Morning Links

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

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68 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  PW | 

    One final thing, BSK. For all your talk about it now, I certainly don’t see you offering any suggestions on how to help the victims of Africa’s epidemic-sized obsessions with crazy backwards superstitions.

    In fact, whenever the subject comes up all you ever do is make excuses for them, or trot out some absurd multiculturalist moral equivalency about how the west is supposedly no better because it engaged in witch hunts 400 years ago, even though it’s 2010 and they are doing that sort of thing and worse in Africa today, as in right now. Your excuse-making only obscures a very real and very deadly problem. That means the problem never gets addressed, which only equals more victims.

  2. #2 |  PW | 

    “I would note that pretty much every Western democracy has on its own terms come to a point where it has chosen to go the social security route rather than some other solution. Why do you think that is?”

    Likely the same reasons why they also tend to adopt welfare states, farm subsidies and tariffs, large military expenditures, heavy progressive income taxes, large police states, craptastic socialized health care systems, and a whole litany of other stupid policies: it is the nature of government to grow itself over time.

  3. #3 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    Except a lot haven’t, when you get into details.

    Quite a few, indeed most, European countries have a compulsory health insurance scheme instead. How those systems are funded varies, and in many cases a percentage of income is taken into a pool, but in the Netherlands, France, Germany and so on the majority of care is delivered by the private sector.

    There’s a vast range of models, from the risk equalisation and emphasis on preventative care of the Netherlands to “solidarity” – the more ill you are, the smaller the percentage of your care has to be co-paid – in France and Ireland’s yearly-capped co-payment charges.

  4. #4 |  Joe | 

    PW and BSK, when it is native people enjoying some peyote buttons it is all good. When it is witch hunts against little kids, not so much.

    What is the way to combat this? I would suggest education.

  5. #5 |  PW | 

    I agree that education is the answer, but we have to be careful. Simply any old type of education will not alleviate the problem, and particularly not the type of multiculturalist/relativist education that is in vogue today, as it only reinforces these very same absurd superstitions by cloaking them as if they were legitimate aspects of “culture.”

    No, Africa needs education in market capitalism and the strong system of property rights that must exist for it to work. Without that, don’t be surprised if the Africa of the next century looks like the one of this century or the one of 10 or 20 or 30 centuries ago, which is to say a giant perpetually impoverished, violent, superstitious, and completely backwards mess.

  6. #6 |  BSK | 

    PW translation-
    “Even though you have said nothing but rewordings of my own comments, I was malign your character and attacks arguments I suspect you would make but haven’t. Any legitimate point I might have is overwhelmed the gross exaggerations and generalizations I make a long the way. I consider any rebuttal to my own part of some larger ‘multicultralist conspiracy’ instead of recognizing the legitimacy of those who work on behalf of anti-racism and other efforts to end oppression and bigotry and achieve more equity and justice in the world. My comments are filled with anger and hate instead of a compassion for the victims and a desire to see things change for the better. It is far easier to simply vilify and monger hate and fear than to actually figure out the root causes of the problem and correct them. Rather than recognize the circumstantial problems that have led to the situation many African nations find themselves in today, I will assume that any problems rooted there are the result of fundamental flaws in the people, including their lesser intelligence and inherent backwardness.”

  7. #7 |  PW | 

    Your silly strawmans aside, BSK, every argument I’ve attacked is one you have indeed made at some time in the past. I can fully comprehend why you are leery of making them again though, seeing as your words have a bad habit of catching up with you lest we forget the “racist” anti-shoplifting cameras at Costco. So you have a reason to take refuge in strawmans instead. Even with that though, you simply cannot help yourself from inserting vague allusions to the “circumstantial problems” of Africa (translation: you think they are just victims of colonialism and “whitey”) or to shoes being on the other foot (translation: the epidemic of witchhunts in Africa today covered by morally equivalency to something the West did hundreds or thousands of years ago) so even as you deny, deny, deny, your extreme multiculturalist ideology cannot help but show its ugly head.

    Meanwhile innocent people in Africa and other parts of the world continue to die because that same ideology cripples our ability to differentiate right from wrong and our attempts to instill those regions with the values of property rights-based market capitalism.

  8. #8 |  PW | 

    Hey. This is kinda fun…

    “and other efforts to end oppression and bigotry and achieve more equity and justice in the world.”

    BSK Translation: the world is divided between the mostly white and privileged haves and the have-nots, who tend to be “brown people.”

    “Rather than recognize the circumstantial problems that have led to the situation many African nations find themselves in today”

    BSK Translation: Africa’s problems are the result of centuries of colonialist capitalist exploitation by white Europeans and nothing more.

    “Christianity and its interplay with local religions plays in some of the atrocities being perpetrated in various African nations”

    BSK Translation: Africa got all its crazy superstitions from the Christianity imposed on it by all those white European colonialists (but not from any of the muslim armies that conquered that continent too)

    “the shoe is on the other foot and there is evidence of disturbing, ignorant, and violent behavior perpetrated by whites”

    BSK Translation: A bunch of Christian WASPs in Salem burned a couple of witches back in the 1600’s and also owned slaves centuries ago, so that proves the Western world today really is no better or more civilized than the villages in Africa where they chop up albinos and make fertility charms out of their body parts.

  9. #9 |  PW | 

    And in case it isn’t clear from the above, BSK, yes – I am characterizing you as a racial marxist.

    If you are not, go ahead and prove me wrong by showing how this characterization does not fit you.

  10. #10 |  Joe | 

    More on the Mine.

    PW and BSK, the old “education is the answer” is obviously not so simple. Paul Theroux’s Dark Star was a pretty good book on addressing some of the edemnic conditions and failures in Africa in an entertaining travel sort of way. Theroux is especially critical of the failure of NGOs in Africa (and having previously served himself in the Peace Corps in Malawi has a pretty good understanding of it).

    And it is not so easy as to blame whitey. Superstition in Africa (and in fact for humanity) is not limited to any race or people.

    But with a evil like this, by self professed Christians, probably the best way to deal with it is probably by other Christians adresssing and condemning the practice and arguing that this is very un Christ like. Suffer the little children does not mean making the little children suffer.

  11. #11 |  JOR | 

    A “racial marxist” would be a more or less standard-issue “race realist” or Human Biodiversity type. I mean, if we’re using “racial marxist” to indicate sharing something close to Marx’s views on race.

  12. #12 |  PW | 

    JOR – I’m referring to racial marxists of the type who use race and ethnicity as the demarcation line for marxian class struggle analysis. In other words, people who believe that:

    1. The world is divided into the privileged and the underprivileged, or the haves and have-nots,

    2. The haves are Westerners/white Europeans and the have-nots are everyone else, or “brown people,” and

    3. The condition of the have-nots is a result of their exploitation by the haves via colonialism, slavery, and other vaguely specified instruments of “oppression.”

    I maintain that all three accurately describe how BSK views the world, hence my characterization of him as a racial marxist, though if he disagrees I again invite him to prove otherwise.

  13. #13 |  JOR | 

    1. seems pretty obviously true, even if the privileged and unprivileged don’t always line up on simplistic economic or racial lines (and even if the world can be divided among a lot of other conceptual dichotomies); 2 seems more or less true; 3 looks to be partly true (Africans etc. have more than their own fair share of vices and problems but they also have to deal with the consequences of ill-considered and sometimes malicious activities of presumptuous outsiders), but not exactly what BSK is arguing here anyway.

    In any case, it’s not like Marx invented or has any kind of monopoly on class analysis (Rand divided the world into exploited “producers” and exploitative “parasites” just like Marx did; was she a Marxist?), so it just seems weird to label any sort of thingie that looks sort of like an exploitation/class theory “____ marxist”, especially when the “____” is pretty directly opposed to Marx’s opinions on the matter.

  14. #14 |  PW | 

    JOR – They are less obvious than you think. There are two big faults with 1 in particular: It that it assumes that the categories are pretty stagnant, whereas evidence suggests that mobility across the lines is increasingly rapid and drastic. It also assumes that members of the haves/have-nots consciously identify themselves in each group and act in accordance with their respective group interests, which is completely wrongheaded and contradicted by history (hence the general absence of instances where the workingmen of the world have ever truly united and risen up, etc.).

    The rest of the argument breaks down from there.

    As to Marx’s own opinions, there are two problems with your analysis. First, that which we know today as marxism did not cease to develop as a school of thought when Marx died. That subsequent marxist theorists have taken his ideology and adapted it along racial lines is thus unsurprising. Second, Marx’s own racial thoughts were much less clearly cut than it would seem from simply reading his beliefs about the differences of racial groups. His writings on the anti-slavery aspects of the American civil war in particular display a conscious extrapolation of class theory to a racially defined group (the slaves), and the treatment of their emancipation as an epochal event in proletarian uprising.

  15. #15 |  Elemenope | 

    I maintain that all three accurately describe how BSK views the world, hence my characterization of him as a racial marxist, though if he disagrees I again invite him to prove otherwise.

    How exactly is one to “disprove” an Internet chat-based characterization? Is he supposed to email you pictures of him hugging a plush stuffed Reagan doll?

  16. #16 |  BSK | 

    PW translation:
    I’ll just attack the person opposing my argument, bringing up comments from long ago out of context because the best way to provide counter-arguments is simply to malign my opponent. I’ll still preach anger, rather than showing any true compassion for the victims. That is why my initial comment, rather than identifying with the victims, simply identified more perpetrators of awful, horrible violence as I screamed, “JUST LOOK HOW AWFUL *THOSE* PEOPLE ARE!” Obviously, the fact that there are some crack-shit-crazy folks in Africa doing horrible things under the guise of practicing a religion is enough to denounce an entire continent. And anyone who disagrees with that clearly hates freedoms. Of course, if those freedoms are being enjoyed by folks who were not part of the privileged subset of the population that had near-monopoly-level control over those freedoms as recently as 50 years ago or so, they’re not that important.”

  17. #17 |  wonkie | 

    Baucus isn’t one of the people chiefly responsible for pushing the bill through. He is one of the Democrats who did everything he could, short of becoming a Republican, to slow its passage and water it down.

  18. #18 |  PW | 

    “How exactly is one to “disprove” an Internet chat-based characterization?”

    If he thinks I’ve mischaracterized any of his positions, he is always welcome to elaborate upon them or explain how his views differ from how I’ve interpreted them. The fact that he chooses not to does tend to support the conclusion that I have indeed accurately described him. It really is as simple as that.