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Totalitarianism, American Style

charleslb
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10/31/2014 3:48:35 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
No, my friends, do not naively think that because we don't live in a classically totalitarian system, that because our journeys are not planned out by a central committee and overseen by commissars, that because the state doesn't overtly have a program for our lives and send out checkists to check up on whether we're with its program or not that we're therefore beautifully free.

Yes, in our system a B-movie, Orwellian state does not meticulously plan and micromanage our lives, but the general pattern of life is indeed planned and preset. We're indeed trapped in Max Weber's iron cage. Our economico-political system is a massive, not centralized but thoroughly rationalized corporate-government leviathan. An increasingly bureaucratic beast whose belly we're swallowed into from birth, and live and move and have our being within without critically noticing it, like the fish who isn't conscious of living in water.

That is, our society and its power structure is a complex of private, economic power, of a corporate-owned fourth estate and electronic mass media, and the public institutions corrupted & co-opted by the economic powers that be, determining, to a quite considerable extent, the general course and confines of life, profoundly circumscribing our Lebenswelt. Mm-hmm, ours is a modern capitalist mass society mass producing good little worker ants and insatiably covetous consumers from a sociocultural mold fashioned by, and coded according to the interests of, the corporatocracy.

As for our much vaunted freedom, well, unpatriotic & harsh truth be told it's often little more than a matter of being on our own to sink or swim, being free to take part in the struggle for survival without any assistance from our communities. That is, our liberty is largely a lie, the sort of big lie that becomes a false consensus reality, an ingrained false consciousness. In fact and in short, we've evolved a thickly-veiled, Western form of totalitarianism. A totalitarian treadmill of production and comsumption, of wage slavery and avid acquisitiveness. Underlying which is the tyranny of capital and its domineering dynamics, of the overriding logic of the market. A certainly very concrete tyranny but sans cliches such as reeducation camps and Big Brother, but in which we're nevertheless constantly indoctrinated and subjected to subtle forms of social control, the brainwashing slogans we're constantly bombarded with featuring such bits of received wisdom as "You can't fight city hall", "Don't buck the system", "Greed is good", and "Shop 'til you drop". Yes, in a society based on capitalism and "the American way" we sell our human birthright of freedom and creativity for a mess of pottage in the form of iPhones and Nikes, the right to vote in managed & sham elections and to play with guns.

To sum up, our Western-style freedom and the benign nature of our way of life is largely a scam, low-profile but genuine totalitarianism is in actuality already here (no need to keep a lookout for black helicopters or UN troops in blue helmets coming to herd you into gulags), we just don't recognize it because we naively expect it to look like stereotypical Stalinism or fascism. But one day people will indeed look back on our system and agree with Sinclair Lewis that "the worst Fascists were they who disowned the word 'Fascism' and preached enslavement to Capitalism under the style of Constitutional and Traditional Native American Liberty. For they were thieves not only of wages but of honor. To their purpose they could quote not only Scripture but Jefferson."
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
james14
Posts: 68
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10/31/2014 7:28:12 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I read your post! Feel free to dance a jig or sing a song.

America is not totalitarian. Well, not totally totalitarian, anyway.
Totalitarian: of or relating to a system of government that is centralized and dictatorial and requires complete subservience to the state.

We have Obama, who is kinda a dictator, but we're still a democratic republic. Complete subservience to the state is not required. You can walk up and down in front of Capitol Hill waving signs calling Obama and America all sorts of bad names without being arrested. (probably. Try it and tell me the results.) America simply does not square with a definition of totalitarianism. Our government does not require complete subservience to the state.

Such an allegation is ridiculous.

by the way, love the A. A. Milne quote. You made me laugh out loud.
I used to read those books.
Maybe I'm a genius; maybe not.

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james14
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10/31/2014 7:29:39 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/31/2014 7:23:02 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
Nothing wrong with totalitarianism.

Really? I hope you're being sarcastic. If you're serious I suggest you move to china and see how you like it. Kiss little things like justice and freedom goodbye.
Maybe I'm a genius; maybe not.

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Ore_Ele
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10/31/2014 7:50:45 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/31/2014 7:29:39 PM, james14 wrote:
At 10/31/2014 7:23:02 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
Nothing wrong with totalitarianism.

Really? I hope you're being sarcastic. If you're serious I suggest you move to china and see how you like it. Kiss little things like justice and freedom goodbye.

If you think that all totalitarianism = China then McCarthy would be happy.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
Wocambs
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10/31/2014 8:22:18 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/31/2014 7:23:02 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
Nothing wrong with totalitarianism.

You shouldn't be so harsh on yourself.
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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11/1/2014 3:26:29 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/31/2014 7:23:02 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
Nothing wrong with totalitarianism.

Oh my.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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11/1/2014 2:36:21 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/31/2014 7:28:12 PM, james14 wrote:

We have Obama, who is kinda a dictator, ...

Oh, and are you one of that anti-Obama ilk that sometimes likes to refer to him as Barry O'bama, implying that it was once his dishonest practice to do so, in order to conceal his alleged alienness? Or perhaps you prefer to refer to him by his full name, with extra emphasis on his middle name? Do you also question his origins and legal eligibility to be president of the United States? (Hey birthers, FYI, although he was in fact delivered in Hawaii the geographical location of his birth doesn't actually matter, constitutionally speaking, as he was born to a mother who was a U.S. citizen and ergo is a "natural born citizen" regardless of place of parturition. Of course staunch birthers will insist on getting into the technical question of constitutional vs. statutory definitions of "natural born citizen" and the fact that Obama's mama was only eighteen at the time of his popping out, etc., but this is simply because you're all morons and crypto xenophopes & racists or simply Republicans who can't tolerate someone who's not a conservative occupying the White House.)

Or, do you perhaps have one of those beautiful minds to whom he's a cross between a Muslim bogeyman and a Marxist bogeyman? Well, I'm an actual socialist, not a liberal or Democrat or Obama fan, and you can take it from me that Obama is sadly not a Marxist, or anything close. Yes, to paraphrase LLoyd Benson to Dan Quayle, I've studied Karl Marx. I know Marxism. The Marxist tradition is a source of some of my thinking. President Barack Obama, sir, is no Marxist. As for him being a Muslim, he's a career politician and by definition has no substantive religious faith of any kind. But I suppose that you're just a pro-capitalist type who doesn't like Obama because he's not enough of a market fundamentalist for you. Not to worry, like all high-level political officeholders he's a capitalist running dog (a functionary of the economic-political establishment) and not a genuine philosophical foe of capitalism like yours truly. So relax my friend, ole Barack isn't a socialist baddie who's going to end capitalism and put you in a gulag.

by the way, love the A. A. Milne quote. You made me laugh out loud.

I'm glad. And if any of the points of my above rant against anti-Obama types don't actually apply to you, well, you have my sincerest apologies. And thank you for your input.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
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11/1/2014 4:03:12 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/31/2014 7:29:39 PM, james14 wrote:
At 10/31/2014 7:23:02 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
Nothing wrong with totalitarianism.

Really? I hope you're being sarcastic...

Ditto.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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11/2/2014 7:04:32 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/31/2014 7:23:02 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
Nothing wrong with totalitarianism.

Hmm, not up for defending such an absurd statement? No real thoughts on the topic to share?
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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11/2/2014 9:16:53 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/2/2014 7:04:32 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 10/31/2014 7:23:02 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
Nothing wrong with totalitarianism.

Hmm, not up for defending such an absurd statement? No real thoughts on the topic to share?

Haven't needed to. I don't see any logical argument that you've presented against it. Saying "oh my" and "ditto" is not a refutation that I need to defend against.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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11/3/2014 1:33:47 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/2/2014 9:16:53 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
At 11/2/2014 7:04:32 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 10/31/2014 7:23:02 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
Nothing wrong with totalitarianism.

Hmm, not up for defending such an absurd statement? No real thoughts on the topic to share?

Haven't needed to. I don't see any logical argument that you've presented against it. Saying "oh my" and "ditto" is not a refutation that I need to defend against.

You made a lame statement of opinion without explaining or supporting it, the burden is first on you to elucidate what you mean, and then when you've said something substantive that one can construct an argument against the ball will of course be in my court to do so. But alas I don't really hold out much hope that you'll be able to construct much of an argument to support such a manifestly insupportable opinion.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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11/3/2014 8:39:36 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 1:33:47 AM, charleslb wrote:
At 11/2/2014 9:16:53 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
At 11/2/2014 7:04:32 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 10/31/2014 7:23:02 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
Nothing wrong with totalitarianism.

Hmm, not up for defending such an absurd statement? No real thoughts on the topic to share?

Haven't needed to. I don't see any logical argument that you've presented against it. Saying "oh my" and "ditto" is not a refutation that I need to defend against.

You made a lame statement of opinion without explaining or supporting it, the burden is first on you to elucidate what you mean, and then when you've said something substantive that one can construct an argument against the ball will of course be in my court to do so. But alas I don't really hold out much hope that you'll be able to construct much of an argument to support such a manifestly insupportable opinion.

I made a negative statement that cannot be proven. I can only refute any objections you present. Any attempt by me to start this type of exchange would rely solely on strawman arguments.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
Wocambs
Posts: 1,505
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11/3/2014 11:19:40 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 8:39:36 AM, Ore_Ele wrote:
At 11/3/2014 1:33:47 AM, charleslb wrote:
At 11/2/2014 9:16:53 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
At 11/2/2014 7:04:32 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 10/31/2014 7:23:02 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
Nothing wrong with totalitarianism.

Hmm, not up for defending such an absurd statement? No real thoughts on the topic to share?

Haven't needed to. I don't see any logical argument that you've presented against it. Saying "oh my" and "ditto" is not a refutation that I need to defend against.

You made a lame statement of opinion without explaining or supporting it, the burden is first on you to elucidate what you mean, and then when you've said something substantive that one can construct an argument against the ball will of course be in my court to do so. But alas I don't really hold out much hope that you'll be able to construct much of an argument to support such a manifestly insupportable opinion.

I made a negative statement that cannot be proven. I can only refute any objections you present. Any attempt by me to start this type of exchange would rely solely on strawman arguments.

'There is nothing wrong with totalitarianism', if we're talking about moral rights and wrongs, which I presume we are, is equivalent to the statement that totalitarianism is morally right, which is a positive statement that must be proven. Your argument would only work if 'totalitarianism' fit into the category of things 'neither morally right nor morally wrong', i.e. if totalitarianism was something that is not subject to moral analysis and so could never be shown to be right or wrong .
Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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11/3/2014 1:18:06 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 11:19:40 AM, Wocambs wrote:
At 11/3/2014 8:39:36 AM, Ore_Ele wrote:
At 11/3/2014 1:33:47 AM, charleslb wrote:
At 11/2/2014 9:16:53 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
At 11/2/2014 7:04:32 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 10/31/2014 7:23:02 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
Nothing wrong with totalitarianism.

Hmm, not up for defending such an absurd statement? No real thoughts on the topic to share?

Haven't needed to. I don't see any logical argument that you've presented against it. Saying "oh my" and "ditto" is not a refutation that I need to defend against.

You made a lame statement of opinion without explaining or supporting it, the burden is first on you to elucidate what you mean, and then when you've said something substantive that one can construct an argument against the ball will of course be in my court to do so. But alas I don't really hold out much hope that you'll be able to construct much of an argument to support such a manifestly insupportable opinion.

I made a negative statement that cannot be proven. I can only refute any objections you present. Any attempt by me to start this type of exchange would rely solely on strawman arguments.

'There is nothing wrong with totalitarianism', if we're talking about moral rights and wrongs, which I presume we are, is equivalent to the statement that totalitarianism is morally right, which is a positive statement that must be proven. Your argument would only work if 'totalitarianism' fit into the category of things 'neither morally right nor morally wrong', i.e. if totalitarianism was something that is not subject to moral analysis and so could never be shown to be right or wrong .

Saying something is not morally wrong is not the same as saying it is morally right. As you have said, there is middle ground of neither morally right or wrong (like when you start walking, do you begin with your right or left foot? Neither option is morally right nor wrong, it is just morally neutral). However, we then get into morals and debate of do objective morals exist. If no, then one can't say something "is" moral, only that something is moral "in their opinion" or "according to their personal moral code."

However, I believe that Charles (along with most people) have a distorted view of totalitarianism and so for the goals of correcting that view it is important for them to go first to establish what their moral code is so I can then show how it fits into that code, as opposed to me establishing my moral code for them to simply disagree with my code.

Perhaps a better word choice would be "nothing inherently wrong with totalitarianism."
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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11/3/2014 4:35:56 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 11:19:40 AM, Wocambs wrote:
At 11/3/2014 8:39:36 AM, Ore_Ele wrote:
At 11/3/2014 1:33:47 AM, charleslb wrote:
At 11/2/2014 9:16:53 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
At 11/2/2014 7:04:32 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 10/31/2014 7:23:02 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
Nothing wrong with totalitarianism.

Hmm, not up for defending such an absurd statement? No real thoughts on the topic to share?

Haven't needed to. I don't see any logical argument that you've presented against it. Saying "oh my" and "ditto" is not a refutation that I need to defend against.

You made a lame statement of opinion without explaining or supporting it, the burden is first on you to elucidate what you mean, and then when you've said something substantive that one can construct an argument against the ball will of course be in my court to do so. But alas I don't really hold out much hope that you'll be able to construct much of an argument to support such a manifestly insupportable opinion.

I made a negative statement that cannot be proven. I can only refute any objections you present. Any attempt by me to start this type of exchange would rely solely on strawman arguments.

'There is nothing wrong with totalitarianism', if we're talking about moral rights and wrongs, which I presume we are, is equivalent to the statement that totalitarianism is morally right, which is a positive statement that must be proven. Your argument would only work if 'totalitarianism' fit into the category of things 'neither morally right nor morally wrong', i.e. if totalitarianism was something that is not subject to moral analysis and so could never be shown to be right or wrong .

You certainly nailed the lameness of her cop-out. Thanks.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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11/3/2014 4:36:59 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 8:39:36 AM, Ore_Ele wrote:

I made a negative statement that cannot be proven. I can only refute any objections you present. Any attempt by me to start this type of exchange would rely solely on strawman arguments.

A blatant cop-out.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
Wocambs
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11/3/2014 4:38:31 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 1:18:06 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
Saying something is not morally wrong is not the same as saying it is morally right. As you have said, there is middle ground of neither morally right or wrong (like when you start walking, do you begin with your right or left foot? Neither option is morally right nor wrong, it is just morally neutral).

I don't think moral neutrality exists. If something is 'morally neutral', then its simply not subject to the standards of morality, as something that is neither true nor false is simply not subject to the standards of truth or falsehood, or as something that is neither turned on nor turned off is not something that can be turned on or off.

However, I believe that Charles (along with most people) have a distorted view of totalitarianism and so for the goals of correcting that view it is important for them to go first to establish what their moral code is so I can then show how it fits into that code, as opposed to me establishing my moral code for them to simply disagree with my code.

Perhaps a better word choice would be "nothing inherently wrong with totalitarianism."

That does make a lot more sense, because now you're making it clear that you do not view totalitarianism vs. individual autonomy as an inherently moral distinction, or rather, you are challenging us to show how a moral distinction is inherent, i.e. how moral standards can be applied to that distinction itself. I suppose you could say I made assumptions about your argument but I think its rather the case that I view all possible behaviour as subject to moral standards, making it something of a difference in theory.
Wocambs
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11/3/2014 4:42:14 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 4:35:56 PM, charleslb wrote:
You certainly nailed the lameness of her cop-out. Thanks.

I think her redaction makes it a lot clearer that she's saying that the choice between totalitarianism and its alternatives is not an inherently moral decision, so presumably she wants you to try to provide some moral framework which enables us to say 'totalitarianism is wrong no matter how it is implemented or by who it is implemented or what the consequences are etc.'.
Wocambs
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11/3/2014 4:50:51 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 1:18:06 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
Perhaps a better word choice would be "nothing inherently wrong with totalitarianism."

The reason I think totalitarianism is inherently wrong is because I think that, unless it can be somehow proven otherwise, people have equal rights, and authority violates that because it could only be justified if I have the right to rule you and you do not have the right to rule me.

Furthermore, I think people are largely the product of their environment, and that the reasons people think that authority is required are often caused by authority itself. During the debate over slavery, old slaves would be brought out who would beg to be returned to their masters. This does not prove that people are slavish, it just proves that if you put someone in an environment which promotes slavish tendencies, they will likely become slavish. Similarly, a society which views its citizens as incapable drones who need to be looked after will produce citizens who are incapable drones who need to be looked after. A free society of equals who are engaged in the organisation of their society will produce people who are capable of sustaining that.
charleslb
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11/3/2014 5:12:15 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 8:39:36 AM, Ore_Ele wrote:

I made a negative statement that cannot be proven. I can only refute any objections you present. Any attempt by me to start this type of exchange would rely solely on strawman arguments.

The capitalist life system, so to speak, its economistic dynamics and life orientation, totalistically conditions every sphere and aspect of life. Moreover, economic circumstances and pressures generated for working-class human beings to a considerable and oppressive extent control their lives, their ability and opportunities to express themselves and "follow their bliss". No, despite the institutional facade of a democratic political system, people don't actually enjoy the cultural individuality, as it were, or the socioeconomic empowerment and freedom to cultivate their personal authenticity and pursue self-actualization. This essentially constitutes the unfreedom and totalitarianism of our way of life, and is a rather bad state of affairs from an axiological perspective that holds authenticity (in a Heideggerian sense, i.e., I define authenticity as exercising free creative choice and self-determination in the process and project of creating oneself) and self-actualization (the realization of the best you that you can be, the realization of the most creatively rich life possible) to be fundamental goods, to be the summum bonum of life. This in short is my position and includes the fundamental values in terms of which I view our capitalist life system as socially and culturally totalistic, and in terms of which I view this as a quite profoundly negative thing. Do you perhaps now have the information that you need to engage the topic? (Btw, here's a novel idea, you could also read the OP, it would also help provide a starting point for an exchange. )
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
Ore_Ele
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11/3/2014 7:37:03 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 4:50:51 PM, Wocambs wrote:
At 11/3/2014 1:18:06 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
Perhaps a better word choice would be "nothing inherently wrong with totalitarianism."

The reason I think totalitarianism is inherently wrong is because I think that, unless it can be somehow proven otherwise, people have equal rights, and authority violates that because it could only be justified if I have the right to rule you and you do not have the right to rule me.

I would strongly argue against the existence of rights, or at least the existence of objective or inherent rights. The only rights one has are the rights afforded by society and the government (the government being a tool of society to protect and manage the society). As for the "right to rule over you..." line. I would say that a society has a right to rule over the members of society and as long as you live within their sovereign lands, you are being a member of the society,


Furthermore, I think people are largely the product of their environment, and that the reasons people think that authority is required are often caused by authority itself. During the debate over slavery, old slaves would be brought out who would beg to be returned to their masters. This does not prove that people are slavish, it just proves that if you put someone in an environment which promotes slavish tendencies, they will likely become slavish. Similarly, a society which views its citizens as incapable drones who need to be looked after will produce citizens who are incapable drones who need to be looked after. A free society of equals who are engaged in the organisation of their society will produce people who are capable of sustaining that.

Totalitarianism does not exclude people "who are engaged in the organisation of their society" so, by your own reasoning, it does not prevent people who are capable of sustaining that.

But, using your own reasoning, a structure (be it a political structure or a societal structure) that focuses on people looking after only themselves and their own self interest (as most of individualism, especially that derived from egoism) will yield people that step into government (even if it is a tiny libertarian government) with the mindset and goal of "how do I help myself."

You see, whenever totalitarianism fails (or any form fails, we can look at communism or capitalism, or democracy, or really anything), it does so because individuals that are only looking out for their own interest or the interests of their personal group manage to get power.

As I said, government is only a tool, just like a gun. It isn't the government, no mater how large or small, that is evil or good, it is the person in control of that tool.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
HououinKyouma
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11/3/2014 7:40:28 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/31/2014 3:48:35 PM, charleslb wrote:
No, my friends, do not naively think that because we don't live in a classically totalitarian system, that because our journeys are not planned out by a central committee and overseen by commissars, that because the state doesn't overtly have a program for our lives and send out checkists to check up on whether we're with its program or not that we're therefore beautifully free.

You've refuted your own claim with that. If it is not centrally directed and you're not under permanent surveillance then your government is not totalitarian.

Yes, in our system a B-movie, Orwellian state does not meticulously plan and micromanage our lives, but the general pattern of life is indeed planned and preset. We're indeed trapped in Max Weber's iron cage. Our economico-political system is a massive, not centralized but thoroughly rationalized corporate-government leviathan. An increasingly bureaucratic beast whose belly we're swallowed into from birth, and live and move and have our being within without critically noticing it, like the fish who isn't conscious of living in water.

Then how is it possible for the communist societies that you mentioned in another forum to even exist, if no one can escape from the political and economical of the US? And how can people even emigrate?

That is, our society and its power structure is a complex of private, economic power, of a corporate-owned fourth estate and electronic mass media, and the public institutions corrupted & co-opted by the economic powers that be, determining, to a quite considerable extent, the general course and confines of life, profoundly circumscribing our Lebenswelt. Mm-hmm, ours is a modern capitalist mass society mass producing good little worker ants and insatiably covetous consumers from a sociocultural mold fashioned by, and coded according to the interests of, the corporatocracy.

The people of the Occupy Movement are all consumerists, I suppose? And probably the same thing can be said about the fellows at the Nation and Democracy Now and our dear Professor Chomsky--all slaves of corporations...

As for our much vaunted freedom, well, unpatriotic & harsh truth be told it's often little more than a matter of being on our own to sink or swim, being free to take part in the struggle for survival without any assistance from our communities. That is, our liberty is largely a lie, the sort of big lie that becomes a false consensus reality, an ingrained false consciousness. In fact and in short, we've evolved a thickly-veiled, Western form of totalitarianism. A totalitarian treadmill of production and comsumption, of wage slavery and avid acquisitiveness. Underlying which is the tyranny of capital and its domineering dynamics, of the overriding logic of the market. A certainly very concrete tyranny but sans cliches such as reeducation camps and Big Brother, but in which we're nevertheless constantly indoctrinated and subjected to subtle forms of social control, the brainwashing slogans we're constantly bombarded with featuring such bits of received wisdom as "You can't fight city hall", "Don't buck the system", "Greed is good", and "Shop 'til you drop". Yes, in a society based on capitalism and "the American way" we sell our human birthright of freedom and creativity for a mess of pottage in the form of iPhones and Nikes, the right to vote in managed & sham elections and to play with guns.

1) You seem to have confused liberty with security and with equality. 2) It's not tyranny if you can escape from it and protest against it, without fear. 3) "Wage Slavery" is a nonsensical terms. 4) I can't recall the last time I heard anyone extol the virtue of greed or consumerism. 5) The movement to restrict and regulate gun ownership is growing. 6) Elections are not a sham.

To sum up, our Western-style freedom and the benign nature of our way of life is largely a scam, low-profile but genuine totalitarianism is in actuality already here (no need to keep a lookout for black helicopters or UN troops in blue helmets coming to herd you into gulags), we just don't recognize it because we naively expect it to look like stereotypical Stalinism or fascism. But one day people will indeed look back on our system and agree with Sinclair Lewis that "the worst Fascists were they who disowned the word 'Fascism' and preached enslavement to Capitalism under the style of Constitutional and Traditional Native American Liberty. For they were thieves not only of wages but of honor. To their purpose they could quote not only Scripture but Jefferson."

I would never have guessed that the blue helmets were the bad guys--you learn something knew every day... And you're misusing the term fascism.
"Here the ways of men part: if you wish to strive for peace of soul and pleasure, then believe; if you wish to be a devotee of truth, then inquire." F. Nietzsche.

"Freedom is always freedom for the one who thinks differently." R. Luxemburg.

"The principle of the masochistic left is that, in general, two blacks make a white, half a loaf is the same as no bread." G. Orwell, paraphrase.

"Islamophobia is a word created by fascists, used by cowards, to manipulate morons". Andrew Cummins.
Ore_Ele
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11/3/2014 7:52:52 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 5:12:15 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 11/3/2014 8:39:36 AM, Ore_Ele wrote:

I made a negative statement that cannot be proven. I can only refute any objections you present. Any attempt by me to start this type of exchange would rely solely on strawman arguments.

The capitalist life system, so to speak, its economistic dynamics and life orientation, totalistically conditions every sphere and aspect of life.

capitalism and totalitarianism are two entirely different things (they are not mutually exclusive, but they are not mutually inclusive either).

Moreover, economic circumstances and pressures generated for working-class human beings to a considerable and oppressive extent control their lives, their ability and opportunities to express themselves and "follow their bliss".

That is a sad reality of life.

No, despite the institutional facade of a democratic political system, people don't actually enjoy the cultural individuality, as it were, or the socioeconomic empowerment and freedom to cultivate their personal authenticity and pursue self-actualization.

I'm presuming you meant "people don't actually get to enjoy..." I'm not sure if you are saying that they don't like it, or that they don't get the opportunity to enjoy it (I presume the second).

This essentially constitutes the unfreedom and totalitarianism of our way of life, and is a rather bad state of affairs from an axiological perspective that holds authenticity (in a Heideggerian sense, i.e., I define authenticity as exercising free creative choice and self-determination in the process and project of creating oneself) and self-actualization (the realization of the best you that you can be, the realization of the most creatively rich life possible) to be fundamental goods, to be the summum bonum of life.

This is not what totalitarianism is. You are complaining about the forces of life creating a situation where some people don't get to do what they want. Totalitarianism is a political structure that advocates either total control or extreme control (after all, total control is not really plausible and if forcing to the extreme, then nothing ever was totalitarian, and no one really is, so you would just be arguing against nothing) over the economy and society. HOW this control is used is not a factor in totalitarianism. For example, totalitarianism can use this control to strictly limit how many children any family can have, what churches can be put up, what clothes can be worn, and what music can be listened to.

Totalitarian can also be a control that ensures that all (or many) varieties of clothes are available for all, even the poor. Or that all have work with decent wages and sufficient time off to be able to enjoy what they want to enjoy. Totalitarian can simply be summed up with "if the government wants to do X, it has the power to do X" regardless if "X" is "good" or "bad." The problem, that many people only look at the bad.

This in short is my position and includes the fundamental values in terms of which I view our capitalist life system as socially and culturally totalistic, and in terms of which I view this as a quite profoundly negative thing. Do you perhaps now have the information that you need to engage the topic? (Btw, here's a novel idea, you could also read the OP, it would also help provide a starting point for an exchange. )

You're fiddling with definitions to use buzz words. Because totalitarianism is traditionally viewed negatively, it helps your cause to try and link it to capitalism.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
Wocambs
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11/3/2014 8:19:02 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 7:37:03 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
I would strongly argue against the existence of rights, or at least the existence of objective or inherent rights. The only rights one has are the rights afforded by society and the government (the government being a tool of society to protect and manage the society). As for the "right to rule over you..." line. I would say that a society has a right to rule over the members of society and as long as you live within their sovereign lands, you are being a member of the society,

I think if you're coming from the perspective that there are no rules until we make them, then the only rules that have legitimacy are the ones we agree to, which would really just be social conventions.

But, using your own reasoning, a structure (be it a political structure or a societal structure) that focuses on people looking after only themselves and their own self interest (as most of individualism, especially that derived from egoism) will yield people that step into government (even if it is a tiny libertarian government) with the mindset and goal of "how do I help myself."

Yeah, the mistake 'libertarians' make is that they're so occupied with with this abstract 'individual' that they don't see that individuals are fundamentally related to society they live in. I think relations of power, though, encourage that 'how do I help myself' mentality. Any kind of division does that, I suppose, which I think responds to the stuff you wrote below. I'm an anarchist, primarily, because I believe in all that free, equal, peace and love hippie sh*t but I support the use of state power to bring about a better society. I just think there comes a point at which the state would become either redundant or the beliefs it rests on would be an obstacle to further improvement. As you can see I'm trying to emphasise the similarities between us, but I really don't know how your alleged social conservatism would fit into that narrative haha. I mean, I respect everything you're saying here, but what's that all about?

You see, whenever totalitarianism fails (or any form fails, we can look at communism or capitalism, or democracy, or really anything), it does so because individuals that are only looking out for their own interest or the interests of their personal group manage to get power.

As I said, government is only a tool, just like a gun. It isn't the government, no mater how large or small, that is evil or good, it is the person in control of that tool.
charleslb
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11/4/2014 2:33:32 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 7:52:52 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
At 11/3/2014 5:12:15 PM, charleslb wrote:
At 11/3/2014 8:39:36 AM, Ore_Ele wrote:

I made a negative statement that cannot be proven. I can only refute any objections you present. Any attempt by me to start this type of exchange would rely solely on strawman arguments.

The capitalist life system, so to speak, its economistic dynamics and life orientation, totalistically conditions every sphere and aspect of life.

capitalism and totalitarianism are two entirely different things (they are not mutually exclusive, but they are not mutually inclusive either).

Capitalism is not merely an economic system, it's a totalistic life system, i.e. its economic dynamics & drives; its hierarchal power structure and inequality; and its axiological, cultural, and life orientation (i.e., its economism, materialism, commercialism, and egoism) intrude into and characterize, dominate and oppress every area of life, the personal and the political. That is, our socioeconomic existence is totally dominated by the dynamics and elites of our capitalist economy. Our political system is totally co-opted and dominated by the money power of the capitalist elite. And our whole view of reality is encoded for us by our capitalist society. In my view this total assimilation of life and politics to our capitalist system indeed qualifies it as a form of totalitarianism. We simply fail to recognize its totalitarian nature because it doesn't resemble classic and stereotypical totalitarianism.

Moreover, economic circumstances and pressures generated for working-class human beings to a considerable and oppressive extent control their lives, their ability and opportunities to express themselves and "follow their bliss".

That is a sad reality of life.

Under capitalism.

No, despite the institutional facade of a democratic political system, people don't actually enjoy the cultural individuality, as it were, or the socioeconomic empowerment and freedom to cultivate their personal authenticity and pursue self-actualization.

I'm presuming you meant "people don't actually get to enjoy..." I'm not sure if you are saying that they don't like it, or that they don't get the opportunity to enjoy it (I presume the second).

See definition #2, http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...

This essentially constitutes the unfreedom and totalitarianism of our way of life, and is a rather bad state of affairs from an axiological perspective that holds authenticity (in a Heideggerian sense, i.e., I define authenticity as exercising free creative choice and self-determination in the process and project of creating oneself) and self-actualization (the realization of the best you that you can be, the realization of the most creatively rich life possible) to be fundamental goods, to be the summum bonum of life.

This is not what totalitarianism is...

You need to expand and update your concept of totalitarianism, and stop picturing mid-twentieth-century versions. A state apparatus doesn't have to heavy-handedly subject people to repression to make a society totalitarian in character, economic control, soft forms of social control, a political system thoroughly co-opted by elites, and sociocultural conditioning can do the job quite nicely.

https://cdn.anonfiles.com...


Totalitarian can also be a control that ensures that all (or many) varieties of clothes are available for all, even the poor. Or that all have work with decent wages and sufficient time off to be able to enjoy what they want to enjoy. Totalitarian can simply be summed up with "if the government wants to do X, it has the power to do X" regardless if "X" is "good" or "bad." The problem, that many people only look at the bad.

Aside from the fact that depriving human beings of freedom is an inherently detrimental thing, the problem is also that one can never count on a totalitarian system or a dictatorship to be benevolent.

This in short is my position and includes the fundamental values in terms of which I view our capitalist life system as socially and culturally totalistic, and in terms of which I view this as a quite profoundly negative thing. Do you perhaps now have the information that you need to engage the topic? (Btw, here's a novel idea, you could also read the OP, it would also help provide a starting point for an exchange. )

You're fiddling with definitions to use buzz words. Because totalitarianism is traditionally viewed negatively, it helps your cause to try and link it to capitalism.

Or, perhaps I'm correct and capitalism has indeed evolved into a totalistic, all-encompassing life system, one that thoroughly defines our entire existential lot and that adversely affects our political, social, and spiritual freedom.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
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11/4/2014 3:17:08 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/3/2014 7:40:28 PM, HououinKyouma wrote:
At 10/31/2014 3:48:35 PM, charleslb wrote:
No, my friends, do not naively think that because we don't live in a classically totalitarian system, that because our journeys are not planned out by a central committee and overseen by commissars, that because the state doesn't overtly have a program for our lives and send out checkists to check up on whether we're with its program or not that we're therefore beautifully free.


You've refuted your own claim with that. If it is not centrally directed and you're not under permanent surveillance then your government is not totalitarian.

Ah, the fellow who thinks that the subjects of the ancient Roman Empire enjoyed taxation with representation in the Roman Senate weighs in. Okay, well, like friend Ore_Ele, you're conceptualizing totalitarianism as classic, stereotypical mid-twentieth-century totalitarianism. Quite simply, a socioeconomic system can become a totalistic life system, can totalistically assimilate all of life without utilizing the overtly and heavy-handedly repressive services of a state apparatus.

Yes, in our system a B-movie, Orwellian state does not meticulously plan and micromanage our lives, but the general pattern of life is indeed planned and preset. We're indeed trapped in Max Weber's iron cage. Our economico-political system is a massive, not centralized but thoroughly rationalized corporate-government leviathan. An increasingly bureaucratic beast whose belly we're swallowed into from birth, and live and move and have our being within without critically noticing it, like the fish who isn't conscious of living in water.

Then how is it possible for the communist societies that you mentioned in another forum to even exist, if no one can escape from the political and economical of the US? And how can people even emigrate?

Again, you're thinking in naive and behind-the-times terms of old-school totalitarian political regimes.

That is, our society and its power structure is a complex of private, economic power, of a corporate-owned fourth estate and electronic mass media, and the public institutions corrupted & co-opted by the economic powers that be, determining, to a quite considerable extent, the general course and confines of life, profoundly circumscribing our Lebenswelt. Mm-hmm, ours is a modern capitalist mass society mass producing good little worker ants and insatiably covetous consumers from a sociocultural mold fashioned by, and coded according to the interests of, the corporatocracy.

The people of the Occupy Movement are all consumerists, I suppose? And probably the same thing can be said about the fellows at the Nation and Democracy Now and our dear Professor Chomsky--all slaves of corporations...

All totalitarian systems have their discontented members and dissidents, the existence of discontented and dissident citizens in a society doesn't exactly refute the view that it may be totalitarian. If it did then that would mean that even Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia weren't totalitarian societies!

As for our much vaunted freedom, well, unpatriotic & harsh truth be told it's often little more than a matter of being on our own to sink or swim, being free to take part in the struggle for survival without any assistance from our communities. That is, our liberty is largely a lie, the sort of big lie that becomes a false consensus reality, an ingrained false consciousness. In fact and in short, we've evolved a thickly-veiled, Western form of totalitarianism. A totalitarian treadmill of production and comsumption, of wage slavery and avid acquisitiveness. Underlying which is the tyranny of capital and its domineering dynamics, of the overriding logic of the market. A certainly very concrete tyranny but sans cliches such as reeducation camps and Big Brother, but in which we're nevertheless constantly indoctrinated and subjected to subtle forms of social control, the brainwashing slogans we're constantly bombarded with featuring such bits of received wisdom as "You can't fight city hall", "Don't buck the system", "Greed is good", and "Shop 'til you drop". Yes, in a society based on capitalism and "the American way" we sell our human birthright of freedom and creativity for a mess of pottage in the form of iPhones and Nikes, the right to vote in managed & sham elections and to play with guns.

1) You seem to have confused liberty with security and with equality.

Nope. This claim doesn't even make sense.

2) It's not tyranny if you can escape from it and protest against it, without fear.

A power structure is tyrannical if it's sufficiently asymmetrical and dominating of life and politics. And the socioeconomic power structure of capitalism is of course exceedingly asymmetrical and dominating of American life and politics. And with the globalization of capitalism it's also pretty much inescapable.

3) "Wage Slavery" is a nonsensical terms.

This statement indicates that your pro-capitalist ideological worldview is such as to have you somewhat out of touch with reality.

4) I can't recall the last time I heard anyone extol the virtue of greed or consumerism.

It's actually done all the time, sometimes explicitly and egregiously (especially on the right), more often in less than explicit terms.

5) The movement to restrict and regulate gun ownership is growing.

But still up against it, and quite seriously so.

6) Elections are not a sham.

They're highly managed affairs in which our choice is limited to the co-opted candidates put up by the two political parties that are actually merely wings of the same political-economic establishment. That is, we actually have a one-party system whose true one-party nature is dissembled by its division into two wings with slightly (less and less) different personalities, so to speak, but that equally function to maintain the status quo. Well, a one-party "democracy" is indeed a sham, and a pretty good symptom of totalitarianism.


To sum up, our Western-style freedom and the benign nature of our way of life is largely a scam, low-profile but genuine totalitarianism is in actuality already here (no need to keep a lookout for black helicopters or UN troops in blue helmets coming to herd you into gulags), we just don't recognize it because we naively expect it to look like stereotypical Stalinism or fascism. But one day people will indeed look back on our system and agree with Sinclair Lewis that "the worst Fascists were they who disowned the word 'Fascism' and preached enslavement to Capitalism under the style of Constitutional and Traditional Native American Liberty. For they were thieves not only of wages but of honor. To their purpose they could quote not only Scripture but Jefferson."

I would never have guessed that the blue helmets were the bad guys--you learn something knew every day...

They are to right-wing conspiracists who expect leftists like yours truly to one day launch a takeover and attempt to transform our society into a more classic form of totalitarianism.

And you're misusing the term fascism.

Nope, Sinclair and I are using it in a quite accepted and legitimate sense. And don't be petty about semantics.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
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11/4/2014 5:22:32 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Here folks, if the OP of a commie is not helping you to expand your concept of totalitarianism to include our capitalist life system perhaps this will have more credibility and do a better job of it, http://en.wikipedia.org...
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
HououinKyouma
Posts: 1,030
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11/4/2014 10:46:19 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/4/2014 3:17:08 AM, charleslb wrote:
At 11/3/2014 7:40:28 PM, HououinKyouma wrote:
You've refuted your own claim with that. If it is not centrally directed and you're not under permanent surveillance then your government is not totalitarian.

Ah, the fellow who thinks that the subjects of the ancient Roman Empire enjoyed taxation with representation in the Roman Senate weighs in. Okay, well, like friend Ore_Ele, you're conceptualizing totalitarianism as classic, stereotypical mid-twentieth-century totalitarianism. Quite simply, a socioeconomic system can become a totalistic life system, can totalistically assimilate all of life without utilizing the overtly and heavy-handedly repressive services of a state apparatus.

Then it is not totalitarian. It seems that you're only using the term for demagogic purposes.

Then how is it possible for the communist societies that you mentioned in another forum to even exist, if no one can escape from the political and economical of the US? And how can people even emigrate?

Again, you're thinking in naive and behind-the-times terms of old-school totalitarian political regimes.

It is hardly "naive" and "behind-the-times" when there are still totalitarian regimes around the world (China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, to an extent, etc, etc).

The people of the Occupy Movement are all consumerists, I suppose? And probably the same thing can be said about the fellows at the Nation and Democracy Now and our dear Professor Chomsky--all slaves of corporations...

All totalitarian systems have their discontented members and dissidents, the existence of discontented and dissident citizens in a society doesn't exactly refute the view that it may be totalitarian. If it did then that would mean that even Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia weren't totalitarian societies!

1) Stop being demagogic. 2) The point is that dissent exists in public and there are no horrible consequences awaiting those who dissent--which is not the case in totalitarian societies of the kind that you mentioned.

1) You seem to have confused liberty with security and with equality.

Nope. This claim doesn't even make sense.

Lame.

2) It's not tyranny if you can escape from it and protest against it, without fear.

A power structure is tyrannical if it's sufficiently asymmetrical and dominating of life and politics. And the socioeconomic power structure of capitalism is of course exceedingly asymmetrical and dominating of American life and politics. And with the globalization of capitalism it's also pretty much inescapable.

How is it asymmetrical? and what socioeconomic power structure are you talking about?

3) "Wage Slavery" is a nonsensical terms.

This statement indicates that your pro-capitalist ideological worldview is such as to have you somewhat out of touch with reality.

I am sorry, but the definition of slavery is "1) involuntary work, often arduous and/or degrading, for which there is no remuneration, 2) the state of being treated as the property of another person" (these are my own improvised definitions). Therefore the term "wage slavery" is oxymoronic, and consequently meaningless, or nonsensical.

4) I can't recall the last time I heard anyone extol the virtue of greed or consumerism.

It's actually done all the time, sometimes explicitly and egregiously (especially on the right), more often in less than explicit terms.

Then it's not as if it is the dominant value of our times, if those who wish to advocate it have to do it secretly.

5) The movement to restrict and regulate gun ownership is growing.

But still up against it, and quite seriously so.

So?

6) Elections are not a sham.

They're highly managed affairs in which our choice is limited to the co-opted candidates put up by the two political parties that are actually merely wings of the same political-economic establishment. That is, we actually have a one-party system whose true one-party nature is dissembled by its division into two wings with slightly (less and less) different personalities, so to speak, but that equally function to maintain the status quo. Well, a one-party "democracy" is indeed a sham, and a pretty good symptom of totalitarianism.

We do not actually have a one-party state, more like a two party state (Tea Party Republicans vs. Other Republicans and Democrats, soon to be a three party state (Tea Party, Democrat-Republican, more leftist Democrats)--hardly totalitarian. And the option is limited because the political opinions of most Americans are not radical (either to the left or the right) and tend to be more centrist and trying to approach the consensus.


To sum up, our Western-style freedom and the benign nature of our way of life is largely a scam, low-profile but genuine totalitarianism is in actuality already here (no need to keep a lookout for black helicopters or UN troops in blue helmets coming to herd you into gulags), we just don't recognize it because we naively expect it to look like stereotypical Stalinism or fascism. But one day people will indeed look back on our system and agree with Sinclair Lewis that "the worst Fascists were they who disowned the word 'Fascism' and preached enslavement to Capitalism under the style of Constitutional and Traditional Native American Liberty. For they were thieves not only of wages but of honor. To their purpose they could quote not only Scripture but Jefferson."

I would never have guessed that the blue helmets were the bad guys--you learn something knew every day...

They are to right-wing conspiracists who expect leftists like yours truly to one day launch a takeover and attempt to transform our society into a more classic form of totalitarianism.

I apologize for the misunderstanding.

And you're misusing the term fascism.

Nope, Sinclair and I are using it in a quite accepted and legitimate sense. And don't be petty about semantics.

We cannot have a clear discussion with unclear terms. And no, you're throwing the term "fascist" around quite carelessly.
"Here the ways of men part: if you wish to strive for peace of soul and pleasure, then believe; if you wish to be a devotee of truth, then inquire." F. Nietzsche.

"Freedom is always freedom for the one who thinks differently." R. Luxemburg.

"The principle of the masochistic left is that, in general, two blacks make a white, half a loaf is the same as no bread." G. Orwell, paraphrase.

"Islamophobia is a word created by fascists, used by cowards, to manipulate morons". Andrew Cummins.
charleslb
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11/5/2014 1:28:26 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/4/2014 10:46:19 PM, HououinKyouma wrote:
At 11/4/2014 3:17:08 AM, charleslb wrote:
At 11/3/2014 7:40:28 PM, HououinKyouma wrote:
You've refuted your own claim with that. If it is not centrally directed and you're not under permanent surveillance then your government is not totalitarian.

Ah, the fellow who thinks that the subjects of the ancient Roman Empire enjoyed taxation with representation in the Roman Senate weighs in. Okay, well, like friend Ore_Ele, you're conceptualizing totalitarianism as classic, stereotypical mid-twentieth-century totalitarianism. Quite simply, a socioeconomic system can become a totalistic life system, can totalistically assimilate all of life without utilizing the overtly and heavy-handedly repressive services of a state apparatus.

Then it is not totalitarian. It seems that you're only using the term for demagogic purposes.

Nope, you're simply using the term in a too limited fashion, one that reduces it to merely being serviceable for demonizing systems whose socialist philosophies you don't care for.

Then how is it possible for the communist societies that you mentioned in another forum to even exist, if no one can escape from the political and economical of the US? And how can people even emigrate?

Again, you're thinking in naive and behind-the-times terms of old-school totalitarian political regimes.

It is hardly "naive" and "behind-the-times" when there are still totalitarian regimes around the world (China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, to an extent, etc, etc).

The continued existence of some classically totalitarian and despotic systems doesn't mean that a new form of totalitarianism hasn't evolved in our society.

The people of the Occupy Movement are all consumerists, I suppose? And probably the same thing can be said about the fellows at the Nation and Democracy Now and our dear Professor Chomsky--all slaves of corporations...

All totalitarian systems have their discontented members and dissidents, the existence of discontented and dissident citizens in a society doesn't exactly refute the view that it may be totalitarian. If it did then that would mean that even Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia weren't totalitarian societies!

1) Stop being demagogic.

I'm not.

2) The point is that dissent exists in public and there are no horrible consequences awaiting those who dissent--which is not the case in totalitarian societies of the kind that you mentioned.

Again, the point of my post is that we've evolved a new form of totalitarianism that doesn't conform to the classic paradigm, and that maintains a plausible illusion of being a profoundly and blissfully free society by not relying on a blatantly repressive state apparatus.

1) You seem to have confused liberty with security and with equality.

Nope. This claim doesn't even make sense.

Lame.

Nope, your claim actually doesn't make sense.

2) It's not tyranny if you can escape from it and protest against it, without fear.

A power structure is tyrannical if it's sufficiently asymmetrical and dominating of life and politics. And the socioeconomic power structure of capitalism is of course exceedingly asymmetrical and dominating of American life and politics. And with the globalization of capitalism it's also pretty much inescapable.

How is it asymmetrical? and what socioeconomic power structure are you talking about?

Hmm, you can't even acknowledge that the socioeconomic power structure of capitalism is asymmetrical and hierarchical?

3) "Wage Slavery" is a nonsensical terms.

This statement indicates that your pro-capitalist ideological worldview is such as to have you somewhat out of touch with reality.

I am sorry, but the definition of slavery is "1) involuntary work, often arduous and/or degrading, for which there is no remuneration, 2) the state of being treated as the property of another person" (these are my own improvised definitions). Therefore the term "wage slavery" is oxymoronic, and consequently meaningless, or nonsensical.

You're simply defining chattel slavery, The term "wage slave" of course refers to working-class individuals driven by economic need into the life-limiting position of being dependent on, and subject to the domination, expropriation, exploitation, and immiseration visited upon them by, capitalist "job creators".

4) I can't recall the last time I heard anyone extol the virtue of greed or consumerism.

It's actually done all the time, sometimes explicitly and egregiously (especially on the right), more often in less than explicit terms.

Then it's not as if it is the dominant value of our times, if those who wish to advocate it have to do it secretly.

Sure it is, it's just the case that not everyone is as far gone as "libertarians" and conservatives in their shameless adherence to the dogmatism and values orientation of capitalism.

5) The movement to restrict and regulate gun ownership is growing.

But still up against it, and quite seriously so.

So?

So it's still not the force that it needs to be to bring about sane and effective gun control legislation.

6) Elections are not a sham.

They're highly managed affairs in which our choice is limited to the co-opted candidates put up by the two political parties that are actually merely wings of the same political-economic establishment. That is, we actually have a one-party system whose true one-party nature is dissembled by its division into two wings with slightly (less and less) different personalities, so to speak, but that equally function to maintain the status quo. Well, a one-party "democracy" is indeed a sham, and a pretty good symptom of totalitarianism.

We do not actually have a one-party state, more like a two party state (Tea Party Republicans vs. Other Republicans and Democrats, soon to be a three party state (Tea Party, Democrat-Republican, more leftist Democrats)--hardly totalitarian. And the option is limited because the political opinions of most Americans are not radical (either to the left or the right) and tend to be more centrist and trying to approach the consensus.

Yes, the center-rightification of politics does work nicely to perpetuate the status quo, doesn't it.


To sum up, our Western-style freedom and the benign nature of our way of life is largely a scam, low-profile but genuine totalitarianism is in actuality already here (no need to keep a lookout for black helicopters or UN troops in blue helmets coming to herd you into gulags), we just don't recognize it because we naively expect it to look like stereotypical Stalinism or fascism. But one day people will indeed look back on our system and agree with Sinclair Lewis that "the worst Fascists were they who disowned the word 'Fascism' and preached enslavement to Capitalism under the style of Constitutional and Traditional Native American Liberty. For they were thieves not only of wages but of honor. To their purpose they could quote not only Scripture but Jefferson."

I would never have guessed that the blue helmets were the bad guys--you learn something knew every day...

They are to right-wing conspiracists who expect leftists like yours truly to one day launch a takeover and attempt to transform our society into a more classic form of totalitarianism.

I apologize for the misunderstanding.

Okay.

And you're misusing the term fascism.

Nope, Sinclair and I are using it in a quite accepted and legitimate sense. And don't be petty about semantics.

We cannot have a clear discussion with unclear terms. And no, you're throwing the term "fascist" around quite carelessly.

Nope, not guilty.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.