Morning Ed: World {2017.09.04.M}

[Wo1] Gaia also likes fidget spinners.

[Wo2] Birtherism in Australia! Except it’s not really birtherism and they’re technically on the right side of the law.

[Wo3] I just can’t imagine his concerns are justified.

[Wo4] A look at the immigration situation in Sweden. (You’ll need to run it through translation.)

[Wo5] Introducing the Chinese Pyramids.

[Wo6] American cultural hegemony, in all of its ignoble glory.

[Wo7] Has Jeremy Corbyn saved the UK from dissolution?

[Wo8] Some oppose dancing because it’s against their religion. Others are okay with it just so long as it’s not spontaneous and everybody has the right permits.

[Wo9] I’m not Indian, but I could still appreciate most of these cartoons.

[Wo0] This is what happens when people who don’t understand constitutional design involve themselves in constitutional design:


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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59 thoughts on “Morning Ed: World {2017.09.04.M}

  1. Wo6: I really couldn’t make out what this author was trying to say besides the fact that Identity Politics/Social Justice is not a real form of leftism, that it originates in America, and its infected leftists movements across the world with American ideas on race, gender, and class. Therefore, Identity Politics is just another form of American imperialism.

    Identity politics isn’t really an entirely American phenomenon. It started in the 1960s when anti-Colonialism became the forefront of leftist political thought because the USSR and other Communist countries could not serve as a source of political inspiration anymore because of their failures and brutality. Instead, Leftists began placing their greatest hope and inspiration in the new countries/Global South that arouse after Communist. If these countries could be seen as angry and revolutionary like North Vietnam, PRC, or Algeria than the better. Anti-colonialism existed as a force on the Left through out the Western world. The late 1960s added Second Waive feminism, the movements of various minority groups, and the early LGBT movement into the cauldron of modern leftist politics.

    These early Identity Politics/Social Justice groups were very radical and imagined a total remaking of Western or world society. This radicalizing persisted through out the 1970s and 1980s but became more moderate during the mid to late 1990s because progress seemed to be being made and the collapse of Communism took out the source of revolutionary vitality. Early Identity Politics/Social Justice groups might have identified as only Leftist rather than Marxist but they got their desire to remake the world from Marxism. The Internet led to a other spreading of Identity Politics/Social Justice.

    The Alt-Right and the Social Justice Left could not exist without the Internet. The Internet provides the space where they meet and discuss things. Internet techniques like trolling, memes, gifs, and emojis are how they spread their message and attack the other side.

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      • Thats the standard Non-ID Left complaint about Identity Politics. I don’t quite agree with it. The Social Justice Left does have a lot of thought behind them. They might not be the best at expressing it because they tend to use high academic language and Internet speak as status symbols in the same way the Alt-Right does. They should learn from Chomsky’s stress on using plain language.

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        • The problem with the identity-politics left is that they’re methodological bigots. Their whole shtick is passing blanket judgments on large groups of people based purely on their demographic attributes.

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        • They may use high language, but only because it’s learned by rote. It’s like arguing science with anti-science evangelicals, many don’t have the deep understanding of the material needed to discuss it. They have the script, and when the script fails, they fall back on bullying.

          PS personally I think this is why a lot of them stick with media forms that encourage brief messaging.

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      • I don’t think this is true but there are a lot of people who think/want it to be true.

        What I think is happening is a split on the left as to the causes of Donald Trump’s victory.
        There is a faction on the left that wants to view everything in terms of socio-economic class. Often times, this is the “Bernie woulda won” crowd.

        Another faction declares that you can’t analyze American politics without discussing race issues. I’m largely sympathetic to this side.

        That being said, the essay by the Croatian Marxist struck me as largely being knee-jerk anti-Americanism.

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        • I think the distillation is not that the American left is merely analyzing American politics via racial issues, but that it is making racial, and, more broadly identity issues the basis of the American left:

          If we were to take “American thought” seriously, it would look as if the goal of Marxists is to preserve national, ethnic, local, and even religious cultures or identities — all of which developed over centuries through economic exploitation, political repression, and primitive social hierarchy — instead of destroying them.

          Which the author argues is not simply an American quirk, but a fundamental category error. A category error the acts like a virus on Marxist thought.

          It is not the usual “concern trolling” of the Neo-liberal left, it is a dart at the heart from the Marxist left. A dart that is meaningful only in so far as the American left conceives itself as Marxist, which I don’t really know.

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          • That tends to be the ultimate critique of Identity Politics/Social Justice from the Marxist Left; that it preserves things that should be destroyed. That and it allows bourgeois liberals to gain political power via the usurpation of identity politics language and issues and not really do anything about the underlying problems, economic inequality.

            The Social Justice faction would argue that a pure class/economic analysis allows too many ills to go unnoticed like sexism, racism, and homophobia and you do need independent action on these ills.

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            • it allows bourgeois liberals to gain political power via the usurpation of identity politics language and issues and not really do anything about the underlying problems, economic inequality

              To what extent are bourgeois liberals gaining political power via the usurpation of identity politics language and issues while, at the same time, not really doing anything about the underlying problems?

              Is this something that is best addressed by telling people to not notice?

              I mean, assuming that it’s happening, of course.

              Maybe it’s not happening.

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              • A lot of Anti-Idpol speakers explain Clinton’s victory over Bernie Sanders this way. Most of the anti-Idpol left sees identity politics/social justice as a way the wealthy create false consciousness among the workers and prevent them from uniting. Marxist analysis never really worked that well in describing American society because Marxism is bad at dealing with racial prejudice. It just assumes that once the Revolution occurs, these things will magically disappear.

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              • “I assume the worst about a person. What’s the worst reason they could possibly have for saying what they say, and doing what they do? Then I ask myself: how well does that reason explain what they say and do?”

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    • The Alt-Right and the Social Justice Left could not exist without the Internet. The Internet provides the space…

      Spot on. And this is important. There are a lot of folks out there who claim to be doing politics or activism or whatever, but who are really just doing Twitter.

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      • I wouldn’t be that hard on them. The people whose activism is limited to the Internet are at least doing propaganda work and are spreading the message. Thats a part of activism even if they aren’t fighting the fight in the real world. Most people who end up doing real world activism start as members of discussion groups. The Bolsheviks got into politics by talking about Marxism among themselves before really trying to topple the Russian Empire.

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        • I’m not sure why you’d want to use the Bolsheviks as a positive example of anything. That aside, saying revolutionary things on the internet is something completely different than participating in a revolution.

          We are in a moment where it is fashionable to bash moderates and centrists, from both sides. And yet, the future almost assuredly belongs to moderates and centrists and not the alt-right or the far left; that’s partly because most people simply aren’t that ideological but more so because moderates and centrists are the ones who are bothering to do the work. Dank memes, tiki torch rallies, Black bloc, occupying parks, etc, none of that is work. It’s mostly bad performance art.

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          • This. The tactics of the far-* are often ones of shame or intimidation, and the employment of careful thought or education regarding their positions are a secondary or tertiary concern\effect.

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          • This is an underappreciated point. Revolutions are romantic, but they seldom succeed. And when they do they often end up making things worse (something the Bolsheviks are a good example of).

            It turns out the skills required to engage in, as you put it, bad performance art, do not translate especially well to building and operating a government.

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            • I want to push back a little bit here. While the romantics revoluting in the street are not likely to realize change themselves or ever actually assume the levers of power — or even get close for that matter — there is the possibility that they initiate or re-frame conversations with impacts that reverberate far and wide.

              Perhaps speaking a bit out of my ass… but if the Occupy movement never happens and the term “1%” never takes hold, does Elizabeth Warren rise to the prominence she currently as? My guess is no. Yet now she’s being discussed seriously as a Presidential candidate in 2020. And if she wins, that could very well lead to changes we wouldn’t otherwise see. Does that mean that Occupy caused those changes? I’m not sure I’d go that far. But it probably means their ultimate role was above performance art while still falling well short of an actual revolution.

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            • When the Nazis took power in Germany they realized that none of them had the skills to run the machinery of government, so they left the existing bureaucrats in place. All the non-communist leftist parties in Germany wanted to avoid the chaos of the Bolshevik disaster because German newspapers had run lurid accounts of the murder, violence, and devastation involved in the Soviet style of worker’s revolution. Germans weren’t going to risk that.

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              • Is this your sense of humor at work again? Either way I’d suggest you refrain from talking about Nazis for a while. This comment presses my “did he really just say that?” button fairly hard, by logical implication if not by direct statement.

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                • Is this responding to the right comment? George’s comment here appears to be a straightforward exposition of information, and is not attempting any humor or snark?

                  Am I missing something?

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                  • The most straightforward reading of the implications of his comment are that a) the Nazis were leftists (a theme I’ve already said he doesn’t need to harp on); b) Nazi Germany was prudent enough to leave the bureaucrats in place (actually they imprisoned or murdered any bureaucrat that they were aware didn’t go along with them) so things wouldn’t descend to the level of the Bolsheviks (as opposed to, you know, genocide?).

                    Both of those things are inaccurate and literally compare Nazis preferentially to the Bolsheviks, and the site really isn’t here for anybody to talk about how the Nazis were bad, but at least they didn’t….

                    And next time I’m not going to spell it out because I don’t really enjoy writing out those claims myself either. I just want to be really clear on why it’s not okay. And if it’s not meant to be humorous, it’s extra not okay.

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                    • (@oscar-gordon I should say, I’m agnostic on the idea that Nazis were worse than the Soviets. Soviets did a shit load of bad things, particularly under Stalin. I have no problem with people believing that, or with saying “Soviets were even worse than Nazis.” That’s history. I just don’t want to read about how Nazis were better than X, more prudential than X, or learned from the example of X, or to make the common sense of Nazis their go-to example as George did here. Those kinds of arguments don’t have a place here.)

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          • I read a fascinating piece of reporting on the alt-right in Berkeley. It’s a piece of actual journalism!

            Matt Labash hooked up with the founder of the racist white supremacist “Patriot Prayer” group, Joey Gibson, a Japanese father of two, and his hulking henchman Tiny, a 6’6″ 345 lb Samoan. Joey was a non-political person who became upset when he saw videos of antifa types beating up random old folks at Trump rallies, and thought “That’s not right!” Tiny had been beating up Trump supporters until he had a change of heart and decided the world needed open dialog and love.

            Together, they’re a dynamic duo and the focus of paranoia and hatred in the Bay Area, so the reporter followed them as they got hunted, chased, assaulted, cut, beaten, and sent to the hospital.

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    • This is a very handy framework of understanding for Wo6. Thanks.

      Given that many consider 14th Amendment jurisprudence to be a uniquely American export, it seems less surprising that identity politics are also an American export.

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  2. Wo8: New York’s partner dance seen is routinely hindered by New York City’s cabaret license law. The cabaret license is a type of permit that establishments need to get if they want to hold dances. It was passed during the 1920s for opaque reasons. Critics of the cabaret license like to link it with the racism of the time (i.e. preventing mixed race dancing) and Prohibition but I have my personal doubts about this because New York City was never really into Prohibition enforcement, something that the Drys were well aware of.

    Whatever the reason the Cabaret license passed, it still exists today. Applying for it is apparently a very complicated, long, and expensive process. This means that few places bother. The partner dance community would like the law repealed because it will create more places where dances can occur and therefore lower the price needed to rent a space. Since most people don’t partner dance, there isn’t a lot of movement for it politically though.

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  3. Wo: There are so many fatal flaws with the map. Switzerland is obviously the center where all the twenty-four canton nations emirate from in a circle. There is no reason why the Swiss would give up their prided independence and neutrality without a fight though, especially after the First World War. The same goes with every other country, especially the ones that were the big winners after the First World War and just became nation-states or gained territory.

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      • It’s more like a link of incompetent technocrats that are skeptical of the nation-state, patriotism, and national identity. Like the people who gave us the EU but unrealistic and bad at their jobs.

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        • Reminds me of a point Edmund Burke tried to make in his Reflections on the Revolution in France. At one point (I forget the page number) he discusses a plan that would have divided up France into roughly geographically equal (in terms of area and shape) territories, and he warned that doing so would disregard and run roughshod over important and established local cultures and ways of doing things.

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          • That wasn’t a scheme, that’s something that actually happened and it was one of the most successful and enduring legacies of the French Revolution. What Burke is referring to was the transformation of France’s traditional provinces into departments, cantons, and communes. The new system of administration localities worked so well that all subsequent French political regimes kept them. Not only that but many European and Latin American countries imitated the French system rather slavishly.

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                • Mike Duncan in the revolutions podcast talked about how fubar the legal, tax, and administrative systems were in pre-revolutionary France. Between the overlapping secular and eccesiastical authorities, and plenty of cruft leftover from medieval periods carried through the two long Louis reigns, it was almost the case that no two French men were under the same set of laws.

                  I think the only Revolutionary thru Napoleonic reforms that didn’t really stick was when they tried to mess with time and the calendar.

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                    • So yer sayin’ sometimes “burn it all down” is a valid approach to “rationalizing government and getting rid of administrative gunk?”

                      Well that’s a category scrambler.

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                      • The problem is they went well beyond breaking a few eggs to make an omlette – they kept on breaking eggs and throwing the omlettes in the trash can for 25 years. (And then at the end of all that, they brought back the chef that gave everyone indigestion in the first place)

                        In the parlance of our time, there was violence on many sides; many sides to blame for burning it all down.

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                      • The French nobility were being obstinate and insisting that their privileges continue, Louis XVI attempted to manage the best he could but found things above his abilities, and the French Third Estate were hungry for change. When you add the fact that a French constitutional monarchy or French Republic with a fair franchise posed a threat to other Ancien Regimes in the way that the American Revolution did not because it was more immediate and might give their subjects ideas, your asking for chaos.

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                        • One of the things Duncan mentions is that it’s a bit of a myth that the other great powers of Europe were concerned with contagion or domino effect from Revolutionary France. Rather, they all went to war with Revolutionary France because Revolutionary France went to war with Europe first – and surprising to everyone (especially in hindsight) won some early battles decisively.

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    • Vieanna is in the center. The justification is that in order to end war, it will eventually be understood that “middle Europe” needs to become a nation. The artificial lines are intended to eliminate nationality. (I can see the point in theory, though leaving Great Britain, Russia, Scandinavia, and much of Greece and Italy on the outside, European war is not going to be ended.)

      But then it recognizes four internal states: Romans (mainly France), Germans, Slavs and Magyars, so its not entirely disruptive.

      The oddest thing to me was the creation of a Hebrew Empire, that to my eye looks wider than Israel today. Interesting European project.

      http://bigthink.com/strange-maps/a-bizarre-peace-proposal-slice-europe-up-like-a-pie

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      • It’s an intriguing scheme. One thing that I found interesting is that one of the proposed flags had an image of Christ in the center. The creator seemed to have desired Christianity, and I’m guessing Catholic Christisnity in particular, to serve as a unification element.

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  4. Mid-Atlantic: Anyone else watching Irma? The forecasters keep shifting their track farther south and west. I’m thinking straight in over the Bahamas, then hits Miami as a category 3. We all get to find out how good Kimmi’s predictions about South Florida are.

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