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?The capitalist system in relation to its pursuance of civilized ideals represents the largest, most advanced and sophisticated attack upon ?inalienable human rights? of all people within the scope of human history.?
If we look back far enough we see that the act of assimilation is an intrinsic part, an indelible cultural thought process ? what others have called a ?meme?. Assimilation is such a central part of civilization that it finds itself manifest in most governments and entities throughout the ages (while there are examples of countries that promote true non-expansionist ideals, they are usually quickly assimilated themselves). It is this process of assimilation - the idea that a singal sub-culture can be ?better? or ?more right? than another- has been identified as the idea that ultimately separates civilization from non-civilization - civilization from tribalism. It has also been identified that because tribalism existed in a state where is was only animalistically-harmful (read: humans were only as harmful to their environment as cheetahs, lions, shell fish and sparrows) for /millions/ of years, where as civilization has only existed for about ten thousand and has brought the world transcontinental warfare, famine, neurological (and related physiological) diseases and environmental degradation all on unprecedented scales, that tribalism is at the very least, a more sustainable and secure manner of living. This is not to say that tribalism is unilaterally a ?better? method of living, only that it does what social organizations evolved for ? which is to promote ease within the lifestyle of each individual member of the group through the unified distribution of the survival process through each of the individual members ? something that civilization itself doesn?t do (civilization promotes ease within the lifestyle of a few elite members by distributing the survival process down onto a mass of dis-eased lower members). But let?s be clear. Tribalism is not Anarchy. Anarchy is the absence of order (especially law). Tribalism is the refined order of cultural diversity (which includes non-secular law).
When we talk about human rights, we are really trying to add a verbal component to what we feel instinctually as ?right?. For instance, the concept and definition of Liberty can be considered a manifestation of the process of life rather than a strictly theoretical entity. Liberty is freedom of thought and action, which we all have simply by living. Even under the strictest authoritarian regime, thoughts and actions (and thus the processes of Liberty) can merely be repressed, never taken away. Certainly thought can be manipulated (and it is done some constantly in modern civilized society), but left unchecked and unrestrained, thought and thus action can never be predicted with absolute certainty. A soldier sent through the rigid indoctrination process of an army institution still has the potential for dissolution of the installed mental doctrine if enough of his or her previous inserted values and ideals are put in direct opposition with the doctrine itself through experience. This is how we receive people like Maynard James Keenan on the one hand, and Timothy McVeigh on the other. Of course, starting the indoctrination processes earlier produces less of a likelihood of doctrine-value conflicts, which is why Hitler created the ?Hitler Youth?, but in a thought-well (pool of collective human thought) that is left even slightly un-regulated, aberrations become a certainty. Non-conformist has a better connotation than aberration, so for the remainder, I will refer to regulated-thought aberrations as non-conformists.
Not surprisingly, most of our viable philosophy upon the tradition of ?human rights? comes from ?non-conformists?. In an pure authoritarian society (one without non-conformists) there would be no need to think about human rights. Thought would be static and controlled and thus liberty would be indefinitely suppressed. But a pure-authoritarian society is only one end of the theoretical spectrum of civilized possibility, the other end being Utopia. For good or bad, neither end of the spectrum is purely attainable, neither can ever be absolutely achieved, simply because the laws of Chaos prevent it. Someone always slips through the cracks of the Authoritarian Regime and becomes a non-conformist, and someone is always looking to become powerful and exploit the weak wills of lesser men in the shadows of Utopia thus becoming a dictator. Evidence for this assertion comes from history?there has never been a ?successful? Utopia (though a few have contrived to try), just as there has never been a ?successful? Authoritarian Regime (though many have contrived to try). Not that my basis for ?success? is the attainment of the ?pure? form of either end of the spectrum. There have and will always remain dissidents and dictators dipping their roots into the shadow earth beneath the foundation of every civilized society and germinating when conditions are right for their arrival. It is this constant flux between dissidents and dictators that produces the oscillating effect observable within society itself ? the seasons of civilized society. The roots of dissidents and dictators grow strong, bask in the summer sun, wane and eventually die to be replaced by their contrary component. And so great empires and civilizations rise and fall.
Capitalism is inherently authoritarian, though its theoretical connection to the governing of people is hazy at best. What we must do when considering any entity is not be swayed by the theory, but by the actuality of what occurs in practice. As it has been said that ?in theory, Communism works ? in theory?. In theory, capitalism is simply a way to predict and sway the behavior of abstract commodities such as money, food and luxury items in terms of market dynamics. In theory, capitalism?s only real materialization within the lives of people comes and goes with people and their consuming habits ? again, in theory. In practice, capitalism is the working model used by the affluent few in relation to their subjugation of the poor and squalid masses. Capitalism, in practice, utilizes money to sway government opinions into their favor. Capitalism promotes legislation that merges Lockheed-Martin into one unified company with billions of dollars in government subsidies, while shirking meal programs for the poor. Capitalism promotes 7 million dollars for defense development by Lockheed-Martin to produce an f-22 fighter plane because Lockheed-Martin has sold so many f-16 fighter planes to third world countries (all under free-market principle ? supply and demand) that the United States needs a newer, better plane to defend themselves with. Of course those doing the actual pushing of the legislation are merely representing the ?people? of their districts, right? People do of course need somewhere to work or they become poor, right? Well, most people today work twice as much as their grandparents for a wage that doesn?t even bring them across the poverty line. This is an affect of Capitalism. Capitalism is the /science/ of exploiting the working class so that money can be concentrated into the possession of the wealthy elite ? the Fortune 500. It has its own theories, highly sophisticated mathematical models and technicians who spend their entire lives crunching the numbers. More than physics and every other natural science combined.
Over the past two centuries, the produce of Capitalism has been the slow methodical elimination and subordination of inalienable rights. Take the theory of American Democracy and add to it the spirit of Capitalism, and this is evidently what you get as the net result: power slipping from the hands of the people and into the hands of abstract face-less entities. It happens day by day, just slowly enough that you?re foolish if you?re alarmed.
A colleague used the analogy of ?The Boiling Frog? once to help relate a similar topic to me. Basically, if you take a frog and try to throw him into a pot of boiling water, the frog will panic and thrash about and jump ? trying to get away. But if you take a frog and put him in a tepid pot of water and slowly, incrementally increase the heat, the frog will probably miss the fact that it is getting slowly warmer right up until the point where it slips into a boiled coma.
If you try to impress an authoritarian regime upon a group of people accommodated to freedom, they will panic, thrash about violently and try to jump ship. But if you put people into a regime that gives them many freedoms and then slowly shave those freedoms away, the people probably won?t notice or complain (especially if you have justifications for taking the freedoms away). And in the end what is the result?? Right, you guessed it?you have a sedated population in a quasi-coma state not willing to believe that perhaps they?re in that boiling pot after all.
Well, perhaps that?s all I?m getting at. I?m disturbed by this climate where no one seems to care that our civil rights are being ?suspended?, especially when the limitations on the suspension are drawn up in a ?War On Terror? that has no definable goals or enemy or than ?Evil? and it?s eradication (for a good perspective on just what is /evil/ check out the philosophy board). Our suspended civil rights and liberties are going to be taken away for an /indefinite/ amount of time. /For as long as the government sees fit/! We?ll have no say in it because we?re just peasants here to be protected from ourselves. This is what people seem to /want/. Well, let me try to disabuse everyone of the notion that living within and under a quasi-dictatorship is somehow ?safer?. Was it ?safer? for the people of Germany to live under a dictatorship? Especially the German Jews. The united states has already identified what it will be calling its scape-goat class: Terrorists. But here is where things get scary for me. A terrorist right now seems to be anyone who is ?evil? and attacks ?our way of life?. Where do we draw the line between dissident and terrorist? Where will the government?
Now I?ve already said that there can never been a ?true authoritarian? government simply because of Chaos, but that does not mean that there will not be attempts. We may be standing in the midst of a very clever attempt at achieving pure authoritarianism right now. How deep and hot the water is is anyone?s guess at this point. Now I am not saying go off an ally yourself with Osama Bin Laden and his cronies or go join some Militia? what I?m saying is that there is going to be a time very very soon where we?re going to have to unite together and stand up for our rights as Americans. If we cannot ?fix? the system then the system may very well lead us straight into the bowels of World War III. What we cannot do though is sit around idly waiting for everything to work itself out. If you?re in college or highschool, seek out student organizations affiliated with the causes of Anti-Globalization?don?t be afraid. We?re all in this together. That?s all the unity we?ll ever have.
This may sound familiar to some of us who are older, almost sounding like D?j? vu. Well, when you fail to slay your demons the first time around, your children end up having to face them. That doesn?t mean that our role is over ? it?s only just begun. The ?revolution? of the sixties didn?t work?look where we are now and where we are going. We cannot afford to make the same mistakes twice which is why the parents of the children need to stand with them and offer their wisdom and experience above all else.
It is the fear of every person that they may live to witness the fall of civilization. Most people dismiss the possibility, pushing that line in the sand ever-further away into the unforeseeable future. But that is the reaction all of us have to things we fear ? push them away, supress them, repress them. We may have a chance to divert the course of our ?destiny?. But only if we?re willing to take it.
Oh, man! Lottsa stuff here is correct. Some stuff here is wrong. Some stuff here is contradictory.
*rolls ups sleeves, digs in*
?The capitalist system in relation to its pursuance of civilized ideals represents the largest, most advanced and sophisticated attack upon ?inalienable human rights? of all people within the scope of human history.?
Where is this quote from? I think that the biggest problem with assertions like this is that virtually no one takes the time to ever look up a definition of Capitalism. It seems like the author is referring to the US system of government in place today, which has as little connection with Capitalism as it does with Democracy. The US hasn't been a Capitalist country for over a century now. The US, like all Western nations today, is a "mixed" system. It is no longer a laissez-faire Capitalist nation, it is a quasi-Socialist, welfare state entity that just happens to be not as far down the road to complete Socialism (yet) as the Western European nations.
"It is this process of assimilation - the idea that a singal sub-culture can be ?better? or ?more right? than another- has been identified as the idea that ultimately separates civilization from non-civilization - civilization from tribalism."
Wrong. What separates civilization from tribalism is the recognition of individual rights... the distinction between inalienable human rights and GROUP pseudo-rights.
"Liberty is freedom of thought and action, which we all have simply by living."
"Even under the strictest authoritarian regime, thoughts and actions (and thus the processes of Liberty) can merely be repressed, never taken away."
Incorrect. Actions can not only be repressed, but removed entirely. Individuals who have been imprisoned or executed are incapable of acting as they see fit.
"Capitalism is inherently authoritarian, though its theoretical connection to the governing of people is hazy at best."
Incorrect. Capitalism is the only system of government that is NOT authoritarian. In a Capitalist society (note that for the interest of brevity, I will refrain from adding the prefix "laissez-faire" from here on) the function of government is rigidly restricted. The only legitimate function of government, according to Capitalism, is the protection of the rights of society's individuals. Since an individual's rights can only be violated through the initiation of force, the only reason a "government" is necessary at all is to protect its citizens from force. Thus, the government is in charge of the military, the police, and the courts. Period.
Under Capitalism, the government has no power over the economy, just as it has no power over religion. It cannot even produce currency, that is a private matter. It certainly cannot build roads, or schools, or extort money from its citizens to provide these "services".
"Capitalism, in practice, utilizes money to sway government opinions into their favor. Capitalism promotes legislation that merges Lockheed-Martin into one unified company with billions of dollars in government subsidies..." bla bla bla for the balance of the paragraph.
What you describe is the reality of what is happening in the United States today. But the US is no longer Capitalist. The US is a quasi-Socialist Welfare State "boiled frog".
"Over the past two centuries, the produce of Capitalism has been the slow methodical elimination and subordination of inalienable rights."
This was not the product of Capitalism. Quite the reverse. The further that governments moved from Capitalism, the more rapidly these right were violated. It cannot be otherwise.
"...if you take a frog and put him in a tepid pot of water and slowly, incrementally increase the heat, the frog will probably miss the fact that it is getting slowly warmer right up until the point where it slips into a boiled coma."
This is an excellent analogy. This describes precisely what has happened to the American populace as government abrogated more and more power.
"...if you put people into a regime that gives them many freedoms and then slowly shave those freedoms away, the people probably won?t notice or complain (especially if you have justifications for taking the freedoms away). And in the end what is the result?? Right, you guessed it?you have a sedated population in a quasi-coma state not willing to believe that perhaps they?re in that boiling pot after all."
Agreed. See above. This is exactly how the United States of America lost its freedom. Each tiny little power grab built upon each preceding violation of individual rights, always "justified" as being good or even necessary for the welfare of the citizenry.
"what I?m saying is that there is going to be a time very very soon where we?re going to have to unite together and stand up for our rights as Americans."
Deadly accurate. I hate to be pessimistic, but I fear that it has passed the point of no return. I do agree with you that it is essential that EVERYONE rediscover the principles on which the USA was founded. INDIVIDUAL rights. As soon as one adheres to the concept of tribalism over individualism, all is lost. What else are special-interest groups but tribes? All we hear these days are "rights of consumers", "rights of women", "rights of farmers", "rights of minorities", "rights of homeless", "rights of the unemployed"... the list goes on. This sets every member of society against every other member of society, with the politicians pandering to as many as they think they can get away with.
Becoming a member of a group, ANY group, does not endow (nor remove) any extra "rights" to any individual. This is why Tribalism is not only immoral, but impractical as well.
Despite the errors, there is some keen insight displayed in this post. Thanks for posting it, Ishmael.
...two long-winded fools arguing semantics...I think this is why most people despise politics. But since I started this mess, I'll try to make some attempt to clean it up.
I would have rathered used the term 'neoliberalist' in my previous post in the place of 'capitalist' simply because the term is more precise. Using the word 'capitalist' makes writing easier for more people to understand simply because the term is familiar and most people have some notion of what it means. The term 'neoliberalist' doesn't have any of those advantages. I despise having to constantly define what I mean instead of simply saying it (a problem with language, especially politcal jargon which is maintained to keep the masses from understanding the workings of the political process) as it's cumbersome, but I suppose it is neccesary or we end up arguing over the defininitions of words rather than facts. Politics is worse than philosophy in this regard...
Neoliberalism: A political movement or set of political ideals associated with Capitalism and the 'free market' in which the wealthy exert control over governmental process through monatary exchange and subvert the ability of the govererned masses to cause meaningful social change through the processes of government themselves.
You were correct in saying that the United States government is a quasi-socialist welfare state, but denying the roots of capitalism in the current political order makes your argument seem suspect. Capitalism is an economic system in characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods and investments that are self-regulated under free-market theory, rather than regulated by the state. This is the current state of our economic system with the addition that government is subordinant to economic concerns and will often funnel vast sums of money into corporate businesses in order to keep the 'free market' moving. Not only will government funnel money, but it will utilize the military in order to secure rights to resources (Natural Resources being the main body of what is considered 'the market'), not in the name of the associated country, but in the name of 'democracy' and the 'democratic principle of the free-market'. When we read internal government documents we find all sorts of interesting associations between modern 'democracy' and the capitalist ideal of a secure and unified free market (I believe the word popularized for this is: Globalization). We also find that the processes defined by the ideals of democracy (the ability for the people to self-govern and the establishment of certain inalienable human rights) are placed secondary to the ideals of expanding the influence of the 'free market'. Columbia is a good example of this, so is Brazil. In the 'success story' of Brazil (the so-called 'testing ground for modern economic theory' - a quote from the State Department), a largely 3rd world nation was given aid on the condition that 'free market principles be established'. This means that countries like the United States will help you establish a political infostructure, but that this infostructure must be the way we want it. In the case of Brazil, the infostructure 'we wanted' was one where the United States had the undeniable right to express is corporate interests in the resources of the country, and exploit them. This lead to a predictable outcome, the United States corporations and their small circle of friends within the new Brazil all got incredibly rich while poverty exploded among the masses. This is the new order of 'success'. And it also applies to Americans on American soil.
While the people of the United States enjoy a decadent livestyle when compared to 3rd world nations, our government with its beholdance to corporate interests has been steadily eroding our abilitity to maintain our lifestyle through the enaction of very descrete legislation. A good is example is NAFTA where it becomes possible for United States corporations and companies to 'export' their businesses to Mexico and Canada to exploit the labor (this applies more to Mexico) and resources (applies more to Canada). What this creates is a situation in the United States where workers have an increasingly high state of job insecurity. If the workers need more money and they attempt to form a Union, the owner of the company can just shut down his plant citing 'monatary concerns' and export the whole thing to Mexico where there is no minimum wage and an abudant ill-educated workforce. That's just one example of the many varied ways in which the Government has been eroding job-security in the country over the past twenty years. And then we have to consider not only job security, but real world security as well.
Because of its neoliberal policies, the United States is expansionist in the true Civilized vein of assimilation. I use the term economically expansionist or economic colonialism to describe the process of a government not expanding its physical borders, but expanding its economic borders descretely. Everyone gets outraged when Hitler invades Poland and turns it into a German territory. No one even blinks when the United States economically annexes Brazil, Columbia, Mexico, Peurto Rico...even though the results are similar. When Hitler invaded poland, he setup a new governmental councel in charge of re-organizing the people. The enemy of the new state was the Jews, the fall-guy for all the problems of civlization, and the Jews were exterminated. Whent he United States economically invades Columbia it sets up a new government (via a military coup) and then proceeds to exterminate the their 'fall guy'. In the case of Columbia, any dissident (make note of the word dissenting here) who questioned the authority of the newly established government (the heads of which were trained in the United States) was killed (this includes priests, women and children). There are estimates that the casualities of our 'war in Columbia' have resulted in well over twenty thousand people dead. And yet when these things come to light, the government not only does not reduce its military support of the new Columbian government...it Increases it! Evidently the job is not getting done quickly enough. The government says that it's providing weapons and training to fight its 'war on drugs', but more than half of the money funneled into 'Plan Columbia' goes to sectors which have nothing to do with the eradication of coca fields. It goes to the government entities responsible for the mass slaughter, suprisingly or not. With policies like this, it is no suprise to me that the United States is now the central target for a large number of Terrorist organizations. Our policies are coming full circle to bite us in the ass.
And then add to this the potential...In columbia, dissidents of the United States-established government are killed with the same impunity as the United States itself kills people in its so called 'war on terrorism'. How long before we run out of Afghanis to kill? Will we then focus on Columbia, turning those 'dissidents' into 'Terrorists' for our thirty-second media blurbs and thusly justifying a further military expedition onto Columbian soil? And once we've associated Terrorism with dissention...how long before it comes back to the United States?
Not to be a bastard, but Puerto Rico isn't a good example since it is technically a US territory, ie owned by the US(which is why every so often a vote to become a state of the US comes up). I would hope that most would find the actions the US has taken in Colombia appalling.
-------------------- Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.
-- George Owell
This thread elucidates very important trends in our world. Of particular importance I would point out the current situation in Nicaragua right now. The elections being wrapped up there mark perhaps and end, perhaps a new beginning to US sponsored terrorism in central america. The former Sandanista leader Ortega was defeated today in what is most certainly a sigh of releif for Washington, and this nations owners. The prospect of a second war in Nicaragua was certainly not desirable especially considering America's war in Afghanistan, Colombia, hell pretty much the entire world.
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