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Gender: Male
Hometown: Minnesota
Home country: US
Current location: Minneapolis
Member since: Fri Mar 11, 2011, 03:20 PM
Number of posts: 33,688

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A modernized version of feudalism

has always been the endgame for the plutocracy, going all the way back to the Gilded Age. In the US it has been given an especially nasty twist - in its American variant, feudalism imposes no responsibilities whatsoever on the "aristocracy" to protect any peasants, even their own.

In historical feudalism the lord of the manor had an obligation to protect "his" peasants from the depradations of rivals or maurauding bands on masterless knights. The same went for the antebellum south. If a plantation-owning slaveholder wanted to realize any profit from his plantation he had to at least keep his slaves fed and fit to work the fields lest the cotton rot.

It may go too far to say that the plutocracy has found a way to improve on feudalism or the antebellum "way" but it may not. The plutocracy wants all of the "advantages" of feudalism or the antebellum South with none of the reciprocal obligations, such as they were, to the lower classes.

The plutocracy wants a system where the unruly masses can be (1) culled; (2) virtually enslaved; (3) forced to procreate enough to keep enough serfs around to be exploited as labor and especially as cannon fodder so that the imperial goal of world domination can be realized, or at the least, attempted. Yet they do not want to spend even a penny to "care" for their slaves.

Great piece, Mr. S., as always.

In a post-Citizens United world, every election is rigged.

Not necessarily by funny business with voting machines, which I am sure exists and will continue to exist, especially in very close elections, but by money.

The fascist plutocrats are willing to spend however many billions it takes to catapult the lies and propaganda. Given the percentage of the electorate that is very low-information or just plain to-the-bone bigoted and/or stupid, it is, for the most part, easier to manipulate these sorry sheeple than to rig the mechanisms of voting themselves and lower risk. It is merely a cost of doing business, which will be handily recouped many times over once they have complete control and can finish their looting the 99%.

What can be done to reverse or stop this? As far as I can see at this moment, not one thing, for when money is speech, the rich can easily drown out everyone else and when there is such a significant uninvolved/imbecile segment of the electorate more than willing to be led to their own slaughter and resistant to any form of facts the tool of reason is a very small slingshot indeed.

It isn't a lot of DUers. And everyone knows who they are.

If it must be said, her "crew" included Seabeyond and redqueen most prominently. When any one of the three attacked another DUer, and I think of Neoma and La Lioness Priyanka as prime examples, the others were always there to immediately pile on. Read the history right here in the archives. Way beyond uncool.

Meanings in language and theoretical physics.

Some will say that words have no fixed meanings, and are therefore subject to infinite malleability. In a deeply epistomological sense may be true, just as quantum physicists say that matter as we commonly think of it has no meaning. But a quantum physicist will never deny that the laws of Newtonian physics govern the way we see, touch, and otherwise interact with the world. Newton's genius was in explaining how things we see and do every way work in terms of mathematical laws that expressed those everyday phenomena. People cannot observe quantum phenomena, so even if they are weirdly random, which they almost surely are, they don't affect everyday life in any detectable way. (I am not even going to try to get into string theory here.) Therefore Newtonian physics still govern the way humans see the world; any serious theoretical physicist will not only admit, but tell you that we live our daily lives in a Newtonian world no matter what is happening on the quantum level.

In language a similar paradigm exists. Unless we accept a basic premise that words have a meaning which is commonly intelligible amongst speakers of the language in which they are expressed, communication is impossible. When someone repeatedly attempts to redefine the commonly understood English word "dog" as representing an animal that looks like this

or this

meaningful communcation about the nature and characteristics of dogs is no longer possible within the framework of the English language. There are people who attempt to do just that very thing in many areas of thought. It is not just a foolish exercise, it is a deeply disconnected and/or pointless exercise. Consider the way the reichwing/freepers attempt to words like "freedom" and "liberty" to mean something wholly unrecognizable to those with a normal understanding of those terms. There are self-identified "radical feminists" who play exactly the same sort of redefinition games as the freepers and reichwingers.

Deliberately removing yourself from the overarching paradigm governing discourse in a given language results only in the speaking of gibberish. When one chooses to absent oneself fromthat overarching paradigm can be valid if one is a linguist or a French philosopher, and in those contexts it is a valid thought experiment, much like spinning out string theory is for theoretical physicists and cosmologists. Trying to make a logical argument in everyday discourse while doing the same thing is doomed from the start as an exercise in failure. So there is really no point in arguing with those who do.

I had to slog through MacKinnon and Dworkin in my last year of law school because my senior paper was in part a deconstruction of their "philosophy," if such nonsense deserves that label, as it applied to constitutional law. (I got an A, BTW). I had to understand this crap, to the extent that it can be understood given its often insane redefinitions of common words and utter inability to come to terms with some very basic and primal aspects of human nature (i.e., sexual attraction), to be able to effectively critique it. It was horseshit then and it is horseshit now. In addition to distorting the English language in ways that resemble nothing so much as a funhouse mirror, their work is the worst English prose I have read this side of Ayn Rand, and is every bit as didactic, humorless and ultimately content-free.

In other words, when you throw away all the entirety of the framework of the operative paradigm, you no longer have anything meaningful to say to anyone who is within the paradigm - in this case that of language -to anyone else. And all anyone has to do to understand why is read Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions or some Michael Walzer.

Furthermore, to claim as Dworkin did (no I don't remember the specific article - I read it more than twenty years ago, though this claim stuck with me) that the way in which mammalian genitalia evolved through countless millennia has a causal relationship to the establishment and perpetuation of the patriarchy - which does exist, just look at the Abrahamic religions and their poisonous legacy - is to enter the realm of genuinely psychotic delusion. Had the evolution of mammalian genitalia followed some non-penetrative Dworkin-prescribed course, mammalian life presumably would have died out millennia ago and primates would never have evolved.

Dworkin was a desparately, profoundly mentally ill woman who mananged to pull off the remarkable trick of being mistaken by some delusional ax-grinders for a philosopher. If Andrea Dworkin was a philosopher, I am Gaius Julius Caesar. She was not, is not, and never will be someone any thinking person can take seriously.
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