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September 12, 2015

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A blog post in the Economist features quotes like "Team Corbyn insiders concede that the greatest threat to him could come from the left, which will cry betrayal at the first compromise (it is only a matter of time until one former supporter calls him a “Tory”, the epithet applied throughout the just-finished leadership contest to those suspected of ideological impurity)."

Substitute "right" for "left" and "RINO" for "Tory" in that statement. Who does that sound like -- to the point that it could actually be a direct quote?

This post sounds a little too David Brooks for me. Mere distance from the center tells me nothing either good or bad. Corbin is apparently the British equivalent of Sanders--lefties, or some of them, still get excited at the prospect of voting for someone who doesn't seem like a neoliberal sellout. I used to get excited by such things myself and am happy that others still do, though in this country I don't expect a President Sanders has any great chance of happening. I don't know enough about British politics to comment about Corbyn's chances, but am only objecting to the equation of Corbyn with the American far right.

Stupid iPad corrected my correct spelling of Corbyn.

I have only a passing familiarity with UK politics, but it seems like Labor has basically elected a party leader who is right in line with what have, traditionally, been Labor policies and positions in the UK.

What I wonder is whether the election of Corbyn in the UK and the emergence of Sanders in the US indicate an end to "triangulation" in the Clinton sense.

Compared to Corbyn, Bernie Sanders is a raging capitalist. He only seems similar due to his having the whimsey of labeling himself (quite inaccurately, from what I have seen of his positions on the issues) as a "socialist."

Compared to Corbyn, Bernie Sanders is a raging capitalist.

I can totally believe that.

Different countries, different definitions of socialism. Ours needs scare quotes.

Sanders is, by non-USian definitions, a social democrat. He would be perfectly at home in the SPD, the PSOE, the PSF etc., etc.- all parties which were once committed to reordering society but not for a long time - but he would stand on the centre right within them. Corbyn probably regards himself these days as a democratic socialist, who is still in favour of reordering society but is pragmatic about what can be realistically achieved. Anywhere outside the Anglosphere, he would stand on the left of the socialist/social democratic party, but not to an extreme. In office, I suspect they would have more in common than not.

I've been following the Corbyn discussion, but don't enough to comment, a disqualification I rarely succumb to regarding other subjects, ha ha.

But this might be interesting:

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-corbyn-supremacy?intcid=mod-most-popular

The last bit about joining the Queen's Privy Counsel sounds like it could be as entertaining as John Lennon asking the assembled royalty to rattle their jewelry 50 some years ago, without the mock shyness.

Sanders would have a decent shot at winning were he to get the nomination...

I out the odds for a Corbyn led victory at around 5%. Not impossible, but extremely unlikely.
If he retains McDonnell as shadow chancellor, then make that about 2.5%.


I like Mr. Sanders, and I'm glad he's running.

Sanders would have a decent shot at winning

Presupposes that the Democratic Party national apparatus would place its weight and money behind him.

OK, I'll buy that.

Presupposes that he has an organization that can assume power in the national party, and money to fund that organization.

I don't see it. Sorry.

Allowing for a mild degree of skepticism about the source...

http://news.sky.com/story/1552307/corbyns-cabinet-chaos-the-inside-story
.... "We offered Lucy DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change) but she said, she wasn’t ready, she wanted something to do with childcare."

How the shadow Education Secretary was chosen.

This is not going to end well.

I find it interesting that the U.S. media is portraying Corbyn as leading his party in the spirit of divisiveness akin to the GOP in the States, casting him as a polarizing figure. But all that shows is how hermetically sealed the media in the States is.

For all that those decry him for being, Corbyn is actually returning Labour to where it used to be - soft- to medium-hard socialism - whereas the GOP is in a space that is unprecedented for it - reactionary radicalism, though with what on the face of it is an incongruous and goofy pro-Israel semitism. (For the cynically-minded not so goofy, given how the one end of the Mediterranean sees the GOP and how the Eastern Seaboard sees Israel, but that's a whole thread in itself right there that this one doesn't have the scope for.)

I don't know how good any of this really is for Labour. I wish the left in the U.S. would take the stands that Corbyn does at what seems to be his most vigorous and inspired, but points such as nationalization of key industries are too unrealistic (and quite unworkable in this economic climate). And re Nigel, they have to wire their heads and arses together to make it a plausible opposition, with a shadow cabinet that doesn't act as if it's lurking in the shadows, and strangle any Fabian nostalgia at birth.

So far, it doesn't seem to be leaping out of the gates with abandon. Ed Miliband's face in the Guardian pledging his support for the new regime was not one inspiring optimism - rather, more one that was attached to a body badly under slept, in need of hibernation.

I haven't actually been reading about Corbyn in the US media. My impressions of him actually come from the British media -- specifically, the Economist. Of course, they have their own perspective on economics and politics....

Sanders would have a decent shot at winning

I also like Mr. Sanders, and am also glad he's running.

My question about him is whether he has the skill set to be an effective executive.

To some degree, I'm not sure there is way to prepare for the job. I'm mostly curious to see how he handles the process of running for it. Especially, given the somewhat surprising (to many folks) level of support he's received, how he handles the phenomena of being the American left's new darling.

It could go to your head.

I wish the left in the U.S. would take the stands that Corbyn does

I wish we could get Glass-Steagall, or something remotely like it, re-instated.

Baby steps, I guess.

Wouldn't Glass-Steagall be the baby step?

(At least parts of it which would have a chance of getting passed, like reseperating retail and investment banking. Nobody is going to go back to restricting banks to a single state.)

Corbyn Envy on the British Right: And some Sanders envy here in the U.S.

There's always a Hitchens kvetching from the wings.

This sentence, regarding one area of agreement between the conservative Hitchens and Corbyn stood out:

"and he (Hitchens) agrees with him (Corbyn) about renationalizing the railroads—but he certainly isn't a socialist."

I challenge Hitchens to stand up at any (un)American Republican Party fete in this country and state that view and, baby, watch the stifling begin.

These terms we use here denote different levels of absolutism than they do in England, I gather.

Stifle, Edith! What are you, a pinko, Meathead? Nationalize the railroads?

Hey, look, some civilized behavior:

http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/14/politics/bernie-sanders-liberty-university-speech/

Hitchen is dead.

His brother, Peter, lives.

Wouldn't Glass-Steagall be the baby step?

Yes, that was what I was getting at.

I.e., the left is not only not taking stands like Corbyn's (for good or ill), we're hard pressed to re-instate Glass-Seagall.

(At least parts of it which would have a chance of getting passed, like reseperating retail and investment banking. Nobody is going to go back to restricting banks to a single state.)

A guy can dream...

What do you see as the upside of restricting banks to a single state? (Especially in places where the state are kinda small.)

You may want to put in place some kind of restrictions to avoid "too big to fail" banks. But single-state banks aren't really the optimum way to achieve that -- especially considering that some of the big states would have the same problem of being "too big to fail."

What do you see as the upside of restricting banks to a single state? (Especially in places where the state are kinda small.)

None, really. It was just kind of a joke, I forgot add the smiley.

Way, way, way back when corps of all kinds were often limited in the political or geographic scope that they could operate in, but I don't see that as being either practical or useful nowadays.

I'd be really happy to see the separation of commercial and retail banking re-instated.

I don't expect anything resembling a roll-back of the privileges currently given to corps, and especially not to financial corps. Certainly not in my lifetime, not ever.

IMO it would take a more or less complete cratering of the US financial system for anything close to that to happen. I wouldn't look forward to that, so I'll live with what we have.

In the run up to and during the Great Depression, a great many banks failed in the US. None failed in Canada.

Branch banking wasn't allowed in the US. Canada had multiple branch and regional banks.

Well, ok then.

McKT,Christopher and Peter were at opposite poles politically, and the opposite of close personally, but in the period after Christopher was diagnosed Peter offered stem cells, or any other donation that would help, and they ended on good terms.Christopher Hitchens was,IMO, irreplaceable (despite my complete disagreement with his late-life pro Iraq war stance etc), but it can send shivers up your spine sometimes to hear Peter, with such a similar voice and similar fluency and command of language.

This is a nice article about Corbyn from Jacobin

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/09/jeremy-corbyn-labour-benn-kendall-blair-leadership/

it can send shivers up your spine sometimes to hear Peter, with such a similar voice and similar fluency and command of language...

And some of the thoughts he expresses can send shivers down your spine....

True enough Nigel

Thx, GNC. Will look Peter up.

Even wj, mired as he is in deep High Broderism denial (/snark), might be inspired to great thoughts by this article.

hat tip to Crooked Timber.

Bobby, pardon me if I have overstepped, but I edited your comment so the link will work.

I don't actually embrace Broderism. I just think that it is a good thing if, on most things, the members of Congress could manage to work together to keep the wheels from coming off.

Will there be disagreement on some things? Of course -- and a good thing, too. But from what I can see, we currently have in the American Congress is disagreement for its own sake. Combine that with rampant tribalism (you can not disagree with your party on anything, especially if that leaves you in agreement with the other party, lest Bad Things Happen to you), and you have a mess.

Now some rampant libertarians may be delighted if it means the government cannot function. But the rest of us would prefer that it do so.

As for Corbyn, it isn't too far a stretch to say that he is at the far liberal end of the Labour Party. Maybe not at the far liberal end of everybody left of center -- but Labor is a center-left party, not a far left party. Or was.

What we saw here was a putsch. And I don't know what else you could call it, when one candidate brings in a sudden influx of "members" that triples the voting membership. Maybe he will refashion Labour as something new. Or maybe he will drive out more voters than he brings in. We shall see.

wj,

You did not overstep. Thanks. I was kidding about the Broderism.

But somehow (please correct me if I err in this regard), I do not think you read the article? It has some interesting things to say.

But from what I can see, we currently have in the American Congress is disagreement for its own sake.

If politics is the collision and resolution of competing interests, then your observation is woefully wide of the mark.

Actually, I did read the article. (OK, skimmed.) It is interesting, but I'm not sure it substantially alters my perception.

Sure, the Labour Party elites (i.e. those who have spent a lot of their working lives working for the party) don't agree with him. And may well work to oppose him . . . just as he has worked to oppose them. And, as the article notes, it will be interesting to see whether the new members that he has brought in stay and work, or whether they go back to whatever they were doing.

In the current Congress, I can certainly see collision of competing interests. But where do you see any resolution of those competing interests?

I've come to believe that the rampant tribalism is inherent. Gridlock in Congress is just the symptom.

It's a big country, maybe too big. People believe different things, think different things are good, and want different things.

I know I keep saying that, but it's because it keeps appearing to be so.

The folks in Congress are there because people voted for them. Nobody made them do that, and it's kind of dismissive to say that it's just because they were hoodwinked into it by propaganda.

We have tribalism because we have tribes.

But that rather begs the question:Why do we have tribes and this level of tribalism not? The country has been big for a long time. People have had different interests and desires for a long time.

So what changed? Anybody have something other than wild speculation -- which is about the most I've got?

So what changed?

In that regard, not much really.

The difference is that the accepted hierarchy is getting shaken up. The whole notion of whites becoming a minority, coupled with the ability to harness the internet to disseminate information, along with perceived changes in gender and gender relations makes tribalism a lot more salient, especially when people are trying to hold on to advantages, real and perceived. If this were happening in the context of an economic boom, a la post WWII, it might be different, but happening in our uncertain economic times means that it is easier to play on fears and concerns. ymmv of course.

Interesting that several members of Corbyn's shadow cabinet are publicly contradicting him on policy.
Predictably the conservative press are in full on derisive mode:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/labour/11866541/How-can-any-Labour-MP-defend-Jeremy-Corbyns-incoherent-nonsense.html

While I'm inclined to agree with some of the derision, there is an alternate perspective.
In a speech to the unions yesterday (also derided), he seemed to suggest outsourcing policy development to the party membership. This has been interpreted as weakness/dithering - but it seems equally likely that this is a deliberate strategy to get his own way on policy, using the backing of enthusiastic activists to impose decisions on a largely reluctant parliamentary party.

Whichever interpretation is correct, it's going to be interesting to watch.

Lj, succinct and true I think. Added to which, the world outside got weirder, enemies got harder to deal with (e.g.Isis) so the urge to circle the wagons and/or huddle round the campfire with your own kind got stronger.

Thanks, being told I'm succinct is a rare event...

This from the Guardian about Tony Abbott's departure has a bit more poetry, but is saying the same thing.

Every last joule of Tony Abbott’s political energy, every last howl of his most committed supporters, was derived from what philosopher Lauren Berlant once called “the scandal of ex-privilege”, including “rage at the stereotyped peoples who have appeared to change the political rules of social membership, and, with it, a desperate desire to return to an order of things deemed normal”.

The “normality” which has been lost in Australia and other western democracies is the unquestioned social and political primacy of white men. Recent decades have seen new kinds of political claims emerge, and a plurality of values, cultures and lifestyles. The rules of the game have, after long struggles, shifted.

The rest is quite good.

Off topic? No; open thread.

Chris Christie privatization

The “normality” which has been lost in Australia and other western democracies is the unquestioned social and political primacy of white men. Recent decades have seen new kinds of political claims emerge, and a plurality of values, cultures and lifestyles. The rules of the game have, after long struggles, shifted.

Yes, this is how the left sees it. And this is why the left sees it wrong. The initial premise, i.e. way back when, it was white guys running the show, is correct. That premise has since morphed, against the evidence, into several sub-premises: (1) white guys want to hang on to their ill-gotten gains and (2) other cultures, skin colors and gender orientations will make the white male-only West a better place.

I dispute both sub-premises. First, the entire world was and for the most part is, dominated by men and more specifically by men in the dominant ethnic group in a particular location. Nothing unique to the West about this. Second, unlike anywhere else in the world, the West, beginning 600 or so yeas ago, slowly developed a shift away from the rigid, feudal order to what, first in the US, and then spreading to Europe first and then elsewhere, was the concept of democracy, borrowed from the ancient Greeks. No other Asian or African culture has a similar history.

It was precisely the liberalization of the US, followed by Europe, that led to female suffrage and, too late, but still ahead of most cultures and countries, ethnic/racial equality under the law if not in outcome.

The 'rule of law' is a creature of Western liberal democracy. Again, not independently replicated--copied maybe--but not developed from a standing start or through the evolution over time of internal mores, anywhere else in the world.

Yet, it is widely believed on the left that bringing people of different cultures--with no cultural heritage of sexual or ethnic equality, no cultural heritage of the rule or law or a pluralistic society, will somehow make America better. Because, you know, white male privilege and all that.

The left's premises run counter to common sense. Bringing people to the US with no concept of how our society functions and who come from failed states, or dictatorships or oligarchies and thus have no concept of what is basic to most reasonably well educated Americans is just ridiculous.

It is almost as ridiculous as positing that skin pigmentation, cultural heritage, genitalia or sexual orientation somehow imbues an individual with special insight.

It was the evolving liberalizing trend, over centuries that brought white males to the point where being confronted with the injustice of slavery, racial and sexual inequality and so on, consented/acquiesced more or less peacefully (can't ignore the Civil War) to change. Again, unique to America and followed in time first in Europe, then Japan (sort of), South Korea, and to one degree or another, various countries around the world.

Sure, it began with white guys on the outside kicking in the door and making the white guys at the top liberalize the program for white guys. However, over time (quite a bit of it), the more liberalized white guys got, the harder it got to say "women, Blacks, etc, you don't count".

So, I guess this would be another difference between liberals and some conservatives.

In anticipation of someone pointing out that some tribe somewhere, five hundred years ago let women vote or had a written constitution, so what. Show me a country today, outside of the Western Liberal democracy where women and ethnic/religous minorities have the same or more rights under the law as the US, and demonstrate how that country developed such a regime independent of the US as an example.

Similarly, I know were aren't completely there yet. I get that. Perfection is the enemy of good. Very few people leave the US to find a better life, millions come here for precisely that. There is a reason for that and it isn't white male privilege.

So what changed?

LJ's 11:10 is, I think, quite a good summary of a number of aspects.

My own, somewhat more pessimistic, opinion is that I'm not sure how much change there has been.

In some ways, things have changed for the better. We no longer express our reactionary tendencies in the form of home-grown terrorism a la the KKK, we no longer sort out class issues via literal open warfare a la the labor struggles of the early 20th C, etc etc etc.

All good.

There are a lot more of us now, it's easier to get around to other parts of the country, various media channels make our presence and our opinions more visible to others, all of which makes us bump up against each other a lot more than maybe used to be the case. So, maybe differences are in higher contrast.

As far as Congress goes, I think the issue is that none of the points of view represented there have a sufficiently overwhelming majority to consistently and overwhelmingly prevail.

So, gridlock.

(2) other cultures, skin colors and gender orientations will make the white male-only West a better place.

it will make the West a better place for people who aren't white men. that's the goal. quite simply: equality.

However, over time (quite a bit of it), the more liberalized white guys got, the harder it got to say "women, Blacks, etc, you don't count".

it's still not hard enough.

Bringing people to the US with no concept of how our society functions and who come from failed states, or dictatorships or oligarchies and thus have no concept of what is basic to most reasonably well educated Americans is just ridiculous.

"ridiculous"??? And yet that is what the US has done for a couple of centuries. And we have proceeded to integrate them (and especially their children) into our culture quite successfully. Even those who have not integrated completely have still managed, in the vast majority of cases, to interact with the rest of us successfully and without negative consequences.

To pick just a couple of examples. Our Irish immigrants came out of a culture which was still almost feudal; a couple of generations later, their descendants were indistinguishable from the rest. Our Japanese immigrants came from a wildly different culture; their children formed the 442 Regimental Combat Team.

We can deal with, and integrate, immigrants from other backgrounds. We know this (or at least should know this) because we have been doing so for a couple of centuries. Unfortunately, we seem to have a recurring case of "this time is different, and things will be awful." And, every time, it isn't different and things work out fine.

No other Asian or African culture has a similar history.

FWIW, self-government, whether mediated through representatives or not, is a not-uncommon human phenomenon, both geographically and historically.

It wasn't invented here, or in Europe.

What we saw here was a putsch. And I don't know what else you could call it, when one candidate brings in a sudden influx of "members" that triples the voting membership.

For what it's worth, the two people I know personally who paid their £3 and voted for Corbyn were once paid up members of Old Labour, but left in 1995 when they abolished Clause 4 of their constitution, specifically the part committing to the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange.

First, the entire world was and for the most part is, dominated by men and more specifically by men in the dominant ethnic group in a particular location. Nothing unique to the West about this.

No one denies this, as far as I know. It's just that the West is what's under discussion, and that's where white men are in the dominant ethnic group. And the West includes places where the original inhabitants weren't white, as you noted.

It was precisely the liberalization of the US, followed by Europe, that led to female suffrage and, too late, but still ahead of most cultures and countries, ethnic/racial equality under the law if not in outcome.

I don't dispute this. I also don't know how that should inform my views on the extent, in the West, to which non-white, non-male, non-Christian or non-straight people are at a disadvantage or how the extent that such disadvantage diminishing bothers some people in traditionally advantaged groups.

It is almost as ridiculous as positing that skin pigmentation, cultural heritage, genitalia or sexual orientation somehow imbues an individual with special insight.

Well, it certainly imbues people with a special insight as to what it's like to be someone of their own skin pigmentation, cultural heritage, genitalia or sexual orientation.

Perfection is the enemy of good. Very few people leave the US to find a better life, millions come here for precisely that. There is a reason for that and it isn't white male privilege.

What good is perfection the enemy of where it concerns recognizing that our society doesn't treat different kinds of people equally? Yes, we do much better than the vast majority of places. I'm not really sure what you mean about white male privilege not being the reason, but I think I'd agree.

"The left's premises run counter to common sense. Bringing people to the US with no concept of how our society functions and who come from failed states, or dictatorships or oligarchies and thus have no concept of what is basic to most reasonably well educated Americans is just ridiculous."

McTX, reasonable conservatives and liberals in Congress worked for years to successfully craft bipartisan and comprehensive immigration reform legislation in 2012, and the President would have signed it.

It was within our collective grasp.

Marco Rubio, a Cuban immigrant, apparently possessing no concept of how a civil society functions and who came from a failed state and a dictatorship and has no concept of what is basic to most reasonable well-educated Americans, ridiculously was one of many chicken-sh*t conservatives who backed away from the Bill and scuttled it.

Now, we have the likes of Trump, Carson, et al, native-born, demagogic and plutocratic fellow Americans I'm ashamed to admit, demonizing yet another large group of human beings for the benefit of a rabble base with no better natures at their disposal, many of whom, by the way, are aggrieved with pent-up anger even by the 200 years of rule-of-law gradualism in the area of civil rights progress you so eloquently present here.

Here's what I want. I want charges against this American kid dropped, and I want the anti-American Mayor of his town, Beth Van Duyne, deported back to Belgium, or the Netherlands, or RidiculousLand, (could it have been South Africa) or back to where ever she smuggled in her dictatorial skin pigmentation, cultural heritage, and she can take her genitalia with her too, though I'm happy to keep those in country to be placed in the wing of the Smithsonian Museum that collects biological specimens no sane person has a use for:

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2015/09/16/an-interesting-coincidence/

Further, I want the next try at immigration legislation to mandate the immediate deportation of the guys in the pick-up in this incident.

Kenya seems a good destination for their birth certificates and other curriculum vitae:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/09/15/1421522/-Men-shout-the-N-word-at-Mizzou-student-president-sparks-awesome-campus-wide-challenge

Now that Cuba is opening up, Marco Rubio can head back there to take bribes from Sheldon Adelson to grease the wheels for opening up the latter's corrupt casinos in Havana with no labor rules and no safety regulations, except for the taster that will need to be hired to take the first sip of Adelson's alcoholic beverages, so he doesn't suffer from a fatal tummy ache.

I'm willing to forgive the Scots/Irish for establishing the Confederacy and hosting Civil War I, not only because of the statute of limitations, but also because of their contributions to poetry, heavy drinking, and if you need a tenor to belt a song out, where else are you going to go.

Our Irish immigrants came out of a culture which was still almost feudal

Not for nothing, but to the degree that 19th C Ireland was 'feudal', it was because they were ruled by the Brits, who were utter pricks. As regards their rule of Ireland, anyway.

The idea that self-government and polities based on the rule of law is the unique and unprecedented invention of the US, or the West, or any individual people, geographical area, or culture, is false.

And not for nothing, but by my lights McK's "way back when" is about 50 years ago.

McTx: The 'rule of law' is a creature of Western liberal democracy.

The Code of Hammurabi is 3000 years older than western liberal democracy, as McKinney surely knows. So I'd like to figure out what McKinney means by 'rule of law'.

McKinney probably also knows that fncking Pakistan got around to electing a woman prime minister before the US ever elected a woman president.

Every step toward "liberal democracy" in the history of the universe has been opposed by people who called themselves "conservative", but I get the feeling McKinney wants us libruls to be grateful for the gifts conservatives have given to the world.

--TP

In further response to:

It is almost as ridiculous as positing that skin pigmentation, cultural heritage, genitalia or sexual orientation somehow imbues an individual with special insight.

From the Count's link:

I just want to say how extremely hurt and disappointed I am. Last night as I walking through campus, some guys riding on the back of a pickup truck decided that it would be okay to continuously scream NIGGER at me. I really just want to know why my simple existence is such a threat to society. For those of you who wonder why I’m always talking about the importance of inclusion and respect, it’s because I’ve experienced moments like this multiple times at THIS university, making me not feel included here. Many of you are so privileged that you’ll never know what it feels like to be a hijab-wearing Muslim woman and be called a terrorist or a towel head. You don’t have to think about being transgender and worrying about finding a restroom where you can go and not be targeted for violence because you don’t fit into the gender binary. You’ll never know what it feels like to see Memorial Union every day and enter the side like a second class citizen because after 90 years, there’s still no accessible way to enter the tower. You’ve never been spit on walking down 9th street or mis-gendered at Pizza Tree because they called out your birth name. You’ve never had to experience people throwing drinks on you and yelling FAGGOT at you from the patio at Big 12 as you walk past on the street holding hands with your partner. You might never had to think twice about what you’re wearing walking around campus at night so that someone won’t think it’s okay to take ownership of your body because your outfit was “asking for it.” If your simple existence is not a political statement I’m really going to need for you to check your privilege. These are some of my experiences and the experiences of the ones closest to me. This is what I’m fighting against every day in boardrooms, conferences, meetings, classrooms, the Capitol, and in my daily life. This is my reality. Is it weird that I think that I have the right to feel safe here too? If you see violence like this and don’t say anything, you, yes YOU, are a part of the problem.

Well, Pakistan also got around to several military coup ed'tats against her and a couple of unsuccessful assassination attempts before killing their former female prime minister.

All carried out by their brand of reactionary conservatives, I'll wager.

We haven't had our female President yet but if it's Clinton, the rhetoric against her by our brand of radical conservatives/reactionaries/jagoffs may lead them to play catch up with Pakistan in more ways than one.

Count, do you really think someone would manage to mount a coup d'etat against a President Hilary Clinton? Assasination attempts? Sure, lots of Presidents have had to cope with those -- and not always for ideological/privilege reasons. But a coup?

(I'll grant that some tiny group of middle to low level officers might try such a thing. But they would get smashed by the rest of the military before they ever got off the ground.)

First, the entire world was and for the most part is, dominated by men and more specifically by men in the dominant ethnic group in a particular location. Nothing unique to the West about this.

Yet imperialism happened. This is not to claim that other nations or regions wouldn't have done it, but the fact is that the West did it, so it (and we) have to deal with the consequences.

Bringing people to the US with no concept of how our society functions and who come from failed states, or dictatorships or oligarchies and thus have no concept of what is basic to most reasonably well educated Americans is just ridiculous.

Yet it has worked out for the entire history of the US. What is the problem now? Or as Obama said

“This whole anti-immigrant sentiment that’s out there in our politics right now is contrary to who we are. Because unless you are a Native American, your family came from someplace else,” Mr. Obama said. “Don’t pretend that somehow 100 years ago the immigration process was all smooth and strict. That’s not how it worked.” The grandparents and great-grandparents of politicians taking a hard line on immigration, he said, were also “somehow considered unworthy or uneducated or unwashed.

When I hear folks talking as if somehow these kids are different from my kids or less worthy in the eyes of God, that somehow they are less worthy of our respect and consideration and care, I think that’s un-American,” Mr. Obama said.

On the other hand, you think it is completely American.

As I said, it is a different problem when you are facing this sort of thing in an economic boom. When the economy is not running as well, it is a tendency of people, not just white guys, to pull up the drawbridge. I don't suggest otherwise. But just because others would have done the same thing doesn't mean that it is somehow correct.

It was the evolving liberalizing trend, over centuries that brought white males to the point where being confronted with the injustice of slavery, racial and sexual inequality and so on...

So being liberal is a good thing. Except when it is not. Kind of confusing.

Yet, it is widely believed on the left that bringing people of different cultures--with no cultural heritage of sexual or ethnic equality, no cultural heritage of the rule or law or a pluralistic society, will somehow make America better.

That 'bringing' does a lot of heavy lifting in that paragraph. Who is doing this 'bringing'? You've got a capitalistic society that wants to sell the world a coke (and the iWatch app to go with it) and then, when there is a differential in living standards, you are baffled why people would end up trying to relocate here or in other places where, mysteriously, white men hold sway. I know, if my grandmother had balls she would be my grandfather, so just because of some accident of birth in terms of gender, race and location, it somehow absolves the "unquestioned social and political primacy of white men".

It seems to me like 'the Left' (whatever that may be) sees that things are changing and it can't be avoided. If you start from there, you might not employ those strawman arguments. I don't think anyone here has advocated 'bringing' people into the US to increase diversity. I don't think anyone has claimed that if it just not have been white men, we wouldn't be in all this shit. I'm sure you could find some people making the arguments you attribute to the left, but I have a feeling that you might take umbrage if I linked you to some of the more extreme on that side.

But if you want to make sure that you want to go out of your way to NOT welcome them, it seems to me that when they have a chance to do the same to "us", be they tourists minding their own business, or businessmen wanting just to do business. Of course, it is 'the Left' that wants to somehow 'bring them', and the Right never has anything to do with any of that. Quelle surprise...

That premise has since morphed, against the evidence, into several sub-premises: (1) white guys want to hang on to their ill-gotten gains and (2) other cultures, skin colors and gender orientations will make the white male-only West a better place.

I dispute both sub-premises.

Leaving aside the "premise of the left" stuff, I guess I find this confusing.

Are you arguing that straight white men haven't, and don't, hold any position of advantage here, or broadly in modern Western democracies? Or that they don't resist giving that up, or sharing it with other kinds of folks?

Do you think there aren't cultural and other advantages to be had by folks from other places moving here?

Ok, WJ first. IF you are going to quote me, don't cherry pick and change the context. Here is what I said:

Yet, it is widely believed on the left that bringing people of different cultures--with no cultural heritage of sexual or ethnic equality, no cultural heritage of the rule or law or a pluralistic society, will somehow make America better. Because, you know, white male privilege and all that.

Cleek says,

it will make the West a better place for people who aren't white men. that's the goal. quite simply: equality.

What?? The US has, compared to any other country as much or more equality across the board. Adding more diversity isn't going to alter the equality equation. If the idea is to dispossess or replace white people, just say so. But don't act like white privilege is a big problem that diversity will solve when not another, non-white, non-western country has our level of equality.

It's just that the West is what's under discussion, and that's where white men are in the dominant ethnic group. And the West includes places where the original inhabitants weren't white, as you noted.

So, is there black male privilege in Africa, Asian male privilege in Asia, and so on? How does bringing diverse males into the US change that paradigm? The obsession on the left is *white, male*. Well, historically, "white, male" is why we are even able to have this discussion because, for all of their faults, they are the one's who got this whole rule of law, equality under the law thing going.

The idea that self-government and polities based on the rule of law is the unique and unprecedented invention of the US, or the West, or any individual people, geographical area, or culture, is false.

Western liberalism was well underway in the 19th century, so Ireland isn't an example of something developing independent of the west. Please show me a modern country or culture that developed, independent of the west, a democratic, rule of law-type society. I'd like to see it.

The Code of Hammurabi is 3000 years older than western liberal democracy, as McKinney surely knows. So I'd like to figure out what McKinney means by 'rule of law'.

Well, "rule of law", in modern terms doesn't mean, for example, the Dooms of Canute or the Magna Carta or the Legacy of Tokugawa, if identifying some ancient, defunct, nonoperational legal system somehow illuminates the discussion. It means "due process", it means "equality under the law", it intends (it's imperfect) that the law means and applies the same way, in a consistent and reasonably fair manner. Among other things. And, it means the that law operates independent of kings, presidents, prime ministers, religious leaders or what have you.

TP, this is the kind of digression that makes a conversation difficult. PRC, no rule of law. US, rule of law. Cuba, no rule of law. Mexico, ditto. Iran, ditto. UK, not ditto.

In further response to:

It is almost as ridiculous as positing that skin pigmentation, cultural heritage, genitalia or sexual orientation somehow imbues an individual with special insight.

From the Count's link:

Ok, I have a gay friend who, from his earliest youth on a farm in rural OK was obviously different. I asked him recently, did he ever have a problem with someone giving him a hard time because he was gay. He was quite emphatic: "Never, not once." Ok, so, he's gay but doesn't have a story about that being hard for him. A black person well might have a particularly poignant experience in which the *experience* gives weight to a particular topic. But, that is not LJ's point or the white male privilege point, which is that pigmentation, gender, etc in and of themselves make for special insight.

Yet imperialism happened. This is not to claim that other nations or regions wouldn't have done it, but the fact is that the West did it, so it (and we) have to deal with the consequences.

Really, no other imperialism? Hmmm. Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Imperial Japan, China (historically has colonized/occupied most of its neighbors).

I'm addressing your extract on white male privilege. You are side-stepping the point, e.g. but for white male privilege and western liberal democracy, we would not be having this discussion and women would be chattel.

As I said, it is a different problem when you are facing this sort of thing in an economic boom. When the economy is not running as well, it is a tendency of people, not just white guys, to pull up the drawbridge. I don't suggest otherwise. But just because others would have done the same thing doesn't mean that it is somehow correct.

It is tiresome, really, to be reminded that we are a nation of immigrants. You live in a country that is not big on immigration or big on diversity. I live in a city where we spend millions of dollars every year teaching (poorly) children enough English to make them better service level workers. I employ their parents and grandparents. We all do. My wife is a naturalized citizen. As a resident of a border state, I see everyday what immigration is and is not. One thing it is not is relevant to the WMP discussion unless you are arguing (and, I think you are, but are not willing so say so at this point, and this is my mind-reading, so I'm putting it parenthesis) that immigrating more people of color is advantageous because it servers to dilute WMP.

The point I'm addressing is the notion that WMP and its subsidiary 'white people running the show' has been a bad thing and we need to fix it. That is BS. Show me another place in the world where women and minorities are better off than they are in any western liberal democracy.

Good luck with that.

Second basic point: the reason that women and minorities have it better in the liberal west is because the white men in the liberal west, and no where else, changed and allowed that to happen.

Prove me wrong.

And, on the immigration front, we are running out of room, and money, and jobs. Ok? Sure, if we could lift another 50 or 100 million people out of the depths of poverty, educate them and integrate them into our general societal mores, great. But, we can't. We are out of bullets.

McKinney, I'm not really clear on how the context you add changes anything. Unless you were trying to say that it is widely believed on the left that "Bringing people to the US with no concept of how our society functions and who come from failed states, or dictatorships or oligarchies and thus have no concept of what is basic to most reasonably well educated Americans is just ridiculous."

If that was your intent, I apologize. But it appeared to me you were giving the line that I quoted as your retort to the folks on the left saying "Yet, it is widely believed on the left that bringing people of different cultures--with no cultural heritage of sexual or ethnic equality, no cultural heritage of the rule or law or a pluralistic society, will somehow make America better. Because, you know, white male privilege and all that."

The US has, compared to any other country as much or more equality across the board.

surely you're aware of the difference between "most" and "enough" ? shirley ?

Adding more diversity isn't going to alter the equality equation.

i said nothing about wanting to add more diversity for the sake of adding diversity.

diversity is going to happen, always has. that's kinda the point of the USA.

But don't act like white privilege is a big problem that diversity will solve when not another, non-white, non-western country has our level of equality.

i'm not sure where you got that argument from. but it's not one i've ever made.

"Count, do you really think someone would manage to mount a coup d'etat against a President Hilary Clinton?"

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/sep/11/military-coup-some-americans-would-vote-yes

Jeff, I don't doubt that there are those US civilians who would support a coup. I just don't think that the vast majority of the military would do so. They tend to take their oath to support and defend the Constitution very seriously.

I just have to wonder how much of that 43% of Republicans coup support correlates with TRUMPS 40% support.

"Rule of law" means that whoever the people are who constitute whatever the government is, are subject to the law and are not above it.

That is what the rule of law means.

It's not something the was invented by John freaking Locke.

Likewise "democracy" refers to polities where sovereignty resides with those governed.

Both are not-uncommon phenomena, both historically and geographically.

Lots of modern democracies were established using either the US or one of the European states as a model. To no small degree, that's because the US and the European states have been political, economic, and social hegemons for a few hundred years.

Citing that as proof that we invented either concept is historically fatuous.

Human polities have organized themselves in a variety of ways over the last 10,000 years. Many of them have done so based on self-government and the rule of law.

We didn't freaking invent it.

As far as extending civil liberties to people who aren't white men, I submit that that was driven more by the folks who didn't have them and wanted them, and less by the folks who already had them.

Women did not get the vote through the imagination and benevolence of men. They got it because they wanted it and they fought for it. There were also economic and technological drivers. But a bunch of white guys didn't sit around one day and decide that it was time to extend civil liberties to women.

Ditto for most other extensions of civil liberties.

this is an excellent article IMHO
http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176044/

Also, these questions are still on the table. A reply will be appreciated.

Are you arguing that straight white men haven't, and don't, hold any position of advantage here, or broadly in modern Western democracies? Or that they don't resist giving that up, or sharing it with other kinds of folks?

Do you think there aren't cultural and other advantages to be had by folks from other places moving here?

This is a reload of an earlier comment that didn't make it in.

Are you arguing that straight white men haven't, and don't, hold any position of advantage here, or broadly in modern Western democracies?

Russell, didn't I concede that white guys ran the show? Didn't I make that point more than once?

MEN run the fncking show--EVERYWHERE. Always have. Except, in the US and the liberal west. Why? The western liberal tradition. White men used to hold full sway in the US and UK and France, etc. Now, much, much less. Over time, even less.

Is it an advantage to be white and male and straight? Sure. But, to reason from that that all of us straight white guys are conspiring to shaft our daughters, mothers, sisters, friends and relatives of color is BS.


Or that they don't resist giving that up, or sharing it with other kinds of folks?

Absolutely I dispute this. First, read what I've said already; find someplace where non-white men running the show have done for women and minorities what white men in the US and the West have done; and show me a decent example of WM doing something to hang on to something. Is this some kind of conspiracy theory?

Do you think there aren't cultural and other advantages to be had by folks from other places moving here?

In what numbers and from what countries and with what level of education? Do we need more Hispanics to grow culturally? As opposed to Macedonians? Or Nigerians? No country comes close to the US in terms of diversity. We are out of room, money and jobs. Uneducated, non-English speaking people cannot contribute meaningfully, particularly when they arrive in the 10's, 100's and millions. When we were screwing the Native Americans out of their land, we had room for more immigrants. Now, we are out of room.

First, let's see if I can turn off my stupid italics.

(Fixed at the source. wj)

Head note: the various clergy I brought in were unable to exorcise the rampant, Satan-spawned italics. Giving the devil his/her due, I've used asterisks to denote Russell's comments to which I am responding.

*Human polities have organized themselves in a variety of ways over the last 10,000 years. Many of them have done so based on self-government and the rule of law.

We didn't freaking invent it.*

Ok, you asked that I respond to your questions, and I've asked you some of my own: show me one modern country that is democratic and has equality under the law and the rule of law that did not derive those practices from the US or western liberal democracy.

*As far as extending civil liberties to people who aren't white men, I submit that that was driven more by the folks who didn't have them and wanted them, and less by the folks who already had them.*

However, suspicions aside, factually, slavery ended with a war fought by white men against other white men. The 13-15th amendments were written and passed by white men. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, all white men. Imperfect, slave-holding white men in many instances, but white men. Without those docs, you don't get to the next steps. The DoI and the Const are at the core of pretty much any non-parliamentary democracy extant today. Paralleling democracy's growth in the US was the extension, by privileged white men in England, of the franchise first to all men and then to women. The parliamentary model is extant in the commonwealth countries.

Sure, there was resistance. It was overcome because the principles of equality under the law, fairness etc are the superior argument to "we are white men and we get to make the rules".

*Women did not get the vote through the imagination and benevolence of men. They got it because they wanted it and they fought for it. There were also economic and technological drivers. But a bunch of white guys didn't sit around one day and decide that it was time to extend civil liberties to women.*

As I acknowledged here and in earlier comments, nothing came without a fight of some kind, including one civil war. What makes "western white man country" different from the rest of eastern European and non-white world is that change DID happen, by consensus, and over time.

*Ditto for most other extensions of civil liberties.*

Slavery, women's suffrage and civil rights--all upset the prior order. All done internally. All done because it was the right thing to do. Not WM hanging on to privilegel, but WM conceding equality because it was demonstrated to be the right thing to do.

F'king italics. Shit. Just saw the previous, load of devilment.

First, let's see if I can turn off my stupid italics.

It may not be you. It may be the devil.

wj, highly unlikely that our military would mount a coup e'tat against the President but mostly because they don't understand French and therefore wouldn't be able to follow the orders (No, NOT "Coupe Deville!", Colonel Branestem, I said Commence the Freedom Fries Restoration at zero eight hundred hours!), any better than would the 27% base who elected four or five dozen Republican House members or the 40-some percent who back Donald Trump now.

They wouldn't take out a President Trump either because he read that it said so in TIME magazine and some talk show he watched in 2006. Also, a dream he had involving a dozen large blondes named Ivanka wielding scissors and chasing him into the arms of a Five-Star General when he was her date at her senior prom.

McTX, (none of us are very much far apart, but for the sake of argument) the white male majority, with exceptions, firmly ensconced by the rule of law in this country, only relented ("Now, Abigail, don't be a confounded silly goose", John Adams said, as he begged fruitlessly for carnal relations with his wife after ignoring her demand for equality under the law.) because the Founders, much to their individual surprise, put into place a constitutional system and a system of telltale words, rules, and procedures that permitted women, blacks, and gays to petition and lawfully gain their Rights.

As I've mentioned elsewhere, the signal and overlooked fact of American history is the stupendous, oceanic degree of patience and forbearance those groups exercised for hundreds of years as we cooled our heels considering the matter, with amazingly few instances of violence, not counting the Civil War, and given the violent founding of the country by white males (who flew off the handle because a King wanted to tax tea to replenish his Treasury of the money it had spent for colonial security) by the denial of their perceived rights at the hands of other white males in different, but cooler uniforms.

It's true that the Perfect can be the enemy of the Good, but there are some who need reminding in no uncertain terms from time to time that the Good can turn around and be the enemy of in any way returning to the not-so-Good demands rearing their heads at the moment.

Added to which, the world outside got weirder, enemies got harder to deal with (e.g.Isis) so the urge to circle the wagons and/or huddle round the campfire with your own kind got stronger.

They didn't, though. Ubiquitous information distribution and cameras just made things more evident.

Yet, it is widely believed on the left that bringing people of different cultures--with no cultural heritage of sexual or ethnic equality, no cultural heritage of the rule or law or a pluralistic society, will somehow make America better.

[...]

It is almost as ridiculous as positing that skin pigmentation, cultural heritage, genitalia or sexual orientation somehow imbues an individual with special insight.

(Emphasis emphatically added.)

Seriously, McK? Really?

show me one modern country that is democratic and has equality under the law and the rule of law that did not derive those practices from the US or western liberal democracy.

From my limited knowledge of the relevant history, it appears that Iran was such a country. At least with respect to democracy.

It installed a democratically elected legislature in the late 1800s -- in part in opposition to British meddling. Which doesn't sound to me like a derevation from Europe. At least not a conscious one.

Granted it's current semi-democracy may be a different story. But it's worth noting that the current institutions derive from opposition to a monarchy/dictatorship installed by the US.

Show me a country today, outside of the Western Liberal democracy where women and ethnic/religous minorities have the same or more rights under the law as the US, and demonstrate how that country developed such a regime independent of the US as an example.

Do we get to point out how most of the non-Western world got pushed back centuries by the benevolent civilizing influence of the US and other Western empires, and the local anti-liberal-democratic strongmen they installed, propped up, and replaced local leaders - to include democratically elected ones - with?

Do we immediately discount any sign of democracy outside the ancient Greeks as being US derived because, naturally, post hoc ergo proptor hoc?

Seriously, McK? Really?

Exactly my reaction.

But I do think that our Constitutional system is pretty great, and although not original, quite rare. Of course, not perfect. But that's our job.

WM conceding equality because it was demonstrated to be the right thing to do

southern WM most certainly did not concede equality because it was the right thing to do. they did it because they got their bigoted asses kicked by the north and ended up with no choice in the matter - though they resisted for another 100+ years.

*that does not predate the US by centuries, and that you chose to deem worthy of counting, so the Swiss or First Nations don't count since they did not have liberal democracies granting minority rights on par with the US centuries before the US existed, let alone granted said minority rights

"All done because it was the right thing to do. Not WM hanging on to privilege, but WM conceding equality because it was demonstrated to be the right thing to do."

"We hold these truths to be self-evident."

Well, there was a good deal of hanging on and foot dragging before the we pale faced males conceded what had already been declared self-evident, even the truths declared to be so were far greater than Jefferson et al let on at the time.

And, yes, it's not quite fair to judge the cultural norms and standards of THAT time by our own more enlightened sensibilities.

Still, I don't like it when Thomas, Alito, and Scalia judge our standards according to some of the moldy ones of the Founders' times.

show me one modern country that is democratic and has equality under the law and the rule of law that did not derive those practices from the US or western liberal democracy.

See, this is why it sucks to try to discuss anything with lawyers. They undergo years of professional training and experience focused on framing questions to elicit the answer they want.

I am not claiming that modern democratic states do not largely model themselves after either the US or one of the European parliamentary democracies.

As noted by me upthread, it should not be a surprise if they do, because we are currently at the end of something like 400 or 500 years of near-global hegemony by precisely those nations.

Charlemagne thought he was reconstituting the Roman Empire. That was his frame of reference.

What I am arguing against is that democratic self-government and the rule of law are the unique invention of the European enlightenment and its disobedient child, the US.

Because they are not. Both concepts are found throughout human history.

The statement of yours that I am disputing is this:


Second, unlike anywhere else in the world, the West, beginning 600 or so yeas ago, slowly developed a shift away from the rigid, feudal order to what, first in the US, and then spreading to Europe first and then elsewhere, was the concept of democracy, borrowed from the ancient Greeks. No other Asian or African culture has a similar history.

That statement is not true.

As far as the Civil War etc., citing the Civil War as an example of white men extending civil liberties to others because white men fought the war seems, to me, to miss a fairly important point.

Likewise, describing white men "conceding equality".

Basically, both statements seem to make a point other than the one you appear to want to make.

I'm not demonizing white men. I am one.

I am saying that white men are no better or worse than anyone else when it comes to their willingness to relinquish or share power with other people.

show me one modern country that is democratic and has equality under the law and the rule of law that did not derive those practices from the US or western liberal democracy.

See, this is why it sucks to try to discuss anything with lawyers. They undergo years of professional training and experience focused on framing questions to elicit the answer they want.

I am not claiming that modern democratic states do not largely model themselves after either the US or one of the European parliamentary democracies.

As noted by me upthread, it should not be a surprise if they do, because we are currently at the end of something like 400 or 500 years of near-global hegemony by precisely those nations.

Charlemagne thought he was reconstituting the Roman Empire. That was his frame of reference.

What I am arguing against is that democratic self-government and the rule of law are the unique invention of the European enlightenment and its disobedient child, the US.

Because they are not. Both concepts are found throughout human history.

The statement of yours that I am disputing is this:


Second, unlike anywhere else in the world, the West, beginning 600 or so yeas ago, slowly developed a shift away from the rigid, feudal order to what, first in the US, and then spreading to Europe first and then elsewhere, was the concept of democracy, borrowed from the ancient Greeks. No other Asian or African culture has a similar history.

That statement is not true.

As far as the Civil War etc., citing the Civil War as an example of white men extending civil liberties to others because white men fought the war seems, to me, to miss a fairly important point.

Likewise, describing white men "conceding equality".

Basically, both statements seem to make a point other than the one you appear to want to make.

I'm not demonizing white men. I am one.

I am saying that white men are no better or worse than anyone else when it comes to their willingness to relinquish or share power with other people.

stupid computers.

I'm sure there are plenty of white guys commenting on this thread who are not part of the conspiracy they supposedly believe in - you know, the one all white men are in on. (HUH???)

I also don't know who is recruiting all these undemocratic people from all over the globe to come here to increase diversity. I've never heard of such a thing.

And what's already been said about more recent liberalization being the work primarily of benevolent white men. Yes, some number of white men participated in and supported such efforts. But, then again, the people who fought against them were predominantly white men.

I don't know if this counts as mind-reading, but these weird arguments seem to be born of some kind of white defensiveness.

What we're talking about are circumstances, past and present, in this country, and possibly the West in general, not some inherent evilness that is unique to white men.

But I do think that our Constitutional system is pretty great, and although not original, quite rare.

IMO what is rare historically is a nation of our size and ambition persisting as a self-governing polity under the rule of law.

We've only been at it for a couple of hundred years, and really only about one hundred with the size and reach that we currently have.

We'll see how long it lasts.

Not for nothing, but to the degree that 19th C Ireland was 'feudal', it was because they were ruled by the Brits, who were utter pricks. As regards their rule of Ireland, anyway.

Not just as regards Ireland, pretty much anywhere where the wogs were viewed as subhuman. The millions who died during the Victorian genocides, be it from artificial famine. working to death in labor camps, or the old stand-by of just plain being killed for sport, certainly saw the British's utterly savage side. But we must not criticize them, because "morals were different then", although because "morals were different then" we must simultaneously praise them for being a shining light and virtuous exemplar, bringing liberty and prosperity to a benighted world...

I'm sure there are plenty of white guys commenting on this thread who are not part of the conspiracy they supposedly believe in - you know, the one all white men are in on.

Perhaps it is a matter of

While not all white males are members of the conspiracy, all members of the conspriacy are white males.

Granted, that isn't what those getting hysterical actually say. But it might reflect something more like reality. (Assuming, for the sake of discussion, that there actually is a conspiracy. Rather than just a bunch of people who have it good for historical reasons and are independently reluctant to share the power.)

What makes "western white man country" different from the rest of eastern European and non-white world is that change DID happen, by consensus, and over time.

and the changes are still happening. and the same class of people are resisting them, exactly as they always have, and for exactly the same reason : they don't want to give up what they have.

speaking of American colonialism...

suck it UK thread! this is about America now!

I wouldn't put a whole lot of effort into understanding the conspiracy thing, though it does make me wonder how one might characterize, say, the Confederacy coming into being, given who made that happen and why.

I'm not obsessed with white males. I'm also not obsessed with defending white males against attacking straw men.

So we should start talking about Polish plumbers and Muslims...?

Despite all of our sins, Constitutional [liberal] democracy is a very thrilling concept (to me), and as far as I know it did develop from something similar in Athens. And there were some experiments in other places along the way, such as Kiev Rus, which ended in the 12th century, and certainly limited instances of self-governance in other places, but the democracies beginning in the Enlightenment have been exceptionally robust.

Obviously, they have been flawed, but the fact that they can evolve with the times is what it's all about. Obama has described the process quite eloquently.

We're not doing democracy any favors by handing electoral power to the wealthy. Citizens United (etc.) is a step backwards for sure. But that's what we're here for - to keep fighting. At this moment in our history, that means fighting Republican control of the government. Since Republicans don't represent a majority of the people, making sure that people are not disenfranchised is the answer to that problem.

I think what happened with the words of the Constitution is that the "italics" got stuck on for long periods of time for certain people, and then finally turned off in portions over time as we discussed and sort of chewed over the ins and outs of html, whatever that is.

I'm not demonizing white men either. Russell is one.

Are you arguing that straight white men haven't, and don't, hold any position of advantage here, or broadly in modern Western democracies?

Russell, didn't I concede that white guys ran the show? Didn't I make that point more than once?

MEN run the fncking show--EVERYWHERE. Always have. Except, in the US and the liberal west. Why? The western liberal tradition. White men used to hold full sway in the US and UK and France, etc. Now, much, much less. Over time, even less.

(Emphasis added.)

Seriously, try to keep your claims straight for more than a single damned paragraph.

Absolutely I dispute this. First, read what I've said already; find someplace where non-white men running the show have done for women and minorities what white men in the US and the West have done; and show me a decent example of WM doing something to hang on to something. Is this some kind of conspiracy theory?

Really, McK? The American Civil F'ing War. The only way that doesn't satisfy your second modest request will be if/when you add a pile of unstated premises that somehow discount this mind-numbingly obvious example - based on your upthread euphemizing, it looks like this won't count because it was just a matter of heel-dragging but good-hearted WM being rationally convinced of the reasonableness and rightness of giving up a trifling "privilege" like owning slaves by other WM. I certainly hope my low expectations aren't doing you justice, though.

the democracies beginning in the Enlightenment have been exceptionally robust.

One depressing reason they've been robust has been their marked tendency to place most or all nations not abiding by their political systems (and pointedly, also not possessing military and economic parity) firmly under their boot heel. I'm not saying that the West is a seething nest of demons or anything, nor that the fruits of the Enlightenment are not sweet, but it was not "rule of law", "constitutions", and "electoral politics" that made Enlightenment democracies robust - it was their technological advancement/progress and callously expansionist tendencies. Let's not wax romantic about why Western democracies have so far endured better than their predecessors.

Seriously, McK? Really?

Yes, seriously.

That statement is not true.

Normally, a statement like this is followed by evidence or an example. You deny that the Age of Enlightment, the Reformation, the Renaissance, etc weren't the precursors of modern western liberalism?

If not, what historical factors gave rise to modern western liberalism?

Do you deny that racial, gender equality and religious freedom and tolerance are the product of modern western liberalism?

If not western liberalism, what was the historical cause-and-effect giving rise to these features that are nearly unique to western liberal democracy.

If the latter statement is true, then we have to concede that, as imperfect as those WM surely were, it was they who got the best of what we are today started. Repeating: they got it started, got the ball rolling, put things in motion. Centuries went by, but we can trace the inception pretty easily.

Nor is this an abstract point. WMP is the left's rationale for all manner of new stuff. A straw man, WM hanging on to their privilege, is an article of faith--which like many other articles of faith, is without tangible, direct evidence.

As far as the Civil War etc., citing the Civil War as an example of white men extending civil liberties to others because white men fought the war seems, to me, to miss a fairly important point.

And that fairly important point would be . . . ?

and the changes are still happening. and the same class of people are resisting them, exactly as they always have, and for exactly the same reason : they don't want to give up what they have.

First, can you be more specific: which group of WM is fighting to hang on to what privilege? Second, not every change is for the better, then and now, e.g. communism. WM both promoted and resisted it. Third, not every change conjured up by the left is as self-evidently a grand idea as, say ending slavery, or as obviously correct as "equal means the same." So, give me an example of an awesome idea on the left that is being opposed on the grounds of WMP. Please, I'd like to see it.

Absolutely I dispute this. First, read what I've said already; find someplace where non-white men running the show have done for women and minorities what white men in the US and the West have done; and show me a decent example of WM doing something to hang on to something. Is this some kind of conspiracy theory?

Really, McK? The American Civil F'ing War.

NV, you almost have a point. I've done a lot of writing today in between trying to practice law. See the word "decent" in the second to last sentence? It should read "recent". You are correct--I concede and may have even referred to the Civil War at some point in this thread. Yes, WM were very much in the business of trying to hang on to their black property. Other WM put paid to that and then passed some amendments that have held rather nicely and have served as the basis, most recently, for requiring all states to recognize gay marriage.

Now that I've rewritten the question, feel free to answer it.

I'm not saying that the West is a seething nest of demons or anything, nor that the fruits of the Enlightenment are not sweet, but it was not "rule of law", "constitutions", and "electoral politics" that made Enlightenment democracies robust - it was their technological advancement/progress and callously expansionist tendencies. Let's not wax romantic about why Western democracies have so far endured better than their predecessors.

One of the things I like about ideologically driven revisionist history is that it is so easily refuted, even if its adherents never seem to grasp the point. The Age of Enlightenment was the product of the Renaissance and Protestant Reformation. The church and the state, the sole sources of authority, began to cede autonomy over time. A lot of time. The Enlightenment is generally thought to have ended in roughly 1780--not a lot of democracy, and most colonialism by then was Spanish, English and Portuguese and mostly under monarchies.

Then John Locke and others got busy. Adam Smith came along. The initial push back was the new, moneyed class pushing back against the aristocracy. It is hard to demand something of those above you when it is demanded by those below you. So, over time, we arrived where we are today.

As for "The History of Colonialism: Current Revised Historical Version", here is a game one can play: find a country or two that were not colonized, and were not western European extracts. I propose China and Japan. Now, find some countries that were colonized: I pick India, Mexico, Venezuela, Cuba, the Philippines and the Congo but any will do.

Were either China or Japan on a "equality under the law/rule of law/consent of the governed" trajectory prior to encountering the west (other than unconditional surrender in 8/45)?

Were India, Mexico, Venezuela, Cuba, the Philippines and the Congo on that same trajectory prior to colonization?

That is, did European colonization throw off some specific country's path to "equality under the law/rule of law/consent of the governed" or some similar outcome?

For every country that was once a colony, e.g. the Congo, and had a bad outcome, aren't there countries that were former colonies that had a good outcome? Would you say India's colonial history led to the elimination of the caste system or would you say that India, left undisturbed by England, was pointed toward a classless, caste--less society?

And, to find out how comparatively awful colonialism was, just make a list of non-western countries that were colonized and those that were not, look at their histories, and tell me that, on balance, colonialism was worse than not.

The fact is: both were equally shitty near term. In the (way) out years, British influence was more of a positive than a negative in most countries outside of Africa.

Africa may be the one place where, south of the Sahara, Europe screwed the pooch.

However, as bad as colonialism was for Africa, for outright awfulness, the prize goes to China. In the last 2000 years, China has murdered more of its own through war and ideologically induced famine than any other country in the world. You might give the West credit for Maoism, but there were many more killed pre-Marx.

Here's another question: how many former colonies are currently getting screwed by socialism, another western export? Cuba, maybe? Venezuela? Argentina?


Now, let me try to get back to my main point, because a lot of collateral stuff has come up, and not without good reason.

Here is the thing: the WMP hanging on to *whatever* argument is simply wrong. There isn't any conspiracy. There isn't anything concrete that WM's have to hang on to that everyone else doesn't have. We all vote, move about freely, own such property as we can afford and care to buy, marry, have children, have open discussions about these and other topics. Moreover, history argues against this notion: it is WM who gave birth to what is best about our society and western society and it was WM who, over time and under pressure from others less favorably situated, who changed peacefully (with noted and notable exceptions).

So, what the F is all the WMP stuff? Well,I'm guessing it is several things. One, it is a conversation stopper when, for example, a WM disagrees with TNC's ridiculous conspiracy theories or a WM disagrees a racially-charged accusation from the left. Either the WM opinion can be dismissed or discounted (given the source) or WM are disqualified from disagreeing because they don't understand their privilege and the power relationships and all manner of other purely subjective notions that some employ to stifle debate.

Two, it is a handy device for reassigning assets: WM have all the money; they got it by exploiting all Non-WM; ergo, if they won't give up X percent of their money voluntarily, we, the exploited, are justified in expropriating X percent of WM's money.

Three, which is kind of derivative of One and Two: the subtext of the left's identity politics seems dividing the pie (a nebulous terms for a broad range of desirables: power, money, jobs, representation) based on gender and ethnicity. For the same reasons that WM were persuaded to agree to equality under the law, etc, many--and not all of them WM's--oppose reward and whatnot by gender or ethnicity. That is not hanging on to something, that is making sure that future generations have equality of opportunity, not some ethnic/gender-based spoils system regulated by the central gov't.

Well. I'm not going to pile on, as other folks have made my points and more except to say that hairshirt's point that
What we're talking about are circumstances, past and present, ... not some inherent evilness that is unique to white men is what I was talking about. I would note that the article that I cited that seems to have gotten your back up was a discussion of why Tony Abbott got turfed out in Australia. I just want to emphasis that I used that because it made the same points as what I had written here and I wasn't trying to take a shot at white males/you.

Why do keep saying there's no conspiracy when no one is positing one? TNC doesn't. He writes about systemic racism. It's not the same thing.

What there is is a constituency. It is only a subset of white, male, straight, Christians, but it is also not insignificant. See Donald Trump.

When you discuss the left's purely subjective notions, McKinney, are you being dimissive or stifling debate? I don't know how this meta-argument works. It sounds like disagreement. Is that not allowed, at least when "the left" does it?

I seriously can't figure out half of what you're on about here.

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