- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Nikhil Jaikumar ( DSA, MA, USA ) on October 19, 1999 at 10:50:03:

In Reply to: You'd think the masses were smart enough to see if the system they live under was failing. posted by Stuart Gort on October 18, 1999 at 10:43:08:

Sorry I couldn't get to the rest of this earlier. But I feel that I should respond.

: :: You say that Barry wants war as a means of sweeping away injustice and exploitation from the world. But sometimes war brings about good thinsg, because it clearly exposes teh difference bewteen good and evil. The Civil War was a monumental war of good against evil, as was teh Second World War, as was the Nicaraguan Civil War, the Tanzania-Uganda war, the war over Bangladesh, the Spanish Civil War, and any number of anti-colonial wars. The Bible predicts a war between God and the Devil at the end of time, which must precede the final judgment day- I presume that you treat this as a 'good thing'. Incidnetally, speaking of 'calamity', it also predicts a thousand-year rule by the Antichrist. Hindu scriptures say a similar thing, that the world must become evil before it can be made good again.

: Sure, war can bring about positive social change. That doesn't make war good nor does it legitimize a sick desire for it. Barry doesn't advocate any particualr war for the ostensible reasons it will be waged. He only seeks to profit from the carnage and anarchy that ensues because his views have no hope of suceeding in this democracy.

How do you know that this is what Barry wants? I don't want war in general. It's not going to be me and the Left that start a bloody war. Redistribution can only be effectively carried out if it's done under the rule of law. If the capitalists take up ar,ms to defedn their property, and start shooting at peasants, single mothers and priests like they did in El Salvador, you can bet that we on the Left are going to defend their victims. Whether or not this denfense will take a pacifist slant, or will defer to the Augustinian concept of a just war, is up to the people who will be running things at the time- I can't predict what the situation will be. The only wars I would support are defensive wars to protect the weak against the depredations of the strong, when peaceful change has been ruled out by the tyranny of the strong or when the strong are responding to reaceful change with violence.

: You need to study your Bible more if you intend to use it to back up any assertion of social issues.

Agreed. I do. I shouldn't even have actually brought up Revelation, since I havenn't read much beyond the Whore of Babylon section. May I also suggest that you read some about Indian and Latin American history. You might find it interesting. How about this. If you spend one hour reading about the Communists in Kerala, one hour reading about the Nicaraguan revolution, and one hour reading Marx, then I'll spend a dozen hours by teh fireside with my Bible. New Testament please, though, I much prefer it to the Old.

:The thousand year reign is not by the Anti-christ. It is by Jesus Christ. A minor point in the context of this arguement, to be sure, but it makes one wonder why you bother bringing up Biblical references if you can't the facts of them straight.

Point taken. But you could also brush about Nicaragua, you know. Still, that's no excuse. Yes, I'll read Revelation thoroughly before I quote it next time.

: The thousand year reign follows the seven year tribulation of rule by the Anti-christ. It is decidely not good nor is it reported to usher in any social change. It is reported to be stopped by the miraculous return of Jesus Christ.

Did I say the antiChrist was 'good'?

: :: Looking at history, calamities have often been necessary to waken people to tehir ondition and to spur them to build a better society,. Teh Great Depression ushered in social democracy in America.

: You characterize the New Deal as good? I say it institutionalized poverty. We've spent over 5 trillion on it now and what long term good have we accomplished in the war against poverty except to institutionalize poverty and its so-called solution?

The War on Poverty was Johnson. The New Deal was Roosevelt. Do we have 25% unemployment anymore? Did we have social security or a safety net before '32? Give me a break. The Nww Deal was the first real step towards economic democracy since the income tax.

: :: The European rebellions of teh late 1800s ushered in social democracy to Europe. Do you think Christianity would have conquered the Roman Empire if Rome hadn't been a hellhole of amoral corruption, decadence, injustice, murder and slavery? I think that the evil nature of the Caligulas and Neros made Rome ready to receive a creed of love and mercy.

: So the evil and vindictive nature of French revolution has merit, I see.

Actually, I was talking about the OTHER French Revolutions- 1848 and 1870. You know, like the Paris Commune. you're about 100 years out of date, I see. let that pass- OF COURSE the French Revolution of 1789 had merit. Or would you prefer that Europe was still ground under the heel of teh aristocracy. Even though the Revolution was in favor of teh bourgeois as opposed to the people, still you must admit that France was infinitely better off. The Frennch Revolution gave us teh notion of the rights of man, rememeber, also the slogan of liberty, equality and brotherhood and the idea that revolution has no borders. Some of these ideas had kernels in the American revolution of course, too. Are you oppsed to that one also? If not, remember that the American Revolution exiled a greater percentage of population than either teh French or teh Vietnamese revolutions.

: As far as the Roman Empire goes, Constantine had the primary role in converting the empire to "christianity" with his edict, making it the religion of the empire. Of course, that act had the effect of "christianizing" every pagan religion of the land as well. The Catholic Church's many sacraments and its priesthood has its basis in neo-pagan ritual as a result. Did you know that the early, pre-catholic church did not baptize infants with water and did not advocate a priesthood? Did you know that the baptism of infants entered the church at the time of Constantine and that the practice was a residual ritual performed by the priests of Baal and other Mesopotamian religions before sacraficing infants on a burning altar? The practice of burning infants had ceased 1500 years previous but the ritual of washing them continued on, and still does to this day in the form of infant baptism. I don't consider that a good development so I can't even concede this point.

You're not an Anti-Catholic, are you? Please. Tell me you're not.

: :: so in conslusion, who is truuly more sociopathic, those who want the failings of teh economy and the system to become suddenly apparent so taht peopel can overthrow them in a day, and teh next day install a new system of justice and peace, or thsoe who wish an exploiattaive system to continue for another thousand years?

: You'd think the masses were smart enough to see if the system they live under was failing. I guess not, eh Nikhil? They'er too stupid to see it your way so they need a good war to show them. Amazing! Also, it's not very clever of you to imply that the thousand year reign of the Anti-christ is our current capitalistic system, especially after you mistakenly switched the protagonist and antagonist.

I didn't imply that, and my argument is, I hope, strong enough to withstand a misquote from St John's Revelation. Anyway, to quote Sankara, 'it is better to take ten steps with teh people than one step without them.' In fact, i suspect that the US will probably not go socialist, because of cultural factors that make it a somewhat unique country. That's fine. I don't care if the American people decide to vote Ronald Reagan or Jesse Ventura into power, as long as they allow other countries the freedom to choose socialism if they so wish. The majority in India, Africa, much of Central and South America, and several european countries cetrainly does want some sort of socialism/ communism, however. As do plenty of Russians and Belarussians. Your premise just doesn't hold water on a worldwide scale. It may when it comes to America, so I'm glad that you qualified it by saying 'in this country'.

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