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Saying Is Doing

2017 June 2
by Mandos

(NOTE: POST BY MANDOS)

So. Trump has just announced his pullout from the Paris accords.

It doesn’t really matter whether the Paris accords actually did anything material or did anything material that was significant against climate change. What matters is that the Paris accords were the unifying symbol of public agreement that climate change was a thing. Trump’s move defaces that symbol. What he said does something. Insofar as that symbol is defaced, the probability of doing material things that might have an effect on the physical world is reduced, including saving whatever of human civilization can be saved, in extremis. If not reduced, then optimistically, changed — if it actually creates a galvanizing moment. Which it probably won’t, but we’ll see.

Saying is doing, symbols are at least as important as what is material, politics has limits as constricting as those of “nature,” assuming you believe in a false dualism and hierarchy between politics and the “natural” world.

134 Responses leave one →
  1. June 5, 2017

    Oh dear, fusion crackpottery.

  2. nihil obstet permalink
    June 5, 2017

    @Mandos

    I think there are some people in Congress who want to make our society better, but you give a good unvarnished statement of Democratic Party leadership thinking over the past generation — make false or misleading statements about what you will do during the election, don’t worry about making their lives better or worse once in office, and blame voters for insufficient loyalty if they hold you accountable. And justify it all with claims of pragmatism — we have to make your lives worse to keep them from being even more worse.

    There is one president who clearly and obviously helped the people and the society by making their lives better. He was elected 4 times, took his party from the minority prior to his first election to the majority, and that majority continued for a generation after his death. The “electorally fickle” voted consistently for the party who made their lives better. They quit voting for the party when it started collaborating in making their lives worse.

  3. June 5, 2017

    nihil obstet: Hagiography of particular figures (say, FDR) overlooks the particulars of the situation at the time. I never argued that you couldn’t havegood government — far from it — merely that this generation of American “guns-and-butter” leftists suffer from a kind of…”procedural narcissism”, for lack of a better term, that has rendered them politically irrelevant in ways that even the backfooted soft liberals they despise are not. And for this reason, we don’t have good government.

    I have listed ways you can work within the system or outside the system. No one has so far told me, given the sheer inability to get your preferred policies enacted (most of which I agree with, in case anyone forgets), how exactly you expect to obtain and exert power.

  4. realitychecker permalink
    June 5, 2017

    It seems like Mandos is forcing the rational left to support term limits?

  5. June 5, 2017

    Serious term limits applied across the board would probably require first reducing the number of levels in the American political hierarchy, among other things. And then you have the problem of, you know, getting politicians to vote for that…

  6. nihil obstet permalink
    June 5, 2017

    Mandos,

    Actually, many of us are “way-fewer-guns-but-lots-more-butter” leftists.

    We’re not looking for an activities director, but for good government. Just being active is not really a goal. Voting for people who sell you out is active, but I have not seen it lead to good government. The people in charge are in charge because they use power to make real opposition virtually impossible. If there were an easy way to effect the change we want, they would see it and close it down. Meanwhile, their courtiers preach precepts of loyalty to representatives who lie to and betray us and advise pragmatism as a mask for submission.

  7. June 5, 2017

    Actually, many of us are “way-fewer-guns-but-lots-more-butter” leftists.

    All included. By “guns-and-butter”, I mean it as shorthand for an overriding concern with measurable and observable aspects of foreign/military policy and physical violence and economic well-being, often to the near-exclusion of crucial intangibles, social processes, emotion, and yes, identity. And while many of you think that the latter has harmed and obstructed the former, I don’t believe the former can be done effectively without the latter.

    We’re not looking for an activities director, but for good government. Just being active is not really a goal. Voting for people who sell you out is active, but I have not seen it lead to good government. The people in charge are in charge because they use power to make real opposition virtually impossible. If there were an easy way to effect the change we want, they would see it and close it down.

    But I haven’t even seen a non-easy way proposed or attempted to effect those changes. A movement that purports to be about the masses finds it very difficult to articulate how it would snatch the masses from the clutches of the mass media. Now, Bernie Sanders did some of this work this time, but even he is considered too compromised — because he uses instruments available to him inside the system as well as out — by many of the people here.

    And what I have seen is huge areas of the obstacle, ones that seem very obvious to me, ignored or misdiagnosed, repeatedly. Like on Obamacare or on climate change. The intangible aspects of how people see themselves in relation to these policy choices are ignored, any discussion of them associated with “betrayal”. But those are the common denominators for success in getting policies enacted, either within the system or through movement politics outside the political system.

    Meanwhile, their courtiers preach precepts of loyalty to representatives who lie to and betray us and advise pragmatism as a mask for submission.

    *shakes head* You are trapped in a binary thought process that rejects the possibility of opportunity or leverage within the system. Fine, even though I don’t really agree, I understand what led to that, I watched it. Of course, there are very powerful interests within the system acting against you. But FDR worked within the system (he was president!), and other successful mass movements had a kind of pincer-like operation, working the system from within and organizing mass movement politics from without. The guns-and-butter left represented here and at NC and so on are the only significant left-wing constituency that rejects both within-system activity and has no “pull” from outside the system.

  8. Hugh permalink
    June 5, 2017

    As Mandos goes along, his “saying is doing” takes on a more Orwellian “war is peace” “freedom is slavery” “ignorance is strength” tone. And we are to accept all this because as the Borg say, “Resistance is futile.”

    I can’t help thinking of the Emperor’s New Clothes. In the Mandosian version of this story, if the emperor says he is clothed, even when he is stark naked, then he is clothed because the emperor is the emperor, and he has courts and an army. The kid who states the obvious gets vilified for his lack of realism by a crowd of Mandos lookalikes.

  9. different clue permalink
    June 5, 2017

    @Willy,

    Why would the CEOs of Exxon, GE, Chevron and SpaceX all be against Trump on this?

    Because they fear that Trump will kick off the kind of Blue Rebel Bluelash that will lead to a much faster and deeper decarbonization than what the CEOs of Exxon, GE, Chevron and SpaceX all want to see.

  10. June 5, 2017

    Re ‘fusion crackpottery’:

    From “In the race for fusion, a dark horse takes the lead” , dailykos article @ http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/3/8/1071933/-In-the-race-for-fusion-a-dark-horse-takes-the-lead

    “illions have been spent, with more budgeted. Currently a number of large governmental programs are working on the problem. Among these are the Z-pinch machine at Sandia Labs (as big as a large house; final cost more than $1 billion); the National Ignition Facility, or NIF (as big as a football stadium, cost around $4 billion); and ITER, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (housed in dozens of buildings on a 100-acre campus and projected to cost $20 billion).

    And then there’s Lawrenceville Plasma Physics (LPP), a startup company working out of a small lab in New Jersey. With a budget of about $0.001 billion, they have built an experimental fusion device that could fit inside your spare bedroom.

    Care to guess which of these has achieved the hottest temperatures so far?”

    I spoke to Lerner when he came to Newark, NJ to participate in a demonstration. He described what seemed to me to be an engineering problem as the holdup, which (I assumed) material scientists could fix for him.

    Pretentious people, who know next to nothing about what pass judgement on, don’t impress me. Creative problem solvers like Lerner do impress me.

    It really is a collective insanity not to support efforts like his.

  11. nihil obstet permalink
    June 5, 2017

    Mandos,

    We do not seem to be understanding each other. Your post was that “Saying is doing”, but you seem to be following up with the argument that every saying that is not DNC-approved is wrong because it doesn’t do anything. Saying single-payer in 2008 wasn’t movement towards single-payer; the saying would have doomed the legislators to doing nothing. Evoking history with FDR is hagiography, which doesn’t usually carry positive connotations. Well, we had a great Democratic Party convention in which the president most invoked was Reagan! If saying is doing, that’s some bad action there. To me, that’s incoherent. Every situation calls for judgment as to what is possible, what can advance our goals, and what is counterproductive. All I’m seeing in your judgment is what does the Democratic Party leadership want?

    Do I need to explain why I don’t understand labeling voters as “electorally fickle” when there’s a 96% reelection rate? Nor the argument that legislators face a terrible risk if they serve voters? Nor do I quite understand the position that if we all keep voting for people who support bad policy, we’ll be working in the system and this will lead to good policy. I don’t really understand the two points of your binary hypothesis — either vote for someone you don’t want or reject the possibility of working within the system. I bet if you think really hard, you could come up with some other possibilities. I admit that actively demonstrating, writing letters, signing petitions, tabling at events, visiting legislators’ offices, supporting groups for good policy, and the like don’t make much headway or headlines, but at least we can work for what we want rather than encouraging what we don’t want. It is counterproductive to think of most people as either totally fickle and/or simpleminded Manicheans.

  12. Peter permalink
    June 5, 2017

    @Metamars

    I toured the z-machine while I was studying pulse power at Sandia Labs and they have made many advances since then. I don’t know much about Lerner’s big science in a small box concept but if it could be made to function as an electric power source it would probably destroy the world economy.

  13. MojaveWolf permalink
    June 5, 2017

    Before I read anything new since last I was in this thread (i.e. anything that can tick me off and change my mind about posting this), I want to give (sincere, non-joking, non-sarcastic) props of a sort to Mandos. So if this comment seems completely disjointed from anything around it, I apologize to all, and if it is followed up immediately by another post that reads more like “die, lying scum” do not be surprised (I don’t actually expect to say that latter, mind you, just giving a heads up for the possibility).

    A conversation w/a friend this weekend brought to mind another conversation about a year ago, wherein she said she caught Ann Coulter defending her newest book on a live talk show on one of the primarily Spanish Language channels (Univision? Long time ago, can’t recall, doesn’t really matter right now) and while she disagreed with nearly everything Coulter had to say, she had to give her credit for guts. And I recall Bill Maher saying a similar thing about Coulter’s repeated visits to his show.

    In both cases, I agree absolutely. Whatever else you want to say about Coulter, she has guts.

    Likewise, while some of Mandos’ posts are more likely to get a mixed response, this one and some of the other posts which amount to “love our status quo leaders because they are doing the best you can hope for and the alternative is worse” are pretty much guaranteed to get a negative response. He’s not stupid and presumably realizes this. Posting something on a blog for people you’ve never seen and probably never will see to take issue with is not quite the same as going on live TV with a whole bunch of people who for good reason feel you just insulted them and are inclined to hate you and boo everything you say only a few feet away, but it still takes a certain willingness to step into the line of fire.

    And also, if one can keep one’s temper, the arguments are good sparring practice. =)
    (yes, it’s different from actual sparring, in that these are for public consumption and if people bought them hook line and sinker some of us–like me!–might believe they could help shape the world in horrible ways, but again, it’s not like this sort of thing isn’t being said by others to more receptive audiences, so might as well know what’s out there and what you’re up against)

    So, however wrongheaded I may think he and his comments are, however much I wonder whether he can possibly believe some of his assertions, however much I am uncertain about his good intentions, I will give him props for being willing to stick his neck out in front of a guaranteed-to-be-hostile audience. Having done this a few times myself in the past, I can assure you, it’s not usually fun to be the person everyone is glaring at and calling names (or insinuating bad things about, which is more or less the same thing)(unless you just enjoy trolling, and I don’t *think* that is what he’s doing).

    Do not expect to see me post anything like this again. That is all.

  14. June 5, 2017

    As Mandos goes along, his “saying is doing” takes on a more Orwellian “war is peace” “freedom is slavery” “ignorance is strength” tone. And we are to accept all this because as the Borg say, “Resistance is futile.”

    Walk and chew gum.

    I can’t help thinking of the Emperor’s New Clothes. In the Mandosian version of this story, if the emperor says he is clothed, even when he is stark naked, then he is clothed because the emperor is the emperor, and he has courts and an army. The kid who states the obvious gets vilified for his lack of realism by a crowd of Mandos lookalikes.

    I take it from these invidious comparisons that you don’t actually have anything. The little boy in the Emperor’s New Clothes story had something: the story ends with the emperor being ridiculed. Here you are, having called the emperor naked at the top of your voice for years and years. You don’t have to convince the “crowd of Mandos lookalikes”, you have to convince the rest of the crowd.

    But the rest of the crowd is already perfectly aware that the emperor is naked and has already been saying so. The problem is, they’re not convinced you’re not any less naked, or that you in your clad state are not merely dressed like clowns — and how you’re going to do that is what I’ve been asking for literally years.

  15. June 5, 2017

    I don’t have much of a head for economics, so can’t begin to comprehend why the world economy would take a hit. As for a recent comparison of fusion technologies, both neutronic and aneutronic, see ‘The New Fusion Race’ series on the youtube channel ‘LPP Fusion’ @ https://www.youtube.com/user/LPPfusion.

  16. June 5, 2017

    MojaveWolf: Thanks for the note of appreciation 🙂 This is all actually quite mild and polite. I have been through much worse bloggy meat-grinders, to say the least.

  17. June 5, 2017

    We do not seem to be understanding each other. Your post was that “Saying is doing”, but you seem to be following up with the argument that every saying that is not DNC-approved is wrong because it doesn’t do anything.

    I don’t know where the DNC came into this. I don’t care what the DNC says. It’s a crappy organization. I have no demand that you seek approval from the DNC.

    Saying single-payer in 2008 wasn’t movement towards single-payer; the saying would have doomed the legislators to doing nothing. Evoking history with FDR is hagiography, which doesn’t usually carry positive connotations. Well, we had a great Democratic Party convention in which the president most invoked was Reagan! If saying is doing, that’s some bad action there. To me, that’s incoherent. Every situation calls for judgment as to what is possible, what can advance our goals, and what is counterproductive. All I’m seeing in your judgment is what does the Democratic Party leadership want?

    No: I am telling you, re-assess why it is that single-payer did not have traction among the legislative class. The reasons why are manifold and some of it has to do with rank corruption…but some of it has to do with the fact that many of them did not think that they could be re-elected on it. I am suggesting that you consider why they might think that.

    They might think that because, even though polling shows that a lot of Americans support the idea that they personally could get government care when the question is taken out of context, there are a lot of social conflicts and beliefs about the world that would back then have stopped from voting for someone who tore up the existing structure of private insurance in one fell swoop. And that something needed to be passed in the interim that had the spirit of admitting that expanded access and insurance for the uninsurable was a desirable goal, to get over the mental “hump”.

    And that is what Obamacare has done, and why it is so hard for the Republicans to come up with a coherent replacement. For all its many faults. I say this without any attention or reference to “what the DNC wants” — or whatever boogeyman you’ve constructed.

    Do I need to explain why I don’t understand labeling voters as “electorally fickle” when there’s a 96% reelection rate? Nor the argument that legislators face a terrible risk if they serve voters?

    It is not voters as such. Voters are not at all fickle. It is voters of your ilk, but more importantly, a social movement that cannot be counted upon to support a political career when the politician in question must do politics. No one wants, if they can help it, to rise on a shaky scaffold. And this entire line of argument is mere demonstration of how shaky that scaffold is!

    … I admit that actively demonstrating, writing letters, signing petitions, tabling at events, visiting legislators’ offices, supporting groups for good policy, and the like don’t make much headway or headlines, but at least we can work for what we want rather than encouraging what we don’t want. It is counterproductive to think of most people as either totally fickle and/or simpleminded Manicheans.

    I think these are all great ideas, but they will only have an effect if they can either steer the behaviour of elected politicians or supplant them. And the problem is, in all the years since Obama was first elected, I see a subset of online progressives, represented here, who have had an impact far smaller than their passion would indicate.

  18. June 5, 2017

    Why would the CEOs of Exxon, GE, Chevron and SpaceX all be against Trump on this?

    Because they fear that Trump will kick off the kind of Blue Rebel Bluelash that will lead to a much faster and deeper decarbonization than what the CEOs of Exxon, GE, Chevron and SpaceX all want to see.

    I think this is fervently to be hoped, but if it is true, it crucially depends on the psychological expectation created by the signing of the Paris accords. If it is true, it depends on something like the Paris accords, as cosmetic as it may be in truth, to have existed. I’ll say it yet again: saying is doing.

  19. MojaveWolf permalink
    June 5, 2017

    Speaking of what I just said about our guest poster can actually believe some of what he says, The fundamental problem is that y’all are trapped in a rather optimistic framework that there is actually an underlying public demand for the policies you like, and that the establishment is actually trying to pretend to deliver those policies via cheap and/or deliberately counterproductive substitutes.

    The underlying demand is there. And you say we rely too much on polls and surveys, well, some of us actually live here, and know what even our Republican-voting neighbors say about some of this stuff, and it backs up our beliefs. You have nothing but assertions that things are really different on the ground from the surveys (that we are on the ground and you are not seeming to somehow be irrelevant from your point of view) and other assertions which amount to saying “because X is all that has been done, we must assume X is all that can be done and all attempts to do not-X will fail” which just . . . again, I question your sincerity. You are not stupid. I’ve seen corporate defense litigators who get paid 6-7 figures a year do this sort of thing less well than you, so there’s no way you don’t see the inherent flaws in your premise. Trump (and before him, Reagan) are great at pushing policies that radically change the existing orders, yet, for democrats, this is fundamentally impossible? Even if the polls backed you up instead of us, what do you think the point of leadership IS? Part of it is, when you think something is important, going to bat for it and persuading others. You cannot possibly believe that all good leaders are supposed to persuade their constituents to repeatedly accept the least-good variant in all given situations, because to strive for more might mean failure? By that logic toddlers would never learn to walk, and it really is EXACTLY what it repeatedly sounds like you are saying people on the left/liberal/democratic side of the spectrum should not only accept, but support. This is guaranteed built-in failurism.

    What needs to be addressed is how people feel, in sum — only then can one potentiate “real” action.

    Okay, here we agree. So why are you defending people who seem to address how people feel only to go out of their way to AVOID “real” action? That doesn’t potentiate anything; it more has the effective of strangling potential in the crib. And then insulting those who push for real action as being unrealistic? (I’m not just talking about you, but also Obama, Hillary and most of the DNC types) This is not trying to shape opinion to get things done, it’s trying to shape opinions to make sure nothing gets done.

    (and I realize I’m way behind on the comments but gotta go y’all have fun!)

  20. Tom W Harris permalink
    June 5, 2017

    There’s a category error goin’ on here. Y’all are expecting truth from a poster who is speaking power to truth. Stripped of its fake profundity, his message is basically “Shuddup, siddown, and eat yer shit. And if yer reeeeeeaally nice, we’ll let you suck us off for dessert.”

  21. June 6, 2017

    @Mandos “Their first priority, once they’ve figured out the system, is usually to be part of the 96% re-elected.”

    Yes, but that’s not an iron rule of Nature. Benjamin Yee has revealed relative effectiveness of different means of affecting Congress critters. You probably need to take one of his courses to get a crystal clear exposition, but in the meantime, one can make do with a video he posted on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BenYeeNY/videos/1866044397048574/ .

    Yee has created a systematic,crowd-funded way to address one of the strategies he recommends via the benefit corporation that offers shiftspark.com, but it’s clearly not being widely utilized. I saw only groups organized around a whopping 2 issues.

    One of the few highly effective methods that Yee recommends (and that he praised the Tea Party for utilizing, even though he’s a Democrat) is primary challengers. My own baby, votersrevenge.org, was created with this strategy primarily in mind (though I wasn’t aware of Yee at the time). Like shiftspark, there was little support (almost none, actually). I put that project on the shelf last summer, only recently adding code to trick it into believing it’s in the past, when its electoral data was current. It’s still not ready for prime time (unlike shiftspark), so is basically a proof of concept.

    Not supporting (and/or creating similar) projects such as shiftspark.com and votersrevenge.org make about as much sense to me as not supporting Eric Lerner’s Focus Fusion, who has gotten the most fusion bang for the research buck of anybody.

    Effectiveness?? Research productivity?? Who needs these, when we can have endless debates on the internet, instead…..

  22. Hugh permalink
    June 6, 2017

    Mandos comes up with an idiotic premise that “saying is doing” to defend a totally corrupt and unresponsive system. There is no logic in anything he says, no evidence, just loads and loads of bad faith and intellectual dishonesty. And no, believing in shit that any ordinary person can see through does not equate to good faith or honesty. We like to accord the presumption that even if somebody is mistaken, they are at least striving after some truth, but I do not think this is the case with Mandos. He is basically propping up a rotten system and criticizing the rest of us for not giving it our support, and at the same time, sneering at our impotence because we haven’t overthrown it. What this illustrates for me is the divide between reformers and revolutionaries. You can not reform a thoroughly corrupt system, and Mandos’ Orwellian riffs show just how far he has to go, and is willing to go, to justify the current system. But no matter how much he buffs the turd, it’s still shit. And as history as shown, revolutions are always impossible until they happen. Among the first who are swept away by them are the hapless, useless reformers who should have known better, but who lacked the courage to, and refused to when it mattered.

  23. realitychecker permalink
    June 6, 2017

    @ Hugh

    Word.

    @ MojaveWolf

    Props to you for sincerely defending the marketplace of ideas concept. Mandos presents the extreme test of the concept, IMO. The danger is that some will be tempted to swallow his most ridiculous reasoning, just because he uses a lot of big words and convoluted sentence structure to make himself look smart (and, of course, he is a certain kind of smart to be such a good spinner).

    I am reminded of the old legal maxim that hard cases make bad law lol.

  24. June 6, 2017

    MojaveWolf:

    The underlying demand is there. And you say we rely too much on polls and surveys, well, some of us actually live here, and know what even our Republican-voting neighbors say about some of this stuff, and it backs up our beliefs.

    I was living in the USA at the time of the Obamacare debate and had intimate exposure (as a patient) to some of the problems with the US health insurance system. I also had numerous conversations with my USian neighbours, colleagues, friends. I’m pretty sure I know something of what I speak.

    “because X is all that has been done, we must assume X is all that can be done and all attempts to do not-X will fail”

    I did not make this argument. I have argued, from the beginning, and for years, in essence that the “political radar” of US guns-and-butter leftists for what opportunities there are and what there aren’t is somehow oddly broken.

    Trump (and before him, Reagan) are great at pushing policies that radically change the existing orders, yet, for democrats, this is fundamentally impossible?

    Yes: the American right runs circles around the left in terms of taking advantage of political opportunities presented by cultural, social, and emotional conflicts. That is in part because it does not scruple to destroy — you have much greater freedom if your goal is to destroy, to break, to take apart. Which is why the slowness at which they have approached their plan to take away what small material good (but incalculable for those it affected) was done by Obamacare is so remarkable. But the American left is not only hobbled by the limits posed by a constructive ethic — something it cannot avoid considering its goals — but apparently also by the “procedural narcissism” I mentioned above.

    Even if the polls backed you up instead of us, what do you think the point of leadership IS? Part of it is, when you think something is important, going to bat for it and persuading others. You cannot possibly believe that all good leaders are supposed to persuade their constituents to repeatedly accept the least-good variant in all given situations, because to strive for more might mean failure?

    No, at least part of the point the point of leadership is to see opportunities or to create them when you can. This whole discussion essentially started from a disagreement on what the opportunity presented by things like the Paris agreement, by Obamacare, etc, really is. I certainly don’t see recognition of those opportunities as failure. The opportunity being: overcoming a psychological speedbump, so to speak. I know that some of you instead view it as blocking an opportunity that already existed. I don’t agree that that opportunity already existed, I think, whatever the intentions of its creators, that Obamacare etc made opportunities.

    Okay, here we agree. So why are you defending people who seem to address how people feel only to go out of their way to AVOID “real” action?

    You want leaders who take a certain kind of political risk in a system that is designed specifically not to encourage the development of that kind of leader. Because that exceptional leader has not appeared, you therefore want to, to use the cliché, take your marbles and go home. That’s what I see this whole line of discussion as being.

    I don’t subscribe to Great Man theories of history and do not want to wait for the right kind of Maximum Leader who will sweep away the vested interests, etc, to persuade people to want better things. But judging by the ritual references to FDR and the New Deal, I have gotten the strong impression that that’s exactly what people are holding out for: the Great Man who will change history. My theory of history is more old-school leftist, depending on social conditions and systems and institutions, but I add a touch of culture.

  25. June 6, 2017

    There’s a category error goin’ on here. Y’all are expecting truth from a poster who is speaking power to truth.

    If I had a magic wand that could delete one item from the vocabulary of expressions from the economic-populist left, it would be “speaking truth to power.” Newsflash: power doesn’t care. That’s why it’s power…

  26. June 6, 2017

    And as history as shown, revolutions are always impossible until they happen. Among the first who are swept away by them are the hapless, useless reformers who should have known better, but who lacked the courage to, and refused to when it mattered.

    To…what? I keep asking this and getting no answer. I list the possibilities, and no one has any idea, except to kvetch that single payer wuz robbed by Obamacare. OK, you won’t vote for Democrats. Fine. I respect, by the way, a principled stand against voting as such, because representative democracy, in case you hadn’t noticed, is an oxymoron. But is that what it is? Checking out? Or is the plan something more up close and personal, like just convincing your friends. OK, I respect that too, but it is kind of like showing up, as Sean Connery put it in a film IIRC, like showing up with a knife to a gunfight. But then, why all this gnashing of teeth?

  27. realitychecker permalink
    June 6, 2017

    @ Mandos

    Your critics here just don’t think that the antidote to a system created by relentless disingenuous bullshit spinning is best replaced by additional relentless disingenuous bullshit spinning.

    Even if you think you are so cute when you are doing it.

  28. Ché Pasa permalink
    June 6, 2017

    This is the problem. RC et al have no replacement for the bullshit — except more bullshit and projection.

    They’re desperately waiting/hoping for someone else to come up with a solution to their anxieties — so they can sit online and criticize it, call names, and obsess on what other people do or don’t do.

    This is one reason why the intertubes are such valuable tools to the Overclass. Nothing much can happen to change things for the better so long as enough people can be kept arguing and insulting one another in cyberspace — and out of mischief in meatspace.

    Genius.

  29. June 6, 2017

    Well, you know, I’d just settle for not shooting the messenger not ascribing bad faith because someone disagrees with you.

  30. Tom W Harris permalink
    June 6, 2017

    Newsflash: power doesn’t care. That’s why it’s power…

    As you skillfully demonstrate with every post or comment you write.

  31. June 6, 2017

    As you skillfully demonstrate with every post or comment you write.

    Suuuure fiiiine. I mean, do you want change? It requires getting power…

  32. June 6, 2017

    I mean all this for a disagreement on the order in which particular change is supposed to arrive, not even on the desired change itself.

  33. nihil obstet permalink
    June 7, 2017

    I don’t subscribe to Great Man theories of history and do not want to wait for the right kind of Maximum Leader who will sweep away the vested interests, etc, to persuade people to want better things. But judging by the ritual references to FDR and the New Deal, I have gotten the strong impression that that’s exactly what people are holding out for: the Great Man who will change history. My theory of history is more old-school leftist, depending on social conditions and systems and institutions, but I add a touch of culture.

    We’re so far from being able even minimally to understand each other’s written English that I decided that further discussion was simply wasting our time, pending some way of understanding how we’re getting from one sentence to the next. However, I want to stand up for heroes.

    There’s a reason why the Republican Party launched a project to rename federal buildings, highways, airports, and infrastructure after a third-rate senile old man who presided over a criminal arms-drugs enterprise: one way you persuade people of your viewpoint and inspire them to support your goals is by holding up models for emulation. At a bad disadvantage with the party of Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Johnson, the Republicans rewrote history and popularity to turn a corporate salesman with a genial air into a symbol of individual wealth and freedom. Who else did they have? Hoover? Nixon? Eisenhower, who ordered troops into Little Rock to enforce the Supreme Court’s ruling on integration?

    And there are reasons why we argue over the place of the founding fathers and why there are currently efforts to remove statues of Confederate leaders from public spaces and objections to doing so.

    And it’s the reason that we should invoke FDR, and the reason that Democratic Party leaders should not sign on to goo-gooing over Ronald Reagan as they did at last year’s national convention. I also invoke Frederick Douglas, Susan B. Anthony, Eugene Debs, Michael Harrington, and many others. It is an example of our inability to understand each other’s viewpoint that you see this as waiting for the second coming of some great man to solve all problems. I’m trying to say that these are models that we and our elected officials should aspire to, and that promoting the models is far more effective in motivating our fellow citizens than asking them to support cautious politicians whose currency is back-room deals.

  34. June 7, 2017

    My criticism was not about heroes to inspire the masses — it was about using FDR as a model of how to get things done, without taking into account the conditions under which he did it. I think you overstate the extent to which we are failing to communicate, however.

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