- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Because I believe in permanent solutions, not firefighting.

Posted by: Farinata ( L'inferno ) on December 23, 1999 at 17:25:40:

In Reply to: Why leave yourself wide open like that, Farinata? posted by MDG on December 23, 1999 at 16:52:35:

: Farinata: Why do you want to go to war in the first place?; it's a waste of money and resources.

: Frenchy: So if you had it your way you would have opted to let Hitler go on murdering Jews?

: Farinata: No. I wouldn't have let Hitler take power in the first place. The heirarchical capitalist nature of the Weimar allowed a small group of extremists to place themselves in a position of power and influence.

: Farinata, you've decisively answered Frenchy in so many ways, I'm surprised you responded as you did above. Yes, it would have been immeasurably better to prevent Hitler from taking power, but he DID.

He did indeed; but does war solve war?

No. The only way to end war is to stop it before it starts; and the only way to do that is to reform society to stop the power heirarchy that makes it possible.

Basically, force is the motivation behind our current society. The police are a coercive body; laws are obeyed not because they are universally perceived as a good thing, but because people are frightened of the authorities; people are never given a meaningful choice about whether they want to be a part of the society.

It is assumed for you that you signed the social contract; and if you try to indicate otherwise, you are imprisoned by the state. You have no choice in the matter.

This is coercion; and it breeds a culture of effective servants looking to their masters for guidance; the mass media, state system and so forth are set up to allow a comparatively small number of people to impose their wishes on a large and silent majority.

The only real choice the people get is which master to vote for; but the parties are now so homogenous that the choice has become "vote for Tweedledum" or "vote for Tweedledee"; the next US president will be a right-wing capitalist, no matter which party gets elected.

If you really want to solve war, remove coercion from society. How many people take part in a war because they actually want to?; and how many take part because they're told to?

People will willingly fight tooth and nail to defend what they have; but are decidedly unwilling to fight on the offensive; witness Russia's current debacle in Chechnya. How many Russian conscripts would choose to go to Grosny if they had the choice?

: Your response above is like the farmer who, upon being asked how he'd get the horses back into the barn after they fled through the open door, "Well, I reckon I'd be sure to lock the door next time."

You can't change history, MDG; the only thing you can do is make damn sure it never happens again.

: That's all well and good, but the horses still need to be rounded up.
: And so did Hitler.

Hitler was rounded up; but it took the deaths of millions to do it; millions of people who would otherwise have led healthy and otherwise productive lives.

The crucial thing about the Nazis was that they used the emerging mass media; radio and television and film, to produce a unified party line and thus a consistent rule throughout a large geographical area.

Read Brave New World Revisited by Aldous Huxley; it's a great book on the subject of mass control by mass media; he wrote it in 1958, but it covers the subject of spin doctors and advertising exquisitely well.

The Germans looked to their leaders to be told what to do; and their leaders told them to persecute the different. If the German people had been skilled enough to disseminate the propaganda and autonomous enough to control their own lives, they would have been able to tell the Nazis to sod off; and Kristallnacht would never have happened.

The best long-term solution is not to maintain a standing army; but to free the people from the coercive aspect of the state; membership of a state should be a voluntary and co-operative thing, not a forced coercion on the part of the government.

"A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude. To make them love it is the task assigned, in present-day totalitarian states, to ministries of propaganda, newspaper editors and schoolteachers.... The greatest triumphs of propaganda have been accomplished, not by doing something, but by refraining from doing. Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth."

- Aldous Huxley, foreword to the 1946 edition of Brave New World.

It's a statement which applies equally to the USSR as it does to the modern-day USA; in the US's case, the managers really are the managers; and the slaves are kept sweet with MTV and labour-saving gadgetry. If evidence you seek, look at the vast number of people who will defend The American Way without thought.


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