- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Take two aspirin, call me in the morning....

Posted by: Frenchy on October 15, 1999 at 20:30:40:

In Reply to: Sickening and evasive posted by Nikhil Jaikumar on October 13, 1999 at 14:24:15:

: : I happen to have more faith in the ability of people to successfully manage their affairs then you do. Maybe not the first generation, but probably the second and so on. Too many examples to argue otherwise. There are some that can't cut it, that's true. But that doesn't mean that all others should voluntarily hold themselves back because of the shortcomings of a minority.

: I'll repeat my question. Why don't you suggest this to a California grape picker. i'm sure he'll be thirlled to know that his destitute condition is due to his own shortcomings.

: This is ridiculous, and sickening. Even most conservatives today don't think that ALL destiitution is due to 'individual shortcomings'. To blame the worker's codnition on his own fault is worse than insulting. you could at leats have the courtesy to acknowledge SOME systemic blame for his condition. As it is right now, you not only want to keep him poor, illiterate, and disease, bvut then you want to grind your heel oin his face by blaming it all on himslef. Real compassionate tehre. That's wonderful. i wish we all treated each other that way.

: All of us are entitled to food, shelter, medicine, leisure, education, and teh dignity of being a respected memeber with a share in society. Tehse are Human Rights, Normand. Don't you believe in human roights, or are you some sort of nihilist? It isn't the garpe-picker's fault that he's starving when he agrees to work for the minimum wage, and will starve if he doesn't get this job. It's not his fault that his kids die because he can't afford health insurance. Etcetera.

A solution to your problem, and likewise to those many others with a similar problem, is to offer those grape pickers a job, any job, at wages with which they can access those things to which they have a "right". I've offered this solution before, take in a homeless guy, a grape picker and his family, into your own home, walk your talk. As far as I know, no one has picked up on this perfectly sensible idea. Instead, your solution is to rely on government handouts.
Hey, tell me, do you think that Johnston's War on Poverty succeeded?

: : And besides, you keep saying that it can't be done while I offer you proof in the form of my dad and my three younger brothers who have started their own business's and are successful (two in tool and die and one in vacuum packaging, all in the New England states). Should I pretend that they don't exist?

: I simply don't udnerstand the way you think. Sure, they exist. The people you're talking about were a lucky few. All power o them. now let me tell you about the homeless man I met once who had to drop out of school at 14 to work when his father died, and who now sleeps in subway stations because his army pension won't cover the rents in Boston. Let me tell you about the servant girl I once saw in an Indian hosuehold who was so poor and ill-educated that she was barely even aware when her country was celebrating its 50th anniversary- she was denied teh cahnce to take part in this! Let me tell you about all the homeless people I've seen at soup kitchens. Let me tell you about the inner city kids I knwo who, in spite of getting a great high school education, were forced to go to a given college solely because of hwo much aid tehy were getting (and then remembr the countries that havce free college education). Let me tell you about all the people crammed into substandard apartments in Boston and slowly sickening. Are you going to pretend that these people don't exist? That's great, it's sowinga lot of respect for tehir life stories that you obviosuly aren't interested in them. Let me tell you, I take their stories into account,a nd I've concldued taht a system taht is built on te backs of tehse p[eopel and tehir suffering cannot be fair. Period.

This guy get's an Army pension???? And he insists on living in a city where he can't afford rent???? That's dumb, pure and simple.
Can't comment on the Indian girl, except to say that that's another country that followed the Soviets down the garden path.

: : : : : : Supposing a person is perfectly content with working a 9 to 5 job and meets all his obligations? He goes to work, comes home, turns on the boob tube and drinks a 6 pack. He's not interested in amassing a fortune. He's content.

: : : : : SDF: What a great justification for paying such an individual an insignificant wage!!!

: : : : Insignificant if your not the one who has to come up with the dough.

: : : It coems out of profit. To make profit while your workers are destitute is immoral.

: : That is plain stupid, stupid enough to ensure that, if you don't change your mind, you stand a good chance of earning yourself a PhD.
: : Then you can be unemployed along with a lot of other PhD's.

: You called me strupid., but I won't reciprocate. You also, incidnetally, offered no argument whatsoecver. Which makes you think you have none. I stand by m=what I said, noting that many working Americans agree with it. It's common sense, and it's morally soudn. what counterargument do you have? and it better be good.

Yeah, my counter argument is that anyone who thinks they are not being paid what they are worth has the freedom to move on or start their own company.

: : : : : : Doesn't care about Marx or Smith. Is he a wage slave, or is he your typical blue-collar worker?

: : : : : : You have a fucking low opinion of blue collar people. Such apathy is at least as typical of the business class who runs our sorry world.

: : : : Don't know wheather to LOL or call you a fool...FOOL! I was a blue-collar worker for nearly thirty years! I worked with my hands! I was a tradesman!

: : : That's irrelevant. they have african Americans who scorn their own race, you know? This fellow called Walter Williams, talk show host- he's black, but he once said taht African Americans were better off having eben enslaved than if they had stayed in africa. That's not a rumor- I HEARD him say it myself.

: : Irrelevant, again! This is amazing! A-fucking-mazing! If the personnel experiences of other humans don't fit into your narrow world views, it's irrelevant. And you go on to talk about the Leona Helmsly's of the world.
: : : : What's your connection to the trades?

: I said before, thsi is irrelevant. Answer my question now. Do you have to be jewish to hate anti-Semitism? can you keep focused on one question for long enough to think of an answer? My connection? None, ythough i've helped with building houses for inner-city families one spring. And I have just as many anecdotes about teh victims of capitalism up my sleeve as you have, so unless you wnat to hera them all...

: : : Why is it necessary that I have a connection with the trades? I'm not Jewish, but I despise the oppression fo Jews, you knwo what i mean? It's part of trying to be a moral human being.

: : It might be helpful to know a wee bit about the people that you are defending. Or is this just a bunch of left-wing feel-good crap that you learned in school?
: : I'll take it for granted that you never worked out of a tool box.

: See above, about building houses (as a volunteer) for low-incone families. By the way, my personal experience is utterly irrelevant. statistics mean more than my anecdotal experience ever will. are you dneying teh statisticsthat show teh amount of people suffering wordlwide udner acapitalist system, orthose numbers that show real improvement under socialist governments? If you ever looked up long enough to read a few charts, you'd learn the truism that I've been quoting for months. In general, whenever any country went from capitalsitm to socialism, its standard of living increased, and when any country went from socialsim to capitalism, its standard of living decreased. If you need examples, I'll quote a dozen or so. Obviously tehre are exceptions, but it holds as a general rule.

: What have youto say about that? And can you understand that socialism / communism is democracy. It stands for the institution of economic democracy, and as such requires political democracy to be realized.
: Or do you just blow off ll teh examples of democratic communist governments in the world? Because they don't fit your ideology?

I've heard all this before. It's irrelevant.

: : : : : SDF: They're looked upon as the "little people," as Leona Helmsley called them. They're the folks who built houses for Frenchy's dad, when Frenchy claimed "his dad" built all those houses, and when I asked Frenchy how they were doing, he said he didn't know. The debate is not about the possibility of prosperity, we know the current system can produce that for its owning classes. It's about the possibility of community.

: : Excuse me, I have to puke.....

: : : : First of all, my dad certainly did build those first houses, except for plumbing and electric. Oh, and pouring the foundation. Everything else he did. I helped in whatever small way I could on Saturdays. (What did your dad do for a living Sam?)

: : : ad homoinem?

: : from you? that's a good one.

: :
: : : :After many years he was able to build more then a couple of houses at a time and then hired out most of the work.

: : : : Of course I don't know how his former employee's are doing. Adults grant each other the benefit that they will do those things which will be good for them. I expect most of those former employee's are doing O.K. My dad's first employer, when we moved to the states, didn't keep tabs on dad either. Geez, do you have to have some one go to the bathroom with you too?

: : :
: : : Y0ou're missing the point. Sam's well-taken point is whether we want a society where we acare for and aree responsible fro each other, or a society where it's every man for himself.

: : Sam's a kind of a joke. What's his blue-collar background? What trade did you work Sam? How many blue-collar guy's do you hang around with on a weekend? Go out with for lunch? Interact with their families? Go to the Elks with?

: This ids the most ridiculous point. I said above that you don't ahve to be Jewsih to hate anti-Semitism? Or do you? Do you give a fuck about the Jewish holocaust? I'm sure you do. But I ask because you certainly don't seem to give two cents about thsoe suffering udner capitalism.

: : : : Hey, if the debate is about the possibility of community, why are you and Nikhil so down on me? What are you guys looking for? Clones?

: : : You made teh inflammatory statements, and I responded.

: : Didn't somebody say that my Dad's experiences were irrelevant to this discussion? To me that's inflammatory.
: : : .
: : : : : : You might be interested to knwo that the lowest-educated, poorest americans were the most likely to oppose the Vietnam war and teh least likely to buy into our whole phony capitalist ethos.

: : Yeah, if your talking about the blacks who burned their own communities in every major city in America during the Viet-Nam War, your right, but their motivation was based on the civil rights movement more then the war.
: : The college campi were where the Viet-Nam war was lost. The affluent scurried away to Canada or got scholarships to Oxford while the son's of the blue-collar workers went to die in Viet-Nam.
: : All those guys deserve the Benedict Arnold Ribbon of Shame.

: FACT: Aroudn 1970, when over 50% of the population opposed teh war, something liek 60% of grade-school-educated and only 40% of college educated opposed teh war. Thecollege educated were disproportioanetly welathy, and as such, had a stalke in teh system.
: By teh wya, anyone who did tehir part in harming the qwar effort deserves a medal for heroism. It was an unjust, immoral war, one we deserved to lose. Or do you think we shoudl ahve won it? Three million Vietnamese corpses and 60,000 American ones woudl seem to say otherwise. Would you prefer tht even more had died to keep Air Marshal Ky, an admirer of Hitler, in power?

Yup, and losing that war ensured the success of Pol Pot, the enslavement of S. Viet-Nam via re-education camps and refugees flooding places like Hong Kong. Nice win, congratulations to you and Hanoi Jane.

: : : : I don't know about that, all I know is that I joined the service (USN) in '68. Then, after two hitches got out and went to work. I seem to recall though that opposition to the war was strongest on college campus's (or is that campi?), not exactly where my crowd was likely to be found.

: : : Actually, this si a common myth, one that I used to ignorantly believe. In fact, opposition to the war was NOT strongest on college campuses, at least not when measured as a percentage of teh total population. They were some of the more photogenic and activist war resisters (although the Catholic Left was as effective and consistent in their opposition to the war) but actually the most anti-war population consisted of elderly, grade=school educated poor women.

: : Yeah, right.

: Listen, you may dislike the import of teh sttaistic, but it resides in tehrealm of objective reality, which is unaffected by our likes and dislikes. It's an unassailable fact.

Facts, I've noticed, are things that fit your reality, otherwise they are irrelevant, anecdotal, etc.

: : :
: : : : Hey! By the way, what branch were you guys in!?

: : : I was only born in 1980, five years after Saigon became Ho Chi Minh City. I don't knwo what I woudl have doen if I were around then- maybe I would have vandalized a few buildings and got thrown in prison for the duration of the war, or maybe just gone to prison anyway as a war resister.
: :

: : 1980! Your not even twenty years old yet! No wonder you sound like a kid, you are. You sound like me as a matter of fact when I was your age. I was a dyed in the wool Communist when I was eighteen. And that's what I told my mom and dad too. It's so easy to believe in sharing the wealth when you don't have any.
: : HA! Check back when you've got some experience under your belt, boot.

: Why did you give up on your communist idealism.

Because humans, I noticed, do not willingly share what they own. When I had nothing, I couldn't understand why this was so. From my point of view sharing was only right, it was Christian, and I knew that if ever I owned more than I needed, I'd damn sure share.
I could go on. I won't bore you.
Then I grew up.
If you want what I worked for, your going to have to take it.
: : :
: : : :Maybe we can swap stories! Ever tell ya about the time we spotted the whole damn Russian fleet steaming back to Murmansk in November? Yeah, 8 nuclear powered subs in formation surrounded by 4 destroyer pickets and escorted by one of their huge guided missle cruisers. Awesome! We flew in at about 300 knots about level with the cruisers antennas! After the third pass Sensor III informed us that the cruiser had a lock on us. That means their fire control was trained on our lovely new P-3C. Nothing happened, they were just letting us know we were a nice juicy target.

: : : : Now it's your turn.

: : : : : SDF: Actually, Nikhil, such people are also deeply concerned about their own survival under capitalism, since their wages are usually insufficient to meet their expenses (especially those great numbers here in the US without medical insurance) or to provide them with much security.

: : : : Yeah Sam, I'm poor and desparate. Living hand to mouth, don't know where my next meals coming from.
: : : : Plese send me $10,000; counting on your sense of community. You too, Nikhail.

: : OK, Nikhail, your off the hook because of your young age, SDF, the weight is on you, cough up 20,000.

: : : i don't ahev 10,000. Also, no one is saying that you're destitute. you certainly don't imply it- why should we assume it?

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