Social relationships are biological. Economic ones are learned. It should not even be in question which is the primary motivator in human interacition.
Wandering the information superhighway, he came upon the last refuge of civilization, PoFo, the only forum on the internet ...
Potemkin wrote:Indeed. The one thing which is becoming increasingly obvious is that the present status quo, based on a capitalist mode of production and a liberal ideology, is not sustainable. At some point it will inevitably collapse, either because of its own internal contradictions or because it finally burns up the last of the Earth's natural resources, or renders the planet uninhabitable through pollution or climate change.
Potemkin wrote:Either humanity will become extinct or descend into a new barbarism which this time will never end, or else we must develop a sustainable economic and social system which can create a truly human society for the first time in history. The problem is not 'materialism' per se (we are, after all, material beings), but the destruction of all non-commercial values under the capitalist mode of production and its utterly amoral ideology - liberalism - which leads only to nihilism and complete moral and social bankruptcy.
I would, however, dispute that the collapse of capitalism will take place in a purely individualist ideological climate. The recent bailout of the financial system is merely one example of the increasing necessity of collectivist and social solutions to the internal contradictions of the capitalist system. People are not stupid - they can see that the individual appetites of the bankers has led to a crisis which only collective action could solve (for now). They are drawing their own conclusions from this. This process of socialisation can only accelerate as and when capitalism nears its final crisis.
You'll have to define "capitalist mode of production"; large swathes of capitalism are perfectly normal and necesary for improved standards of living.
I wouldn't necessarily blame "capitalism" for so many problems as much as "materialism". As you pointed out, it's about "the destruction of all non-commercial values." Really, this has been coupled with an expanding sense of libertinism that further subverts normal social interactions through hedonism.
We both know that the market system isn't to blame for the environment, though. You could hardly argue that past socialist regimes have been notable for environmental policies; while it's true that bourgeosie values have undermined conservation and subverted efficiencies, the materialist values of socialist regimes has an equally poor reputation and is merely a different form of it.
Agreed, although I'd stress that an ubermenschen society might be a bit more befitting for such a role; a sustainable economic and social structure requires quite a bit of organization, therefore direction and leadership. This new structure will need to be aligned to higher principles than materialism, otherwise it'll simply be a reorganization of the previous plutarchy; the more democractically aligned, and the more consumerist and less efficient it'll be.
That's not the context I meant collectivist in, however; the financial system is an entrenched part of the contemporary plutarchy, but it wasn't performed as a class-concious decision. While some socialized action will occur, it'll be at the interest of individuals, and not simply for the benefit of the "proletariat". They'll largely still want to compete as individuals.
The idea that the disempowerment of the bougeosie plutocracy would hand over the means of production to the proletariat, however, isn't necessarily true. For instance, nationalizing the banks doesn't mean that it'll be socially controlled.
Potemkin, if ideas are merely the results of the underpinning economic reality, why is the American proletariat, who exist in a more capitalist economy, less class conscious? If the economic reality (which, let us remember, is for the American worker not an abstract idea but a day-to-day experience, and so pretty damned hard to cover up) is so poor, why do so many Americans continue to entertain ideas at odds with it? Why is it that when one set of workers respond to socialism of some sort, it is because they are in touch with reality, but when another doesn't, it is cultural conditioning, even though they are in the precise same state of economic relations? If Marx's analysis is truly scientific, should it not also be universal? Apples fall from trees in America too.
Potemkin wrote:However, where I part company with him is with regard to his apparent belief that history can be reversed, that the poison of liberalism can be put back into the bottle and an organic society led by an aristocracy can be restored.
However consider also that DeBenoist is partially influenced by the Traditionalist historiographies of Evola and Guenon, who like Hegel saw a necessary movement of history, though unlike Hegel, both believed in a perfect past where everything was One and necessary process of degradation of the connection between Geist and matter/Individuum, that human societies and cultures would progressively fragmentate themselves until such a time when the connection is fully destroyed, and history enters a new era, when the connection between Geist and human reality is suddenly or gradually renewed and the cycle of degradation restarted. DeBenoist believes in a modified form of this belief in cyclical history. All of them see reason to believe that we're somewhere at the end of this cycle of degradation.
Evola would have agreed, though, as Junger did in his Der Arbeiter, that to attempt a return to the past would only lead to false starts and false messiah, and the attempted return would itself become part of the degenerative process, whereas the proper path would be to embrace those redeemable aspects of the same technical-materialist culture one is in, and to carry them forth - which is exactly what Junger's technical-materialist utopia would seek to do. On a similar level, for example, the fiercely anti-Christian Evola would come to compromise with Catholicism.
As a materialist, I tend to agree that the way forward is to fully embrace the material and technical powers that liberal and capitalist culture have unleashed. I must admit that ultimately this was the main path through which I abandoned racism, and all other forms of organicism - the community, the nation, perhaps ultimately human nature. Liberalism and capitalism themselves stand at a very low relation to the experimentalism they think they profess. The way forth should be to sharpen and perfect this imperfect thalassocracy.
The spread of the liberal ideology was a natural and inevitable consequence of the development of the capitalist mode of production, and will exist so long as capitalism exists. Liberalism must therefore be sublated rather than reversed
Namakemono wrote:Also, far from being indestructible, liberalism contains the seeds of its own demise: it is committed to tolerating the promotion of competing non-liberal ideologies, just as long as the advocates of those ideologies do not resort (e.g.) to terrorism.
starman2003 wrote:It's not toleration of enemies, or "atomization," by itself but an inability to govern that IMO will wreck democracy/"freedom"--if that's what is meant by "liberalism." But the system will have to stumble very badly before there's enough of a consituency for change--even where it counts most--the armed forces.Doesn't "inability to govern" fall under "anomie"? As for stumbling, it is stumbling right now, failing (due to the way it squanders human capital) to hold its own in competition with China.
Preston Cole wrote:Even if it was tolerant of non-democratic movements, which it certainly isn't, the reason it would collapse is because it rejects common sense: i.e., to not allow the enemies (Nazis, fascists, communists) of your kind to organize freely and pose a threat to your system. Therefore, it will get its just reward.The West doesn't tolerate, but does allow? Isn't that a contradiction?
As for stumbling, it is stumbling right now, failing..
to not allow the enemies (Nazis, fascists, communists) of your kind to organize freely and pose a threat to your system. Therefore, it will get its just reward.
starman2003 wrote:Yes but not seriously enough, yet, to wake people up. By "stumbling" I have in mind the inability to deal effectively with a host of problems for which real solutions aren't likely in a democracy, like deficits. People are aware the red ink is building up, many know democracy hinders rectification, but it'll take an economic disaster to force them to take action.If a given alternative is not attractive except in a near-apocalyptic scenario, then I would venture to say that the alternative is probably not a good one.
If a given alternative is not attractive except in a near-apocalyptic scenario, then I would venture to say that the alternative is probably not a good one.
Thus, the social bases of liberalism are two-fold: the raising of property to the status of the primary social relation, and the loss of community, the loss of the capacity to appeal to or rely upon shared meaning beyond the satisfaction of individual desire.
Maintenance of the illusion of “objectivity” is essential, and MacIntyre sees the universities as playing a crucial role in the maintenance of this illusion. Since academics rely for their livelihood on disproving each other’s theories, the resulting interminable and esoteric debate continuously re-establishes the impossibility of consensus.
“In the course of history liberalism, which began as an appeal to alleged principles of shared rationality against what was felt to be the tyranny of tradition, has itself been transformed into a tradition whose continuities are partly defined by the interminability of the debate over such principles. An interminability which was from the standpoint of an earlier liberalism a grave defect to be remedied as soon as possible has become, in the eyes of some liberals at least, a kind of virtue”. (p. 335)
Far from this failure to find any firm ground undermining liberalism, MacIntyre believes that it reinforces it, because one of the fundamental bases for liberalism is the conviction that no comprehensive idea (to use Rawls’ term) can enjoy majority, let alone unanimous, support. This then justifies the ban on governments pursuing the general good.
“Any conception of the human good according to which, for example, it is the duty of government to educate the members of the community morally, ... will be proscribed. ... liberal individualism does indeed have its own broad conception of the good, which it is engaged in imposing politically, legally, socially, and culturally wherever it has the power to do so, but also that in doing so its toleration of rival conceptions of the good in the public arena is severely limited.” (p. 336)
Such a ban on governments pursuing the social good of course serves a very definite social interest.
“The weight given to an individual preference in the market is a matter of the cost which the individual is able and willing to pay; only so far as an individual has the means to bargain with those who can supply what he or she needs does the individual have an effective voice. So also in the political and social realm it is the ability to bargain that is crucial. The preferences of some are accorded weight by others only insofar as the satisfaction of those preferences will lead to the satisfaction of their own preferences. Only those who have something to give get. The disadvantaged in a liberal society are those without the means to bargain.” (p. 336)
“The overriding good of liberalism is no more and no less than the continued sustenance of the liberal social and political order”. (p. 345)
In each of the historical settings that MacIntyre investigates, he is able to show that the type of justice and the type of rationality which appears to the philosophical spokespeople of the community to be necessary and universal, turns out to be a description of the type of citizens of the community in question. Accordingly, the justice of liberalism and the rationality of liberalism is simply that justice and that rationality of the “citizens of nowhere” (p. 388), the “outsiders,” people lacking in any social obligation or any reason for acting other than to satisfy their desires and to defend the conditions under which they are able to continue satisfying their desires. Their rationality is therefore that of the objects of their desire.
So, how to proceed against liberalism, against the way of life in which human relations are governed by the world market? As remarked above, MacIntyre advises each of his readers to look to their own tradition for the resources to take such a challenge forward. For his own part, MacIntyre will look to his own Thomist tradition of ethical and rational enquiry.
starman2003 wrote::lol: By its very nature, authoritarianism/wholism is not popular because of the sacrifices it imposes on people. It represents vitally needed change but is contrary to a strong democratic tradition. The latter can only be broken by major crises which force reality on people. That's the way its been since 1st century BCE Rome, when the obsolete republic finally gave way, under the impact of upheaval, to Caesarism. The result was the summit of Roman and classical civilization. Likewise, authoritarianism can bring this world to the greatest heights--literally, in space as well as on Earth--but face it, only crises can break the present system which, however stupid, remains ingrained.
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