Is Human Breeding possible? Where African slaves bred during their captivity? - Page 8 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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Early modern era & beginning of the modern era. Exploration, enlightenment, industrialisation, colonisation & empire (1492 - 1914 CE).
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#14793990
TIG wrote:The entire construction of this kind of fake narrative is a part of postmodern thought, something a lot of rightwingers sense in their attempt to rail against leftists as running society. The issue at heart here is that leftists, in any real non-centralist point, are almost all from the modernist school. Postmodernism rests more firmly on the idea that everybody has a narrative, that these individual narratives are important and equally valid, and that interpretation of facts is more important than a recording of facts.


:cheers: :cheers: :cheers:
#14795255
Potemkin wrote:Why not, LV? This is a serious question. The 'Golden Rule' seems to be based on two assumptions: the metaphysical equality of all people (sometimes extended to animals), and the belief that there is an essential moral order in the world. Both of these are essentially religious rather than rational ideas, and of course the 'Golden Rule' originated from religion - Judeo-Christianity to be specific. Jesus is the most famous proponent of the Golden Rule, but it was first enunciated by Rabbi Hillel about a century earlier. As Hitler once correctly observed, "Conscience is a Jewish invention." Yet we now live in a society which is profoundly non-religious: our thinking is, or at least strives to be, rationalistic and logical, and our economic system - capitalism - is based on individualism and the rational pursuit of self-interest. This means that our actual society, and the way in which we actually interact with each other, is fundamentally incompatible with the religious injunction to do unto others as we would have other do unto us. If we seriously followed that injunction, then capitalism would become immoral and therefore impossible, being based as it is upon competition and exploitation. Ayn Rand could see this, which is why her atheism was an essential aspect of her political and moral thought rather than being merely an embarrassing personal quirk, as most American right-wingers seem to regard it. Even meat-eating would become immoral and therefore impossible. Christianity made a token gesture in that regard - Catholics are not supposed to eat meat on Fridays, for example, but never made a serious attempt to enforce strict vegetarianism.

No, the Golden Rule is merely a left-over from a time when our society still took religion seriously. Its metaphysical underpinning has disappeared, leaving this abstract universalist moral rule hanging in mid-air with no visible means of intellectual support. It made sense back when people believed in the metaphysical equality of souls and the existence of a universal moral order in the cosmos. Because of the emergence of capitalism and the scientific worldview, neither of those beliefs is still operative in any meaningful sense. All that is left is an abstract rule detached from reality, and a system of morality based on systematic hypocrisy.

So you seem to be saying that at some point the Golden Rule meant something and now it doesn't because of our mode of production. But I think we can both agree that whatever system we're talking about that existed before now was a lot more exploitative than this system. So if the Golden Rule has become less important, why are we now more inclined to want to treat each other better? People say that rich people give to charity to make themselves look better, which is true, and because it helps them on their taxes, which is also true sometimes. At the same time, there are some rich people that give a lot more than what would be the optimal amount for benefiting themselves. Do they do it because they want people to remember them as good or just because it helps their status or do they do it because they care about other people and want the world to be a better place?

I like to approach human nature from a way that assumes that people are fundamentally good. I want to help others because I want others to help me if I need help. That's another way of expressing the Golden Rule. Be the world you want to see. If you don't want to be a slave, don't make others slaves and fight for them if someone wants to make someone else a slave. If you want the privilege of a good world, you need to treat the world well. Lead by example. I'm not saying there's some magic thing that will make the world better.

I will admit though that I don't think that the rule has much rational basis if you're talking about the opinions of philosophers and logicians. You have to remember though that in the world of organic thought (the opinions of the masses), religion still very much plays a role in a lot of people's lives. As it does in my life. In our lives, that idea of having to rationally justify treating other people well is a nonsensical idea. It's simply what you're supposed to do. Of course the problem is that people's ideas of what treating someone well is vary based on culture, and oftentimes because of war and political instability it can be hard to enforce right and wrong. That's why it's so hopeless sometimes looking around the world, because you see how much the pursuit of self-interest has hurt the world.

To bring it back to this thread, that's what's so disturbing about the African slave trade. It's that it seems like people came up with a science-based loophole to their religions: black people are not "people" the same way we are "people", so it's therefore OK to chain them up in horrifying conditions where half of them died on the way to the ships and another half died on the way to their destination only to be sold into slavery for the rest of their lives, their children's lives, and so on. How one person can do this to another person on the justification of what a person's race is can only be described as pure greed. Because it made so much money. As you said:

Yet we now live in a society which is profoundly non-religious: our thinking is, or at least strives to be, rationalistic and logical, and our economic system - capitalism - is based on individualism and the rational pursuit of self-interest. This means that our actual society, and the way in which we actually interact with each other, is fundamentally incompatible with the religious injunction to do unto others as we would have other do unto us.


This is totally true. The pursuit of self-interest is what causes a lot of the world's problems. And we live in a secular society that assumes nothing to be bad that is not illegal. We let the rich get away with things that hurt us all because they buy influence. All of these things are true. But they have been true for a long time. Even the slavery is only just as bad as things going on in contemporary societies like the Aztecs. And when the Spanish came and annihilated their empire, they only did something that the Aztecs were still in the process of doing and had been doing for the last hundred years.

Humans have always treated each other poorly, our capacity to do so has merely grown. If the Spanish had machine guns and tear gas, you bet your ass they would have used it on the Aztecs.

Again though, the only way to change that is to be the change you want to see. Communists should appreciate that, it's basically your motto. Praxis and dialectic, right?
#14795292
LV is back, I was hoping that Shareblue had decided we weren't worth the investment :excited:

And he's posting in a totally tasteful and relevant thread about human breeding :excited:

But trolling aside, we are too materialistic. Yet traditionally, human nature is viewed as being fundamentally bad or inferior and you have to make it better. These days it's viewed as fundamentally good in the west, but for the baddies who make people bad, although we are born racists but that doesn't count as having a "bad" nature because derp look a cat.gif, also the baddies are predictably the other western people who disagree with us on anything. This is a pretty useless dialectic that is closely tied to the western materialism being criticized here because without extensive materialism no one would be naive enough to believe that unschooled human nature is fundamentally good. Like, how did we go from people are fundamentally good to people are fundamentally self-interested and in what reality would they not be self-interested by default? That's just evolution.
#14795318
Potemkin wrote:Indeed. PoD claims to be a 'Marxist', but most of his reasoning seems to be based on moralistic liberalism rather than any sort of Marxist theory that I've ever come across. Marx devoted a great deal of time to debunking this sort of moral universalism. Marx did not oppose capitalism because he thought it was morally bad, but because he had reasoned that it would become a fetter on the further expansion of the forces of production and would have to be superseded, just as feudalism had been. This is why Marx supported the industrial-capitalist North against the agrarian slave-owning South during the Civil War.

Hold on a dog gone moment.

Who cares if the forces of production expand or contract, unless you already have some kind of a priori morality? Marxism is still moral universalism just using a different measuring stick. I think the confusion comes from the fact that traditional Christianity was about saving souls not making life better for human beings in this life. Some of our modern day Muslim friends are quite explicit on this. They say we are not trying to make people happy we're trying to follow the will of Allah. When understood from this perspective, so called petty morality is not petty at all, because it is critical to a soul's judgement.

Of course the beauty of Christianity and to a lesser extent Islam is that they are s full of contradictions. Christians, Muslims and Muslim lovers can always say, "oh we / they don't believe in that"

LV-GUCCI-PRADA-FLEX wrote:I like to approach human nature from a way that assumes that people are fundamentally good.

I like to approach human nature from a way that assumes most people are fundamentally full of shit, thoroughly hypercritical and capable of believing five totally contradictory things before breakfast.
#14795331
So you seem to be saying that at some point the Golden Rule meant something and now it doesn't because of our mode of production.

Basically, yes.

But I think we can both agree that whatever system we're talking about that existed before now was a lot more exploitative than this system.

Can we? You seem to be conflating how exploitative a system is with how oppressive that system is. Feudalism was a rather oppressive system involving high levels of violence and brutality, yet it was a very inefficient method of exploitation. Modern consumer capitalism, by contrast, requires much lower levels of oppression and personal brutality (except in times of crisis), yet it is a fantastically efficient method of exploiting human labour power. This is why it has taken over the world in the past few centuries - previous modes of production and exploitation simply cannot compete. It is so efficient at exploiting people that it can even redirect a small portion of its superprofits back to the labour aristocracy of its heartland nations to buy their loyalty. This is how the West was able to keep the loyalty of its working class throughout the Cold War. But no matter how efficient it is, or how well-ordered it is, it is still based on the exploitation of one class of people by another.

So if the Golden Rule has become less important, why are we now more inclined to want to treat each other better?

Because life for most people in the developed heartland nations of the capitalist system is no longer a hard scrabble for survival. Most people therefore have the luxury of having the option of being nice to each other.

People say that rich people give to charity to make themselves look better, which is true, and because it helps them on their taxes, which is also true sometimes. At the same time, there are some rich people that give a lot more than what would be the optimal amount for benefiting themselves. Do they do it because they want people to remember them as good or just because it helps their status or do they do it because they care about other people and want the world to be a better place?

Does it matter what their motive is? If a donation saves the life of a starving child in Ethiopia, for example, is that child or its parents going to care whether the donor was filled with a god-like compassion for their suffering or was simply donating money as a tax write-off? I suspect not.

I like to approach human nature from a way that assumes that people are fundamentally good.

One of the few aspects of classical liberal ideology with which I agree is that it does not make any assumptions about the innate goodness or innate badness of human nature. It simply asserts that the individual pursuit of rational, enlightened self-interest will have optimal social and economic outcomes. This is a dubious assumption, of course, but less dubious than your assumption that people are innately good.

I want to help others because I want others to help me if I need help. That's another way of expressing the Golden Rule. Be the world you want to see. If you don't want to be a slave, don't make others slaves and fight for them if someone wants to make someone else a slave. If you want the privilege of a good world, you need to treat the world well. Lead by example. I'm not saying there's some magic thing that will make the world better.

Good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people. And, as the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished. Your moralism has no rational foundation, LV.

I will admit though that I don't think that the rule has much rational basis if you're talking about the opinions of philosophers and logicians. You have to remember though that in the world of organic thought (the opinions of the masses), religion still very much plays a role in a lot of people's lives. As it does in my life. In our lives, that idea of having to rationally justify treating other people well is a nonsensical idea. It's simply what you're supposed to do. Of course the problem is that people's ideas of what treating someone well is vary based on culture, and oftentimes because of war and political instability it can be hard to enforce right and wrong. That's why it's so hopeless sometimes looking around the world, because you see how much the pursuit of self-interest has hurt the world.

Indeed. And one of the fundamental problems with modern capitalism is that its rationalism and its promotion of individualism and rational self-interest has had the effect of elevating vices into virtues. In a culture rooted in Christian morality, this has had a corrupting effect on people's sense of right and wrong.

To bring it back to this thread, that's what's so disturbing about the African slave trade. It's that it seems like people came up with a science-based loophole to their religions: black people are not "people" the same way we are "people", so it's therefore OK to chain them up in horrifying conditions where half of them died on the way to the ships and another half died on the way to their destination only to be sold into slavery for the rest of their lives, their children's lives, and so on. How one person can do this to another person on the justification of what a person's race is can only be described as pure greed. Because it made so much money.

Another problem with the capitalist system is that its rationalism can easily degenerate into pseudo-science and post-hoc rationalisation of greed and brutality. The rise of pseudo-scientific racial theory in the 19th century was a rather egregious example of this tendency, which is still at work today.

This is totally true. The pursuit of self-interest is what causes a lot of the world's problems. And we live in a secular society that assumes nothing to be bad that is not illegal. We let the rich get away with things that hurt us all because they buy influence. All of these things are true. But they have been true for a long time. Even the slavery is only just as bad as things going on in contemporary societies like the Aztecs. And when the Spanish came and annihilated their empire, they only did something that the Aztecs were still in the process of doing and had been doing for the last hundred years.

Humans have always treated each other poorly, our capacity to do so has merely grown. If the Spanish had machine guns and tear gas, you bet your ass they would have used it on the Aztecs.

Self-interest has always been a factor in human interactions throughout history and probably before. The difference is that this greed and self-interest were seen as vices rather than virtues. One of the 16th century Popes even denounced slavery as "the supreme villainy", whereas by the 18th century it had become normalised and was seen merely as a rather effective way to get rich quick. It was just too lucrative for any moralistic nonsense based on religious sensibilities to be taken seriously.

Again though, the only way to change that is to be the change you want to see. Communists should appreciate that, it's basically your motto. Praxis and dialectic, right?

Indeed. But the agent of such change is an entire class rather than a few good men being a light unto a wicked world. True systemic change can only occur when the exploited class collectively sees where their interests as a class truly lie, and act collectively to change that system. After all, it is in the interests of an individual worker to suck up to management and become a toady who helps them to keep the rest of his class in line. Only class-conscious thinking and class-based collective action can truly change the world.
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