Tag Archives: Politics

The Politics of Science

Louis XIV visiting the  Académie des sciences ...
Image via Wikipedia

The scientific method is unarguably one of the most objective and rational methods that humans have found to discover the world around them. It is also value-free, in the sense that it simply explains reality and has no normative propositions to make and thus it cannot be considered to put forth any bias.

But this does not mean that science cannot be used politically. In fact, the findings of it are the primary method by which secular people can promote their agenda as Reality, when supporting one’s position can be handily be used as a stronghold for one’s political ideas. And this actually makes the best kind of politics, ie ones based on reality. This is in fact why religion is hostile to Science as a whole, as it gives too much power to secular arguments in the area of moderating human behaviour and as such promotes a liberal1 agenda.

However there is one nasty aspect when science and politics interact, and that is all too insidious confirmation bias. It is the propensity of people, including scientists, to see only the facts that support their already held political opinion. The easiest way is when science is not absolute on one particular issue which allows partisans on the minority to pick the arguments which fit their predisposition, expand them using exaggerations and political hacks and thus cloud and prevent a reality-based decision. Such is the case in the Anthropogenic Global Warming debate and such was the case a few decades ago on the harmful effects of smoking.

Further than this though, science can be used as a political tool by simply avoiding or ignoring the actual facts. This became clear to me through my discussions with secular statists and/or liberals who base their ideas on what they think scientific facts support. In this particular case, that humans have evolved to be primarily competitive against each other and everyone else.  This argument can then be handily be used both for “proving” the naturalness of Capitalism and/or the necessity of the State.

But this creates a problem when one looks at scientific findings and discovers that they do not support this position of “war against all” in the least. How can this be the dominant worldview?

My personal theory is that people put far more weight to their political perspective than they do in science. To the tune of ignoring or subconsciously avoiding learning about scientific facts that would put cracks in their position. We know how much possible this is from the religious example, where people will outright deny evolution or geology when it threatens to challenge their currently held worldview. I do not believe that this is so much because religion is so much of a stronger belief, as much as it is their current politics and lifestyle which would be threatened by changing their mind.

To put it more plainly, I see people having some particular ideas, such as hate of teh gay, patriarchy or authoritarian tendencies. These are easily maintained by considering the Bible as a literal history and thus accepting its homosexual-hating, god-fearing ideas. When science enters the picture and points out that homosexuality is genetic, humans are genetically equal and there’s probably no higher authority to bow down to, it is the lifestyle and worldview that is threatened, not the religion itself which is simply the excuse to preserve said lifestyle. Thus science will be denied, in order for the comfortable excuse (religion) to be preserved. As such, those whose worldview is not threatened, such as say people growing up in more liberal areas are far more likely to accept science which is less threatening, while also keeping their religion (in its non-fundamentalist form).

In a similar way, this applies to irreligious people as well. While some particular worldviews (usually the most intolerant) require a religion in order to defend them, others can function with some other alternative such as nationalism. Still other require none at all and in fact do beg legitimacy by wearing the cover of “science”.

This generally occurs in worldviews that are so popular and internalized that their dismissal seems unrealistic. I’m talking of course about Statism and Capitalism which are being taught as inescepable from the youngest possible age. And what seems to happen then when these are challenged and there is no relevant religion or one espouses no appropriate ideology to defend them? (say: as Objectivism) One can only then turn to scientific facts to support their worldview, and if the facts do not fit the picture, they may just as well be ignored.

This then explains the curious fact that while Mutual Aid is a very (if not the most) important factor of evolution2, it is competition and “war against all” that is still being promoted as the generally accepted primary characteristic of life. How else can one explain this. other by assuming that scientists and secularists who’s worldview embraces Statism and/or Capitalism have subconsciously avoided learning about it? I can’t in good conscience attribute this to any kind of malice or conspiracy.

And this is the unfortunate aspect of scientific facts. They tend to raise uncomfortable questions for the status quo since they challenge the validity of the various defences such as religion and racism. This by itself makes science a political tool, but one which always seems to support a libertarian socialism worldview. And when all chips are on the table and one’s worldview is on the line, it seems to be preferable – even for self-labelled supporters of rationalism and scientific method – to bury the truth in order to avoid an uncomfortable political realignment.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
  1. In the sense of personal liberty and choice, not in the sense of Liberalism as a classic political movement []
  2. Known for at least a 100 years and Proven by many researches in different scientific sectors, from Zoology to Anthropology []

Deliberate Obtusity

Secodontosaurus obtusidens head
Image Unrelated via Wikipedia

I’ve recently started monitoring the twitter stream for keywords relating to Anarchism, Communism and Libertarian Socialism, just so that I might see what others are saying about it and perhaps intervene and clarify a thing or two. I expected of course rampart hatred on Communism by ignorant US Americans but I didn’t expect it on this scale. Not a minute passes that someone won’t make a snide remark on it while talking about anything. From complaining about China (I honestly can’t believe that people still consider the PRC communist at this point), to whining about the US Gov and Barack, to urging Iran not to become communist, to simple ranting.

It’s insane really. It’s reached the point for some people that anything not Neoconservative can simply be labelled Communist. I mean, of course I can imagine that people like this exist, but I expected, dunno, less of a magnitude.

In any case, I replied here and there and I was pleasantly surprised that some people at least were willing to listen when I basically explained that they have it wrong. Those at least are open to the possibility that they may have things wrong. However there are others…

Looking back at it, I should have known that someone who puts Communism and Fascism in the same context can’t be very intelligent, or honest for that matter, but I didn’t expect GlenBradley to not only stand by his statement when corrected but to insist that he made no mistake. And thus, this clusterfuck of a conversation began.

Needless to say, it didn’t end well. For all my attempts to explain what Communism really is about, it felt like talking to a brick wall. Not only that, but the discussion  kept going in a random ad-hominem direction where eventually I ended up having to prove “I’m not an Elephant”.Whatever argument I made, was either ignored and was called “rhetoric” just so that Glen wouldn’t have to acknowledge it.

In retrospect, I should have known what to expect when I noticed that this guy is running for office. However the idiocy here is the interesting part. I mean, at some point, when you say to someone “You’re misunderstanding the theory” you expect them at least to pause and see why you are saying this. Can it be possible that yes, you are misunderstanding it? Apparently not.

I mean, I’m not asking people to suddenly be convinced, throw away their previous allegiances and become comrades, but I at least expect them to be capable of comprehension. This is not just to humor me, it’s in order to be able to have a rational conversation about the subject. When I discuss about Communism as a stateless, classless society and the other person means a totalitarian bureaucracy, then we’re obviously going to be talking past each other.

But when after all attempts to get on the same level, the other person refuses to budge, then I can only call this either Egregious Stupidity, or Deliberate Obtusity. In the case of our wannabe politician, I can only surmise that it’s the second, especially once he started calling me a “sophist without integrity” because he refused to understand a sentence, no matter how much I explained it.

But this obtusity is not only dishonest, but it really hold people back. Even if I am wrong about Communism, how do you expect to convince me if you simply refuse to understand what I’m saying? How can people decide on anything more than their current bias if both opponents act like this? It just becomes  a shouting match.

And unfortunately this is the sad state of politics everywhere. It seems much more beneficial for Politicians to misrepresent their opponent’s position and attack a strawman instead of actually discussing the subject. I guess this helps to retain their voting block as people who are content to vote once per 4 years (and call this farce “democracy”) don’t really want politicians who *gasp* actually change their minds.

And so, a kind of natural selection happens, where politicians act like this because people expect them to, and people start copying the debating style of politicians, because it seems “successful” (As in: you can say the last word in a debate). And this deliberate obtusity leads only to intellectual stagnation.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Why not try to change the system from within?

What is it with the people who have taken the road of compromisation to direct arrows or morality and condescention to those of us who have recognised it for the sham it is and choose to act appropriately? It is not the first time I’m reading this kind of appeal to emotion, but the difference is that this time the argument comes from a self-identified socialist who even flies and red and black flag.

So this latest argument (in Greek) basically says the following:

  1. Capitalism is bad and many of us struggle to topple it in favour of socialism.
  2. But realistically this will not happen within out lifetimes. If that is the case, why do we still struggle instead of just  living a normal life?
  3. Is it because we want to help the downtrodden nevertheless? But in that case, centrist politics are a better path since those have the possibility of making an actual change within our lifetimes.
  4. If you don’t want to follow centrist politics, it follows then that it must be because of your “egoistic idealism” which prevents compromise even though it would do more good within your lifetime.
  5. If then one does not expect his struggle to topple capitalism in his lifetime, and as a result of this knowledge does not turn to centrism, then they are a hypocritical idealist.

Unfortunately the author makes some pretty bold assumptions in here which I need to tackle.

It seems that a very main point of the author is point 2, (something which is later confirmed in the comments). But wether Capitalism will be toppled within our lifetime is irrelevant to wether one should struggle towards this purpose. The reason why I speak and take the appropriate actions against it is because it must be toppled eventually. It may not be within my lifetime but I can only hope that what I do and say will be the base on which others will step on to perhaps complete this task.

Further to this, it is practically impossible for any of us to know when Capitalism might die. None of us is a seer and if anything has been shown by history is that Capitalism is a very precarious system. Going from a stable Boom to a dangerous Bust within a few short years. And if the correct mindframe has not been cultivated when the Bust comes, then the opportunity is lost.

So if anything, not working towards the end of Capitalism through radical means, even when the system is stable, only ensures that the system will perpetuate.

Point 3 however is the largest objection I have to the whole thing. The assumption that working through parliamentary centrist channels will do more overall good than radical actions. The whole political history of the 20th century in the western nations is one of Socialist or Centrist parties trying to make the system better. What have they achieved? That the worst excesses of Capitalism will simply be migrated to areas outside of their “benevolent” influence (ie other nations), that the revolutionary movements at times of crises were safely defused by a few scraps thrown to them (via the same centrist parties) by a terrified capitalist class, that the situation in the world has nevertheless steadily grown worse.

No, the reformist parties are never a better solution. History has proven that much time and again.

What is the reason why me and others refuse to play this game? No it’s not utopian idealism, it is the knowledge that our energy would be better served elsewhere. Direct action for example is a 100 times more effective than parliamentarism. It is through direct action that every socialist change has happened, for which then the aforementioned parties have attempted to get credit. Leading by example, with cooperatives and takeovers is another.

There’s too many different ways that Capitalism can be undermined, and reformism is not one of them. If anything, the accusation of naive idealism should be directed back to those who call themselves socialists and yet support a course of action that has been proven, both in theory and in practice, to be actually helping the Capitalist system stay in place, rather than the opposite.

Of course, that is not to say that parliamentarism cannot have its uses. In some political systems for example, where non-voting counts for the winning party, it’s far better for radicals to simply vote for the most radical party that exists, or alternatively to simply create a new party for the purpose of removing the votes from the (usually two) ruling ones and to serve as an awareness vessel. Winning parliamentary seats is irrelevant as even if by stroke of luck it happens, it will not amount to anything.

In short no, even if Capitalism is not to be toppled within my lifetime, direct action from below is infinitely better than parliamentarism. Any emotional arguments to the contrary simply try to play people in supporting the lesser evil and perpetuate the status quo.

Further Reading

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Anarcho-Capitalists, pay attention! I will not tolerate your bullshit.

Anarcho-capitalist flag
Image via Wikipedia

To all anarcho-capitalists, Libertarians, Ron Paulites, Randroids and whoever else comes here to defend your idols and your ideologies, take heed of what I write here so that our discussions will be pleasant.

I have had enough twisting of truths, covered insults, elitism and outright lies to last me a lifetime so the buck stops here. Either shape up and follow the reasonable rules I lay here, or GTFO.

Lies

This is a big no-no, alright? The last thing I want to do is correct your blatant disregard for (historical) facts when you wish to make a point. This quote is sample of this cancer.

History has proven me correct in both instances. The freest country on earth became the most prosperous and every country that ever had communism or socialism has suffered great losses in productivity and the rise of authoritative forces. What has happened to Cuba since the revolution? What happened to Russia and China. Each of these countries was once considered wealthy and then they became communist. The systems broke down.

I can live with honest mistakes that come from simply being ignorant of some historical facts but phrases such as the above are unacceptable. The fact that it is painfully easy to verify its falsity only means that you are being deliberately dishonest in order to propagandize. And I do not care for that. If that’s what you’re after, go find out some Ron Paul drones to talk to.

Outright lies such as the above will be served with a warning the first time, and a ban the second. And even the warning is too much but I’m prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt in that you’re simply that ignorant. But be aware that if you are really so ignorant, you’d better get a clue. Quickly.

Finally get it into your thick heads that Correlation does not equal Causation

Yes I know that you think that everything good comes from Capitalism and everything bad from Socialism and the government but you have to understand that the world is a complex place. Your arguments simply boil down to “Any place that prospers must be because of Anarcho-Capitalism and any place that falters must be because of the government” and then look for facts to support this.

I have seen this more than enough times and I’m not impressed. Especially when someone points out a nation with a neoliberal policy which you’ve been praising for the last couple of years which when it failed, now suddenly you find out that the government did it. Why didn’t you say anything before?

This applies to the reverse of course, when you rush to blame Socialism (or whatever the fuck you think Socialism is) and the government for any failure, disregarding any and all external factors. Dictatorships in Africa? It has nothing to do with the US funding the dictators and everything to do with Socialism. US Economy failing? It has nothing to do with the last 30 years of neoliberal economics and all to do with Socialism/The Fed/The Government/Any other boogeyman.

You’re not convincing anyone but yourselves. If you’re going to make such an argument, you’re better off not commenting at all.

Read what I write, not what you think I mean.

When I say that Communism requires no government, I do not really mean “Communism requires government”. If you cannot understand how something might work without a government or another authority then ask! Do not assume that in this or that argument I must mean the government, jump to that conclusion and then accuse me in the same breath of being an authoritarian.

I have had enough of this shit.

If you show a failure to grasp this simple concept, once again you will get a warning and then a ban. I do not care to repeat myself all the time to someone who is unwilling to even read what I write in favour of his own preconceptions.

Know thy enemy

If you come here with the purpose to argue against Communism, you’d better have a clue on what it actually is. I have no intention of educating you as I go and there are quite a few books you can read. If all you’ve read is the Communist Manifesto, a propagandistic piece with as much detail as the Declaration of Independence, then you do not know Communism.

If you do display a blatant lack of knowledge of this aspect, I will most likely direct you to an article on my Misunderstanding Communism series that hopefuly dispels your misunderstanding or at least gives you my take on this issue. If you come after that and use the same goddamn argument you should have just read my refutation of, then you will get a warning. If you do not want to read what I’ve written on this subject, then you’re not here to discuss or learn, but to evangelize and you should GTFO!

I laugh at your courtier’s replies

When I criticize any argument you or one of your idols might make, I do not attempt to argue against your whole worldview. I simply refute what has been laid in front of me. If you then start quoting books that I should read before I can argue, I will just ignore them.

I can just as well suggest that you read anything I have in order to be able to argue with me, but this is simply absurd and we would never be able to converse. If you think an argument I make I wrong, point out the errors, do not suggest books and claim that they will convince me. I will not look at them.

The only way you can get me to possibly look at a book is to make coherent arguments which actually make sense so that my interest in raised in this topic. Then you can suggest a book that goes into detail on this matter and I will have an reason to check it out.

Finally

Since all of the above seem to be the bread & butter of anarcho-capitalists, a link will go to the Comment Policy to hopefully stop the inanity that has been spreading around here lately. If you do not like them, feel free to GTFO as you wouldn’t be adding anything to the conversation anyway. If you choose to ignore them in order to evangelize, then your hypocricy knows no bounds, you stalwart protectors of private property.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

How bipartisanism erodes society

Two Danish flags a-flutterThere’s quite a bit or worrying lately in Europe about the creeping Islamization that is occurring. We are seeing the slow buildup of tensions between the values that most European hold and the barbaric ones proposed in the Qu’ran and the Hadith.

Many people, including me, are quite annoyed in the way that our governments and international bodies are not only caving in to Islamic demands, but are actually protecting their hateful doctrine. Instead of seeing a strong secular opposition to the demands of religious extremists, they are given even more rights and more entitlements than any other European.

What most appals me is how the politicians who are supposedly representing us, instead cater to the religious extremist vocal minority, simply because it’s a very nice chunk of a voting block. Now that wouldn’t be much a problem if our republics were working as they should, as these pandering leaders could simply be voted out, but this is not really happening.

The same parties who at one point decide to pander to religion, end up simply getting re-elected, if not in the next election, at the one after that. Why? Because people will still vote them up, no matter what they do. It’s because people do not vote with their mind and based on previous events. They vote with tradition.

This is one the biggest failing of the bipartisan system most countries have ended up with.

  • You have two political parties that are neck-to-neck in each election. This is because the largest part of the electoral body traditionally votes for the same party and most are under the impression that not voting either, is the same as voting for the opposition.
  • Because these parties are so close in vote-count and because the traditional members of each cannot be swayed, the only ones who can tip the scales are the undecided voters.
  • Politicians thus tend to focus on appeasing what looks like the largest party of undecided which might make the difference in the next election.
  • The vocal minorities, always look as if they have a much bigger sway and presense than reality.
  • Religious extremists tend to be very vocal.

And there you have it. When politicians and political parties know that your vote is certain, no matter what they do, they will not look into your interests. They will try to appeal to the people who’s votes are not certain to go in either way and since they know you won’t dare to do anything else than keep voting for them, they will erode your freedoms, your rights and your society to appease the undecided voters.

The bipartisan system does not work. It has shown it does not work in every country that has achieved it as the only thing that ends up happening is that power passes from one party to the other and society gets a little bit worse with each election.

In Europe, this situation becomes even worse now. With the insertion of Muslims as a voting block, the only way to appease them is to push your society closer and closer to Sharia law as they will inadvertently vote for the party that does.

It is this why I am absolutely opposed to voting for any party that acts or has acted like that in the past. I do not care if not voting for the lesser evil will lead the “larger evil” to take place. I’d rather vote with my conscience than be a party to the dissolution of my freedom.

If we, as Secularists do not withhold our votes from the politicians who will move us towards theocracy in their attempt to appease the very same people we oppose, then we are consigning simply to the slow death of our societies and our eventual marginalization.

And not only is it our duty not to vote for them, but we should be telling them loud and clear, before and after each election why they did not get our vote. Perhaps then they might start listening.

US Fascism rising

It still amazes me how American can stay so oblivious to the Fascist regime that is slowly taking over their country. To many Europeans who took even a bit of time to study the history of the previous century, this is brighter than the sun. All my new German friends have told me until now how they would never go to live in the US and I can perfectly understand that sentiment. Who would want to go and live in a Christianofascist regime?

But every time I visit the Digg or any other site where the percentage of US Americans patrons is large, on all political articles that are against the neo-fascist cons, there will be quite a few conservatives foaming at the mouth on how exagerated this whole thing is. Always!

As an outsider, I’m actually quite interested to see if how history will repeat itself. What “National emergency” will this, or the next goverment use to declare Martial law and start encarcerating Journalists and academics and doubly interested in seeing how will the internet be treated in all of this.

The funny thing is how much the new regime will be backed up by the corporate interests this time. It will certainly feed upon the populace instead of the neighbourghing countries as the Fascists and Nazis of last century did, as they will force them to become obedient little consumers. I’m guessing that the new Opium of choice will not be sports so much as rather Video games like addictive MMORPGS and such as they seem to be doing quite an excellent job in keeping people’s mind off politics.

It also saddens me to a degree. US, which started out as an excellent experiment in freedom has turned into a big clusterfuck of religion and capitalism. I would love to see an America leading the way in human rights and freedom and all the other stuff that most US residents are still deluding themselves that they do, but unfortunately they seem be be going down the drain at astonishing speed. I only hope that after they go down, they don’t take the rest of us with them in a last ditch effort to bring about the rapture (that will of course chose the rich neofascist-cons who crave for it)

Found at No Nore Mr. Nice Guy (Excellent blog. Start reading it, especially if you’re US American)

Θύματα

Μπράβο για ακόμη μια φορά θύματα, κορόϊδα έλληνες (με μικρό “ε”). Καταφέρατε να ξαναγβάλετε κυβέρνηση αυτούς που μέσα σε 3 χρόνια σας πήγανε 20 πίσω (δηλαδή τώρα πια, μετά τα 20 πίσω του ΠΑΣΟΚ, ζείτε στο 1967. Άλλη μια τέτοια ωραία, μαζί με τα φασισταριά του Καρατζαφέρη, και θα έχετε την Χούντα που τόσο φαίνεται να πωθείτε)

Πολύ χαίρομαι που δεν ζω πια μαζί σας ξεφτιλισμένοι κακομοίρηδες γιατί θα έκλαιγα την μοίρα μου να έχω συμπολίτες που είναι πολύ χαρούμενοι να καταστρέψουν ότι κερδίθηκε με κόπο από τους προηγούμενους ώστε να μπορέσει το παιδάκι τους να έχει καμία συμβασούλα (του κώλου).

Εύγε, και εις ανώτερα! Του χρόνου και με καθόλου δέντρα…

Και μετά ξέρετε ε…ΠΑΣΟΚ! Γιατί σε 4 χρόνια…ποιός θυμάται τι καφρίλες έκαναν εκείνοι πριν απο 7. Σίγουρα καλύτερα θα είναι απο τους ΝΔίτες ε;

Τίτλοι

Παίρνοντας την σκυτάλη απο εδώ, λέω να ενδυναμώσω μερικούς ορθότατους τίτλους για να χρησιμέψουν στις Google-αναζητήσεις μας. Έχουμε και λέμε λοιπόν…

Γεμίσε η Ελλάδα με ληστές και ψέυτες, αλλα μας δουλέβει και o καραγκιόζης, αλλά πιστέυω δεν πρέπει να ξεχνάμε τους απατεώνες.

Update: Απ’οτι φαίνεται, τα Google Bombs σαν το παραπάνω, δεν δουλέβουν πια. Κρίμα…