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Politics What do you (we) want out of left politics?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by FBH, Dec 16, 2016.

  1. Aaron Fox

    Aaron Fox Personally, why not?


    The left should recognize that philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Hobbes are more right than previously believed. Bar none.
     
  2. Shy Guy

    Shy Guy

    Location:
    Here


     
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  3. Avernus

    Avernus Abomination

    The basic problem with the idea that a benevolent dictatorship would be better than democracy, is the extreme rarity of benevolent dictators.
     
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  4. I agree. Benevolent dictators basically do not exist. The only good monarch is a dead monarch. Our forefathers bled and died and killed to free us from tyranny. Any American who suggests a return to monarchy is a either a traitor or just incredibly misinformed.

    EDIT: and let's be clear here, @Aaron Fox. Socrates, whatever things he might have had to say on philosophy, was an autocrat and against Athenian democracy. He was executed for inciting oligarchic revolution against the democratic society. He didn't think education should be better, he didn't spend his time advocating for public schooling or something; he tried to destroy a legitimate government and replace it with rule by the strong.
     
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  5. Dark Lord Bob

    Dark Lord Bob Ambition

    Where are you getting this from?
     
  6. Socrates was sentenced for encouraging his students to question the things even when told not to by the government and refusing to go into exile, he was also guilty by association because he refused to leave the city when the gang of thirty tyrants ruled or go into exile after they were put out of power and banished.

    Wither he supported rule by the strong is questionable given by what little we know he also objected to the thirty tyrants and took part in aspects of the Athenian democratic system when called upon such as when he served as a prytaneis over seeing a trial of generals who led a disastrous naval campaign where he upheld conducting things in the manner as prescribed by the law even under heavy pressure to not do so, he also served in the Athenian military when called upon to do and accepted his sentence by the the Athenian system as legitimate.
     
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  7. Cetashwayo

    Cetashwayo Lord of Ten Thousand Years Magistrate On Leave Commission Artist

    Location:
    Across the Horizon
    Blazinghand are you an Athenian juror trying toi justify your position because that is not what happened
     
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  8. the atom

    the atom SV's Resident Bad Boy

    Location:
    Comfortably numb
    True, but quite often a dictator is keeping the lid closed on a far worse dictatorship. People like Saddam Hussein and Kaiser Wilhelm II were not what most people would consider benevolent dictators, but the things that replaced them were unquestionably worse.

    As I understand China is apparently another example of this, as much of the population supposedly has strong, ultra-nationalist right wing leanings.
     
  9. Cetashwayo

    Cetashwayo Lord of Ten Thousand Years Magistrate On Leave Commission Artist

    Location:
    Across the Horizon
    Kaiser Willhelm was not a dictator.
     
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  10. Imperial Germany had what for the time was considered a highly modern and progressive parliament and for his many, many faults Kaiser Wilhelm the second was a big supporter and promoter of the arts and sciences, as well as public education and social welfare.
     
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  11. the atom

    the atom SV's Resident Bad Boy

    Location:
    Comfortably numb
    How are we defining dictatorship?
     
  12. Cetashwayo

    Cetashwayo Lord of Ten Thousand Years Magistrate On Leave Commission Artist

    Location:
    Across the Horizon
    Well, here's one; he was part of an almost millenia old dynasty of monarchs who ascended to the throne via the usual line of succession in a country that had limits on his power, and sidestepped him during the war. Political science tends to make a pretty firm distinction between monarchies and dictatorships. Generally the most important signifier is the line of succession in a monarchy, which rarely exists in dictatorships or when it does hardly cares the same way about blood ties (like the Soviet Politburo).

    Most importantly, dictatorships tend to have a thoroughly modern (or classical) connotations. A lot of the distinguishing features is because a line needs to put between say, legitimist ideology of the bloodline and the demands for a strong authoritarian leader to take charge. It's not always clear-cut; an absolute dictatorship has a great deal in common with an absolute monarchy.

    But regardless, I wouldn't call Willhelm II a dictator. He was one part of a complicated governmental system that included a parliament with real (if limited) powers and a strong chancellory.
     
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  13. I'm pretty sure the quote works equally well for both.
     
  14. Ok, this seems fairly straightforward to me:

    1. Socrates hangs out talking about how democracy is bad and oligarchy is good. He has students who absorb his ideas.
    2. Unsurprisingly, one of his students leads a violent oligarchic government that brutally kills a bunch of Athenians
    3. Ok yes Socrates claims not to like these guys but his life is spared by them and then after things die down and democracy is restored he STILL is hanging out being like "yeah man screw democracy, oligarchy is gr8"
    4. Everyone is like "ok Socrates could you not do that, this has lead to problems before"
    5. Socrates is like "no, i'm going to keep saying things that will eventually lead to another oligarchy and probably civil unrest" and here we are.

    I mean, literally killing the dude seems a bit too much, but he was like, literally against Democracy.

    Anyways, Socrates is an idiot. He knows very little about the IS-LM model, or Marxism, or post-1900s world history. Heck, the guy doesn't even know basic things like calculus or how to do a linear regression. "Now wait just a second, Blazinghand," you may be thinking. "True, Socrates didn't know those things, but that's only because he died over two thousand years ago. It's not fair to judge him for not knowing things he literally couldn't have known."

    Sure, it's not fair, but shit, man, life isn't fair. I don't care if Socrates had no way of knowing about calculus, he didn't know about it and the fact he didn't know about it is still perfectly relevant. Socrates didn't spend his time talking about American democracy, he has very few if any thoughts on something like that. Why? Because Socrates died over 2,000 years ago. It's not his fault, but it's true. He's horribly uninformed compared to me on a broad variety of relevant subjects--through no fault of his own, I grant you--and so we must take everything he says with a grain of salt.

    Especially if he thinks for some reason that Democracy is bad. Socrates doesn't know shit about modern society, he is a mental infant compared us in this regard.

    In any case, I have no tolerance for anyone who thinks we should return to dictatorship. America is a republic and we're staying that way.
     
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  15. Cetashwayo

    Cetashwayo Lord of Ten Thousand Years Magistrate On Leave Commission Artist

    Location:
    Across the Horizon
    Yes well, Socrates was complaining about a democracy that had led to the deaths of a good third of the Athenian male population in an expedition to Sicily which had been entirely the fault of the excitement of the civic body. So I don't know what to tell you. Only person who appears to be a mental infant is the dude shitting on Socrates by superimposing his view of modern democracy as the font of liberty upon a situation in which a good portion of the Athenian civil body was having the same thoughts after nearly 30 years of warfare. Might as well complain about how people were critical of the terror.

    Socrates wasn't even killed for hating democracy, he was killed because he was questioning the religious pantheon at a time of social and religious upheaval in Athens. Assuming that it was Socrates who was to blame for oligarchy in Athens misses the point that the inability of the Athenian democratic system to provide any kind of bones to the aristocrats whose role had been usurped in the society led them to formally withdraw, more or less, from politics, and to lead an alternate society within the democratic society of Athens. This is an issue going back to Kleisthenes and was the source of civil strife in Athens during the Peloponnesian war. Oh well, maybe they were right to ignore the aristocracy? Well, no, because a system that says to an entire social class "screw off" is not going to work out in the long run. If they have no buy-in you shouldn't expect them to buy in, and this kind of thinking is what directly led to several long-standing stasis conflicts within greek city states across the Mediterranan, the end-result of which was usually not the victory of one class or another, but foreign domination.

    I mean you really look rather stupid if you're going around talking about Socrates as a mental infant if you can't even begin to acquaint yourself with the context of the time. I don't like the views of most of the philosophers of the classical world, because they were aristocrats with very aristocratic conceptions of the world. I mean ultimately the source of this was a stupid video, but whatever. You can use an argument from someone much older and try to place it onto the present; you should probably work harder to refute whatever argument that Socrates placed rather than saying "this is a stupid man who didn't know anything about today so his opinion is invalid". In fact, what I wrote above is part of a refutation; that Socrates' democracy was very different from our democracy, and the situation was different, and the evidence was different, so was what he was responding to.

    It's a bit like people bitching out Tolkein for being a romantic when his formative experience was WW1.
     
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  16. If there is anything that we can truly gather Socrates was opposed to anything it was to sophistry and refusing to question authority and the world at large. The man apparently had little tolerance for empty words and mindlessly accepting things without question.
     
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  17. I don't think Socrates was a mental infant in general, only in his knowledge of modern ideas. His ideas, right or wrong, were about a different type of government and a different world. Heck, they were about a totally different scale of society. Modern popular democracy is great and does great things, and it's our job to--within the system--argue, protest, and push for leftism as much as we can. Any suggestion of a benevolent dictator is ridiculous.

    By the same token (heh), it's not Tolkein's fault he had formative experiences in the early 1900s. In fact, the whole point of what I'm saying is that this kind of flaw is in some ways unavoidable in people born and raised in earlier times. This also doesn't mean that we should be looking for the last of the Bourbons or Capets or Bonaparts to ascend their rightful throne or something though.
     
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  18. Cetashwayo

    Cetashwayo Lord of Ten Thousand Years Magistrate On Leave Commission Artist

    Location:
    Across the Horizon
    This isn't an argument, it's a statement of faith.
     
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  19. That and the big reason he was killed is because when given an out on trial he instead went "y'all too pussy to kill me." The man knew damn well what he was doing.
     
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  20. That's fair. I do have some irrational faith and belief in the popular democratic system of government, and I acknowledge that. I also think our system of government in America has flaws, and I understand enough to know we can try to fix those, as we have in the past. The Founders built in a system for modifying our founding documents without an absolute reformation of government, and over the years we have done things to refine our electoral system. There's still more work to be done.
     
  21. Cetashwayo

    Cetashwayo Lord of Ten Thousand Years Magistrate On Leave Commission Artist

    Location:
    Across the Horizon
    Well, I do too. I just think that people have short memories. It was not a very long time ago that even in western countries there was a considerable group of people who outright believed democracy had failed or else needed to be altered. There are fanboys of Chinese-style top-down authoritarianism today, and the success of China does pose a question to liberal democracies, even if I don't think it's a very compelling one.

    If you aren't capable of arguing in why democracy is a good system for any number of reasons it will be difficult to defend it if we get a situation where the good of democracy is not taken as an article of faith by most of the population of the USA, as it is today.
     
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  22. MJ12 Commando

    MJ12 Commando Shadow Cabal Barristerminator

    By 'not a very long time ago' you mean 'the last time Donald Trump tweeted something' right :V
     
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  23. Cetashwayo

    Cetashwayo Lord of Ten Thousand Years Magistrate On Leave Commission Artist

    Location:
    Across the Horizon
    Trump is working his magic within the democratic system. If you look at the Nazis and Soviets, they made explicit arguments against democracy as a system of government. I don't think Trump or the Republican Party has ever really said the same, so if an authoritarian dictatorship comes, it will come within the guise of a democratic system.
     
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  24. Socrates stayed rather than go into exile because of principle, not because he thought they wouldn't kill him.

    One of his principles was civic obedience to the law even as other principles involved questioning authority and the reasons of things. Obey authority but don't mindlessly follow authority without question.
     
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  25. Yeah I'm pretty sure Socrates expected to be killed. He was all for it as a principled stand.
     
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