just happened to own slaves) that struck a blow for freedom by declaring independence. I was also taught that McCarthy was a horrible man who confused the public with lies about commies under the bed, and weren't Arthur Miller and Edward Murrow for speaking Truth to Power. All the self-serving narratives of our current victorious gang of bastards to legitimize their status. Perhaps long down the road they will make an admission that they were wrong. Yes, the graves for Katyn should be marked 1940 and those kooks we dismissed happened to be right due to no fault of their own. But wouldn't it have complicated things horribly to say that at the time? And you have to admit we had good in our hearts for disbelieving such awful people as the notoriously dishonest and murderous Nazis? That last bit has the wonderful asset of being true. You can always justify your own acts by pointing out how awful others are and you usually won't even have to make up any dirt about them. Because people in general are rotten.

8:49 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

TGGP Wrote (Sorry I accidentally deleted your message!)

I'll start with your conclusion. If we are honest people attempting to be rational we CANNOT persistently/forseeably disagree. If we respect one another we will consider each other's expressed view as evidence, and if our arguments have no effect that may indicate that those arguments do not carry as much weight as we believe (hence my remark about not being a chatbot). Hence, disagreement is disrespect. For people that I disrespect, I will not bother trying to have a sustained conversation with. But people I respect also respect you, so I take that as evidence that you are a worthwhile person to talk to and I hold out hope that progress is possible. I've seen it happen, even on the internet! Now I'm not saying I expect us to adopt all the same set of beliefs (I don't even have any inclination to convert anyone to Stirnerism) but I think we can have fruitful discussions and change our minds or even find that we didn't disagree as much as we thought.

NEVER IN MY ADULT LIFE
I like how you added in "adult" there. Because a child doesn't worry. They aren't responsible or independent. Their parents make decisions for them and have authority over them. A totalitarian state can make all your decisions for you and you won't have to worry. That's one reason why I don't think most people will adopt libertarianism. They are authoritarians and they want a strong authority, a big Mommy and Daddy in the form of the State, and the decline in the old faith in supernatural authorities has only made them cling more closely to it. My employer also provides health insurance, but I took the lowest paying version and if I had the option would take none at all in exchange for a larger paycheck. Because I don't want that decision made for me by some other authority, I want to be able to blow all my money on booze and die of liver disease IF I so choose. I don't think somebody watching over for me whether I want them to or not is "liberating", I find it infantilizing.

This means that the rights of free speech, press and assembly only exist on paper for workers.
I blog anonymously precisely because I want to be able to speak as bluntly as possible without any repercussion. Freedom will come not from overpowering anyone (I view any power capable of doing so as representing a threat to my freedom), but through finding it where it cannot be taken away. To reference David Friedman again, he once asked us to imagine a world in which leaders declared war and found tomorrow that they commanded an army of one for all their subjects had moved away. His son Patri is now trying to make that idea a reality with Seasteading.

I guess to a Stirnerite any group is authoritarian, including anarchist groups
That a group or person call themselves anarchist or even anti-authoritarian means little. Stirner actually spoke of a Union of Egoists, which may be any case in which we come together for mutual benefit. I see the world as full of positive-sum games for cooperation, but I don't let the game become a spook haunting my head. I may even decide like Odysseus that it is in my interest to bind myself to the mast, but it will be me making that decision.

A black and white world view
I see this echoed in your litany of the bad right and the sainted left. Do you not also see things in black-and-white? There's a joke that goes "There are two kinds of people in this world: those think there are two kinds of people and those who don't." I see one kind of people.

a high level of intolerance of others views
You say that and then go on to say "I can not understand, or stomach, about even the best of the US right". Is that not intolerance for other views? Perhaps some views shouldn't be respected, but then you have little grounds to complain about the intolerance of others.

a desire to force one's views on others
Like how you want to violently force scabs with baseball bats? I find that frighteningly authoritarian. We could grant for the sake of argument that such behavior is proper, but then again you have less grounds to complain about your opponents.

hostility to rational compromise
And then you say "most right-wingers are assholes and I refuse to have anything to do with assholes". And you wouldn't bother to glean any reasonable argument/evidence or accept any compromise emanating from the mouths of such assholes, right? I even agree with you that they're assholes. I think most people are assholes.

MacArthy
I hate to be pedantic (no, on second thought, I don't) but Mac is for Scotsmen and Mc for the Irish. McCarthy alleged that at the highest levels of the federal government there were paid Soviet agents. The Venona transcripts proved that, in fact, there were. If someone is simultaneously in the employ of two governments (and not merely local piddly-wink stuff but among the most murderous on the face of the earth) I see nothing wrong with having their acts brought to light. Of course many ninnies confuse McCarthy with HUAC, even though the H changes for House and McCarthy was a Senator. HUAC was actually formed when Stalin was our buddy, and it was used to persecute Trotskyites and isolationists like the much-maligned Charles Lindbergh (who I defend here). Dalton Trumbo even went to the FBI and ratted out people that wrote him letters about Johnny Got His Gun, whose publication he ceased as soon as Kremlin's line on war changed. Before then the CPUSA was putting up posters of Saul Alinsky saying "This is the face of a warmonger".

The situation was even greater in Italy, and there too no paranoia
Haven't you heard of the strategy of tension?

The most conformist of the western nations?
I don't quite know how to measure that, but have you heard the saying "I'm an anti-conformist, just like everybody else"? That's the point about the Brin article I linked to. People can celebrate anti-conformism while remaining conformist. Ayn Rand formed an irrational cult dedicated to reason. And then the guy who wrote "Sociology of the Ayn Rand cult" formed a cult of his own. But getting back to the point about conformism, it's not about being like someone else. It's about not being THEM. THEM are the conformists. And if you can make yourself stand out among the anti-conformists by being especially fantastically anti-conformist (once again, engaging in the same status competition as the rest) it makes you really cool. But we all jump to misinterpret things like the Asch conformity experiments so we can say that so many people are pathetic sheep except for us, the enlightened and bold free-thinkers.

You are saying that I don't know when I am being insulted by some right-whiner
Like I said, I agree that they're mostly assholes. I think people in general are assholes. Because I don't have any sense of solidarity the lens I look through doesn't have the world come out black and white.

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Keith Preston said...

Larry and TGGP,

A great debate from two of my favorite libertarian writers! I don't think it's a matter of either/or on some of these questions, at least not for me.

I'm a Stirnerite philosophically, but that's just a personal outlook that transcends political differences, IMO. I admire both the classical left-wing anarchist tradition Larry comes from and the American libertarian-populist-paleo outlook of TGGP. I recognize the historic achievements of the Left in many areas-labor struggles, better treatment of ethnic minorities, women, etc., but I don't think the Left in general takes enough responsibility for its failings, with Bolshevism, the pervasive statism that has emerged from welfarism and mass democracy, and left-wing support for imperialist war in many instances (for example, the current enthusiasms of some on the Left for "humanitarian" war) being foremost among these.

I also think too much of the Left is stuck in the past. Unions, for instance, often have a privileged position with regards to other workers, and (as is the case with the Big Three bailout question) often collaborate with capital and state to rip off the public as a whole. Also, the zeal for fighting racism, sexism, et.al. has, in some corners, led to new forms of fanaticism, intolerance, dishonesty and mendacity. Many public agencies set up ostensibly to protect labor, consumers, etc. often grossly overstep their bounds and become as tyrannical as employers can be. What I would prefer to do is move away from this dualistic view that some Leftists have that thinks the welfare and regulatory state, unions, racial minorities, feminists, environmentalists, homosexuals, etc. are always right, no matter what, and property owners, conservatives, libertarian individualists, men, white people, religious people, etc. are always wrong, no matter what. I think it would be better to simply judge individual issues, cases, arguments, conflicts, situations, etc. on the basis of their own unique facts alone without ideological rigidity of any kind.

In my personal experience, left-wingers can be just as intolerant and authoritarian as right-wingers. I've even received death threats from left-wingers who don't like some of my politics.

I agree with TGGP that human beings are essentially rotten (perhaps that comes from having been raised a Calvinist-lol!) but I agree with Larry that the worst are usually the ones on top (see Hayek).

Contra Larry, I think the power of the French CP in the postwar period was serious business. The Stalinists hoped to eventually take France, regarding it as the first Western state that would fall under their control. The French CP was the last Western European CP to de-Stalinize, and it did so very bitterly. I don't think having Stalinist sympathizers in the ranks of the police is any laughing matter. I'll take Charles De Gaulle over some Stalinist puppet any day.

In general, I would like to see anti-authoritarian radicals focus less on past issues and abstract theoretical questions, and more on practical considerations, and the more immediate contemporary issues (like US imperialism, pervasive statism, drug prohibition, the US police state and prison-industrial complex, the corporate state and central banking, etc.)

Politically, I'd be an "anarcho-pluralist" in the sense that I prefer to eliminate the state beyond the community, county or municipal level, within a liberal-libertarian common law system that allows different cultural, economic or philosophical tendencies to simply create the utopia (or dystopia-lol!) of their choice. Prototypes like this actually exist today in microstates like Iceland, Monaco, Liechtenstein and Luxemborg. That may be the best we can ever do in the real world.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

TGGP
I see the world as full of positive-sum games for cooperation, but I don't let the game become a spook haunting my head.
ME
Neither do I. Cooperation is not for its own sake but for the benefit it provides, and I don't mean benefit in an economistic sense alone

TGGP
"a high level of intolerance of others views' -You say that and then go on to say "I can not understand, or stomach, about even the best of the US right". Is that not intolerance for other views? "
ME
"Some" is not the same as "all" and criticism is not the same as being intolerant.. We are familiar with a friend or family member we like but has one characteristic that drives us nuts – well that's the analogy here.
TGGP
"A black and white world view
I see this echoed in your litany of the bad right and the sainted left. "
ME
Hardly, "Most" is not the same as "all". I have already pointed out in my two articles how I do not lump all self-styled conservatives together. Indeed, I question whether the people I dislike should even be called conservative, maybe right-wing Jacobin, crypto-fascist, clerical fascist or corporatist would be better. I hardly consider the left as saintly – Better is not the same as best. There is a minority of the left that is stupid and irrational – the extremist sects. There is a minority of the left that is truly evil – Pol Pot type Maoists for example. I would rather have 10,000 years of capitalism than one week of these types.

TGGP – Threatening scabs with a base ball bat is highly authoritarian.
ME
Not if you consider scabs as criminals. Defending yourself against criminals is not authoritarian.

TGGP - hostility to rational compromise- And then you say "most right-wingers are assholes and I refuse to have anything to do with assholes". And you wouldn't bother to glean any reasonable argument/evidence or accept any compromise emanating from the mouths of such assholes, right?
ME
There is no point in arguing/debating with people who are themselves incapable of rational discourse and compromise. Most right-wingers (as defined above) are not capable of this and one or two emails or 5 minutes of conversation quickly makes you aware of this nature. Also long experience in trying to discuss with these people shows me that the majority are not capable of reason and compromise.

TGGP McCarthy alleged that at the highest levels of the federal government there were paid Soviet agents. The Venona transcripts proved that, in fact, there were... The situation was even greater in Italy, and there too no paranoia Haven't you heard of the strategy of tension?
ME
No kidding! Of course, all nations try to do that sort of thing. And all nations try to ferret them out. But not all nations go on an hysterical rampage, purging and persecuting leftists, even non-Communist ones, because of a few Soviet agents. Operation Gladio and "the strategy of tension" was not a form mass hysteria leading to persecution of the left, but US-sponsored fascists launching terrorist attacks to destabilize Italy and introduce a Pinochet or Greek Colonel-type regime. It simply does not apply to our discussion here.
TGGP - I think people in general are assholes. Because I don't have any sense of solidarity the lens I look through doesn't have the world come out black and white.
ME -
I think most people are fairly decent from experience, and it has nothing to do with solidarity or anything else that could be attributed to belief systems or ideology. Your experiences are different than mine, hence your views of people are different, and I accept that. Please accept that my experiences are not yours. And after about age 20, I ceased looking at the world in black and white terms. While there are black and white situations, Hitler vs Gandhi say, most things in life that concern human interactions are more complex than that. The importance of complexity and contradiction is one of the foundation stones of my world-view.

5:46 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Not if you consider scabs as criminals. Defending yourself against criminals is not authoritarian.
That goes back to my point about the badness of one's enemies justifying your own behavior. Next time you come across an authoritarian remember that in THEIR minds the people they threaten are criminals needing punishment, kind of like how you view scabs. You can say "But I'm right and they're wrong", but they can always claim the same thing as well.

There is no point in arguing/debating with people who are themselves incapable of rational discourse and compromise
I can't tell you how many times I've heard righttards say that about the left. Once they've defined others as the enemy or the other side, even considering their arguments makes you a suspicious sellout. "You admit Sarah Palin wasn't picked on her merits? You're just trying to cozy up to the cocktail-party crowd! Well we don't need your type 'round these here parts!"

I thank you for restoring my comment. It might not make as much sense to people without the hyperlinks, so here it is below:

I'll start with your conclusion. If we are honest people attempting to be rational we CANNOT persistently/forseeably disagree. If we respect one another we will consider each other's expressed view as evidence, and if our arguments have no effect that may indicate that those arguments do not carry as much weight as we believe (hence my remark about not being a chatbot). Hence, disagreement is disrespect. For people that I disrespect, I will not bother trying to have a sustained conversation with. But people I respect also respect you, so I take that as evidence that you are a worthwhile person to talk to and I hold out hope that progress is possible. I've seen it happen, even on the internet! Now I'm not saying I expect us to adopt all the same set of beliefs (I don't even have any inclination to convert anyone to Stirnerism) but I think we can have fruitful discussions and change our minds or even find that we didn't disagree as much as we thought.

NEVER IN MY ADULT LIFE
I like how you added in "adult" there. Because a child doesn't worry. They aren't responsible or independent. Their parents make decisions for them and have authority over them. A totalitarian state can make all your decisions for you and you won't have to worry. That's one reason why I don't think most people will adopt libertarianism. They are authoritarians and they want a strong authority, a big Mommy and Daddy in the form of the State, and the decline in the old faith in supernatural authorities has only made them cling more closely to it. My employer also provides health insurance, but I took the lowest paying version and if I had the option would take none at all in exchange for a larger paycheck. Because I don't want that decision made for me by some other authority, I want to be able to blow all my money on booze and die of liver disease IF I so choose. I don't think somebody watching over for me whether I want them to or not is "liberating", I find it infantilizing.

This means that the rights of free speech, press and assembly only exist on paper for workers.
I blog anonymously precisely because I want to be able to speak as bluntly as possible without any repercussion. Freedom will come not from overpowering anyone (I view any power capable of doing so as representing a threat to my freedom), but through finding it where it cannot be taken away. To reference David Friedman again, he once asked us to imagine a world in which leaders declared war and found tomorrow that they commanded an army of one for all their subjects had moved away. His son Patri is now trying to make that idea a reality with Seasteading.

I guess to a Stirnerite any group is authoritarian, including anarchist groups
That a group or person call themselves anarchist or even anti-authoritarian means little. Stirner actually spoke of a Union of Egoists, which may be any case in which we come together for mutual benefit. I see the world as full of positive-sum games for cooperation, but I don't let the game become a spook haunting my head. I may even decide like Odysseus that it is in my interest to bind myself to the mast, but it will be me making that decision.

A black and white world view
I see this echoed in your litany of the bad right and the sainted left. Do you not also see things in black-and-white? There's a joke that goes "There are two kinds of people in this world: those think there are two kinds of people and those who don't." I see one kind of people.

a high level of intolerance of others views
You say that and then go on to say "I can not understand, or stomach, about even the best of the US right". Is that not intolerance for other views? Perhaps some views shouldn't be respected, but then you have little grounds to complain about the intolerance of others.

a desire to force one's views on others
Like how you want to violently force scabs with baseball bats? I find that frighteningly authoritarian. We could grant for the sake of argument that such behavior is proper, but then again you have less grounds to complain about your opponents.

hostility to rational compromise
And then you say "most right-wingers are assholes and I refuse to have anything to do with assholes". And you wouldn't bother to glean any reasonable argument/evidence or accept any compromise emanating from the mouths of such assholes, right? I even agree with you that they're assholes. I think most people are assholes.

MacArthy
I hate to be pedantic (no, on second thought, I don't) but Mac is for Scotsmen and Mc for the Irish. McCarthy alleged that at the highest levels of the federal government there were paid Soviet agents. The Venona transcripts proved that, in fact, there were. If someone is simultaneously in the employ of two governments (and not merely local piddly-wink stuff but among the most murderous on the face of the earth) I see nothing wrong with having their acts brought to light. Of course many ninnies confuse McCarthy with HUAC, even though the H changes for House and McCarthy was a Senator. HUAC was actually formed when Stalin was our buddy, and it was used to persecute Trotskyites and isolationists like the much-maligned Charles Lindbergh (who I defend here). Dalton Trumbo even went to the FBI and ratted out people that wrote him letters about Johnny Got His Gun, whose publication he ceased as soon as Kremlin's line on war changed. Before then the CPUSA was putting up posters of Saul Alinsky saying "This is the face of a warmonger".

The situation was even greater in Italy, and there too no paranoia
Haven't you heard of the strategy of tension?

The most conformist of the western nations?
I don't quite know how to measure that, but have you heard the saying "I'm an anti-conformist, just like everybody else"? That's the point about the Brin article I linked to. People can celebrate anti-conformism while remaining conformist. Ayn Rand formed an irrational cult dedicated to reason. And then the guy who wrote "Sociology of the Ayn Rand cult" formed a cult of his own. But getting back to the point about conformism, it's not about being like someone else. It's about not being THEM. THEM are the conformists. And if you can make yourself stand out among the anti-conformists by being especially fantastically anti-conformist (once again, engaging in the same status competition as the rest) it makes you really cool. But we all jump to misinterpret things like the Asch conformity experiments so we can say that so many people are pathetic sheep except for us, the enlightened and bold free-thinkers.

You are saying that I don't know when I am being insulted by some right-whiner
Like I said, I agree that they're mostly assholes. I think people in general are assholes. Because I don't have any sense of solidarity the lens I look through doesn't have the world come out black and white.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Keith Preston wrote:

"In my personal experience, left-wingers can be just as intolerant and authoritarian as right-wingers. I've even received death threats from left-wingers who don't like some of my politics. "

I agree. I have never said that there aren't authoritarian leftists and your familiarity with my other writings will have made you aware of this. What we are talking about is a matter of degree. I am claiming that most right-wingers have authoritarian personalities, and so do some leftists. In regards to the left however, an individual authoritarian trait – or what appears to be an authoritarian trait but might only be an over-reaction – does not an authoritarian personality make. An authoritarian personality is an an ensemble of traits and very few leftists other than those in cult-like sects possess this ensemble.

"Contra Larry, I think the power of the French CP in the postwar period was serious business. The Stalinists hoped to eventually take France, regarding it as the first Western state that would fall under their control. The French CP was the last Western European CP to de-Stalinize, and it did so very bitterly. I don't think having Stalinist sympathizers in the ranks of the police is any laughing matter. I'll take Charles De Gaulle over some Stalinist puppet any day "

I never said the French CP wasn't. Indeed what you have just written supports the position I have taken contra the McArthyites. Here was a real possibility the CP could rule France – unlike the tiny little timorous mouse of a CPUSA – do the French go bananas? NO! But the French CP had no hope of taking over France as Stalin was against it. The CP lost its chance after 1947 and went into a decline from which it never recovered. And irony of ironies, the CP was a moderating, and as we saw later in 1968 – a counter-revolutionary force.

11:17 AM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

I should add that the French CP were ultra-nationalists, which is one of the reasons why much support of LePenis has come from ex-CP voters. Also they were the heroes of the Resistance and they governed many towns and villages. As local governments go, they were very good. And the fact that there were a million or more of them meant that everyone had a friend or relative who was associated with them.

Fear of the unknown lay in part at the base of the US hysteria. Not to mention racism and anti-Semitism. The CPUSA was based largely on Eastern European immigrants, many of whom were Jews. The CP was one of the few groups (the IWW and the Trotskyists the others) to seriously confront Jim Crow which was virtually a sacred institution in the USA of 1949. There is also a highly vindictive and paranoiac streak in American culture rooted in the Protestant sects.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Actually some of my stats are off (I am working from memory) The PFC had half a million members not a million and they got 28% of the note not 25%. Wikipedia has an accurate description of them SEE
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Communist_Party

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Keith Preston said...

"Indeed, I question whether the people I dislike should even be called conservative, maybe right-wing Jacobin, crypto-fascist, clerical fascist or corporatist would be better."

Some dissident American right-wingers use precisely these terms to describe the Neocons. Paul Craign Roberts, for instance, is particularly fond of calling them "Jacobins".

"I should add that the French CP were ultra-nationalists, which is one of the reasons why much support of LePenis has come from ex-CP voters. Also they were the heroes of the Resistance and they governed many towns and villages. As local governments go, they were very good. And the fact that there were a million or more of them meant that everyone had a friend or relative who was associated with them."

I know a fellow who grew up in the French Communist Party who left it after '68 and became a Maoist, and in recent years I've heard him say good things about Le Pen, which used to surprise me, but I had figured out some of that must be rooted in the things you're describing. Of course, he also has good things to say about anarchists.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Werner said...

To get back to your original post I look at my own background (basically a horror story as anyone who has known me will agree)and see the truth about "authoritarian upbringing". It's weird that things that happened decades ago can still have an effect or is this just the definition of insanity? Probably it is. It's hard to imagine in a part of the world where people enthusiastically support sociopaths like Harper that anyone can have faith in the goodness of human nature. You are more optimistic I guess.

5:26 AM  
Blogger Larry Gambone said...

Werner, I don't believe in the goodness of human nature any more than I believe in its badness. People are, more or less, what conditions and genes make them. What I do find is that the scum rises to the top, the most vicious and criminal types are those in control. Most average persons on the other hand tend to be decent. As but one example only 38% voted for Harper. This is very close to my view of humanity - roughly 30-40% total shits, 60-70% decent.

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There never was democracy, when the King lost to Parliament, you get Standing Armies with millions going to war (total war).

Universal suffrage only allows parliament, and the power behind the throne (bankers, money lenders, big business and ruling class interests) to claim legitimacy for their policies and to claim they represent 'the people' (the people have no real voice or power, they are just an abstract mass or herd given 'power' in the rhetoric used by the State).

2:41 PM  
Blogger wagelaborer said...

Interesting article.

I agree with your premise.

Maybe TGGP doesn't understand the importance of child raising to future political affiliations, but the ruling class does.

Not only did they ridicule and imprison Wilhelm Reich, they funded and still do fund, by the millions, "beat your child for Jesus" James Dobson, who has a very well funded and widespread media reach, and who explicitly says that he wants people to beat their children so that they will respect their father, their God and their government.

I agree that 30% of people are hopeless assholes, but I think only 6% are fundamentally devoted to peace and justice, with the rest swinging either way, depending on the propaganda.

10:36 AM  

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