Comments Posted By bsjones
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The Posner Challenge

Thanks Mr. Posner. I am in complete agreement with your position. That's a 360 for me from my first post on this blog.This "vile sodomite" is checking out.

Thanks for all the fish.

Comment Posted By bsjones On 13.05.2009 @ 14:38

IS THE GOP ANTI-SCIENCE? OR JUST ANTI-RATIONALIST?

Imagine you are a candidate in a debate to be the Republican nominee for President. You think evolution might come up in the questioning. How do you suppose your handler will instruct you to answer the question?

Comment Posted By bsjones On 12.05.2009 @ 01:34

THE ENDURING POPULARITY OF STAR TREK

Rick,
It is possible for Marx to share the belief that Man is basically good with the Enlightenment and not be part of the Enlightenment. Another example of someone not part of the Enlightenment that shares this belief in man's basic goodness is Rousseau. Rousseau is widely considered part of the Romanticism movement. Romanticism is usually seen as a reaction against the Enlightenment, yet Rousseau sees man as basically good and corrupted by society and private property in particular.
"The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said "This is mine," and found people naive or stupid enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody." Rousseau 1754

In other words, not every political philosopher who believes that man is basically good is an Enlightenment thinker.

My point about the belief in the innate goodness of man had nothing to do with where the idea should be credited. The point was that believing that man is basically good leads to political philosophies that tend toward libertinism and injustice. A political philosophy that acknowledges that the seeds of good AND evil lie in the heart of man (like Madison's does)leads to some checks on power. Those checks on power have the ability to mitigate against injustice.

You are right about the words "scientific socialism" being used by Engels and not Marx. However, Marx did very much believe that his socialist utopia was inevitable. A more careful writer than myself would have said, " For Marx a socialist utopia is gonna happen. It is just a matter of when. And how can we help it arrive sooner."

Comment Posted By bsjones On 9.05.2009 @ 05:55

I always thought Roddenberry accepted one of the fundamental tenets of Marxism: Man is basically good and it is ill conceived social organization that warps man's innate goodness, thus, creating the problems we see in the real world. Organize society properly by removing the "warping" influence and a Utopia is the natural outcome for both Marx and Roddenberry.

Another similarity is the child-like teleology involved in Marx and implied in Star Trek with regard to Utopia. For Marx scientific socialism is gonna happen. The question is when. And can we help it along? In Trek some civilizations are not ready for the Federation. At least not yet, but when they are (and they will be) we will come back.

Reagan conservatism is also overly optimistic about the nature of man. Remove the warping hand of government from the market and from peoples lives and "maximized", "efficient" outcomes for markets and people are assured. Government just has to get out of the way. Utopia will follow.

Simple minded narratives about human nature follow us through history whether advanced by Rousseau, Marx, Reagan, or Roddenberry. More accurate descriptions of man's true nature and its full range of possibilities can be found in Shakespeare, the Christian Bible, and the political philosophy of many of our own "Founding Fathers".

James Madison was both teleological and an optimist about America's ability to rule the world. About the innate goodness of man, not so much. Man is power hungry. Man will abuse man for profit and pleasure. The place where men can abuse power the most and create the most injustice towards other men is in the sphere of politics. Therefore politicians had to be thwarted by other equally powerful men. Each avaricious man attacking and trying to limit the power of other power hungry avaricious men. In other words, checks and balances.

That was Madison. That was 1787.

Who are the most powerful men today?
Who has the power to place "checks and balances" on the most powerful and avaricious men of today?
What would happen if politicians decided to work on behalf of these "most powerful and avaricious" men?
What would motivate politicians to work on behalf of these men instead of "We the People"?
Are these powerful men "King Makers"?
Do they have the ability to destroy a presidency?

I wonder what Madison would think of the "checks and balances" we have in place to thwart the wills of the most powerful among us today.

The idea that man is basically good and is perfectable is actually an enlightenment tenet. And it was Engels who coined the term "scientific socialism" to describe human progress based on the application of scientific principles to problems in society.

ed.

Comment Posted By bsjones On 8.05.2009 @ 19:15

I always thought the Federation had the smell of Scandinavian Socialism.

Comment Posted By bsjones On 8.05.2009 @ 15:16

TENTH AMENDMENT MOVEMENT SURGES FORWARD

Point of clarification:
Militia means Tim McVeigh and his friends in the "thumb" of Michigan. Anybody else know of a Militia in the backwoods of their home state?

Comment Posted By bsjones On 7.05.2009 @ 14:37

NEWS FROM THE FRINGES

More news from the Fringe:

Why Obama will Never be MY President.

http://crooksandliars.com/john-amato/latest-right-wing-lunacy-smear-about-ob

Comment Posted By bsjones On 8.05.2009 @ 00:49

More news from the fringe:

Get your Venn Diagram ready.

Compare this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTPxLIBygQM&eurl

to this:
http://www.tvo.org/cfmx/tvoorg/theagenda/index.cfm?page_id=7&bpn=779453&ts=2009-03-13%2020:00:35.0

Decidedly different guests. Which interview style leads to understanding?

Comment Posted By bsjones On 7.05.2009 @ 02:19

Is there a difference between this: http://www.exposeobama.com/ and the John Birch Society?

I heard an interview with the man who runs the "expose" Obama website. He basically admitted he throws red meat to hungry dogs for pay. His stated goal was to de-legitimize candidate Obama and now (I suppose) president Obama.

Were the Birchers political operatives that peddled in half truths and bullsh!t for pay or were they genuine fringe thinkers?

How much of the crazy talk that Americans expose themselves to on a daily basis is just a guy talkin sh!t for a pay check? How much of it is espoused by true believers?

Does this distinction even matter when we think about the corroding influence that crazy talk has on our political discourse?

Comment Posted By bsjones On 6.05.2009 @ 15:11

DEBUNKING MYTHS ABOUT MODERATES: 1) MODERATES HAVE NO PRINCIPLES

A Moderate Republican?
"I don't think a person with 'gay tendencies' is disqualified [from the Supreme Court]per say". Jeff Sessions (R)

Comment Posted By bsjones On 8.05.2009 @ 03:50


 


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