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Donald Hughes





Joined: 02 Sep 2006
Posts: 166
Reputation: 16.2Reputation: 16.2
Location: Libertarian socialism

PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2006 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First off, I should say that it is an old sentiment. I'm surprised that a conservative wouldn't use Burke's more familiar quote, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for the good men to do nothing." Second, I'm not even sure that Einstein actually said that (perhaps you could show me where he said it), but if he did he was probably drawing on Burke while criticizing the fact that in the run-up to World War II there were few voices of moderation against the building militarism.

But let's look for things that Einstein considers "evil" like your quote suggests (from "Why Socialism?"):
Quote:
The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil. We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labor not by force, but on the whole in faithful compliance with legally established rules.... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals.
Perhaps clarification on his foreign policy views:
Quote:
All these motives made me into a passionate pactfist and anti-militarist. I am against any nationalism, even in the guise of mere patriotism. Privileges based on position and property have always seemed to me unjust and pernicious, as did any exaggerated personality cult.
Or...
Quote:
This topic brings me to that worst outcrop of the herd nature, the military system, which I abhor. That a man can take pleasure in marching in formation to the strains of a band is enough to make me despise him. He has only been given his big brain by mistake; a backbone was all he needed. This plague-spot of civilisation ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism by order, senseless violence, and all the pestilent nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism how I hate them! War seems to me a mean, contemptible thing: I would rather be hacked in pieces than take part in such an abominable business.
Donald Hughes





Joined: 02 Sep 2006
Posts: 166
Reputation: 16.2Reputation: 16.2
Location: Libertarian socialism

PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2006 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Don't you think if this sort of utopian methodology had a hope in hell of working that it would have been done by now.
Well, how far do you want to take this "efficient market theory" of social relations? Why do you operate political websites and take part in politics? Everything of real worth has already been changed to what you support, right?

But the less flippant answer to your point is that the forces of oppression were always far too dominant in the past and the knowledge of how to transcend them was always limited. There are countless examples or moments of this transcendence or resistance in history, but such experiments were either coopted by larger or more powerful forces. Chief among these were economic forces, that developed most recently into system that both made things more plain (by positioning workers in relatively clear relief against the logic of capital) and also more mystified (through a commodity relationship that make social processes look fragmented and individual). The reactions to this new and evolving set of relations varied wildly. In perhaps their most pronounced form during the 20th Century, some revolutionary movements sought to substitute themselves in for the capitalist class and to organize production on the basis of a plan. These movements tended to extinguish autonomous worker organizations and to simply act as a single violent capitalist supplemented by a bureaucratic class with all the problems that come with it. This had mixed and often barbarous results, but managed to spread across most of the world before almost inevitably collapsing back into a mix of corporate power and state leadership that had been dominant in the West. And so most workers around the world position themselves in a way that balances between a rolling conflict with capital and the state, self-provisioning and household economy, and strugles to define themselves out of a box as "worker" in addition to countless social struggles and confusions. Real politics engages in this struggle directly, and from this angle it is the exact opposite of utopian idealism.
Quote:
All I hear is a bunch of platitudes with no concrete direction or specific policy ideas.
I've made some specific suggestions. Pull out of Iraq and Afghanitan, end prohibition on drugs and the free movement of people, reorient our economies towards international development, and where possible move towards a system of worker self-management of the economy within the framework of worker and community councils.
Quote:
Your soft approach would have zero impact on Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or any other force of evil.
It is not "soft." It is incredibly "hard" because it forces deep changes within our own communities and put allies of convenience in great danger.
FF_Canuck





Joined: 02 Sep 2006
Posts: 3360
Reputation: 73.4
votes: 17
Location: Southern Alberta

PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2006 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
...move towards a system of worker self-management of the economy within the framework of worker and community councils.


What you describe here is essentially how a Hutterite Colony functions (for those unfamiliar with them, they're like Amish people, but using technology). It does work, and quite effectively, but depends upon a larger, capitalist economy to purchase its products, as well as a 'violent' state entity to protect it - that's why they emmigrated from Russia and Eastern Europe, where they were being systematically destroyed.

As an aside, I doubt many communists, marxists, or 'anarchist socialists' would enjoy living like hutterites. I'm strictly conservative, and I know I wouldn't.
fhilliard





Joined: 02 Sep 2006
Posts: 39
Reputation: 14.5
Location: Grand Forks, BC

PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2006 9:34 pm    Post subject: I guess you're not in favour of killing the b******s then Reply with quote

For those of you who would like to get back to the topic, I have a lovely picture of a couple of PZH 2000 Self-propelled howitzers on my blog.

Last edited by fhilliard on Sun Sep 10, 2006 10:32 am; edited 1 time in total
Craig
Site Admin




Joined: 29 Aug 2006
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votes: 36

PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2006 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donald Hughes wrote:
Quote:
Your soft approach would have zero impact on Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or any other force of evil.
It is not "soft." It is incredibly "hard" because it forces deep changes within our own communities and put allies of convenience in great danger.


Okay. But you didn't address the point of that statement. Your policies will not keep the extremists, who hate us because we aren't muslim, from cutting off our heads. The fact that we all do yoga won't placate them.
Craig
Site Admin




Joined: 29 Aug 2006
Posts: 4415
Reputation: 47.8Reputation: 47.8Reputation: 47.8Reputation: 47.8Reputation: 47.8
votes: 36

PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2006 10:30 pm    Post subject: Re: I guess you're not in favour of killing the b******s the Reply with quote

fhilliard wrote:
For those of you who would like to get back to the topic


Good point. Donald, I think this would make a great topic. Perhaps, you could start one and we could continue this discussion there.
biggie





Joined: 06 Sep 2006
Posts: 1738
Reputation: 44Reputation: 44Reputation: 44Reputation: 44
votes: 10
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donald Hughes wrote:
First off, I should say that it is an old sentiment. I'm surprised that a conservative wouldn't use Burke's more familiar quote, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for the good men to do nothing." Second, I'm not even sure that Einstein actually said that (perhaps you could show me where he said it), but if he did he was probably drawing on Burke while criticizing the fact that in the run-up to World War II there were few voices of moderation against the building militarism.

But let's look for things that Einstein considers "evil" like your quote suggests (from "Why Socialism?"):
Quote:
The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil. We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labor not by force, but on the whole in faithful compliance with legally established rules.... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals.
Perhaps clarification on his foreign policy views:
Quote:
All these motives made me into a passionate pactfist and anti-militarist. I am against any nationalism, even in the guise of mere patriotism. Privileges based on position and property have always seemed to me unjust and pernicious, as did any exaggerated personality cult.
Or...
Quote:
This topic brings me to that worst outcrop of the herd nature, the military system, which I abhor. That a man can take pleasure in marching in formation to the strains of a band is enough to make me despise him. He has only been given his big brain by mistake; a backbone was all he needed. This plague-spot of civilisation ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism by order, senseless violence, and all the pestilent nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism how I hate them! War seems to me a mean, contemptible thing: I would rather be hacked in pieces than take part in such an abominable business.


Could you explain why I should be taking any foreign policy advice from a man of science? A man with absolutely no social skills, and a rather limited understanding of both economics and policy? A man who helped build a weapon that in one blow killed thousands of people? No pacifist would help in that project - nor allow such a "perversion" of their work to take place. To me, the idea of using einstein to support either side of this argument is as ridiculous as listening to Paul Mcartney spew off falacies about the Canadian Seal Hunt...
biggie





Joined: 06 Sep 2006
Posts: 1738
Reputation: 44Reputation: 44Reputation: 44Reputation: 44
votes: 10
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I for one agree, the presence of armour in afghanistan supporting Canadian troops is long overdue. I am sure our servicemen/women will be extremely happy to have the added support.
Donald Hughes





Joined: 02 Sep 2006
Posts: 166
Reputation: 16.2Reputation: 16.2
Location: Libertarian socialism

PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Could you explain why I should be taking any foreign policy advice from a man of science?
Craig was the one who quoted him, I said it was a bad idea.
biggie





Joined: 06 Sep 2006
Posts: 1738
Reputation: 44Reputation: 44Reputation: 44Reputation: 44
votes: 10
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My question was a broad one, sorry for the confusion.
Albertan Technophile





Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Posts: 76
Reputation: 14.2
Location: guess :)

PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fhilliard, I'm interested in visiting your blog. Please add your blog url to your signature in your user settings. Thanks!
fhilliard





Joined: 02 Sep 2006
Posts: 39
Reputation: 14.5
Location: Grand Forks, BC

PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 12:08 am    Post subject: mesopotamia west Reply with quote

Albertan Technophile wrote:
fhilliard, I'm interested in visiting your blog. Please add your blog url to your signature in your user settings. Thanks!


You got it. :)
Craig
Site Admin




Joined: 29 Aug 2006
Posts: 4415
Reputation: 47.8Reputation: 47.8Reputation: 47.8Reputation: 47.8Reputation: 47.8
votes: 36

PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donald Hughes wrote:
Quote:
Could you explain why I should be taking any foreign policy advice from a man of science?
Craig was the one who quoted him, I said it was a bad idea.


Hold on here. Stephen Harper was a computer programmer. Are you suggesting that anyone who studies in a field beside political science is unqualified to formulate social policy? Jean Chretien was a lawyer. Paul Martin was a businessman.
biggie





Joined: 06 Sep 2006
Posts: 1738
Reputation: 44Reputation: 44Reputation: 44Reputation: 44
votes: 10
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, I'm suggesting that just because the man is a famous, renowned scientist - that we shouldn't jump to the conclusion that his ideas on society or economics are as informed. (in fact, even his science has been called into question ;)

You don't ask a politician his views on physics ;)
Craig
Site Admin




Joined: 29 Aug 2006
Posts: 4415
Reputation: 47.8Reputation: 47.8Reputation: 47.8Reputation: 47.8Reputation: 47.8
votes: 36

PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

biggie rection wrote:
No, I'm suggesting that just because the man is a famous, renowned scientist - that we shouldn't jump to the conclusion that his ideas on society or economics are as informed. (in fact, even his science has been called into question ;)



Quote:
You don't ask a politician his views on physics ;)


Well, I'm a computer programmer so I guess my views are of little value here. My wife has her Ph.D in physics so I'll prevent her from posting here too. Listen, physics is a tough subject that requires a solid understanding of advanced mathematics - THAT is why you don't ask a politician about physics. Social policy is something a wide swath of the general public has a decent amount of knowledge about and can credibly comment on. Einstein was arguably the smartest person to ever walk on this planet and he studied MANY subjects not just physics. When I quoted him it wasn't because I considered him to be an authority on the subject. I quoted him because I felt that his quote nicely summarized my stance on this issue. What people fail to realize is that real evil can't be placated - it must be dealt with. And Einstein's quote is genious regardless of whether or not he is an authority on the subject of social policy. Recognize the quote for its value rather than the credentials of its author.
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