AuthorTopic: Malthus to China Potpourri  (Read 39848 times)

Offline alan2102

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri: Runaway Train
« Reply #180 on: August 09, 2012, 07:52:22 AM »
Our problem cannot, unfortunately, be reduced to a simple "us versus
them" moral story.  We have met the enemy, and he is he, AND he is
us. Both.  Strange, but true.

Commonly held belief, but innacurate.
Not commonly held at all. Almost everyone thinks in simple "us vs. them"
terms.  It is a retro, rather pre-civilizational way of viewing things --
accurate to a point, containing some truth, but not expressing the full
complex reality. Most people are stuck in this primitive mindset, in which
they are incapable of blaming themselves or their own group (the group
which they identify as "we", typically a nation, an ethnicity or race, a
religion, etc., but can also be a socioeconomic class) -- in which blame is
always externalized.
 
Quote
The "Enemy" are those of "Us" who run the show. The first step in regaining
control over a runaway train is to push the current Engineer out the door.
I'll buy that. Strategically, the best first move is to push the current engineer
out the door. You are CORRECT.

But it is not relevant to my point. You can push the current engineer(s)
out the door, but that ALONE will not produce the deep cultural/social/social-
psychological/memetic/etcetera change that is necessary to turn this ship
around. It'll be a great (and probably indispensable) start, but it won't do
the job. Push the engineer out the door, yeah, great. But people will STILL
want their F-250s and 80 pairs of shoes.  Even 10 years down the line,
they will STILL think that going from 80 pairs all the way down to 40 pairs
is a big sacrifice and a radical restructuring of their lives. It will take a bare
minimum of one generation, and probably two, before we get things turned
around at the deep level. And that is an optimistic estimate.

R.E., you are thinking a bit like the Jacobins. You're thinking that if we can
just behead all the evil elites, that that will be sufficient.  But it will not be
sufficient.  Necessary, yes, but not sufficient.

Offline alan2102

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri
« Reply #181 on: August 09, 2012, 10:16:09 AM »
in a short time -- say, two generations
or so -- after the collapse of the dollar, and after everyone has had a few decades
to fully digest the fact that owning an F-250 and 80 pairs of shoes is NOT their
birthright,  and after the new neo-fascist attempt at palingenesis (see my post
immediately above) collapses in ignominy and utter failure,  I expect that we'll bulk
to a significant number. Frugality and modest living WILL prevail. WE WILL BE
VINDICATED. Circa 2050.
Further:

Here's a statistic for you: The U.S. has EIGHT TIMES more retail square footage
than the next-highest country in the world. EIGHT TIMES. Now, it stands to reason
that Americans do not have eight times the requirement for material things
(clothes, food, toys, gadgets, sundries) that other humans have; people in the
other OECD nations get by just fine, and usually enjoy a better quality of life
than here. So, what are we to make of this? I don't about you, but what I make
of it is that Americans have been thoroughly conditioned, over generations, to be
massive over-shoppers/over-consumers of everything in sight. It may have started,
back in 1920, as a temporary propaganda-driven behavioral aberration, but it is
now much deeper  than that. It is in our blood. It is who we are.  It is now almost 
genetic, and not reversible in less than decades. Even if all the 1%/elites were
taken out and shot. Even if all the advertising/lies CEASED, right now, today. Most
people react defensively, if not violently, to the suggestion that there is something
seriously wrong with their way of life and that they should change. Reversing this is
a work of generations. And note that we're not just talking about (potentially
malleable) behaviors; we're talking about a gigantic brick-and-mortar installed base,
many feeder industries, armies of employees both direct and indirect, large financial
structures relating to and supporting, a so on. This all has to be dismantled and
healed. It is not going to happen without trauma.

I think this 8:1 retail space ratio is highly significant. I think it says a great deal
about what we now are. If it were something more reasonable like, say, 2:1 (still
VERY high), then I might be inclined to think in terms of benign, non-violent
outcomes. But 8:1 is so extreme, so wild, that it reflects a mass, nation-wide
insanity. The people are out of their freaking minds, and they will not come to
their senses easily, or quickly.

I cannot see how the response to loss of economic power (devalued dollar.
collapsing global influence, etc.) could be calm dignified acceptance of the new
reality. It is much more likely to be violent reaction, demands that our leaders
"DO  something",  frightened enthusiasm for fascist demagogues (with glowing
rhetoric  about how they will "restore America to greatness"), etc.

Offline Surly1

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri: Runaway Train
« Reply #182 on: August 09, 2012, 12:01:16 PM »
It will take a bare minimum of one generation, and probably two, before we get things turned
around at the deep level. And that is an optimistic estimate.

R.E., you are thinking a bit like the Jacobins. You're thinking that if we can
just behead all the evil elites, that that will be sufficient.  But it will not be
sufficient.  Necessary, yes, but not sufficient.

I would suggest that it would take more like 500 years to change the paradigm sufficiently. Which we will not have, of course.

One of the few places where I disagree with Da Boss is "The Orkin Man" paradigm. "Necessary but not sufficient" says it perfectly. History shows pretty consistently that the Jacobin cure is almost always worse than the disease, and almost always leads to revanchism.
The Bible counsels "vengeance is mine, saith the Lord" for a pretty good reason-- dealing with the contemplated level of bloodshed is above our pay grade. Oh yeah, and that "thou shalt not murder" thingie . . .

And after the beheadings come the Bonapartes.

We need a new narrative, which will arise from those opting out of the current system and in essence "rolling their own," much of which is discussed in these very pages.
"...reprehensible lying communist..."

Offline RE

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri: Runaway Train
« Reply #183 on: August 09, 2012, 01:05:30 PM »
Not commonly held at all. Almost everyone thinks in simple "us vs. them"
terms.

No, the common wisdom is that this is J6Ps fault for running up his Credit Cards to buy Jet Skis, for buying more McMansion thanhe could afford.  It's the Boomers fault for being selfcentered, its the Unions fault for negotiating generous Pension Plans, Its the Welfare Moms fault for living off the dole, its the Black mans fault for for being shiftless, lazy and ignorant You read this trash all over the net. A relatively small percentage of the population places the blame where it truly belongs, on the Pigmen.

Quote
,But it is not relevant to my point. You can push the current engineer(s)
out the door, but that ALONE will not produce the deep cultural/social/social-
psychological/memetic/etcetera change that is necessary to turn this ship
around.

I didn't say this was all you had to do, in fact I laid out a 3 step plan explicitly.  Eliminating the current crop of Pigmen is just the first Step.

Quote
R.E., you are thinking a bit like the Jacobins. You're thinking that if we can
just behead all the evil elites, that that will be sufficient.  But it will not be
sufficient.  Necessary, yes, but not sufficient.

Old Joke.

What do you call 1000 Lawyers at the Bottom of the Ocean?

A Good Start

Again, I did not say the only thing we need to do is strip the entire Pigman class of all their Wealth and Power and let them all commit Seppuku.  This is just the first step in Building a Better Tomorrow.  :icon_sunny:

RE
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Offline alan2102

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri: Runaway Train
« Reply #184 on: August 09, 2012, 02:38:34 PM »
I would suggest that it would take more like 500 years to change the paradigm
sufficiently.
No need to go to the opposite extreme, Surly.  A few generations should be
sufficient. People and populations can and do change.

Quote
And after the beheadings come the Bonapartes.
I was saying "behead the 1%" half-jokingly. Literal beheadings, no -- not
necessary or desirable. But they should be cloistered in such a way that
they can no longer do massive damage to society.  All the psychopaths
and their ilk -- about 1-5% of the population -- should be removed
to some distant, inescapable place. An island would be good. A tropical
paradise island would be fine. They can all have decent accommodations,
plenty of food and other basic amenities, and even some luxuries. Free
Pina Coladas. Movies. Whatever.  I don't want them to suffer; I don't insist
that they be killed;  I just want them out of circulation so that they cannot
cause millions or billions of others to suffer. That seems reasonable to
me.  Would that cause the rise of Bonapartism?

We have met the enemy, and he is he, and he is us. As far as the first
part of that goes -- the "he is he" part -- we have to identify the
minority of serious miscreants, if there is one (and I think there is one).
How do we do that? Is it a matter of income? Wealth? Power? Position?
Some combination?  No.  The best single litmus test comes from a curious
point of intersection of psychiatry and theology.  Here it is:

Psychopathy and Ponerology

Psychopathy is a complex state characterized most notably by
total selfishness, an utter lack of conscience, and indifference to
(or even pleasure in) the suffering of others -- such as suffering
caused by one's own greed-driven or other antisocial actions. More
and rich detail can be found at the links below.

Ponerology is the study of evil. It is a term from theology, now
being retrieved and put to use outside the theological context.
It is closely related to psychopathy, since psychopaths are by far
the main evil-doers on planet earth. Almost everyone is essentially
good and wishes to do good for both self and others -- EXCEPT
FOR THE PSYCHOPATHS. This is the REAL "1%" that we are after;
these are the true bad guys.  Recognize the psychopath, and you
recognize the person by far the most likely to do evil things --
constitutionally. They cannot help themselves; it is who they ARE.

vis:

http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2012-07-14/why-don't-corrupt-players-wall-street-and-dc-show-remorse-their-destructive-a
Why Don't the Corrupt Players On Wall Street and In D.C. Show
Remorse for Their Destructive Actions.And Why Don't We Stop
Them?  Submitted by George Washington on 07/14/2012
"As we've repeatedly noted, psychopaths caused the financial
crisis... and they will do it again and again unless they are
removed from power." [Removed from power, and sent away to a
pleasant place where they can do no harm. --Alan2102]

-- ------------------------------------------------------------

http://ezinearticles.com/?Screening-Psychopaths-in-Government&id=4630682
Screening Psychopaths in Government
By Pavel Podolyak
"The time is ripe for a worldwide effort to formulate simple
standardized procedures to filter acutely psychopathic
individuals from positions of economic, political, and social
leadership. [Yes. Filter them, and send them away to a
pleasant place where they can do no harm. --Alan2102] This is
the very first step necessary before we start implementing
policies for international recovery of the real physical
economy. This is due to the fact that meaningful reform will
simply not be possible with highly [unempathetic] clinical
intraspecies predators remaining in charge of socioeconomic
management." [Here here! --Alan2102]

--------------------------------------------------------------

http://www.pentaone.com/hannibal/psychopath.shtml
The World of Psychopaths
"There are at least 2 million psychopaths in North America.
New York itself has as many as 100,000 psychopaths. The most
obvious expressions of psychopathy -- but by no means the only
ones -- involve flagrant criminal violation of society's
rules. Many psychopaths are criminals, but many others remain
out of prison, using their charm and chameleonlike abilities
to cut a wide swath through society and leaving a wake of
ruined lives behind them. Like pieces of a puzzle they are a
self-centered, callous, and remorseless person profoundly
lacking in empathy and the ability to form warm emotional
relationships with others, a person who functions without the
restraints of conscience. They are missing the very qualities
that allow human beings to live in social harmony. Psychopaths
are most often associated with serial killers but rapists,
thieves, swindlers, con men, wife beaters, white-collar
criminals, hype-prone stock promoters, child abusers, gang
members, disbarred lawyers, drug barons, professional
gamblers, members of organized crime, doctors who've lost
their licenses, terrorists, cult leaders, mercenaries, and
unscrupulous businesspeople all can be considered psychopaths."
[And, let's not forget banksters, finance vultures, most
politicians, most corporate leaders, etc., etc. Psychopaths,
all. --Alan2102]

--------------------------------------------------------------

And, finally, a great resource on psychopathy and ponerology:
cassiopaea.com. These are a few of many valuable links from
that site:

http://www.cassiopaea.com/cassiopaea/psychopath.htm
Psychopathy, Narcissism, Ponerology (Evil)

http://www.cassiopaea.org/cass/sanity_1.PdF
"Mask of Sanity" by Hervey Cleckley PDF - book download free

http://www.cassiopaea.com/cassiopaea/cleckley-mos.htm
Discussion of Psychopathy Traits From The Mask of Sanity by
Hervey Cleckley

http://www.cassiopaea.org/cass/political_ponerology_lobaczewski.htm
Political  Ponerology: A Science on The Nature of Evil adjusted
for Political Purposes by Andrew M. Lobaczewski, Ph.D. with
commentary and additional quoted material by Laura Knight-Jadczyk

http://www.cassiopaea.com/cassiopaea/psychopaths_in_history.htm
The Psychopath in History

http://www.cassiopaea.com/cassiopaea/psychopath_macrosocial_evil.htm
The Generation of Evil on The Macrosocial Scale

http://www.cassiopaea.org/cass/official_culture.htm
Official Culture - A Natural State of Psychopathy? by Laura
Knight-Jadczyk

« Last Edit: August 09, 2012, 02:41:22 PM by alan2102 »

Offline alan2102

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri: Runaway Train
« Reply #185 on: August 09, 2012, 03:02:30 PM »
Not commonly held at all. Almost everyone thinks in simple "us vs. them"
terms.
No, the common wisdom is that this is J6Ps fault for running up his Credit Cards
to buy Jet Skis, for buying more McMansion than he could afford.  It's the Boomers
fault for being self centered, its the Unions fault for negotiating generous Pension
Plans.....
Yes. And that IS thinking in simple "us vs. them" terms. The key characteristic
is that it ALWAYS blames someone else. It is never our fault, always theirs, always
"them", while  "we" are the good guys.  Blame is always externalized. This is an
infantile tendency and it is almost never right.

In contrast, I say: it is they who are responsible for our troubles, AND
it is us.  BOTH.  There is a miscreant minority (see my post immediately
above; psychopaths) -- what you call "pigmen" -- AND there is widespread
failure such that everyone is in part to blame. J6P IS responsible for
profligately running up his plastic, and the boomers ARE responsible for
being self-centered shits, etc., etc.  Those things are really true. (Though
some of your other examples are LESS true; e.g. welfare moms. But even
there, there is room for some slight blame.)

Quote
Quote
But it is not relevant to my point. You can push the current engineer(s)
out the door, but that ALONE will not produce the deep cultural/social/social-
psychological/memetic/etcetera change that is necessary to turn this ship
around.
I didn't say this was all you had to do, in fact I laid out a 3 step plan explicitly. 
Eliminating the current crop of Pigmen is just the first Step.
In that case I apologize. I mistook your view. Would please give me a link
or two where you present your case on this matter, in detail?  I will read with
an open mind.

Offline Surly1

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri: Runaway Train
« Reply #186 on: August 09, 2012, 03:21:39 PM »
I would suggest that it would take more like 500 years to change the paradigm
sufficiently.

No need to go to the opposite extreme, Surly.  A few generations should be
sufficient. People and populations can and do change.


Alan, I really wasn't going to what you read as an extreme to be cute; I really do think it would take 500 years under normal circumstances, whatever they are.

I was reading TAE in a few stolen moments this afternoon, and came across a guest post by Alexander Aston, on the subject,  "Collapse Is Humanity Adapting To Its Own Presence".
http://theautomaticearth.com/Earth/collapse-is-humanity-adapting-to-its-own-presence.html
In this article (long, pack a lunch, but rewarding), Aston posits that we have so distorted our reading of history as to make any true knowledge of our beginnings virtually unknowable. A snippet:

The western historical canon is well known to us in its essential form. The basic narrative runs, "Humans gave up their wandering and settled the fertile crescent, cities emerged, myths and legends were established. Then came the Greeks and all that is noble and virtuous in western culture was born: reason, art, democracy, etc. Next the Romans who brought, law, order and engineering until crushed by the barbarians and the rise of Christianity. The dark ages ensued until Europeans pulled themselves up by the bootstraps and proceeded to make their rightful claim on the world as the descendants of Greece and Rome."

The characters of our narratives have become so familiar to us that we tend to simply view our ancestors as us, separated only by time. I have watched the siege of Troy, the burning of the library of Alexandria and Gladiatorial games all carried out with clipped British accents as though everyone living in the past 10,000 years spoke the queen’s English. What happens in the reshaping of history through our narrative lens is, if you will, a cultural-morphic personification.

We attribute to our ancient cultures our own cosmologies and create a linear relationship between our cultures. Now I am not saying that we are not the descendants of the ancients that preceded us and that they have not had a powerful influence upon us. What I am saying is that we distort our ability to truly empathize and understand the humanity of those who preceded us and in doing so we distort our ability to understand our own position in history and relationship to those that will follow us.


My point in citing this excellent article is that we need new stories, stories of mutual dependence and interconnectedness, rather than those of conquest and rapine. And I believe it will take half a millennium for those to take hold. And even then, only after unimaginable disaster and loss of life, and a revulsion on the part of the survivors at what our generation has done to pillage the earth, and one another.


And after the beheadings come the Bonapartes.

I was saying "behead the 1%" half-jokingly. Literal beheadings, no -- not
necessary or desirable. But they should be cloistered in such a way that
they can no longer do massive damage to society.  All the psychopaths
and their ilk -- about 1-5% of the population -- should be removed
to some distant, inescapable place. An island would be good. A tropical
paradise island would be fine. They can all have decent accommodations,
plenty of food and other basic amenities, and even some luxuries. Free
Pina Coladas. Movies. Whatever.  I don't want them to suffer; I don't insist
that they be killed;  I just want them out of circulation so that they cannot
cause millions or billions of others to suffer. That seems reasonable to
me.  Would that cause the rise of Bonapartism?
Quote

Not going to engage this improbable straw man. Paint this scenario to the widow of Norman Rousseau, and see how willingly she signs up for her husband's murderers to live on an island filled with fleshpots, luxury and Pina Coladas.

I have discussed this very subject at near-absurd length in one of my exertions on the blog (http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2012/06/17/the-orkin-man-which-side-are-you-on/)

In this overwritten screed, I trace some of humanity's history with vengeance, concentrating on the most recent example of state sanctioned genocide, Pol Pot. Idealism always seems to devolve into paranoia, violence and insanity. Perhaps you believe that humanity is ready to evolve in a meaningful way. I take a more cynical view; perhaps I have seen one too many teabags stapled to tricorn hats, themselves made in China.






"...reprehensible lying communist..."

Offline RE

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri: Runaway Train
« Reply #187 on: August 09, 2012, 04:48:05 PM »
Its a magnitude question Alan.  If you say everyone is to blame, that is the same thing as saying no one is to blame.  You have to make distinctions by the level of responsibility and the profiteering that led to this result.  Some people are more Guilty than others and a few people with great wealth and power who pull the strings of the Political Marionettes are Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity.  The only Punishment which Fits that Crime is Capital Punishment.

Insofar as steps 2 and 3, I go over those all the time, Step 2 is to put the Brakes on Industrial Culture and halt the burning of Fossil Fuels and the Fissioning of Radioisotopes and Step 3 is to learn to Walk again, meaning learning to live a Subsistence Life off the land in ways that don't deplete the land and the aquifers.

I Hammer Down on all 3 of these Steps all the time, and you have been a member here long enough I am sure you have read this.  Somehow I guess it didn't Register.

RE
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Offline alan2102

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri: Runaway Train
« Reply #188 on: August 09, 2012, 05:50:08 PM »
Its a magnitude question Alan.  If you say everyone is to blame, that is the
same thing as saying no one is to blame.  You have to make distinctions by the
level of responsibility and the profiteering that led to this result.  Some people
are more Guilty than others and a few people with great wealth and power who
pull the strings of the Political Marionettes are Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity. 
"Make distinctions" is exactly what I've done, if you read my posts immediately
above.  I said that there is a miscreant minority -- best generally described
as psychopaths, or what you call "pigmen" -- that is especially to blame. I've
said several times that they are MORE TO BLAME than the rest of us. I don't
know how to make this any more clear than I have. I only add that simply
blaming them, and letting all the rest of us off the hook, is a tad too easy.
Indeed, it is likely the precursor to the atrocities to which Surly (wisely)
adverts.  If you won't accept ANY of the blame, then you'll probably wind
up a bloodthirsty Jacobin, yourself.  Self-criticism is ESSENTIAL. I'm
surprised and disappointed that you don't seem to see this.

By the way, I don't understand this:  "If you say everyone is to blame,
that is the same thing as saying no one is to blame."  Why?  If we all
behave like assholes, then we are all to blame for behaving like assholes.
In that case, it is not true that none of us are to blame; ALL of us are to
blame. We can stop behaving like assholes, and thus cease to be
blameworthy for that.

But, at any rate, I've identified an specially guilty small minority,
the real 1% bad guys. See above. These guys must be dealt with first,
just as you say, if we're to have a prayer of turning this ship around.
I've without question got THAT base covered.   :)

Quote
The only Punishment which Fits that Crime is Capital Punishment.
Except that that will, just as Surly fears, very likely lead to atrocity,
bloodbath, whatever. Ugly.

Quote
I Hammer Down on all 3 of these Steps all the time, and you have been a
member here long enough I am sure you have read this.  Somehow I guess it
didn't Register.
I  confess that I've not explored the Diner in much depth, sticking
mostly to a few threads, on which I have not seen those themes. Maybe
you've mentioned them in passing, and as you say it "didn't register", or
didn't stick. If so: pardon me.

Offline RE

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri: Runaway Train
« Reply #189 on: August 09, 2012, 08:42:13 PM »
By the way, I don't understand this:  "If you say everyone is to blame,
that is the same thing as saying no one is to blame."

Because you can't imprison everyone.  At a certain point the blame level is too low to punish.

Quote
Quote
The only Punishment which Fits that Crime is Capital Punishment.
Except that that will, just as Surly fears, very likely lead to atrocity,
bloodbath, whatever. Ugly.

Likely in any case.  If you are going to have a Bloodbath, you should make sure the right people are Bathed in Blood first.  You should read my response to Surly's Orkin Man post, Unforgiven.

RE
« Last Edit: August 09, 2012, 10:10:29 PM by RE »
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Offline alan2102

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri: Runaway Train
« Reply #190 on: August 10, 2012, 02:50:51 AM »

Surly, you might want to go back to this post and eliminate ONE of the quote levels.

we need new stories, stories of mutual dependence and interconnectedness,
rather than those of conquest and rapine. And I believe it will take half a millennium
for those to take hold.
Wow. Well, I agree that mythopoeisis doesn't happen overnight, but still.
I think we can come up with something pretty good in a century or so.

I was saying "behead the 1%" half-jokingly. Literal beheadings, no -- not
necessary or desirable. But they should be cloistered in such a way that
they can no longer do massive damage to society.  All the psychopaths
and their ilk -- about 1-5% of the population -- should be removed
to some distant, inescapable place. An island would be good. A tropical
paradise island would be fine. They can all have decent accommodations,
plenty of food and other basic amenities, and even some luxuries. Free
Pina Coladas. Movies. Whatever.  I don't want them to suffer; I don't insist
that they be killed;  I just want them out of circulation so that they cannot
cause millions or billions of others to suffer. That seems reasonable to
me.  Would that cause the rise of Bonapartism?
Quote
Not going to engage this improbable straw man.

1. What makes it a  "straw man"?

2. Improbable, yes; impossible, certainly not. Improbable kinda like
it was improbable that the occupy movement would come out of
nowhere and suddenly be a BIG ass deal.

3. Why no engagement? It is a critical point: what to do with the guilty.
R.E. says "kill 'em all", which you rightly criticize as being very likely if
not certain to end in a crazy genocide with unintended consequences
beyond imagining. What I say is: give the guilty a very comfortable life.
SOMEWHERE ELSE.  This is not hard to do.  No atrocities. No bloodbaths.
No wild perversion of ideals.

Quote
I have discussed this very subject at near-absurd length in one of my exertions on the blog (http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2012/06/17/the-orkin-man-which-side-are-you-on/)
In this overwritten screed, I trace some of humanity's history with
vengeance, concentrating on the most recent example of state sanctioned
genocide, Pol Pot. Idealism always seems to devolve into paranoia, violence
and insanity.
So, if that latter is the case, what is to be done? Nothing? Just give up?

I did not find the linked item to be an "overwritten screed".  I did find it
curious. After some introductory paragraphs, you spent a good while
describing the  pol pot episode. Then, abruptly, you end your discussion
of Cambodia, and blurt out: "So it matters little who you pick as the
Orkin Man, or how good your motives are, or how thorough your efforts
at re-education or eradication may be"!  The problem was that you did
not establish that. You gave ONE notable historical example of good
intentions gone bad, and present that as if it constituted a whole case,
generalizable to everyone, everywhere, for all time!

Sorry, but that doesn't cut it. Not even close. Actually, if you had
bothered to make a real case, I probably would agree with you. I am
strongly predisposed, based on my own historical study, to agree with
you.  Mass executions of the guilty, in the interest of some idealistic
notion, is likely if not certain to end in disaster.  But you did not make
a convincing case for that.

Regardless, let's just agree that the mass execution approach is a
non-starter, sure to end badly.  I agree with that. So, why no
engagement of a clearly-superior alternative, i.e. the one I presented
to you? No executions. No torture. Some coercion, yes, but hey: how
bad can it be to be "coerced" to vacate to, and remain in, a tropical
paradise with all your needs met for free?  I agree that the coercion
is bad.  That's where I would bring out the "break eggs to make an
omelate" argument, emphasizing that the breaking of eggs in this
case is VERY modest (being forced to live in paradise!).

Offline Surly1

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri
« Reply #191 on: August 10, 2012, 03:42:24 AM »
Alan, am leaving town for a few days and gave this one more peruse before walking out the door. Don't have time for a point by point, but wanted to respond to the "straw man" issue-- I don't think it's likely that we would agree, as a group of people, to exile the 1% to some garden spot because we would not be able to overcome the revenge motive. People want punishment, redress of grievances, etc. The image of oppressors living in luxury, even in exile, is not likely to find agreement among some future revolutionary council.

Whatever the merits of the approach, we are not emotionally prepared as a people to embrace it. I could be wrong, and I would ove to be proven wrong in fact, but don't think so.

As to the merits of my article, I was not preparing a legal brief; rather, a highly idiosyncratic, off the top of the head diatribe based on personal experience and observation, and assumed the reader would carry some context from the Forum discussions contemporary at that time into the reading.So it carries the limitations that I am largely writign for amusement value, and at that, probably mostly my own...

I do appreciate the feedback.
"...reprehensible lying communist..."

Offline alan2102

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri
« Reply #192 on: August 10, 2012, 06:38:28 AM »
People want punishment, redress of grievances, etc.
It IS punishment, of a sort. They can no longer live freely in broader
society. They are THERE for the duration. No chance of escape. It
is a prison. Guard boats circling the island. Guard towers with machine
guns. Etcetera.

Quote
The image of oppressors living in luxury
I mentioned a few luxurIES, or luxury-like things: free drinks, free
movies, whatever.  Slightly more than you would get in the typical
Federal penitentiary, combined with very nice tropical weather all
the time.   I imagine modest accomodations and amenities, at the
level of a Red Roof Inn  motel. That's not exactly what the mind
conjures from the phrase "living in luxury".

But perhaps the biggest argument of all is: what is the alternative?
Bring out the guillotines?  It is likely that we can all agree that that
is, as you point out, a non-starter.  What I suggest is eminently
sensible, and most reasonable people of fair intelligence, being
informed of the historical facts (i.e. miserable failure of the "behead
them all!" approach to these things), would agree, I believe.

Note well that the "non-violence" meme has spread far and wide
amongst activists.  It is VERY strong.  People embrace it -- citing
Gandhi and MLK, etc. --  as though it were an unquestionable dogma,
and if you do question it, in most activist venues, you are immediately
regarded as either a pariah, or perhaps an agent provocateur. I think
they go too far; I think violent action has a place, sometimes (and,
incidentally, even Gandhi agrees with me on that). But I agree that
non-violence is almost always better, for several reasons,  and
many millions of activists agree with me.  Certainly 100% of the
Occupiers, and their tens (hundreds?) of millions of sympathizers
around the world, agree with me.

So, when you say that  "we are not emotionally prepared" for a non-
violent approach such as what I've suggested, I cannot see it. I see
something close to the opposite of that, at least in the left/OWS
activist  sphere.

Perhaps you're referring to the rest of the population, however,
and there I would have to admit it is more dicey. As I've said in other
posts, I see the rise of a neo-fascism to be likely. That would involve
violence, but it would not be against the psychopaths/pigmen. It would
be BY the psychopaths/pigmen, against their perceived enemies! That
might happen, but I suspect it would not last long. Their little Reich
would be unsustainable without strong dollars, cheap oil, etc., and would
collapse within a decade or two.

I see the possibility of a violent uprising -- torches-and-pitchforks-style --
against the psychopaths/pigmen to be very unlikely. The green progressive
machine-gun-wielding Orkin Man will not materialize. At least I can't see it.
Maybe I'll try harder to see it, and suddenly have an R.E.-type epiphany....  ;)

The violent/vengeful energy that would drive an anti-pigmen uprising is
more likely to be channeled into said neo-fascist formation and uprising.
On the other hand, the non-violent energy as expressed by Occupy
and its masses of supporters will not be so channeled, and would be
quite capable of doing something like what I propose. The Occupiers
are generally (small-l) libertarian and anti-authoritarian, but that does
not mean that they are opposed to prisons for murderers and criminals.

Where is the vengeful, "hang-em-high!", "boil 'em alive!" feeling amongst
the Occupiers?  I don't see it.

Quote
I do appreciate the feedback.
As do I.

Offline alan2102

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri: Runaway Train
« Reply #193 on: August 10, 2012, 07:23:54 AM »
By the way, I don't understand this:  "If you say everyone is to blame,
that is the same thing as saying no one is to blame."

Because you can't imprison everyone.  At a certain point the blame level
is too low to punish.
I agree that "the blame level is too low to punish". That's just the point.
I did not suggest ANY punishment, much less prison, for the
peccadilloes, the garden-variety faults, in question: the ways in which you
are I and all the readers of these words are responsible for our problems.
We are small fry. We are retail offenders; the high-level psychopaths are
wholesale offenders. There's a difference. They belong in prison. We don't.

Ask yourself: why, when it is suggested that you have some responsibility
for our global problems, do you immediately (reactively) repair to an
extreme interpretation of that, assuming that I suggest that you be
punished?

What I DID suggest was that we get clear and cop to our responsibility,
where it is appropriate. (And it IS appropriate, to some extent, in 100%
of cases.) That's essential. Anyone who cannot do this is in my mind not
an adult,  and not a true ally, but a child, and a potentially dangerous one.

Quote
Quote
Quote
The only Punishment which Fits that Crime is Capital Punishment.
Except that that will, just as Surly fears, very likely lead to atrocity,
bloodbath, whatever. Ugly.

Likely in any case.  If you are going to have a Bloodbath, you should
make sure the right people are Bathed in Blood first.  You should read
my response to Surly's Orkin Man post,
Unforgiven.
I read it, but did not find much value, in large part because I do not
share your premises about what is likely; i.e. sudden collapse of JIT
system, social chaos, mass dieoff, and so on.  I think that stuff is
possible, but very unlikely.

I share this feeling with Ashvin: "Your cut-throat, last Hoorah Utilitarian
morality just doesn’t do it for me".   HOWEVER:  I think we do need
some Hoorah (?) (whatever that means) Utilitarian morality, just not
the cut-throat type, which will (almost) inevitably end in disaster. 
See my posts above, about cloistering the bad guys.

I also agree with Ashvin when he says: "If systematic genocide is the last
best idea we can come up with, then maybe it would be better to let
ourselves go extinct."  Right!  And your reply was supremely unconvincing;
i.e. to the effect that we should feel OK about killing three billion if the
coming collapse is going to kill SIX billion (hence, three billion saved!).
God, what hopeless "logic"! All predicated on a highly speculative
assumption that a massive collapse is imminent and will kill six billion!
Utter madness. This is the end result of  vulgar, uncritical Malthusianism
and HansoNihilism run riot, unchecked, rampaging through the brain.
The result is a form of insanity. Ugly as sin.

I did find this snippet of interest:
Quote
if you simply took away all their wealth and power and dropped these
folks into a Housing Project in Chicago and left them their Shoelaces,
Silk Neckties and Gucci Belts, they would all Hang THEMSELVES in short
order.
Hmmm. That sounds fine to me!  They are more than welcome to
do that.  In fact, I think we should have a good Kevorkian-style
euthanasia program -- voluntary, of course -- on that tropical
island, ready and waiting to execute (pun intended) the prisoners'
wishes.  No need for hanging. They can go out in perfect comfort.

PS: also a good idea to let them bring their Silk Neckties and Gucci
Belts.  Just like Back Home.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 07:27:24 AM by alan2102 »

Offline RE

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Re: Malthus to China Potpourri: Runaway Train
« Reply #194 on: August 10, 2012, 03:28:24 PM »

Ask yourself: why, when it is suggested that you have some responsibility
for our global problems, do you immediately (reactively) repair to an
extreme interpretation of that, assuming that I suggest that you be
punished?

I repair to this because the "We are all to Blame" meme deflects the disussion away from where the bulk of the responsibility actually is.  Just about every person short of a few H-Gs still living in the Amazon and in Nunavut has participated in the destruction of the Earth habitat, and if you ascribe Guilt for this it implies there should be a consequence for that Guilt.

Quote
I read it, but did not find much value, in large part because I do not
share your premises about what is likely; i.e. sudden collapse of JIT
system, social chaos, mass dieoff, and so on.  I think that stuff is
possible, but very unlikely.

If you do not accept the underlying Premises, obviously you will reach a different conclusion.

RE
Save As Many As You Can