- Capitalism and Alternatives -

More repetition

Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for Mustard Greens, USA ) on October 14, 1999 at 16:20:29:

In Reply to: She must be the new bond girl posted by Gee on October 13, 1999 at 15:09:46:

: : Read this again as: I oppose majority rule, I reject democracy.

: Bravo, then why does the above sound disconcertingly authoritarian Barry? Take this opportunity to open my eyes. RD did to a greater extent than most others.

SDF: The reason we democrats accept the will of majorities as regards important decisions about the survival of all is the idea, made famous by Benjamin Franklin, that "we shall all hang together or we shall all hang separately." If the will of a majority isn't deemed sufficient by any particular group, there are other forms of democracy; supermajorities, consensus decisionmaking etc. The problem with such forms is that they take more time than majority vote. So democracy can thus be strong if it balances its need to make decisions about group action against the reasons of those who object to any particular majority decision.

The sort of bickering response that demands the right to secede from, or enter, a democratic union, on the basis of any particular vote (i.e. "no majority can compel me to do anything"), is a demand that one should be tolerated as democracy's fair-weather friend. And frankly, as a supporter of democratic self-governance, I feel that if I have made a sincere effort to create a society where everyone is cared-for, I shouldn't have to tolerate whiny ultra-individualists who insist upon being democracy's fair-weather friends. Such people are not part of my society and can go off and live on Easter Island for all I care.

It can also be a double standard: democracy is a "contract between sovereign individuals" if one likes the votes it produces; democracy is that evil "state" if one doesn't like the way any particular vote went. On the other hand, one can remove this inconsistency and remain an ultra-individualist (as defined above) by simply becoming an opponent of democracy, just as Barry Stoller labeled Gee.

: : Ever heard of: 'From each according to their ability, to each according to their work' (1st phase of communism)?

: Precisely my point above - by what authority are the preferences of the able over-ruled by the apparent requirement for work?

SDF: It isn't the "preferences of the able" but the privileges of the owning classes that are over-ruled by the requirement for work. The less fortunate strata of the working classes are already daily confronted by a real-life requirement for work -- either work for an employer or starve. Some libertarians call this real-life requirement "freedom," though it isn't really freedom.

: : Which is a roundabout way of saying the very thing you want to deny: there have always been classes.

: Sure it was me who denied the existence of 'class'? What i do criticise is the view of people as being of a class, rather than of themselves. In other words, bunching diverse people together due to a shared circumstance and / or trait - much like racial or sexual discrimination.

SDF: Go ahead and forget the definition of class. Class is not determined by some external agent "bunching diverse people together," but rather by something the members of each class themselves do for a living. The working class determines itself by working, the owning class determines itself through ownership.

: Also, it doesnt really tackle the position - why would people become classless, when history suggests that people naturally form hierarchies.

SDF: Sorry, hierarchical society is a product of culture, it's not natural. All culture is so overdetermined by other culture that the discovery of the "natural" underneath the human cultural overlay is never going to happen. Societies such as exist in intentional communities do not "naturally" form hierarchies. I've already shown that culture is not "natural" in any way that informs us about its contents.

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