Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Dark Matter

Dark Realm: Since Friday, 15 March, the Left has been dazzled by Jacinda’s light. So much so, that it has failed to understand that, far from defeating the Right’s darkness, the Prime Minister’s recent illuminations have only exposed the terrifying dimensions of its realm. Light speaks only to light. Political dark matter has always been, and always will be, profoundly deaf to everything except the soundless screaming energy of its black and inexhaustible rage.

ALL IS NOT AS IT SEEMS. That’s the brutal truth to keep in mind. Even in the golden afterglow of last Friday’s extraordinary National Remembrance Service: all is not as it seems.

So many on the Left do not appreciate the true dimensions of the vast and immovable cultural-political consensus that allows Capitalism to survive and thrive. If it wasn’t there: or, if it was there, but amenable to reason and love: then Capitalism would long ago have given way to a more human order.

This grim judgement is a lot easier for the Left to accept when reactionary ideas and parties are in the saddle and riding them hard. In those moments, it is easy to convince Capitalism’s enemies that it is, indeed, a monstrous nightmare pressing down upon the lungs of human hope.

A Left without illusions has a much better chance of organising effectively and, on rare occasions, winning.

The real danger comes when events conspire to make it appear as though the Left has already won.

Consider the events that shook Paris and the rest of France in May 1968. The tens-of-thousands of students in the streets. The barricades. The CRS – France’s brutal riot police – counter-attacking. Parisians rushing to the aid of the beaten and bloodied citizens. Clouds of tear-gas wafting down the boulevards of the capital. Spontaneous strikes in France’s largest industries. Workers turning their bosses away from the factory gates. Surely, in May 1968, France teetered on the brink of revolution?

That is certainly what it looked like and felt like.

Except, that is not what was happening.

After the French Communist Party had bribed the striking workers with a ten percent across-the-board wage rise and the factories had been handed back to the bosses. After President Charles De Gaulle had returned from Germany, where he had taken refuge with the French army units stationed there. After the French Prime Minister, Georges Pompidou, had allowed the scheduled elections for the French legislature to proceed. Only then was it made clear what the people of France really thought about the events of May 1968.

In those elections, the governing Gaullist party and its allies won 387 seats in the National Assembly. The Socialist Party and the Communist Party, between them, just 91. The Governing party had taken 111 additional seats. The combined forces of the Left had lost 99.

What had looked like a revolution was anything but.

In the United States the story was the same.

Between 1968 and 1972, the USA was rocked by some of the most tumultuous political protests of its entire history. Mass demonstrations against the Vietnam War grew ever larger. The “Youth Revolt” filled newspaper columns and the airwaves. Young left-wing delegates to the 1972 Democratic Party Convention secured the presidential nomination for Senator George McGovern – an avowed liberal and fierce opponent of the Vietnam War. The Democrats offered the American electorate the most progressive party platform since Roosevelt’s New Deal.

McGovern’s opponent, President Richard Nixon, appealed to “the great silent majority of Americans” to give him four more years in the White House.

The great silent majority were only too happy to oblige.

Nixon won an astonishing 60.7 percent of the popular vote: McGovern just 37.5 percent. The streets of America may have been teeming with young, idealistic protesters, but they were vastly outnumbered by the silent and invisible armies of the Right.

Closer to home, in 2002, the National Party was routed by Helen Clark’s Labour Party, receiving just 20.9 percent of the Party Vote. Pundits reckoned it would take National several elections to rebuild its support. Some even suggested the party might be over. Three years later, however, the Don Brash-led National Party came within 46,000 votes of winning the 2005 General Election.

Brash’s in/famous “Nationhood” speech, delivered to the Orewa Rotary Club in January 2004, unleashed a vast wave of hitherto unacknowledged Pakeha resentment towards the New Zealand state’s official policy of bi-cultural “partnership”. Responding to the highly-charged mood of racial anxiety which Brash’s speech had whipped-up, Clark felt obliged to pass the deeply divisive Foreshore & Seabed Act. Had she not, it is probable that Brash would have defeated her government, scrapped the Treaty of Waitangi and abolished the Maori Seats. The sleeping dogs of Pakeha racism, kicked into a state of vicious wakefulness, had demanded, and been given, large chunks of raw political meat – by both major parties.

When we look up into the night sky, what do we see? The moon, the planets and the stars ranged across the heavens in a glittering diadem of light. Looking at all this beauty, it is easy to believe that the universe is made up of nothing but light. But, all is not as it seems.

What the physicists and cosmologists tell us is that in between the stars there is something else. Something mysterious and invisible, and yet so powerful that without it the universe could not exist. These unknown forces are said by the physicists and cosmologists to make up 85 percent of the universe. The world of light, they calculate, represents a mere 5 percent. The names given to these mysterious and invisible cosmic forces are “Dark Matter” and “Dark Energy”.

The capitalist universe is similarly held together by dark matter infused with dark energy. Though silent and invisible, these political forces are ubiquitous and immensely strong. Powered by the dark psychic energy that drives capitalism: the lust for power and wealth; the willingness to exploit and consume; the hatred of all that is weak and in need; the worship of force and violence; and the ever-present fear of falling into powerlessness and poverty; dark political matter is not exceptional in the capitalist universe – it is the rule.

Since Friday, 15 March, the Left has been dazzled by Jacinda’s light. So much so, that it has failed to understand that, far from defeating the Right’s darkness, the Prime Minister’s recent illuminations have only exposed the terrifying dimensions of its realm. Light speaks only to light. Political dark matter has always been, and always will be, profoundly deaf to everything except the soundless screaming energy of its black and inexhaustible rage.

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Tuesday, 2 April 2019.

33 comments:

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Well, HL Mencken put it in a nutshell didn't he. No one ever went broke........ and the neoliberals have an advantage, in that they are destructive. They don't have to formulate any particular constructive policies at all – just get rid of stuff they don't like. So they can put their energies into the catchy slogans we see every day in these pages.
Just to bring it home to a personal level, the private company who got a sweetheart deal on the Wellington rail system hardly ever did a smidgen of maintenance. So now the damn thing is bus substitutes all over the place going at weird times to weird places, so that now my son has to spend about 12 hours away from home to do an eight hour shift. Up from 11.
You think that the krazy krumbling klown kars running the US and Britain would have maybe given people some inkling that conservatives are not all they're cracked up to be? Are we so isolated and indifferent to what happens overseas that we can't see what's in front of our own eyes? She a bumbling incompetence, which in the case of the US is worldwide dangerous, and in the case of Britain likely to ruin their economy for years to come. Too much blithe in New Zealand it seems to me.:)

Jack Scrivano said...

Nice writing, Chris. Nice thinking too.

Unknown said...

This is exactly why I have been saying for years that the left needs to form a new strategy.

As you have just outlined, Chris, the majority for capitalism, and a careless and nihilistic capitalism at that, despite all the wave of social justice victories we have had in the last 5 or so years, is still present and showing no signs of being amenable to a rational and compassionate alternative.

The left needs to understand that capitalism must be destroyed, but also that it only stands a chance of being destroyed when a strong majority of the worlds population realises that need to destroy it and understands how it's replacement will work. That eventuality is LIGHT YEARS away.

The anti-capitalist left have always tried to fudge over this fact and then reactively equivocate between conceding to capitalist economics and trying to build something they think is socialism. This has been hugely damaging for the most part.

We need to first disabuse ourselves of any illusions we have for the capitalist system. However, in the absence of the majority for socialism we need to govern with socialist PRINCIPLES - that is the morality of socialism. This is the kind of morality that only someone who has seen through the horror of capitalism can have. This is the kind of morality of someone who does not fall for the cheap moral subjectivism that sustains capitalism. The morality of the jungle.

There is a difference between the liberal 'social democrat' who thinks that capitalism should be nicer (and we should try to put into practice the ideals of the conservative - ideals that have been revised in the last 30 years to accomodate the nastier version of capitalism we have today - rather than simply SPOUT those ideals as the conservative does as he proceeds to simply enrich and empower the already rich and the already powerful) and the socialist who finds the base egotism, cruelty and venality of the system we live under to be patently revolting.

However, the socialist of that kind needs to find a way to act in accordance with the undeniable reality that most people ardently believe in the myths of capitalism and not only that, they have no idea for the most part how a system based on the allocation of resources based on need and collective wellbeing would work. Most socialists don't even know how that system would work and have a thousand different versions of it.

That socialist needs to decide that he is administering capitalism and not socialism or a combination of both. That is where the confusion lies. Are you going to apply morality to the capitalist system in some areas and not in others? No, you have to look at what socialism knows to be important and try and get as much of that as is humanly possible out of a mixed economy with a large market component.

It is very possible to do this. Really what has stopped countries in doing this in the past is (among others), the Tory idea that you need a certain amount of misery and desperation to keep the masses at each others throat, stimulate the economy and keep them in such a state that they don't start to think beyond their struggle for survival. This is a choice that those who believe in capitalist 'morality' have made. Socialists know better than this.

David Stone said...

I don't see it quite like this Chris.
I think the disappointing reaction by the silent majorities to the violent anti establishment protests you site here are the majorities' aversion to violence. History is filled with it and contemporary examples abound. Even if there is unfairness and injustice in the system most people understand that it is better to try to work through it democratically than to destroy it from within and loose control of what takes over which has always been and continues to be worse .
Fighting against "capitalism" as a system of organising the "Why What and for Whom" of the economy is fighting against human nature. Capitalism needs to be controlled by appropriate laws not eradicated. It drives and incentivises the inventions and innovations that have transformed mankind's world. Everything we use every day. To kill it is to kill the goose that lays the golden egg(s). The goose needs to be kept fed and sheltered but not free to run wild , else its eggs don't get shared out fairly. The government needs to be a better poultry farmer.
D J S
( My partner points out that when they stop laying geese get their heads chopped off)

Anonymous said...

"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries." Winston Churchill

Capitalism has raised more people out of poverty than any other system in history.

Mark Hubbard said...

Chris you've gone from you great defence of free speech, and kudos, to this silly vilification of the 'Right' by tarring them all with the Tarrant brush: he's an extreme outlier that wasn't even radicalised in NZ.

The centre left and centre right have far more in common than differences, and free speech is also founded on another civilising principle from the Enlightenment: individualism. We're all individuals. There is no 'right'.

Signed classical liberal (also not right or conservative).

Trev1 said...

Frankly this is weird Chris. Who's demonizing large numbers of people as "white supremacists"? Who's threatening draconian, ideologically driven restrictions on free speech? Who drinks from the same well of identitarianism and eco-fascism that reportedly inspired the alleged killer? Not the "Dark Right".

Charles W Etherington said...

How is it Chris you can write several superb and wise columns then produce this ludicrous thesis which could have come out of the horrific 1930s?
Demonising the right as capitalist devils is worthy of the horrendous Stalinist Soviet Union and Mao's later utopia. Demonising the other is what led to March 15 and 9/11 too.

Clearly the 20th C showed that there is something way way worse than raw capitalism and that is Socialism. And only one thing worse than right Socialism and that is left Socialism. Both lead to the death camps but the latter lasted way longer and murdered at least 400% more of it comrades. And it still has fans, seduced by it’s faux compassion. Compassion! Resentement (French) is what is at its core. Hate.

Capitalism is not an ideology it is simply an economic system, and when subject to the rule of law it allows the greatest expression of human goodness so far invented. Socialism is fundamentally an ideology. Ideologies can and too easily become monsters and deliver genocide, and Socialism has been the worst so far. So that is true darkness and how ludicrous and morally bankrupt the Socialist left looks in the last 100+ years to still not to have apologized and frankly disappeared, along with the millions it has killed.

Capitalism contributed to the demise of Socialism but was not the main foe of this awful spectre post-modernism unleashed on humanity. Democratic Conservatism has defeated it and despite sweet JC being a 'Young Socialist' (utterly naïve kids) once that is pretty much what she is now, like HC before her. Thank God for the defeat of Socialism, otherwise I reckon it would have produced a world-wide Gulag Archipelago. Now there's a book Socialists have to burn Chris.

Big Dog Talking said...

Chris, you identify as an unabashed socialist. I do not. Yet I come here to read your blog because you so often have insightful and intelligent things to say. I was particularly impressed by your non partisan support of free speech.

Then periodically you write something like this, which would sound more at home in the notebook of a much less educated first year uni student trying to impress some girl or other.

Regardless on how you think the spoils should be distributed there is no better economic system for generating them than capitalism. By all means point to the alternative anywhere in time or place.

kiwidave said...

The essential issue preventing the broad acceptance of socialism/Marxism ideology as a viable alternative isn't "dark matter" but an almost complete lack of successful examples. After 100 years the promised socialist utopia is as evasive as ever. It's disillusion to hope that the general public are willing to risk the freedoms and prosperity we enjoy (the highest in the history of humanity?) for a model that has proved uninspiring at best and a close approximation of Hell on earth at worst.
We do have a successful example right here in New Zealand however: the Marxist/collectivist community of Gloriavale. No private property and all work for the collective but trading with the outside world; just like a mini state within NZ. There's your model all you Marxists out there.
Better to start with something small than risk the certain (and possibly fatal) upheaval of comprehensive social change or revolution. Whether it can work on a large scale without becoming excessively tyrannical is debatable; in fact, even at the Gloriavale level it requires strong cohesion and control albeit mostly socially enforced/reinforced.
BTW, if these suggested changes to our speech freedoms are enacted we will no longer be able to openly discuss a cultural/religious entity such as Gloriavale. Enjoy it while you can.

kiwidave said...

Thank you for the mention of "the Gulag Archipelago" Charles. The 50th anniversary issue was recently released and features (by request of the Solzhenitsyn family) a new foreword by Dr Jordan Peterson.
He finishes with this:
We have been provided with the means to transform ourselves in due humility by the literary genius of this great Russian author. We should all pray most devoutly to whatever deity guides us, implicitly or explicitly, for the desire to learn from what we have been offered.
May God Himself eternally fail to forgive us, if, in the painstakingly-revealed aftermath of such bloodshed, torture and anguish we remain stiff necked, incautious and unchanged.
Here is a link to the full foreword.
https://www.ruthfullyyours.com/2018/11/02/the-gulag-archipelago-a-new-foreword-by-jordan-b-peterson-written-by-jordan-b-peterson/

kiwidave said...

Well you've got me convinced, Unknown, what did it for me was "Socialists know better than this." Obviously; no need for successful examples, rational explanation or any account of reasonable counters. God; help us.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"The essential issue preventing the broad acceptance of socialism/Marxism ideology as a viable alternative isn't "dark matter" but an almost complete lack of successful examples. "

No, the essential issue is the constant and carping propaganda about places like Venezuela, and the ignoring of successful social democratic states like those in Scandinavia. And of course the branding of socialism as "Anything the government does that I don't like."
Unless of course you think we want some form of state such as the USSR? In which case you are either a cynical propagandist – as already mentioned or a fool.

Nick J said...

Anonymous @10.45 Have you considered that perhaps we see the "raising of more people out of poverty" as not a result of capitalism but of some other factor? Let's face it even the Soviet transformed a poverty strken peasant society into a moderately wealthy society. And there are plenty of examples of impoverishment of the masses under capitalism, look at the formerly well off "deplorables" in the Mid-West.

The factor I'd suggest that raises people out of poverty is industrialisation based upon fossil fuel use and exploitation of resources. Cheap labour and technology help the process but ultimately "energy slaves" deliver the wealth. I will concede that capitalism is the most efficient way of making this process occur in both directions, up and down.

Nick J said...

I'm no fan of untrammeled capitalism or socialism. Charles gets it right that capitalism is not an ideology per se. It reflects human nature in that the individual pursues their own goals which results in the human inclination to produce goods etc that are then traded. All human societies have done this.

What fans of capitalism miss with regards to socialism is that it too is a natural human condition, the need to cooperate, to facilitate individuals ability to trade and the wider group to benefit. So by our very nature we are socialist creatures as well.

Arguing these complimentary and contradictory facets of our nature through ideological prisms seems pointless without accepting the invalidity of either socialism or capitalism in isolation from each other. They require each other, the question is how much we allow the group to control the individual and vice versa. We have examples of the extremes of either side gaining total ascendancy, the Soviet and the Reich.

Nick J said...

Spot on DJS

Jens Meder said...

So why not examine - discuss and debate - the pros and cons of the "Ownership Society" concept, aiming to eliminate "own nothing" poverty through systematic universal (legislated, as with the NZ Super Fund) participation in the effort even by those emotionally and ideologically opposed to the responsibilities of personal ownership ?

kiwidave said...

The highly anticipated debate between Slovenian Marxist philosopher Slavoj Žižek and Canadian psychologist/philosopher Jordan Peterson is due to take place in a couple of weeks. The title: Happiness: Capitalism Vs. Marxism
The show (in Toronto) sold out in minutes but there is a live event stream (including a months free access) available.
https://www.jordanvsslavojdebate.com/

Wayne Mapp said...

Socialism versus Capitalism, with socialism impelled by light and capitalism driven by darkness.

Perhaps, Chris you should take note that capitalist societies (free enterprise) basically operate in democracies and socialist societies operate under totalitarianism.

Why is that?

Fundamentally, because socialism (as opposed to social democracy) requires rigid control of individualism. People are legally prevented from being in business, owning any income earning property or employing anyone. That can only exist in a totalitarian state. As soon as people can choose their government through elections, they reject that level of control.

Have a look at the society around you. A vey large percentage (around 25%) are in business on their own account. Many of them do well enough to employ people. Around 25% own income earning assets (actually much more with Kiwisaver). The aspiration of many young people is to get into business, particularly in IT in all its forms. In some cases they achieve at a spectacular level of success. Dark forces don't drive that, it is because the service being provided appeals to millions of people. Would Rocket Lab exist in a state controlled society?

When you make the contrast, I presume you don't literally mean that Cuban style socialism is the goal to strive for, I presume you actually mean social democracy. But I would regard social democracy is basically one form of free market capitalism that can exist in democratic societies. With the major capital intensive quasi monopolies being owned by the state, such as transport, electricity and similar. I can't actually imagine that you believe that no-one can be in business or be an entrepreneurial innovator.

David Stone said...

Spot on Nick J
D J S

kiwidave said...

GS, I'm not the one that's confused; the Scandinavian countries are free market capitalist with a broad based social support system; much the same as us and most of the western world.
Although Chris, in this essay, doesn't elaborate on his Utopian vision or how it would operate or be successfully implemented he claims that capitalism, as it exists, is the problem and socialism the answer. Not the "Scandinavian" system which, by implication, is fatally flawed in the same way ours is. You can't use them as an example of successful socialism. Sorry.
None of the truly socialist countries offer the freedoms and prosperity we take for granted. Dr Peterson's foreword I linked to offers a moral and psychological explanation for the inevitable degeneration of the socialist Utopian vision into corruption, tyranny and poverty. His belief is that degeneration is the result of a fundamental flaw in the ideology itself and, more specifically, the motivations and character of those engaged in it's promotion and implementation. Perhaps you should read what he has to say. Rule 9; Assume that the person you are listening to might no something you don't

kiwidave said...

GS, " you think we want some form of state such as the USSR"
It's far from clear who "we" is, Chris appears to be calling for the complete destruction of free market capitalism and the various comments range from that to 'if it ain't broke don't fix it".
The dark matter analogy is a good one, though not perhaps in the way intended.
"Dark matter" is a theory that attempts to explain (or at least account for) the fact that the universe, it's stars, galaxies and clusters of galaxies lack the mass to interact as they do. There is not enough gravity (as we understand it) to hold the whole show together. Dark matter (really the resultant force from supposed dark matter) fills that function and prevents a fall into aimlessness, chaos and dissolution. Analogous to the inevitable fate of socialist states loosing the positive force of free-market capitalism perhaps.

Anonymous said...

Dear god. The sheer amount of equivocation from our right-wing commentators here beggars belief.

Wayne: by your definition, everyone from Nazi Germany, to Communist Poland (which had private farming), to Attlee's Britain, to Trump's USA, to Pinochet's Chile, to current Cuba (which has a significant self-employed sector), to Muldoon's New Zealand, to 1970s Sweden, to 1980s Australia, to current China... count as capitalist.

I get it, of course. You want to claim all the nice societies as capitalist and the nasty societies as socialist. Ergo, you define capitalism as nice and socialism as nasty. Doesn't quite work like that, mate.

(Meanwhile, all the people citing Solzhenitsyn... you are aware the guy was a raving anti-semite, don't you?).

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Been trying to ignore Charles because of Betteridge's law, but I just noticed this:

"How is it Chris you can write several superb and wise columns then produce this ludicrous thesis which could have come out of the horrific 1930s?"

In other words "how can you write something I agree with and then something I don't agree with."

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"We" is any person with left-wing views, who seemed to attract the obligatory reference from "you people" in discussions like this, to failed authoritarian states or Stalin or whatever. As if our sole ambition is to live under Pol Pot and murder everyone who isn't a peasant. It's maybe trolling, but it's cynical, predictable and worst of all bloody boring. So I'm sort of sick of, "would you sooner live in Venezuela?" To which my answer would have to be "of course not you blithering idiot, I'd sooner live in a place like Norway which has regulated its capitalism and done something sensible with its oil revenues in order to make sure that they benefit the whole of the country rather than just a few. Christ, even that bastion of socialism Alaska has done better than we have with that.
And having read Chris's writings for a damned long time I haven't in fact taken from it necessarily any desire to "destroy" free-market capitalism, but simply to rein it in with some form of regulations that mean we can't end up with a situation like Flint Michigan, where people still can't get potable water, or that failed unregulated capitalist state – Kansas. And if I'm wrong so be it, maybe I'm just projecting my own views onto his writing.
But let's not forget that there are failed authoritarian right wing states out there and of course as a last resort there is always Hitler. So for Christ's sake will "you people" just give it up.

greywarbler said...

kiwidave
Your political knowledge is once-over lightly I think. the Scandinavian countries are free market capitalist with a broad based social support system; much the same as us and most of the western world.

We have a social support system that is a net for the people in need with very large holes in it; their are cracks in our welfare base that people fall through. Can you get the message from either of those analogies?
We are closer to the Elizabeth 1 conditions which resulted in the 'Poor Laws' than the modern Scandivanian systems (don't know about Sweden which may be an outlier.)

In 16th century England the changes leading to increased profitability, without concern for the peoples' living arrangements and enterprises, left them stranded and vulnerable to starvation and homelessness.

There were several reasons for this increase in poverty. During the reign of Elizabeth I, the population rose from three to four million people. This increase was primarily due to a rise in fertility and a falling death rate and meant, in simple terms, that the country's resources now had to be shared by a greater number of people. Added to this was the problem of rising prices....

Towns grew in size throughout Elizabeth's reign, as changes in agriculture led to people leaving the countryside. In the years leading up to her accession, a process known as land enclosure had changed the face of the landscape. Land enclosure meant that the traditional open field system whereby individual peasant farmers could farm their own pieces of land was ended in favour of creating larger and more profitable farming units which required fewer people to work on them. As the wool trade became increasingly popular, these units were often dedicated to rearing sheep.

As a result, many people who had lived and worked in the countryside their whole lives found themselves without any means of support and, in many cases, evicted from their homes. Large numbers headed for the towns in the hope of a better life....Lord Burghley, one of the Queen's most able ministers, was particularly concerned that large numbers of homeless and unemployed people could present a serious threat to law and order. In 1563 the first of a series of Acts was introduced which sought to minimise the danger and make proper provision for the needy....The category which caused Burghley such concern was classed as the 'undeserving poor'....

There is no doubt that the laws helped the destitute by guaranteeing a minimum level of subsistence, but those who were scraping a living did not qualify for help and continued to struggle. And, as the years wore on and the population continued to increase, the provisions made to care for the poor became stretched to the limit.

greywarbler said...

I don't know if I put the source for the Elizabethan quote.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/tudors/poverty_01.shtml

Growth of poverty today in South America from similar causes to England 16th century. If we cared about this we would have dealt with the problems in the intervening period. I am sure we have lots of information about it and how it can be alleviated, plus much increased education for the peeps.

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/ng-interactive/2016/may/12/visions-heaven-hell-life-fringes-worlds-biggest-cities-adam-hinton

Visions of heaven and hell: life on the fringes of the world's biggest cities
Over eight years, photojournalist Adam Hinton spent time in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, Jakarta, Manila, Cape Town and Caracas, meeting residents who deal every day with poverty and prejudice.

sumsuch said...

Like this fable, lives up to Aesop. Though the beauties of Trotter are not interpreting the dark arts but speaking for the ideals. Don't think there are any other speakers I can think of at the moment, and the people and reality need speakers on their behalf.

kiwidave said...

GS, just asking, and no it is still far from clear. Chris, in this missive, makes the claim that capitalism itself is fundamentally flawed and must be replaced. By what he doesn't say but certainly a mere variation of the status quo wouldn't qualify for the full system reboot he alludes to. Who you presume to speak for?
The Scandinavian countries are little different from our own, in some respects are more insistent on personal responsibility than we are. Denmark and Norway have a very low tolerance for shirkers and cheats for example.
The line between personal and collective responsibility or crime and punishment (for example) should be decided by free and open dialogue and the democratic process. The values of the people are reflected and embodied in the law and practices of the country in this way. That is how it should be.
Adherence to an ideology that presumes moral authority, the answer to everything for all time is highly dangerous. No sane person is promoting totalitarian communism but neither were the ideologues that initiated the hideous regimes that ended with tens of millions of corpses. The fall was brilliantly exposed by Solzhenitsyn and explained from a psychological perspective by Dr Jordan Peterson in his outstanding foreword to the great mans Gulag Archipelago.
Solzhenitsyn deserves our undying gratitude for his realisations, arrived at in the depths of actual Hell on earth; among the most profound in the history of humanity.
The terrifying, destructive power of the lie and the obligation upon all of us to forthrightly seek and speak the truth.
The realisation that the line (and the battle) between good and evil lies within the heart of every man.
The pathology, the fatal conceit, that lies at the heart of the equity doctrines.

Charles W Etherington said...

I think except for the perennial and singular usual suspect, we have a 'headline' consensus here that Socialism is an utter failure and Capitalism a roaring success. But like all of us on planet Earth, both have a dark side. The former always manifests its dark side and often catastrophically. The latter's can and usually is manageable, and when it is, the results can be a tremendous flowering of human wellbeing.

A connected parallel is democracy as opposed to dictatorship. The former may be messy at times and always has room for improvement, but is the best system so far. The latter always ends badly. So combine the two: Socialism (both left & right forms) and dictatorship and you have the murderous catastrophes of the last century. Yet because the right wing form was defeated in WWII the left form got away with a lingering pretence that it still had some moral and intellectual merit. It has none and needs to be condemned and buried in the same grave.

Guerilla Surgeon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phil Saxby said...

I'm stunned. Instead of the usual bilgewater here, I read reply after reply that was insightful, well written and a worthy commentary on your original article.

You should be thrilled, Chris. But are you?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I think Charles that the so-called consensus is not quite what you think it is. Capitalism is not a roaring success, particularly in the neoliberal form that seems to have been adopted by much of the English-speaking world. Regulated capitalism is a reasonable success. Unregulated is an unmitigated disaster, with inequities built in by laws essentially written by the wealthy, who spent money to influence politicians. If it has a dark side, then we obviously disagree on how it should be managed.
And bugger me, here we go again it seems to be a meme these days that the right are now accusing Hitler of socialism. Trying to slide out from any responsibility for Hitler, while lumbering anyone slightly to the left of him with Stalin. Grow a pair Charles, if I'm responsible for Stalin, you and your friends are responsible for Hitler. Socialism my fat backside. It's just weasel words to try and weasel out of any responsibility your "tribe" has for the whole Nazi thing.
Dammit must edit better.