|Aelric - 2014-06-29 |
Stars for going through most of this video thinking he was wearing a breastplate.
|SolRo - 2014-06-29 |
Amazing how successful the right wing has been at demonizing leftist ideologies that socialized safety nets and "nanny state" are the 'far left crazy' ideas.
Think I remember a world where far left crazy would have been rounding up every capitalist and putting them up against a wall in front of a firing squad.
Yeah, his nanny state point was well-made. The United States has higher tax rates than Sweden, a larger prison system than China, and more blue laws than the majority of Third World nations. All of this occurs with full bipartisan cooperation, so the idea that "the far left" is entirely responsible for "nanny state" politics and that "the patriotic right" is all about liberty and personal freedoms, is pretty much bunk. I do not believe this state of affairs is very surprising, however. What Mr Skalla fails to understand is that the American political industry operates much like Madison Avenue. It is all about appearances, and short, punchy messages, which serve primarily, not to inform or enlighten, but to sell a product; messages which can be introduced to a market, toyed with, then completely rewritten with only a few months notice. For example, anyone who remembers the Bush years would have thought it utterly insane for the so-called "left" to demonize liberal ideologies and paint pro-freedom, anti-authoritarian ideologies as "far right crazy" ideas. Yet it really shouldn't come as a surprise that this has been happening; once you realize that American political discourse is theater that serves no deeper purpose than to support the tactical interests of whatever gang is footing the bill, then no amount of trickle-down doublethink should surprise you.
I'm less impressed by his comment about socialism and communism. I'm not *entirely* clear on what he's getting at, as socialism and communism, like democracy, fascism, liberalism, what have you, are broad terms that can have wildly different meanings depending on the speaker, and the definition being used may sometimes change dynamically over the course of a speaker's own statement. However, it is a matter of record that the "Communist" states of the 20th century were socialist (both de facto and de jure; in observable practice, and in accordance with their own personal statements), and, as none of these states were particularly "Communist" (in any sense but an aspirational one), I think it's fair to say that "socialist" is a perfectly fair, and probably better, term for them. I'm guessing that Skalla's comment was made in an attempt to distance both non-Marxist and post-Marxist "democratic socialism" from Marxist-Leninist "vanguard socialism"; that is, after all, a very common talking point for people who don't want to see socialists like Pol Pot and Hitler poison the well for people like Urbane Swedish Green Party Activist #10937. "No True Socialist would be a commie" or whatever. Perhaps we should all learn to take a page from positivism and qualify our statements so as to avoid ambiguity when discussing political ideologies?
Anyway, I'm glad you posted this one, OZ! It's one of my favorite of his (non-sword-related) rants, but when it comes to Skallagrim, I'm always a bit worried that the Hive Mind won't be able to look past his dragon shirts and stupid beard.
He's wearing an amazing shirt of a bear with tribal face tattoos in one of the related videos.
Isn't that his fursona? A tattooed bear?
|EvilHomer - 2014-06-29 |
He's absolutely spot-on about the lack of critical thinking in American public schools. While it's absurd to imply that this is some shadowy conspiracy perpetrated by the religious right (although they do share some of the blame); that we don't place nearly enough focus on teaching children to think independently, is most certainly true. I'm a bit less concerned about the lack of geography skills amongst the common man - despite the size of our military, it may surprise Skalla to learn that most Americans are NOT in the business of bombing other countries, and while geographic knowledge should be considered essential for people who to aspire to positions of authority, I'm willing to forgive Little Jimmy Q Detroit if he doesn't know where Syria used to be.
So! With that in mind, I propose that we scale back our social studies curriculum and use that time instead for classes on logic and critical thinking. Don't get rid of social studies entirely, obviously, but we can do without all the memorizing of every state capital and the making children learn what the primary mineral export of Delaware is (it's magnesium). Granted, this will partially undermine the main purpose of modern public education - churning out tractable Citizens, who are deeply committed to their national identity and eager to contribute to the industrial workforce - but I think the benefits of having a more thoughtful population would outweigh the costs.
I can speak from experience in multiple Asian country's public school systems that as bad as the US teaches critical thinking skills, It's far from the worst. The raw data, overworking and conformity is far worse in other places. Not to say we should be content or complacent, just that critical thinking is not a uniquely American weakness.
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