Fixing Democracy

Suchender

Member
1)...would you agree that our current predicament has arisen out of long-term processes that involve powerful and wealthy people acting as free and sovereign individuals exercising all their rights?
  1. It seems to me that most of our problems stem from certain people having too much freedom, and no respect for boundaries.
  2. If the people don't exercise their democratic rights to create a better system, who will?
  3. If after being duly "woken" and red-pilled and properly educated, the people rise up and take command, is a Libertarian system what they would / should demand for themselves?
  4. Or do you think that a Libertarian system should better be institute by elites, landlords, billionaires and/or the Aryan Conspiracy for their own benefit, and operated on an authoritarian / royalist basis?
1) Yes, as a result of natural forces in a society, as described by Franz Oppenheimer in "The State".

2) Which is also a natural result of those natural forces in combination with a special human feature, described by Étienne de La Boétie in his "The Politics of Obedience : The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude".

3) The 'people' are driven by inertia and are manipulated by those in power. Otherwise the current system couldn't exist in the first place. Who in his right mind would submit to this sh:it ?!

4) You can not 'wake up' those who serve voluntarely. I don't believe this will EVER happen. People just react and only a few can act. Some of those will establish 'free cities' !?

5) We don't know what the future will bring. What I think will come, won't be be achieved by 'the peope'. It will be achieved by individual efforts and 'the people' will just consume.
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Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
For some strange reason my long replay was not posted.... :-(

Or was it ?!
I see one long reply, posted yesterday evening, and then this short post that I'm replying to, but not a second long reply. I'm sorry if you wrote another long post that disappeared.

Are you still seeing much flaky behavior from the forum system? The ISP changed a timeout and in my experience it's been working much better, although not perfect.

Getting back to the topic...

You can not 'wake up' those who serve voluntarely. I don't believe this will EVER happen.
Coincidentally enough: Caitlin Johnstone, who is pretty much become my favorite blogger, came out with an article yesterday saying that "nothing works" and that the people are not going to 'wake up' and join any particular ideological camp that's ever yet been invented.

Perhaps you're saying that the "Free Private City" is a means for a few people to escape the problems afflicting humanity. And I can relate to that sentiment very well: I live on a little rural homestead that's my own personal paradise & refuge from the storm. A "Free Private City" for two. If Titus Gebel succeeds in building a refuge city that's big enough and effective enough to shelter some tens or hundreds of thousands of people, I wish him godspeed.

But... I'm going to quote Caitlin's essay, because she's so much better at writing than I am...

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/03/28/your-plans-for-revolution-dont-work-nothing-weve-tried-works/

All the old ideas for uprooting the status quo have failed. I point this out not to depress people, but to persuade them to stop twisting on locked doorknobs. The old ideas don’t work, so we need new ones.
The political process has failed. Capitalism has failed. Socialism has failed. Libertarianism has failed. Marx has failed. Populism has failed. Anarchism has failed. I say this not because of any glaring flaws in any of those ideas (in theory any of them could potentially work in an alternate universe), but because we are hurtling towards extinction in the fairly near future, and none of them have saved us.
“But Caitlin!” you may object. “My particular favorite ideology would have saved us long ago if only everyone had gotten on board with it!”
Okay. But they didn’t. And now we’re on the brink of armageddon. That means it has failed. It doesn’t work. ...
What we’ve tried up until now hasn’t worked, so if there’s anything that might work it’s going to come from a wildly unanticipated direction, from way outside the failed mental processes which have accompanied us to this point. We need to open ourselves to that kind of idea.

I've felt this way (without being able to articulate it so clearly) for a long time, and I'm interested in looking for those new ideas that might work.

Pointing out that Christianity is Roman propaganda, and for that matter that Judaism was Egyptian propaganda, and Islam was Persian propaganda? New and different. Might work. Or at least, it might help wake people up in a way that hasn't been possible before.

Choosing our parliamentary representatives & executives by random selection (aka "sortition")? New and different, and I'm not buying for a minute that the Ancient Greeks ever seriously tried it. Might work.

Capitalism? Socialism? Libertarianism? "Democracy"? Already tried and failed.
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
It seems to me that what Johnson should really be saying is that the road(s) to whatever those different 'isms' might have delivered is what failed. Therefore, we can't really say that the 'isms' failed, especially if various power interests have had their respective thumbs on the scales, making sure that 'isms' that threaten their status quo fail.

What we've been seeing over and over again is the effective use of Fear is getting masses to respond one way or the other. This is the real motivational basis of Religion and reactionary politics. This tool either has to neutralized or the tool has to be wielded against those who have been using it.

In the video I just posted about Vladimir Pozner's talk at Yale, he discussed how there have been times when the Soviet/Russian people and the American people have been enthusiastic about improving relations, attitudes being changed quickly. And in this regard he discusses how corporate media in the USA and state media in Russia have been working effectively to reverse this.

A documentary I will soon discuss on the Trump thread, Trumping Democracy, details how the Trump campaign worked with Cambridge Analytica and Facebook to use untraceable 'dark posts' to microtarget susceptible voters that they had used algorithms to select from their data mining efforts. This is the type of thing that has to effectively countered, as well as the fake news industry.

We also need to study why the Nordic countries have been so much more successful in adopting progressive ideas.
 
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Suchender

Member
1) The old ideas don’t work, so we need new ones.
2) Libertarianism has failed.
2a) Marx has failed. Populism has failed.
2b) Anarchism has failed.
3) I say this not because of any glaring flaws in any of those ideas (in theory any of them could potentially work in an alternate universe)
4)... because we are hurtling towards extinction in the fairly near future, and none of them have saved us.
5) And now we’re on the brink of armageddon.

6) if there’s anything that might work it’s going to come from a wildly unanticipated direction, from way outside the failed mental processes...
7) We need to open ourselves to that kind of idea.
After reading this, Caitlin won't be my favorite blogger !

1) This is just a fallacy ! (inverted argument from age) Good ideas, no matter how old, don't fail. The bad ones fail, no matter how new.

2) It wasn't even tried on a grand scale !
2a) Marx was a theorist (a bad one) and nobody tried anything based on his bad theories. Not even the Soviets, even though they pretendet they were.
2b) Where has Anarchism failed ? As far as I know Anarchism is still practiced in various places with success. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_anarchist_communities

3) Most are/were having glaring flaws, but why bring up the 'alternative universe' ?! This is for weak minded people !

4) Complete nonsense ! We are NOT going toward extinction, but toward more prosperity ! Why this fatalism ?! Nothing good can grow on fatalism !

5) Again TOTAL NONSENSE !

6) A mental process is a requirement for anything in a society. A mental process CAN NOT fail ! Actions based on false conclusions out of mental processes can fail....

7) All necessary ideas already exist ! We just need to draw right conclusions and find ways to try OLD ideas in a workable way.
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Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
Quote from H.L. Mencken
Hmm... I can see that perhaps Postflaviana isn't your favorite website, either? Nothing but jackals and jackasses here, still believing that democracy is better than anarchy or royalty.

And, highly concerned about the various apocalyptic narratives that are unfolding before our eyes.
 

Suchender

Member
  1. I can see that perhaps Postflaviana isn't your favorite website, either?
  2. Nothing but jackals and jackasses here, still believing that democracy is better than anarchy or royalty.
  3. And, highly concerned about the various apocalyptic narratives that are unfolding before our eyes.
Good morning, Jerry !

1) You and Richard are definitely my favorite bloggers ! Your site is the only one I visit regularly, almost daily :)

2) Don't take Mencken personally, Jerry !

3) On my part I think there will be events in the future. Nothing close to an apocalypse, though. Those narratives are here to frighten people who are susceptible. You know, playing fear games is the way to control humans.
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
As much as I like Mencken, he never lived a day, like us, in a version of Democracy that wasn't highly rigged. While there have been several attempts to un-rig American Democracy, the elites are ever erecting new means to rig it.

What's wrong with fixing the problems, and making sure, by whatever means is needed, that the 'ignorant' understand that they never made a difference? And that if they are allowed to really make a difference, then they better start taking matters more seriously than waving a flag and chanting slogans..
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
1) You and Richard are definitely my favorite bloggers !
Aww shucks, Suchender, thanks! :)

Remembering the 'smite the lazy worker' topic, I only wish that I could find more time to work on this project. I would like to see us post a new front page article every week, and also put some work into publicity. I've been preoccupied with a complex lawsuit, a tedious never-ending building project, and taking care of cows. Sigh...

It seems to me that what Johnson should really be saying is that the road(s) to whatever those different 'isms' might have delivered is what failed. Therefore, we can't really say that the 'isms' failed, especially if various power interests have had their respective thumbs on the scales, making sure that 'isms' that threaten their status quo fail.
7) All necessary ideas already exist ! We just need to draw right conclusions and find ways to try OLD ideas in a workable way.
Your reactions to Johnstone's article seem similar. But Caitlin's point is precisely stated, and well taken. When you're evaluating any of the 'isms' it's necessary to take a look at the overall picture. Is this 'ism' appealing to the vast majority, or is it widely rejected? Is the 'ism' easily attacked for shortcomings in its own analysis? When attempts are made to implement the 'ism', how effective is it at resisting takeover and subversion by "various power interests"?

By the criteria of real world success, and with 'success' measured according to Caitlin's standard, I think she's right that "nothing works".

2) [Libertarianism] It wasn't even tried on a grand scale !
If Libertarianism has never been tried on a grand scale, whose fault is that? Could it be because the vast majority of thoughtful people reject Libertarianism as a utopian fantasy and/or a Koch brothers think tank in sheep's clothing?

According to Ballot Access, Libertarians accounted for 0.47% of registered voters in 31 states that report minority party registrations in 2017. This is after 45 years of campaigns by the party. When is it time to admit that this idea is going nowhere?

Where has Anarchism failed ? As far as I know Anarchism is still practiced in various places with success.
That Wikipedia page has a list of past (ex) anarchistic experiments that's at least twice as long as the list of active experiments. But, looking through a random assortment, I'm at a loss as to what is "anarchistic" about the majority of them. Catalhoyuk, Indus Valley Civilization and Essenes, all anarchists? Weren't they theocracies, government by priests? Puerto Real, anarchist? They seem to have a democratically elected mayor, like any other city in the "democratic" constitutional monarchy of Spain. It's reported that an Anarcho-Syndicalist union is organizing there, is that all it takes to make a community a shining example of anarchism?

Anarchism is such an abstract idea that I guess I can't even recognize it where others see it.

Marx was a theorist (a bad one) and nobody tried anything based on his bad theories. Not even the Soviets, even though they pretendet they were.
This is a big topic. We can say that Marxism (or something that called itself Marxism) succeeded well enough to take control of Russia and stay in control there for 74 years from 1917 to 1991. Various flavors of Marxist socialism or communism have also been tried in China, Vietnam, and Cuba. More moderate forms of hybrid capitalist / socialist systems have been tried in Scandinavian countries, South America, and arguably even in the major European "democracies" as well as the USA.

Success or failure? Glass half full, glass half empty?

The same can be said of "democracy". The human race has a lot of experience with this form of government now, and it clearly has its pros and cons.

We are NOT going toward extinction, but toward more prosperity !
On my part I think there will be events in the future. Nothing close to an apocalypse, though.
Another big topic. Did I say something about the need for more articles for the front page (wordpress) site? How about "Apocalyptic Narratives and Apocalyptic Realities"?
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
Such an approach is how reframing can occur, from the bottom up -- in order for a different 'ism', or a hybrid like Capitalism PLUS, to have a chance to succeed, short of an apocalyptic war as happened in Europe.
 

Suchender

Member
When you're evaluating any of the 'isms' it's necessary to take a look at the overall picture. Is this 'ism' appealing to the vast majority, or is it widely rejected?.... resisting takeover and subversion by "various power interests"?
If Libertarianism has never been tried on a grand scale, whose fault is that? Could it be because the vast majority of thoughtful people reject Libertarianism as a utopian fantasy...?

When is it time to admit that this idea is going nowhere?
In my opinion the discussion of all of those points is futile !
Nothing will really change.
The reason why, ist the nature of man.
I want to quote from Ferdinand Lundberg's book "The Rich and The Super-Rich" (in 1968) about the nature of the voter. He described the US voter, but it's an exact description of a German voter also, and I guess of a voter in any country you want !?

"......We should find a meaningful term for the masses with reference to their inadequacies of judgment. I propose, therefore, that they be regarded, in varying degrees, as handicapped, crippled, unable to make sound judgments and decisions in their own self-interest. They live blindly in a system that offers wide although not unlimited free choice and they are unable to choose wisely. They are victims of their own choices. Nobody protects them from themselves ! The masses are handicapped in that they are ready believers in tales and promises of nimbler wits, prone to give credence to the improbable or very doubtful. They believe that some obvious charlatan - a preacher, a politician, a vendor of cheap merchandise - is going to do something very good for them at only a slight fee or absolutely free. At their most extreme these people are the followers of astrologers, spiritualists, religious dervishes and messiahs of all kinds, very often political messiahs. They tend strongly to resist whatever is objectively the case if it does not harmonize with their delusions.

Gullibility and muddle-headedness are functions of insufficient intelligence. The intelligent person is prone to make significant distinctions, to analyze, compare, reflect and seek out difficulties in proffered propositions whether flattering or promising to himself or not. Skeptical self-analysis is beyond the powers of the gullible because they already feel insecure, must (as they say) "believe in something" if only in believing. Intimations of any lack in their judgment are resisted. Hence it follows that they believe whatever ethnic, religious or national group to which they belong is inherently superlative. Having little sense of individual identity, they derive their identity from some extensive tribe - hence White Supremacy, Black Power, God-Jesus, Dallas Cowboys, etc.

While all men may have been created equal, whatever that means, what strikes the most casual observer is their disparity of age, circumstance, capability and condition. And, considering people in general with respect to their judgmental powers, what is most unequal about them is their intelligence....."
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Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
In my opinion the discussion of all of those points is futile !
But if that's the case, what is there left for us bloggers to talk about?

While all men may have been created equal, whatever that means, what strikes the most casual observer is their disparity of age, circumstance, capability and condition. And, considering people in general with respect to their judgmental powers, what is most unequal about them is their intelligence....."
Lundberg is touching on another age-old debate, about the relative importance of intelligence vs. personality, not to mention the relative effects of genetics vs. education and environment on both factors.

The quote seems rather fatalistic. With a more optimistic perspective, one might hope for gradual improvement of the average condition of the citizens, through a process of improved education, broader access to high quality media and journalism, and a gradual reduction of the social acceptability of religious and tribal prejudices. Unfortunately, it seems today that the general trend is towards degradation, rather than improvement.
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
While Lundberg does have some points of merit, including such as Religion as a factor, I consider such Nurture items as vastly more important than Intelligence. So include various aspects of Religion, such as the use of Fear, and certain aspects of our educational system, the latter of which had at one time been generally considered a good thing. Both are aspects that are actually under the umbrella term -- Culture.

Both of which can, under our lens of analysis, be seen as being designed [sic] to produce a form of konformity, under the context of Goethe's comment about there being no one so enslaved that 'believes' they are Free. Hence, many seriously 'smart' people can 'believe' they are Free but in reality they are konformists who let others make the really important decision for them. Which is one reason why we need to change the rules of democracy.

There has never been a time in the USA's republic where there was not the Hidden Hand at work, subverting the real will (and or Good) of the people. So there is no point in criticism this 'ism' based upon that example, and including that there are many more localized examples of state and lower government entities with 'once' proud records of positive achievements, whether from the rural Midwest to such as California (before the last decades). So I say, Intelligence is but a minor issue, at best. This is why the concept of random sortition makes so much more sense. Get the Thumb of the Hidden Hand off of the scale.

The reason Germany is similar to the USA in Lundberg's comparison is that the public education system was founded upon the Prussian model. And now it has been dumbed down for the perceived needs of the future, along with additional konformance.
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
In the opening segment, on Greece, of the documentary, Birth of Europe (2.5 hours), it is shown how their sortition machine worked, implemented to curtail corruption. The production values are not the greatest, but overall it provides a lot of interesting information. However, it does not mention that the Classical Greeks acknowledged that most of their knowledge base came from Egypt and Mesopotamia. I have not yet watched the subsequent segments on Rome, etc..

Also, in the following, David Pakman debunks the popular notion that 'socialism' has never worked. He does a good job in discussing the history of various implementations, going back to Sumeria. He even does an interesting job of discussing 'socialism' in both the OT and the NT. In the Biblical case, of course, there are countless contradictions to these verses, both in the text and by Church policies.

He actually calls out such as Stalinism as actually being Right Wing [sic] authoritarianism. This is consistent with Waldner's analysis of Karl Marx.

 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
In the opening segment, on Greece, of the documentary, Birth of Europe (2.5 hours),
I know this is off topic here, but I finally watched the third segment on the Vikings. It made much of the fact that the Rus that gave their name to Russia, were trading and raiding Vikings from Scandinavia. And that these Rus liked to enslave the Slavs for trading profit (don't tell Miss Kitty). And, of course, the docu discussed the relationship of the Vikings to the Normans, which I think is usually treated too superficially, else such as De Vere's assertions ('his' Normans as coming from parts East) don't seem to work.
 
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