Author Topic: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought  (Read 327929 times)

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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought
« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2007, 00:25:40 »
Obviously, some background material has to be studied. Here is a list for your perusal:

Conservatism needs work
Putting the Socialism Back Into National Socialism
Libertarians
Politics with more Dimensions

Many detailed discussions and critiques of Socialism in its various forms have filled these threads; be prepared, so many Socialist straw men are inside the site owner may declare this a fire hazard!  ;)

The Left can make some interesting and coherent arguments, although what you will see here is *not* going to please the average Green or NDP voter. You are left to imagine the reaction of Marxist-Leninists, Communists or others of that mind set.

Euston Manifesto
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought
« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2007, 11:19:12 »
>Trying to arbitrarily label some government services as socialism (and therefore to you: as being the result of greed and laziness) is pointless unless you can define why they are socialist and others not.

I'm glad we finally agree.

You:
Quote
I disagree, if it can be termed “socialized medicine” how can it not be, for example,  “socialized policing”.
(arbitrary labelling)

Me:
Quote
But in real life, an adjective is chosen to suit the character of the object, not to editorialize it.
(define why)

And the "why" (criterion) is simple: socialism is commonly held to be based on redistribution of wealth.  It is a politicized mix of compassion (charitable impulse, although charity is by definition giving of oneself, not giving of others), envy (want), greed (the desire that if something must be paid, others should pay more of it), and laziness (unwillingness to work within private and wholly voluntary means rather than state-backed conscription of resources), although the emphasis is always made on "compassion".
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought
« Reply #27 on: November 04, 2007, 15:13:47 »
Why "Progressives" like Postnationalism:

http://mesopotamiawest.blogspot.com/2007/11/post-nationalism-deficit-of-logic.html

Quote
Post-Nationalism, A Deficit of Logic

Post-nationalism is a concept in which the left -- which lost the battle for the nation-state with the fall of Communism -- argues that the nation-state is an illogical, indefensible and ultimately doomed artifact of history. To the left, which opposes private property, the nation is like a giant sore on the face of the planet because some people have the nerve to describe part of the world as their own. Why it's an outrage! Who do they think they are?

To the left, if they can't control nations, get rid of them.

It's with this background you should read an amazing piece of post-nationalist thought by Doug Saunders in yesterday's Globe & Mail and online (for a fee). In it he makes the following assertions:

   1. Posing the question, can immigration be controlled? he says: "Not unless you want a North Korean level of isolation from the world."
   2. Instead he says the economy drives immigration policy: "When the economy needs people , it gets people."
   3. Discussing the problem of falling birth rates and pensions, he says this can be dealt with in two ways: "By lowering the standard of living and raising taxes, or by bringing in immigrants."
   4. He states baldly that immigrants can't be filtered because of family reunions.
   5. He says a booming economy needs "quite a lot of unskilled workers"


Where to start? This is like being faced with a gourmet feast of errors in judgment. Shall we start with the roast beef of border control, or the grilled pike of falling population? Ah, perhaps the rich stew of Liberal-initiated family-class immigrants. So much to select.

Well, let's start at the beginning, at the North Korean example of isolation. Actually, even using that example on the face of it is delightful. It's China that exerts border control on North Korea, not the other way round. North Koreans want to leave, China won't let them; thus the stifling economic jail of the North. If Saunders' second point were correct, there would be no problem in North Korea because the North Koreans would all have left.

But no, he doesn't really mean this, he means that no country can exert immigration and emigration control. Since we have had centuries of examples of countries doing exactly this, one wonders if Saunders has ever seen a passport with a stamp in it. Or a passport itself. Or a customs and immigration post on a frontier. Or a frontier. Just what, exactly, were all these systems in place for?

Why was it that only after Romania joined the EU did waves of criminals descend on Rome (little pun there) killing and murdering (none there) resulting in the Italians bulldozing the shanty towns they had built and starting the forced expulsion of said Romanians back to Romania?

How can you deport people if you can't deport people?

Moving right along. Point three. What do you suppose would happen if there weren't enough people for all the unskilled jobs in an economy. Pick one of the two following choices:

   1. Business would fold, roll over and die, or
   2. Business would invent labour-saving devices, procedures and processes to replace the missing workers.

If you picked number two, congratulations. You read history. You know that while most Canadians worked on farms in 1900 only a tiny percentage do now because of automation. You know that while it took hundreds of men to unload ships in 1950 it now takes two using container systems. You know that while it took armies of bookkeepers to look after a few businesses in the 1960's, the same accounting can now be done by a dozen people in one room using giant computers.

In short, when there aren't enough labourers or skilled technicians, business gets busy and figures how how to replace them, but not until there is a labour shortage.

The use of unskilled immigrant workers seriously hinders technological progress.

But that is what the post-nationalists want. They don't want improved efficiency in nations because that might make some countries more desirable than others. Rather they want everything leveled to the lowest common denominator; to that of the unskilled worker.

We can follow them down this road or we can wave good-bye to them. Secure in our liberal democracies, comfortable in our culture, believers in the Enlightenment and in social progress through technology, we can rest assured.

Posted by Frank Hilliard at 9:28 AM 
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Greymatters

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Re: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought
« Reply #28 on: November 05, 2007, 12:23:01 »
Too late to add replies to previous comments, but still a good read! 

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought
« Reply #29 on: November 06, 2007, 03:17:58 »
Arthur Herman: “To Rule The Waves” Harper Perennial 2004. pp 416-417.

Quote
“The defeat of Napoleon had been a dramatic repudiation of one of the oldest assumptions about government in human history: that maintaining a large standing army, led by a charismatic ruler and serviced by centralized bureaucracy, was a natural and effective way to organize the political community. Such an organization, it was believed, allowed a community both to defend itself and dominate its neighbours by either physically occupying them or forcing them to pay tribute – the only kind of relations with neighbours worth having. In the final analysis, all power was about domination, and all domination about control of land and territory.  This had been the ancient formula for tyranny from Mesopotamia and Persia to Egypt and Rome.  It had underpinned the assumptions about empire under Phillip II of Spain and Louis XIV of France – not to mention the rule of English kings from the Plantagenets to the Stuarts.

The French Revolution and Napoleon had modernized this formula for land-based empire, and perfected it.  They stripped it of its traditional religious trappings and harnessed it to objectively progressive forces – mass mobilization based on ideas about nationalism and citizenship, advanced systems of science and technology, invocations of the General Will, even of the Rights of Man – to pursue an even more impressive and sophisticated grand design (Thereby creating a non-traditional religion – one without God-Kirkhill).  This was the complete domination of the world system – the great interlocking network of trade, commerce, and communication that western Europe had created since the Renaissance and the age of exploration.  The stakes were now larger than just Europe, or even Europe’s overseas colonies.  They were coming to include the entire global community.

This was the great dream of power that Britain had checkmated at Trafalgar, and definitively defeated at Waterloo (although it would revive again in German hands a century or so later (and in Soviet hands and the hands of the Comintern and in the hands of the Socialist Internationals, version 1,2,3 and 4 and in the hands of the Vatican and Mosely and Arquand and Osama Bin Laden – Kirkhill)).  Instead, what emerged after 1815, thanks to the British navy, was a very different view of how the political community could be constituted, and how the world system should be organized.

Instead of a charismatic ruler and his centralized bureaucracy, Britain could offer the world the idea of limited government, with a strong parliamentary sanction and a deep suspicion of authoritarian leadership except in time of crisis.  This was a direct legacy of the British navy, since the island kingdom’s reliance on maritime strength had made building large standing armies seem unnecessary, even dangerous, rather than a natural part of governance.

Instead of dividing society into those who serve the state – soldiers, courtiers and bureaucrats – and those who obey it, Britain had made the defining social element the ownership of property.  These included mobile and dynamic forms of property associated with commerce and trade, as well as static forms of land ownership.  In fact, the more mobile the form of property, the more dynamic and flexible the social structure becomes.  This was a point Adam Smith had made in his Wealth of Nations, the bible of the new British world order……”
Canada has never bought into the standing army aspect of traditional power but large portions of the population do buy into the “charismatic leader and his centralized bureaucracy”.  What word was most often used to describe Trudeau?  Charisma. What quality do the nattering nabobs regularly decry as lacking in his successors? Charisma.  There is comfort in having someone in charge with a plan.  Life becomes simpler then.  And if things go pear-shaped you can always blame them.  You are not responsible for their screw-ups.

It used to be that prior to the 60s the guy in charge was sanctioned by God himself and his servants on Earth. That made the decision of how to select the guy in charge much easier.  Post the 60s God and his servants were rejected and people were thrown back onto their own devices ….. but they still wanted the guy with all the answers to run the place.  That made them susceptible to the most charismatic voice on the airwaves.

We still are subject to the views of those that feel most comfortable in a hierarchical society, the socialists, replete with courtiers and bureaucrats (if not soldiers) and who abhor the mobility that possession of property and the freedom to use it confer upon individuals.  A person with their own means of meeting their own needs and wants is in a position not to need the “protection” of authority, thus doesn’t have to compromise with authority and ultimately doesn’t have to subject themselves to authority.  They can not be coerced or patronized.  Authority is forced to co-operate with them.  And they generally find co-operation with authority in their best interests just as they co-operate with their equals to mutual benefit.

We have ample touchstones here in Canada of the advantages that mobile property confers on individuals – what the Americans define as “rags to riches stories”.  Noteworthy amongst them are Donald Smith – Lord Strathcona, and McGill, and Hugh Allan and Paton and the rest of the Golden Mile set in Montreal.  Contrary to Canadian legend most of those people did NOT have the good fortune of being well born.  They were parish school educated clerks for the HBC, and law firms and banks that made good.

With property and the freedom to use it society has less need of Charismatic Leaders and Bureaucracy – a sound manager will suffice.  And that scares the livingbejasus out of bureaucrats and courtier-lobbyists and the secular clerics of the schools, universities, courts and the media.

I’d like to believe, to quote Mel Brooks that it is as simple as “We've gotta protect our phoney baloney jobs, gentlemen!” Blazing Saddles, 1974.  Unfortunately most of them actually believe “a charismatic ruler and serviced by centralized bureaucracy, (is) a natural and effective way to organize the political community”

Somebody has to have the answers and if God doesn’t have them any more…. Well maybe Al Gore or Pierre or Uncles Adolf, Joe or Hugo have them.

In the meantime, in Canada, we still debate whether or not we have a right to property and if we did have a right to property whether or not we should have the full, free and unencumbered use of that property.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2007, 03:24:55 by Kirkhill »
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Offline IN HOC SIGNO

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Re: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought
« Reply #30 on: November 06, 2007, 05:19:38 »
Excellent post. Where do you see the present Conservative Government's philosophy in this? It seems that Harper and company have inherited a system that doesn't always fit well with their beliefs. Stephen Harper is not a charismatic leader and they seem to be at odds with the bureaucracy on most items. It's difficult for them to change a lot of the inherited myths because they don't have a majority to start forcing any of the real change that they probably would like to effect.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought
« Reply #31 on: November 06, 2007, 10:56:02 »
It's an interesting point to consider, the Conservative Government's philosophy.  I think, by inclination the PM and his associates are inclined towards "laissez faire" economics and religious and social tolerance - tolerance in the 18th and 19th century version of: "I don't care what path to h*ll you choose. I'll make my own mistakes."  By definition that requires a non-activist mindset.  But to change the establishment requires action or else the establishment prevails by default and the activist, interventionist status quo continues.  So in order to get government, and society, back to the state that allows for a minimalist government requires an activist government, but one that is acting against the flow of both society and the establishment. 

That opposition to the flow creates friction, if not worse, as immovable meets irresistible and not much room to outflank the establishment.  Harper can tackle individuals, like Dion and Layton, and fight them to a conclusion but I don't know if he can fight society and the establishment in the same manner.  I think that fight is a simple battle of attrition, of wearing down.  As the Conservatives confront the flow they wear on people and they are worn by people. The question becomes who wears out first.

I think, ideally, Harper wants to wear out the establishment before society becomes aware that the establishment is worn down.  At the same time he doesn't want his support to be worn down before his endstate is achieved, whatever that may be. Perhaps he just sees himself as one, replaceable, element in the process with more like-minded individuals in reserve to carry on when he gets worn down or broken.  I hope so.  Because the problems begin when leaders see themselves as irreplaceable.

Given the ground that Harper holds now, does he need to make bold moves to break the establishment, moves that would be noticeable to society at large?  Or does he just need to hold his ground and watch the establishment grind against him and wear as it ages and wreck as it weakens?  I think that, given the baby boomer age of the establishment and the retirement plans of the bureaucrats it is a doable project in that he needs 5-10 years in office to make irreversible changes (make that "hard to reverse" - nothing in this world is permanent and I don't know about the next).  In 2 years, as SKT is pointing out, he is making a difference that will limit the options of future governments.  If he manages to rag the puck for the next two years, until the scheduled 2009 election and then gains even another minority for a couple more I think he can significantly alter the way things are done for a very long time.

« Last Edit: November 06, 2007, 12:13:23 by Kirkhill »
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought
« Reply #32 on: November 06, 2007, 12:05:34 »
Just considering further what I wrote, and as an example of the types of changes that Harper can effect that will outlive him I think we can look at the value of the dollar.

When Jean Chretien beat Kim Campbell back in 1993 Kim lost because she couldn't find a way to create "jobs, jobs, jobs".  I believe she may have been of a "laissez faire" inclination that perceived Adam Smith's invisible hand as an unbeatable force.  Jean Chretien was definitely inclined towards activism.

For the "laissez faire" economists of Britain the Bank of England and monetary policy were sacrosanct.  Government didn't involve themselves in monetary policy.  Canada notionally ascribes to the same philosophy.  However the Government of the Day appoints the Governor of the Bank.  The Governor sets Bank and Monetary policy.   And the Government of the Day gets to set the environment in which the Bank operates. With control of the inputs and control of the mechanism then outputs can be predicted.

Coincidentally the Bank's policies resulted in a low dollar which resulted in Canadian Labour costs being lower than US costs which resulted in US auto manufacturing jobs being created/retained in Canada which resulted in "jobs, jobs, jobs" in Ontario and Quebec.  But this was at the expense of productivity.

Now, coincidental with the Conservative Government, the economic environment is creating a great demand for labour in Alberta.  That is drying up the pool of available labour which is drying up due to retirement of the baby boomers in any event. Coincidentally, again, the Government's policies are creating/allowing a dollar of record buying power.  This increases the buying power of companies when they go to make investments.  They can now afford to buy Japanese manufactured CAD/CAM robots and Swedish centrifuges and pumps and valves and motors from all over to replace employees.  This addresses the productivity gap that was present between Canada and the rest of the G7 and makes Canada more competitive.  It results in job losses that will never be replaced but, given the low fertility of our society generally and baby-boomers, Ontarians and Quebecers in particular we were/are facing a coming shortage of labour. 

The strong dollar is doing more for putting Canada on solid footing when it comes to dealing with the future than a point or two reduction in taxes will ever do.

Unfortunately for labour leaders and politicians their bread and butter comes from "people": being able to marshall them, coerce them, cajole them, patronize them - lead them.  In the absence of people they have no power. 

Buzz Hargrove made his move on the UAW to form the CAW in the "jobs, jobs, jobs " environment.  He had a ready clientele of 45-55 year olds that were deathly afraid of losing their good jobs in the Auto industry before their retirement plans kicked in.  Most of those people are now close enough to retirement that even when the plants shut down they get a bridging buy-out that carries them through until their plan is initiated at 60 or 65.  Bud no longer has a fear-motivated following to lead.

One of the major contributors to US Auto Industry lack of profitability is the cost of carrying all those retirees.  Those companies are just going to have to wait out the storm and wait for their "liabilities" to end.  In the meantime they have stopped digging the hole they are in and are no longer replacing workers with workers.  They are replacing workers with robots that don't need health and retirement plans.  Those companies that can pay off their debts fastest and convert to a low labour regime will win the next "round" in the race for "world dominance".  The strong dollar helps Canadian companies do that faster than American companies lumbered with a weak dollar.  Coupled with a massively strong resource base and an educated if reducing labour force in a relatively politically stable environment we have control of inputs and mechanisms to a greater extent than our competitors.   We can predict outcomes with more surety than say an auto-manufacturer in Iran.  That attracts foreign investment, reducing the cost of borrowing, increasing the ability of companies to compete and provide incomes for all Canadians: retired, employed and future. 

Foreign investment is a good thing.  It built Canada, the US, Japan and Germany.  It also built India, Russia, China, Argentina and the countries of South America - in the early 1900s.  All of those economies collapsed when local politicians destabilized the business environment by nationalizing industry.  Now the environment became less predictable for investors as they were no longer operating with the "natural" forces of the market but, instead, were operating in environments that changed with the electorate, their bureaucracies, their charismatic leaders and their whims.

SKT said Dalton McGuinty looked ill last week.  What I believe Dalton was seeing was the same thing Bud Buzz (oops  :-[ I always was bad with names)  was seeing: the permanent erosion of his power base.  Courtesy of Harper's action or inaction?



« Last Edit: November 06, 2007, 13:16:56 by Kirkhill »
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Offline Greymatters

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Re: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought
« Reply #33 on: November 06, 2007, 12:17:41 »
When Jean Chretien beat Kim Campbell back in 1993 Kim lost because she couldn't find a way to create "jobs, jobs, jobs".  I believe she may have been of a "laissez faire" inclination that perceived Adam Smith's invisible hand as an unbeatable force.  Jean Chretien was definitely inclined towards activism. 

Thats a bit incorrect.  Campbell lost beacause she was set up for failure and had almost zero chance of winning given the conditions that the party was in.  It didnt matter what she did, the Conservatives were on the way out. 
« Last Edit: November 06, 2007, 16:25:37 by Greymatters »

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought
« Reply #34 on: November 06, 2007, 13:18:58 »
That's fair enough GM, but her insistence that she couldn't create jobs in the face of Chretien's "Jobs, jobs, jobs" (and "Axe the tax") didn't help her situation any.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought
« Reply #35 on: November 06, 2007, 15:34:26 »
PS - We better be buying our pumps and robots in the US because our buying power relative to the Euro, Yen, Pound and various Kronors hasn't increased nearly as much.  When we were at 65 cents to the dollar the Euro was launched at par with the USD with the expectation it would rise to the 1.25 USD/Euro.  The Euro promptly tanked to the 80 cent range.  It is now at 1.46 USD/Euro - a 66/80 increase or 82%.  Our increase, 108 from 65 is a 43/65 increase or 66%. Euro manufactured goods are now more expensive than they were in '93-'95 - to the tune of about 25% over the last decade or so.  US goods by contrast are less expensive - by about 40%.   The US effectively has a half-price sale on capital goods while the Europeans are supporting a 25% service charge for their goods. 

Anybody know how the Yen has tracked?
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought
« Reply #36 on: November 07, 2007, 23:10:21 »
More on "Liberal" thought

http://canadianbluelemons.blogspot.com/2007/11/pj-on-do-gooding-enviro-nuts-and.html

Quote
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
PJ on Do Gooding Enviro-Nuts and Liberals and More

The college idealists who fill the ranks of the environmental movement seem willing to do absolutely anything to save the biosphere, except take science courses and learn something about it.

The principle feature of American liberalism is sanctimoniousness. By loudly denouncing all bad things - war and hunger and date rape - liberals testify to their own terrific goodness. More important, they promote themselves to membership in a self-selecting elite of those who care deeply about such things... It's a kind of natural aristocracy, and the wonderful thing about this aristocracy is that you don't have to be brave, smart, strong or even lucky to join it, you just have to be liberal.

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.

At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child - miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosophy of sniveling brats.

Liberals are the ditch carp of democracy.

We've been nice to the liberals for too long. They're thugs. The liberal dream is to control people, to oppress and exploit them for some 'higher' goal. ... [L]iberals are always championing laws and social programs which are theoretically good for a class of people while being provably disastrous for people themselves: racial quotas, busing, welfare, my goddamned taxes. ... The core of the liberal belief is that the mass is more important than the man.

[In Mexico, a man] told me about a village up in the mountains so poor that the Indians used to say, 'All we have are rocks.' Then a corporation from Mexico City came and said the rocks could be turned into agricultural lime. The corporation offered to pay the village a large sum. The Indians got together and yakked and yakked. After weeks of deliberation they announced they were refusing the corporation's offer. 'All we have are rocks,' they said. 'And if we sell those we won't have anything.'

You can't get good Chinese takeout in China and Cuban cigars are rationed in Cuba. That's all you need to know about communism.

Posted by Lemon at 7:35 PM   
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline RangerRay

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Re: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought
« Reply #37 on: November 08, 2007, 02:08:01 »
Quote
The college idealists who fill the ranks of the environmental movement seem willing to do absolutely anything to save the biosphere, except take science courses and learn something about it.

I can attest to that.  When I was in uni, the ones that screamed the loudest about clear-cutting and global warming tended to be artsies majoring in geography or political science.  Those who were in the sciences were as far removed from the tree-hugging crowd as you can get.  Sure, those who took forestry and biology were conservationists, but they were not into radical enviro-action like the artsies were.  They were too busy actually working in the field.  ;D
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Offline Nemo888

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Re: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought
« Reply #38 on: November 08, 2007, 02:56:56 »
If the arguments in this thread indicate general “conservative” attitudes and levels of discourse the likelihood of the general public ceding a majority is very unlikely. Bashing leftist thought by quoting questionable third party blogs without stating meaningful alternative methods of governance is not going to gain you any new support.

The secret of the Republicans success in America can’t be repeated in Canada because our electorate is better educated. We have fewer single issue voters. These are voters who are totally caught up in something like gun control, abortion or religion. Republicans promise them the moon (and then don’t deliver generally). The great thing about single issue is they have near 100% voter turnout. So 10% of the populace can seem like 30% at the polls.

As well I really miss the Reform Party, even though I am from Ontario. The Conservatives cater too much to the whims of global capital and not enough to moral values. Sorry but global capital needs moral constraints. Lets face it if someone could sell Uranium to Iran they would. The externalization of costs like pollution, human misery and such should be taken into account. If Conservatism grappled with these core issues they could easily gain the credibility needed to sway the majority of the electorate. Most Centrists go Liberal because they think the Conservatives are tied to corporate purse strings. They may be right, but maybe it is time to change that. Unless of course you like the nanny state,….
« Last Edit: November 08, 2007, 03:22:09 by Nemo888 »

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought
« Reply #39 on: November 08, 2007, 08:33:31 »
There is plenty of discussion on "right wing" thought as well, you just have to look at these threads:

http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,64647.msg625891.html#msg625891

As for your comment on Canadian voters being "better educated" or not inclined to be "single issue" voters I have personal experience (as a candidate for office) that contradicts that thesis; moral smugness and anti-American posturing does not make for better voters or politicians.

WRT moral values; the free and unencumbered use of your own property is at the heart of Conservative (Libertarian and "classical liberal" i.e. Edmond Burke etc.) thought. Most variations of Progressiveism and Socialism are explicitly about control of the actions and property of the individual. What is more moral: giving you equal opportunity to meet your needs or moving in and dictating the outcomes of your actions to meet arbitrary and often unsuitable whims from the unelected and unaccountable?
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Nemo888

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Re: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought
« Reply #40 on: November 08, 2007, 14:41:29 »
This standard all or nothing posturing guarantees your marginalization in the political landscape.

Offline Zip

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Re: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought
« Reply #41 on: November 08, 2007, 15:36:15 »
This standard all or nothing posturing guarantees your marginalization in the political landscape.

Do you have anything to add to the debate or are you going to troll just for fun?

How about a "better idea"...
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought
« Reply #42 on: November 15, 2007, 00:03:55 »
As the Blogger says, it is amusing to see cultural relativists fighting against each other. (How do relativeists define what is worth fighting for anyway?)

http://unambig.blogspot.com/2007/11/but-some-animals-are-more-equal-than.html

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007
But Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others...

Quebec's Council on the Status of Women (CSF) is in trouble with another status group, the Montreal Multicultural Women's Coalition, for allegedly creating a "hierarchy" of human rights. It's incredible when you can get one social relativist fighting against a cultural relativist over the same thing: the advancement of a people based on their gender. It's an interesting thing to talk about equality, when one belongs to a group which seeks the improvement of status of one kind of human being alone. Nevertheless, I agree with the general thrust of the CSF in context with the multicultural disagreement.

Annie Lessard writes in The Suburban that the recent troubles began when the CSF stated that the equality of the sexes is paramount in cases where equality could be compromised by religious freedoms [an allusion to the Islamic gender apartheid]. The CSF wants the Quebec Charter of Rights to add the provision that government officials cannot display religious symbols at work, and that education should prioritize gender equality over religious and cultural considerations.

Ms.Lessard rightly points out that the "hierarchy of rights" argument from the multiculturalists is a "red herring":

    The international law of human rights establishes an undeniable hierarchy of rights. There are many conventions whose purpose is precisely to fight against the exploitation of women and girls by religious and cultural creeds. As for the Canadian Charter of Rights, it contains a specific provision guaranteeing equality between men and women. This provision is in addition to the provision prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender. This additional provision (section 28) reflects a Canadian value that is so fundamental that it takes precedence over all other provisions of the Canadian Charter, including those guaranteeing freedom of religion and the promotion of Canadian multiculturalism.



The red herring is the same tried and tired argument of the multiculturalists who use cultural relativism to devalue Canadian rights by accusing those who disagree of being ethnocentric neo-colonialists, racist and xenophobic, or other rhetorical garbage. Ms.Lessard argues that a Muslim teacher in a burqa presents an obvious conflict of interest from one who is responsible to provide an education of sexual equality while clothed in the fabric of a symbol of gender oppression.

In essence, Muslims want the right to subjugate women as their religious traditions and customs require, while Canadians want the rights of secular gender equality to supersede. It's not about a hierarchy of rights. It is a basic Canadian right to be free from the religious influence of a culture which seeks to use "cultural equality" in a relativist triumph to give them the right to treat women like garbage.

Posted by Raphael Alexander at 3:32 PM
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Greymatters

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Re: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought
« Reply #43 on: November 15, 2007, 15:40:26 »
"The red herring is the same tried and tired argument of the multiculturalists who use cultural relativism to devalue Canadian rights by accusing those who disagree of being ethnocentric neo-colonialists, racist and xenophobic, or other rhetorical garbage. Ms.Lessard argues that a Muslim teacher in a burqa presents an obvious conflict of interest from one who is responsible to provide an education of sexual equality while clothed in the fabric of a symbol of gender oppression.  In essence, Muslims want the right to subjugate women as their religious traditions and customs require, while Canadians want the rights of secular gender equality to supersede. It's not about a hierarchy of rights. It is a basic Canadian right to be free from the religious influence of a culture which seeks to use "cultural equality" in a relativist triumph to give them the right to treat women like garbage."

Well written! 

Offline Zip

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Re: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought
« Reply #44 on: November 15, 2007, 16:09:27 »
This example (the burka'd teacher) doesn't pass the test of logic.  If she (the teacher) were truly an example of Islamic subjugation of women she not only would not be in a classroom (either as a teacher or as a student) but she would certainly not have a job.

Seems to me that the decision to wear the burka (in this individual example) is more correctly tied to culture rather than discrimination.

Is the wearing of a yamika also a sign of religious intolerance?
"I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man; nor ask another man to live for mine."
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Offline IN HOC SIGNO

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Re: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought
« Reply #45 on: November 15, 2007, 20:26:44 »
or a crucifix?

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought
« Reply #46 on: November 18, 2007, 09:11:31 »
Apparently, the NDP are taking "group rights" to is logical conclusion. No mention in this plan of the individual qualifications of the proposed candidates:

http://hallsofmacadamia.blogspot.com/2007/11/good-news-for.html

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Good news for...

Wheelchair-bound, Tongan, lesbian immigrants with an interest in politics...

    The plan, drafted by a party committee over two years, says:

    -Thirty per cent of constituencies not held by New Democrats will be designated for female candidates.

    -Ten per cent of such constituencies will be designated for candidates from “under-represented groups,” notably youth, persons of colour, the disabled, aboriginal people and those who are either gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

    -When an incumbent New Democrat does not seek re-election, the constituency will be designated automatically for women candidates to ensure woman are running in seats where New Democrats have been previously elected.

Your New Democratic Autocratic Party has spoken.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Greymatters

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Re: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought
« Reply #47 on: November 18, 2007, 09:21:51 »
Apparently, the NDP are taking "group rights" to is logical conclusion. No mention in this plan of the individual qualifications of the proposed candidates:
http://hallsofmacadamia.blogspot.com/2007/11/good-news-for.html 

That makes limited sense.  Its commendable to promote the rights of groups of minority groups, but there needs to be (a) some qualities and credentials to back them up, not just a niche in the Human Rights Act, and (b) not everybody will want to vote for a candidate who got nominated just because they filled a blank spot on the chart. 

Offline IN HOC SIGNO

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Re: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought
« Reply #48 on: November 18, 2007, 09:40:18 »
I look at this way, it will keep them limited to the fringes of the political spectrum where they belong.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Deconstructing "Progressive " thought
« Reply #49 on: November 19, 2007, 20:50:21 »
Group and identity politics in its full, toxic, bloom. HT to Jonathan Kay for being able to sit through this and report:

http://communities.canada.com/nationalpost/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2007/11/18/jonathan-kay-adventures-among-the-anti-racists.aspx

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Full Comment
Jonathan Kay: Adventures among the anti-racists

One of the nice things about writing an op-ed column for this newspaper is that you get invited to speak on a lot of "media panels" at academic conferences. I flatter myself to think people are genuinely interested in what I have to say. But I suspect the main reason I get invited is that I provide "balance": Even when a confab is wall-to-wall campus lefties and CBC types, the words National Post on my podium placard signal there's at least one right-wing maniac in the house.

Which is to say, I'm used to being the odd man out. But I've never felt quite so odd as I did last week at Combating Hatred, a day-long biennial anti-racism conference hosted by the University of Toronto for the benefit of the city’s lawyers, judges, police officers, educators and government workers.

My panel (“The Media: Part of the problem or part of the solution”) didn’t start till the late morning. But I showed up a few hours early to enjoy the free breakfast and listen to the keynote speaker, a native activist and lawyer named Donald Worme.

And I'm glad I did, because a large part of Worme's speech was dedicated to the delightful theme Why Jonathan Kay Is a Racist.

Worme warmed up the crowd with a few jokes ("My Indian name is 'Dances With Worms.’”) But then he got right into it, quoting at length from an article I’d written in this space last month called Off The Reservation, which argued that out system of native reserves is inhumane, and should be dismantled for the good of aboriginals themselves. To Worme's mind, the article established me as nothing less than a bona fide hate criminal. He said I wanted natives to “cease to exist as a people,” that I was calling for the “destruction” of First Nations and – most outrageously – that I was an advocate of “a form of ‘final solution.’”

And all this while I was 100 feet away, eating a blueberry muffin and drinking a double-double.

After Worme finished comparing me to the Nazis, he then went on to excoriate Margaret Wente of The Globe and Mail, who wrote a brilliant column last month about abused native children who are put at risk when politically correct government officials refuse to place them with white families. Between the two hit jobs, the overarching theme for the day had been established: Challenging the received pieties of identity politics renders you a presumptive racist.

In fact, Worme proved to be tame compared to some of the speakers that followed. One anti-Black activist, for instance, claimed (without evidence) that Canada’s leaders “validate racism,” and argued that special Afro-centric schools should be set up for Toronto’s blacks because their culture is being systematically “denigrated” in multiracial public schools. Then he made my jaw drop by quoting – not once, but twice – from the poetry of Amiri Baraka, an anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist who believes Jews were warned to stay away from the Twin Towers on 9/11.

(I was further astonished to find out that this same activist is also a “consultant” who is employed by corporations seeking to rid their workforces of racism. I wonder how his client base would react if they knew that his literary hero is the same African-American “poet” who wrote these charming lines: “Who knew the World Trade Center was gonna get bombed / Who told 4000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers / To stay home that day / Why did Sharon stay away?”)

Next came a Muslim activist who upped the ante by arguing that things in Canada are even worse than in Pakistan, where political dissidents get thrown into jail and Sunni suicide bombers explode themselves in Shiite mosques. Hatred in Pakistan, she argued, at least had the advantage of being overt. Here in Canada, on the other hand, it is subtle and hidden – which apparently makes it much more invidious.

Then my panel began, and a very nice middle-aged female academic launched into a stream of jargon-laden duckspeak about “white privilege,” “racialized spaces” and “existing paradigms of public discourse in the media.” I must admit to being rendered slightly dozy by the onslaught of post-grad verbiage. But the larger point seemed to be that media hotheads like me shouldn’t be allowed to write the sort of thing that the Donald Wormes of the world find offensive.

By the time my turn was up, I'd thrown out my prepared speech in favour of a strenuous take-down of what I'd just heard. All of it, I said, was proof that radical anti-racism had become not only a cult of censorship, but a mental toxin as irrational and destructive as racism itself.

And since I was in the mood to make friends, I went further. I told the crowd that conferences like these were actually hurting minority communities by giving them a one-size-fits-all excuse to avoid confronting their problems. Talk about gang culture, AWOL fathers, teen motherhood and shocking crime statistics in black communities, and “diversity consultants” accuse you of racism. Connect the dots between Canada’s radicalized mosques and the terror threat, and you get accused of Islamophobia. Write about the economic dysfunction and social pathologies that fester on native reserves, and Donald Worme accuses you of penning a new Mein Kampf.

By this point, a few audience members were audibly sneering at the angry right-wing freak who, for reasons known only to himself, was ruining this otherwise respectable festival of white guilt. But not everyone forgot their manners. During the Q&A, the moderator – a Globe and Mail journalist, no less – was gracious enough to give me ample time for rebuttal, even when the conference organizer herself broke protocol (by her own admission) by rising from her chair to denounce my views. There were a few other predictable barbs. (One school-board official, for instance, got up to tell me that I had no right to comment on issues affecting black people because I wasn't black.) But generally, the discourse was civil. Which is to say that no one else compared me to Hitler.

In any case, I left the conference feeling more pity than anger. For all their claim to progressive politics, there is something slightly old-fashioned about the people who run these conferences. Many of them have been fighting the evil of racism since the early days. And they have chalked up some spectacular successes during that time: the anti-discrimination provisions in the Charter of Rights, human-rights tribunals in every province, hate-speech laws, gay marriage, etc. Even more importantly, they have managed to make race hatred the ultimate taboo – a subject that can get you fired from any job or ostracized at any social gathering. But instead of taking a bow and moving on, the anti-racism industry is still chugging, seeking desperately to justify its existence by trumpeting more implausible and exotic theories of discrimination.

As I sat there, I did indeed feel quite “privileged” – though not because of my race. It was because I am an opinion journalist who can write about these issues candidly. But the jurists, NGO types, tenured academics and public servants staring back at me from the audience enjoyed no such freedom. Whether they believed the anti-racism orthodoxy or not, they inhabit politically correct professional milieus that require them to at least pretend to believe it. For these people, anti-racism has become a sort of communist political re-education camp – one you can never leave.

Most perversely of all, many of these same folks pay for their indoctrination out of their own pocket. When I flipped to the list of conference “Donors & Sponsors,” I found a list of some of Toronto’s best-known law firms and financial-services companies. As a farcical metaphor for the guilty attitude of Canada’s white elites, it’s hard to imagine a more perfect vignette: a parade of suits and ties slapping down thousands of dollars so activists can tell them how racist they are.

Nice work if you can get it.

    jkay@nationalpost.com
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.