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Tags:chris, defense, Hedges,Rich, People,Crime,Society,Affluenza
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Comment count is 80
PegLegPete - 2013-12-17
Sorry, I suck at tags. Could it be my browser plugins?
Lef - 2013-12-17
Tags have never worked well for me. I have to edit the entry after I add it, the tags then come up correctly.

Good find. Quality depressing Wednesday wake-up call.

SteamPoweredKleenex - 2013-12-17
You're not putting spaces after every comma used to separate the tags. Try doing that and see if they start working.

SteamPoweredKleenex - 2013-12-17
Oh, and you only get five of them.

Mr. Purple Cat Esq. - 2013-12-17
Yeah.. Though referencing Marx? Marx was quite ignorant and all his ideas as far as I know were just made up and not based on any kind of statistical analysis or studies.
Can we please just forget about him, Engels + all the other quacks.
memedumpster - 2013-12-17
In addition, what the fuck did Aristotle (who was wrong about almost everything) know about global capitalism!?

Mr. Purple Cat Esq. - 2013-12-17
One example: Marx did not forsee any issues with raising kids communally; separating them from their parents.
This idea completely ignores very basic and powerful human instincts to love their children and would certainly have disastrous consequences. Basically it is a bad idea that he just made up. He reminds me of Freud.

millerman13 - 2013-12-17
I don't think empiricism had fully embraced the cult of statistics at that point. And yeah, Marx's ideas were all made up and he did not borrow heavily from Hegel at all. Fucking loon.

PegLegPete - 2013-12-17
To be fair I think we can level the same charge against most economists of the era. Including Adam Smith. Check out Ecological Economics and Herman Daily - one of the foremost figures of the field. It provides some astonishing insight into the failings of "standard" economics, yet doesn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

If you want to hear a Marxist speak coherently, listen to Richard Wolff, he's got a channel on youtube full of interesting ideas.

exy - 2013-12-17
I suspect this was in reference to Aristotle's contention that a strong middle class is necessary for a stable government--about which he was right.

exy - 2013-12-17
Re: Marx. I think David Simon's recent piece sums it up pretty well. (Do I have to tell you where you can find it?) Good diagnosis, batshit crazy solution. If someone's talking Marxist solutions, they are nuts and live in fantasy land. If they are referring to Marx's characterization of capitalism, though, it isn't so obvious to me what's batshit crazy.

zurf - 2013-12-17
To be more fair Marx and Aristotle were basically godfathers to social science and natural science respectively, you can't blame either of them for not meeting the developed standards of the very fields of science they pioneered.

PegLegPete - 2013-12-17
I want to inject more Ecological Economics here: it draws on empirical data about the environment as well as the economy.

For instance, one of the main points is that our biosphere has a "carrying capacity" which governs how large our economy can grow and how much "throughput" it can handle. "Throughput" meaning how many resources and waste our environment can handle, use, cleanse, replenish etc... It demolishes our current conceptions of "healthy" economic growth empirically.

A lot of that may seem obvious but it's astonishing that standard econ does not incorporate any of those ideas. Economists are some of the most irresponsible people in the world.

memedumpster - 2013-12-17
Is the proto-imperial middle class comparable to ours? The source of middle classism seems quite different now than then. The quote used herein was a call to revolt, but we of this time would be revolting against quite a different social order than in Aristotle's own time(which I am thankful for actually).

memedumpster - 2013-12-17
Note that I am not questioning Aristotle, so much as how he was quoted in this video, and for what reason.

memedumpster - 2013-12-17
PegLegPete, that would mean capitalists would have to start listening to scientists, and I think they all have loaded shotguns with chin rests on the ends of the barrels waiting for the day when they decide that's a good idea.

exy - 2013-12-17
The ancient 'middle class' wasn't any more like the modern middle class than ancient society was like modern society. But it provides the same stress relief: poor folks see something they can realistically aspire to become, and rich folks have a buffer class who enjoy some small measure of their privileges and who help placate the poor. Malcontent spreads around just enough that no one feels out-and-out cheated.

I've got Aristotle and Machiavelli (from his commentary on Livy) both associated with this sentiment, I think correctly. But it's certainly easiest to get behind in the Machiavellian framing.

memedumpster - 2013-12-17
That's a good point, exy.

Konversekid - 2013-12-17
Mr. Purple Cat,

You're example of communal parenting is a wild misunderstanding of what Marx's position was. His intention for parenting to be a communal in a similar manner to Aboriginal tribes, thus children are not alienated from their parents but instead of being solely tied to them they are then involved with a larger communal group. And most of his theories for communal living are developed from scholarship and first hand accounts of how Native American societies functioned -- he actually is basing it on of naturally developed communities that likely are coherent with basic human desires.

(This is actually a point I actually heard from Hedges at a talk I saw of his. Hedges had read a bunch of Marx's manuscripts at some point and saw that he was referencing descriptions of Iroquois tribes)

Other than that, Das Kapital is a wonderfully rich exposition of capitalist theory at the time as well as history of industrialization within England. He actually cites statistics! Saying that this is made up is actually ludicrous.

Proof: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch15.htm#S5

exy - 2013-12-17

I've been paying a little closer attention to the news lately so that I can funnel it into 54E, so maybe I'm just catching on to something that's been going on for a while, but.. the notion of revolution (or sometimes just "class war") sure has been percolating lately. Starting to believe I'm gonna see some arms taken up in my lifetime.

The scariest part to me is how widespread miseducation and propaganda have become, with the current state of schools and annihilation of the fairness doctrine allowing Fox Noise to exist etc. I'm already hanging my head in frustration for how "the liberals" will get the blame when the machine finally collapses under its own weight.
Mr. Purple Cat Esq. - 2013-12-17
Oh I started typing my reply before you memedumpter.
I dont really get your point.
Aristotle was a cool dude (Marx was quite cool too, I'll give him that) But you will find very few (if any) of his theories on physics still in use. Which is good, cus they are wrong as you said, and if we used them to build our computers and rockets they would not work.

Though I think its unfair to compare Aristotle and Marx. Aristotle at least attempted to discover the truth of things as best he could. He devoted his life to learning and trying to work things out. Marx just made stuff up and went around trying to start revolutions.
Aristotle managed to provide some basic reasoning about logic that could be built upon and refined.
Marx just threw a load of nonsense about which has caused untold harm and damaged the reputation of socialism permanently.
Mr. Purple Cat Esq. - 2013-12-17
Oh whoops that was also meant to be a reply to memdumpster

millerman13 - 2013-12-17
LOL "the truth of things." You've said all that needs to be said. I will no longer attempt to respond to any of your points. But really, I don't think it's fair to say that Marx "just made stuff up." What do you know about Hegel? Do you know what dialectical materialism is? These are the basics, dude, the basics. He didn't "just make stuff up."

memedumpster - 2013-12-17
I like Aristotle, I was questioning the use of quoting him in this video as a call to revolution (and I was being cheeky about his wrongness). The quote seemed to be used in an inflammatory way, and was suspiciously brief and outside of context. Then, exy had to get all deep about it and make me ponder it more, heehee.

Millerman lost me at "cult of statistics."

millerman13 - 2013-12-17
My point was that it's intellectually dishonest to accuse Marx of being "wrong"--whatever that means--because he didn't use complex statistical models to test out his theses. By cult of statistics I mean the current and also frightening-yet-necessary status of empiricism that subtly contends anything not verifiable by statistical analysis is not "true." Or whatever.

To contextualize: I'm an English PhD student at a top 20 university that's particularly well-known for its bioengineering and geoengineering programs. We occasionally joke about the few undergrads who have written bad reviews of their English courses because "the professor didn't know all the right answers." The "right answer" or whatever stats can prove or not prove is not anything I am concerned with. That's what I mean by "cult of statistics." Make more sense?

memedumpster - 2013-12-17
Truth exists.

millerman13 - 2013-12-17
then I say fuck your ontology

exy - 2013-12-17
Gracious. Well then how about "truth subsists in an agreement between statements and objective reality"?

millerman13 - 2013-12-17
the rule that truth must be universally accepted as the privileged side of the true/false distinction conveniently ignores the fact that such distinction is made possible in the first place by a contradiction: every communication depends on criticism and thus rejection (Hegel, anyone?). the code true/false then bases its validity on aforementioned universal acceptance and whoops, we've found ourselves trapped in a paradox. any operative definition of truth is inherently tautological, self-referential. Hegel's "identity of identity and non-identity" gets thrown out the window in favor of "the non-identity (or difference) of identity." In the long run this gets us far away from Kant and Hegel.

"reality is what one perceives when one does not perceive it"--Niklas Luhmann

zurf - 2013-12-17
sentences can be true or false. Talk about "agreement" between a purely non-linguistic "objective reality" and linguistic descriptions doesn't explain truth, but rather makes it supernatural and incomprehensible. At least, I think that's what Wittgenstein made clear.

exy - 2013-12-17
There is what we might be able to discuss and agree is true, which I believe you are getting at. You and I may agree that giraffes are blue, call that a true fact, and shake hands over it. We'd be wrong, though, because the actual truth of the matter is otherwise. And actual truth is my concern, as is objective reality, as opposed to the output of some dialectics. I am a scientific realist, and I believe the truth of some matters is available through what I guess you call the cult of statistics.

In short, to "Hegel anyone?" I respond, "No thanks." To put my cards on the table, I'm somewhat more interested in a Tarskian notion of truth. I appreciate reading what you are saying, though, as it does indeed shed light on Marx. I've spent the minimum amount of time possible with the Continentals, except for my boy Freddy N.

millerman13 - 2013-12-17
zurf: yeah, right on. there can never be an isomorphic relationship between signifier/signified--it's all arbitrary and contingent. Derrida's early work takes this tenet of structuralism and probes even deeper into its metaphysical/theological implications. Fun stuff!

Oscar Wildcat - 2013-12-17
Truth is a bit like a piano falling on your head. You can argue the existence of it, and for a short while, that can alleviate your sense of concern. But eventually, the piano makes contact. Now you are dead, yet still in a state of indeterminacy about Truth. For those looking on however, the Truth of your being squashed like a bug by a falling piano is readily apparent and beyond any argument.

That said, I'm not sure why you have a hate boner for statistics. The kind of arguments you make have their analog in the debate between classical physics and quantum mechanics. The latter substitutes statistical methods for absolute equations, yielding just the sort of indeterminacy of truth that you are proposing. You might find a good ally in statistics.

exy - 2013-12-17
Good point, zurf. And Witt is indeed the man (who I should have mentioned before Nietzsche). I wanted to provide an alternative to a notion of "realism about truth," to which I think millerman perhaps rightly objected, that didn't preclude the notion that there are things that are true or false--sentences, as you say. I was sloppy.

millerman13 - 2013-12-17
and exy: to clarify, I wasn't invoking Hegel in a positive way (ha ha). I agree with you there--no thanks.

I don't know what your training is/is not, but mine is primarily rooted in a) continental philosophy and especially b) 2nd-order systems theory and deconstruction. Stick with Freddy N, though, for real.

ashtar. - 2013-12-17
"to assert that a statement is true is just to assert the statement itself"

exy - 2013-12-17
I'm just a bachelor of the arts, man. Analytic philosophy, mainly logic, with loving forays into FN & LW. Got some other continental stuff from a poly sci professor who fancied himself a philosopher, but honestly didn't get much out of them beyond the general horizon-broadening of having encountered them.

That guy - 2013-12-17
Hegel got out of bed hands-first, guy.

memedumpster - 2013-12-17
When you can bring a pot of water to a nice frozen state of boil, I will consider the arbitrary magical thinking of language as near on par with the hard reality of the universe. Until then you're just mistaking the content of the mind for reality, which it is not.

That guy - 2013-12-17

millerman13 - 2013-12-17
arbitrary magical thinking of language?

dude, any and every concept you may have of 'reality' or 'the universe' depends exclusively upon language for its coherence. I don't think I ever claimed language was intrinsic to "the content of the mind"--i don't even know what you mean by that, it's such a loaded phrase. To oppose language to "the hard reality of the universe" is to assume that language is separate from whatever concept you may have of said reality. I call BS. Language, as a generalized form of representational media, creates reality. I didn't really think it was that controversial of a statement.

memedumpster - 2013-12-17
"Language, as a generalized form of representational media, creates reality. I didn't really think it was that controversial of a statement."

I'm just going to let that hang there for a while.


millerman13 - 2013-12-17
sweet argument

exy - 2013-12-17
millerman, you can't seriously equate "reality created by language/rhetoric" with "reality: a place where physics happens" can you? Because you keep sounding like you are.

That guy - 2013-12-17
"depends exclusively upon language for its coherence"
Idealism, much?

**points to schlong**

memedumpster - 2013-12-17
See below.

You may as well be telling me you're a wizard and that your thoughts created time and space.

millerman13 - 2013-12-17
for the sake of argument: yes. do I personally believe in that equivocation? no way.

memedumpster - 2013-12-17
Ah, you're trolling. Glad to hear you're not schizophrenic.

memedumpster - 2013-12-17
Also, your degree is pointless.

millerman13 - 2013-12-17
also, you think I don't know that?

memedumpster - 2013-12-17
There was a strong inductive indication that you were up your own ass, yes.

memedumpster - 2013-12-17
Oh my God, Purple Cat, I am so sorry. Your status page is now wrecked.

: (

That guy - 2013-12-18
millerman, just to share briefly with you in case you care, cause i'm not trying to break your balls here. Many friend of mine do what you do.

I started grad school at a top 1 English dept. at the time (whatever that means), after getting a BA in English and Philosophy.

I walked away because I thought that critical theory, generally:
-is philosophical idealism
-would claim to have no obligations to science, yet use it in ignorant and sophmoric ways to justify itself, make itself 'current' and prop itself up
-was not-self critical or intellectually rigorous
-collapsed in the ways that metaphysical thinking [whether religious, philosophical, or what-have-you] tends to collapse, as well-know criticisms of postmodernism have run. Uselessness, vagueness, obscurantism & inscrutability, self-contradictory, sophistic, protean in a way that seems to refuse to take a stance, thereby dodging criticism, etc

And observationally:
-was paid by the word
-done by frustrated poet/mythologists or philosophers who should have been doing something else
-was done by marxist inner-party types who would not join picketing grad students because it would damage their career
--furthermore I don't know if I can swing this over to a philosophical critique so I'll put it here under observations, but anecdotally I didn't meet anyone who did it who was prepared to live their philosophy. They wouldn't live in the charitable or self-sacrificing ways that one should if valuing lefty ideas. And nor would they operate with the kind of severe or total skepticism that they used to win arguments professionally.

"I refute it thus."

I am not saying that I think every bit of humanities theory is guaranteed to be wrong, useless, etc.

I am saying that Aristophanes' The Clouds is what I think of Socrates.

That guy - 2013-12-18
...hah, I just edited out a bit about philosophical idealism being for schizophrenics and fundies..

memedumpster and millerman, you both were in my head, man

Hooker - 2013-12-18
Man. Comparing Marx unfavourably against fucking Aristotle, who literally spent almost all his time laying around talking with people, just blows my fucking mind. Karl Marx was a classically educated PhD, traveled Europe, and wrote for publication the way modern Economists do.

That is just a mind-blowing thing to say.

Hooker - 2013-12-18
Also, miller, you need to realize that there is a strong vein on poeTV that hasn't wrestled with epistemology. Although the culprits are different, you might find this submission's chatter page interesting: http://www.poetv.com/video.php?vid=122851

That guy - 2013-12-17
I just went on a little bit of a Chris Hedges jag. I like this one a lot. Thanks.
I'm not sure what I think of him overall.
There's one on "Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart Have Destroyed Satire" where he sounds like a hypercritical, doctrinaire prig in ways I won't go into here.
gravelstudios - 2013-12-17
I would make the argument that poor people are just as morally bankrupt as rich people, it's just that poor people can't do as much damage overall.
RedRust - 2013-12-17

Oscar Wildcat - 2013-12-17
Agreed. But with one caveat. Poor people are by and large pretty generous. That's often the reason they are poor. The rich, in contrast, only take. They never give. That is why they are rich.

millerman13 - 2013-12-17
Oscar: there's been a lot of work in my field that's attempted to fuse quantum mechanics with "new materialisms" and "object oriented ontology," the theories du jour in some humanities departments. My objection is founded rather in the fact that many of these theories rely on a Deleuzean ontology. Nothing against Deleuze or anything, it's just that he wants it both ways: radical materialism and ontology. In that sense, then, a lot of the work I mentioned above tends to lean toward the scientifico-metaphysical simply because of its piggybacking on top of its own version of Deleuzean ontology-meets Bohr's quantum mechanics. The last book I read about this stuff was Karen Barad's "Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning." It's a bit of a slog but interesting. I'll shut up now.
Oscar Wildcat - 2013-12-17
Well I for one appreciated the above discussion. Cartoon horse vaginas are good fun, but the occasional dip into something more tangible is ultimately a lot more satisfying.

memedumpster - 2013-12-17
You have yet to say anything remotely rational. However it is you're defining reality, it has nothing to do with what is real. You think that by out-word salading me, you put a hole in the universe, ignoring the blatantly obvious that existence precedes intelligence, and that what is real is in no way dependent on what I think about it. You can't even state your mind without so much jargon that it becomes meaningless to anyone not in your bubble. You've set up a homestead in Agathon, and declared that in the beginning was the Word. It's delusional, and the unthinking cosmos takes none of it into consideration.
memedumpster - 2013-12-17
Goddammit, poeTV.

Meant as a reply to millerman.

millerman13 - 2013-12-17
y'all seem to have misunderstood everything i've been saying. what i've been trying to articulate is fundamentally NON-idealist.

Oh yes, the complaint against "jargon." More often than not it's a tacit excuse for laziness. Happens all the time.

According to you, my definition of reality has nothing to do with what is real, and is therefore irrational. Who is the one trapped in the "irrational" tautology here, MD?

millerman13 - 2013-12-17
glad to see I'm not the first one to start slinging ad hominems, though. kudos on sticking to the topic at hand

memedumpster - 2013-12-17
You are.

Red herring all over the place.

What sucks is that you're trolling and your own argument could be better argued, by far, than the lazy mess you're putting forth. You react like a child, instead of like a scholar. I'd have also owned you if we were on opposite sides of this.

memedumpster - 2013-12-17
I'm trying to imagine Plato yelling "YOU JUST DON'T GET ME MAN" to Thrasymachus.

millerman13 - 2013-12-17
dude, it's the end of the semester, i'm totally fried, and am writing papers as we speak. feel free to criticize the 'lazy mess' i've put forth on the internet all you want. 'own' away if it's going to help you sleep tonight, please.

millerman13 - 2013-12-17
yeah MD i'm totally shamed

exy - 2013-12-17
Actually millerman what you've been saying IS idealist, in the sense that you are privileging the "reality" of ideas in seeming exclusion of anything external of the mind. That's just the definition of [philosophical] idealism. What some of us are banging our heads against is the fact that you don't seem to want to acknowledge any kind of "truth" other than MinTru-type truth.

If by "language creates reality," to paraphrase, you mean something like, I can go on TV and tell people whatever, and they believe it, and change their behavior, and thereby cause things to happen in reality, then you're right as far as that goes... it's just not a very interesting statement. Realists would say that no 'truth' or reality has been manufactured, we'd say people were deceived and now the world's changed.

Maybe our concepts are bounded by our language. The Whorf-Sapir hypothesis isn't widely held in high esteem as far as I know, but hey maybe it's right after all. But, we are talking about reality itself, not our concept of it. You keep sounding like you can't accept that there is such a thing as "reality" OUTSIDE all human concepts. That's the idealism thing again.

That guy - 2013-12-18
"the complaint against "jargon." More often than not it's a tacit excuse for laziness"

Homeslice, I was your loyal opposition until this. Now I'm just hoping that it's cause you're tired from the end of semester.

But on the face of it, that is fucking retarted. 'Jargon' is a euphemism for what at least some lit crit and other metaphysics is. Sure, specialized language is probably necessary for some intellectual pursuits. But at first glance, it is a negative and you cannot shift the blame and burden to the doubters. You're heading into a lit crit version of bible-basher shit here.

That guy - 2013-12-18
is it funny that our debate here might have a strong vs. weak Whorfianism problem in the middle of it?
I don't understand the hypothesis entirely, but I've been introduced to it.

good points, btw

exy - 2013-12-18
TG - I'm not sure. I imputed the strong sense to millerman, but maybe you are suggesting that was uncharitable?

millerman13 - 2013-12-18
everything that's been said up to this point has been to lay the groundwork for an overview of 2nd order systems theory which is non-idealist and emphasizes the autopoiesis and autonomy of each system and its subsystems. it does not privilege 'ideas' at the exclusion of anything external to the mind. the mind doesn't matter. people don't matter. every system is composed of communications, which are not necessarily human. every system is autopoietically closed and self-referential but at the same time it must construct a version of its environment, or reality, which "irritates" it, much like the concept of noise works in cybernetics. indeed, there is reality outside human concepts. like i quoted, "reality is what one perceives when one does not perceive it." it is there. we just can't grasp it. go ahead and call it jargon all you want, i don't give a shit. if you don't want to engage in simple thought experiments, fine. don't mask laziness under the charge of pedantry.
millerman13 - 2013-12-18
oh my god what has happened to my life

exy - 2013-12-18
There's this other discipline that's been working on studying the interactions between systems in a non-mind-dependent way. I'm trying to remember what it's called. Oh yeah, physics.

That guy - 2013-12-18
millerman, to paraphrase Nabokov, you're doing chess problems, not chess

ashtar. - 2013-12-18
What sorts of systems are described by 2nd order systems theory: minds, ecosystems, the antarctic ice sheets? Everything?
What counts as a representation of reality for a system? How do you connect a representation to what it represents?

Hooker - 2013-12-18
And to think that I came to this page originally to belittle Chris Hedges.
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