- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Carter, Reagan; Old Coke, New Coke

Posted by: Barry Stoller on February 04, 19100 at 10:42:40:

In Reply to: Carter just happened to be a good and moral leader, whereas Reagan wasn't. posted by NJ on February 03, 19100 at 23:41:59:

: You have your revered figures, I have mine.

Agreed. But mine are not CAPITALIST leaders!

Stoller: Carter and Pinochet are both examples of bourgeois rule---but at different points in the evolution of bourgeois rule. The first rule of dialectics is to look at historical development.

: And, apparently, in doing so, to ignore a lots of other things like character, honesty., corruption, etc. Reagan came after Carter, and he was as bad as they come. Carter just happened to be a good and moral leader, whereas Reagan wasn't. 'Historical development' has nothing to do with it.

You're splitting hairs. Ask SDF again about just how much difference there really was between Carter and Reagan. If Carter had been reelected, most of the pressures that CREATED Reagan would have affected Carter's policies as well. Carter didn't preside over an overt war but his economic policies were somewhat MORE conservative than Nixon's. Remember that the U.S. economy turned sour in 1973 (one reason the ruling class abandoned Nixon, BTW); Carter was just another player in its undertow. 1973 recession remaining unresolved throughout the 1970s = Reaganomics.

Stoller: Was Pinochet worse than Andrew Jackson?

: Well, no, at least not when you look at what Andrew Jackson did to the Cherokees. But to infer from that that EVERYONE of Jackson's era was a racist tyrant is not accurate.

Have I typed the last two posts for nothing?

Dialectical movement involves contradictions, opposite tendencies, struggling ideologies. That's because class relations ARE contradiction, opposition, struggle.

: I'm not sure what happened to the original topic. How does this relate to whether or not self-interest is the only good, as you seemed to be insinuating?

I did NOT say self-interest is the 'only good,' I repudiate such absolutes as the 'only good.' I said---or am trying to say---self-interest MUST motivate behavior (many types of behavior with many types of environmental histories) for no other reason than necessity motivates behavior.

Example: Take 'self-sacrifice' again. I say self-sacrifice is another FORM of self-interest, delayed gratification if you will. Sacrifice a material good with self-esteem; something lost and something gained. Lenin could have followed his class interests and become a lawyer; instead he sacrificed that for something else.

: My point is that [some] revolutions... were motivated by abstract ideals, not (for the most part) by pressing economic/historical inevitability. The very thing you said was impossible.

It is impossible. Look, I'm not saying that 'abstract ideals' didn't find expression, I'm just saying that ideologies express material conditions. Some 'abstract ideals' defend the status quo and others challenge the status quo---but these 'abstract ideals' are not divorced from material conditions, they express material conditions, and at times material conditions are in flux. The flux, as Engels pointed out, is accident upon accident, the WHOLE a movement conditioned by and conditioning the economic development---how goods are produced---of the age. There are natural laws to economic development.

Stoller: If your religions have indeed succeeded in 'subverting selfish desires for higher goods,' pray tell, where is the evidence?

: Religion played a big part in explaining the opposition to the Vietnam War.

Religion expressed material conditions that opposed the Vietnam War; that is not to say that religion---out of the blue---opposed the war. Religions have been very compliant with defending wars when material conditions are favorable! The Vietnam War ended because the high defense spending was unsustainable; if the greedy bastards had ended the war by, say, 1966, odds are Vietnam would be as forgotten as the Korean War (which no one seemed to notice we LOST).

Stoller: If you really think the ruling class 'can be converted to socialism if they can be made to see [how?] that social need outweighs their own self interest,' then you are denying history.

: I was converted. Wallace was converted. C. Lamont was converted. Guevara was converted. Nyerere was converted. Sometimes it works.

It 'works' because capitalism PRODUCES antagonisms that produce opponents. You, on the other hand, seem to think behavior is completely detached from reality.

: The command to love your neighbor is as hard as a diamond.

No, it's not! I tried it on my boss the other day and he's STILL expropriating my surplus labor to glut himself with goodies while I have no health insurance.

If Jesus Christ couldn't reason with these guys, why do you think anyone else can?

Workers of the World Unite!

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