Ignorance and false labels

I think I've figured out why our political world seems so crazy recently.
It's because people are misusing words and labels.

All identity politics are based upon historical grievances. Well, guess who knows less about history than Americans? No one.

Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and a passionate believer in education as the cornerstone of democracy, once wrote, "If a nation expects to be both ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."...

If Jefferson and Madison returned today, they might be alarmed by the widespread ignorance of American history and civics among U.S. citizens. For example, slightly more than half (53%) of Americans do not know that the first 10 amendments to the Constitution of the United States are called the "Bill of Rights." A third of Americans (33%) do not know who delivered the Gettysburg Address. A sizable minority (42%) of Americans do not know the title of the national anthem.

Only 36 percent of Americans are able to pass the citizenship exam.
When American adults were polled about our nation's history of slavery, Americans got an average of 2 out of 5 questions correct.
It's difficult to have any credibility regarding who oppressed whom historically when your knowledge of history resembles the depth and complexity of a Hollywood action movie. It's even more difficult to have an intelligent discussion about these issues, if Twitter is any example.
It's downright impossible have a nuanced discussion about these big issues today, when any honest examination of every historical event absolutely requires nuance.

Any sentence that begins with "White people are/were" or "Black people are/were" is flat out wrong. Yet wealthy and comfortable liberals are tripping over themselves in a rush to virtue signal their ignorance.
As is true for any subject in human society, those who are most ignorant are also the loudest and most uncompromising.

Conservatives are no better. They just do the same thing about different Identity Politics issues.
While liberals seem to believe that only three identities exist, (race, gender, and sexual orientation) conservatives are totally focused on other identities that liberals pretend don't matter (nationality and religion).
A good example of this conservative ignorance is the anti-Sharia movement.

Since 2010, 201 anti-Sharia law bills have been introduced in 43 states. In 2017 alone, 14 states introduced an anti-Sharia law bill, with Texas and Arkansas enacting the legislation.

Only in the paranoid mind of a religious conservative is there a danger of Sharia law being imposed in a nation that is 70% Christian, and has the 1st Amendment.

Something that is helping to hide all of this ignorance is labels.
Today, when someone is accused of being on the Left, they are almost always talking about the "cultural left" such as woke liberals.
The right-wing has invented "Cultural Marxism" out of thin air in order to tie the two groups together, but in fact woke liberals have very little in common with the actual Left.
A big tell is how few sacrifices that woke liberals ask of the ruling elites, and how much of the blame for systemic problems they lay upon the struggling white working class. Their "solutions" appear to be limited to symbolic actions, shaming people, and making the ruling class more inclusive, something that fans of IdPol have convinced themselves is somehow revolutionary.

Anyone who is actually familiar with the history of leftist politics would immediately attribute woke liberal policies with the moderate right.

If you want to know what is wrong with a society, you should start by looking at what is considered taboo.
In America that means class - the identity that almost all leftist political thought is built around.

"Class is the most taboo subject in America. The American media would rather talk about race or perversion or anything else considered taboo before class."
- Jim Shepard

If you are unsure which class you are in, just ask yourself which side of the paycheck you sign.
You never hear it put this way because the ruling class needs the 99% divided, unsure where it's interests lie, and fighting within itself over cultural issues, such as race and religion. Even a superficial reading of history will show this to be true.

Then there's the labels.
Consider socialism:

socialism.PNG

socialism2.PNG

Would it surprise you that NONE of those definitions, both for and against, are right?
It may come as a shock, but socialism is in the dictionary.

socialism
Pronunciation /ˈsəʊʃəlɪz(ə)m/
noun

1. A political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

Notice the word "government" isn't even mentioned.
Nor is "free stuff".
In fact, socialism at it's core is all about empowering the community and worker.

That is nothing compared to that other label - capitalism - the most lied about term in politics.

capital.PNG

42% of people have vague and ill-defined reasons for liking capitalism.
Which makes perfect sense when you see crap like this:

Capitalism is not the cause of any problems we humans face today. In fact, it is arguably the solution to all of them. Capitalism ensures your rights and your freedom. It serves you. Capitalism is the only socio-economic system that says that men are free! Capitalism is fundamentally opposed to slavery and to war.

It's not often that you can find a paragraph in which every single sentence is a proven lie.
Then there is this:

What is blamed on capitalism is almost always not capitalism.
Almost any problem blamed on capitalism is actually a failure of the government...
Another issue people have with capitalism is that things sometimes go really wrong, like an Enron or Bernie Madoff situation. However, that’s not a feature of capitalism; that’s fraud.

Ah yes. The Bad Apple/Don't Blame Me defense. The last resort of those without any other excuses.

Not to go all “Gordon Gekko” here, but the pursuit of profit and avoidance of losses in capitalism is what makes the system work so well, and if that is considered “greed,” then greed is good.

Here's a good test: If greed is good, then when I call you greedy you should take that as a compliment. Right?

Inequality is a feature, not a bug.
People who complain about inequality forget that we are promised to be viewed equal in the eyes of the law, but not in terms of our talents, looks, material possessions or anything else. Capitalism is a system that allows for different levels of participation and different outcomes.

Which is another way of saying "meritocracy".
Which is another way of saying "everyone gets what they deserve".
Which is totally in contradiction with a known fact that "life is unfair".
You can't have both be true.

When it comes to labels, nothing beats capitalism.
The defenders of the status quo will bend over backwards to convince you that capitalism is a great system, and you'd be a fool to believe your own lying eyes.
And if you still don't fall into line then you must be a Russia-loving Bernie Bro, and that means you are racist and sexist. Because reasons.

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“History suggests that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom”
Milton Friedman

Yeh. History. That's a sticky one.

A brief history of Wall Street

On Wall Street, near the corner of Water, you will find a small plaque, marking the location or what was once one of the largest slave markets in North America.
Wall Street was name after an actual wall, built by slaves, to protect against indian raids.

It's not ironic at all that this citadel of the free market was built on the labor of slaves.

"Every man needs slaves like he needs clean air. To rule is to breathe, is it not?"
- Albert Camus

"The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave."
- Ayn Rand

Slavery is the opposite of freedom.
And since capitalism equals freedom, thus slavery must be the opposite of capitalism.
Here we run into our first contradiction in the Church of the American Conservative, because the slave trade was one of the most profitable capitalist enterprises in human history.

Modern free market worshipping conservatives might tell you that the slave trade wasn't the free market because it dealt with slaves, and free markets prohibit coercion.
But this just exposes them as being ignorant of what an actual market trade is.
The slave was a commodity, just like a farm animal. What the commodity wanted was irrelevant. The slave buyers and sellers were in fact engaging in the oldest free market activity in recorded history.

It just didn't have anything to do with freedom.
People became slave traders to make a profit.
That's why the most powerful companies in history, the British East Indies Company and the Dutch East Indies Company, were in the slavery business.

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Pricknick's picture

I don't shake my head at the lack of common sense in this nation as there is nothing common about it. We are all individuals.
I do shake my head at the lack of historic knowledge. Everyone is capable of learning from it. Unfortunately, most chose to ignore it.
Again. Nice job.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

Azazello's picture

I'm not sure how to characterize myself anymore. I was using Progressive but that is now taken to mean exponent of identity politics. Here's my little test: Most of us know that the three richest oligarchs own more wealth than the bottom 50% of the citizenry. Many of us can name them, they are all straight white males. Suppose, then, that one of these was an African-American woman and one was a gay Latino, leaving only one straight, white male. Would this be OK ? A neoliberal Progressive might say, "Yes, this is progress". I say, emphatically, "No, this situation is still unjust and intolerable". The label Economic Populist is the right one, I think. It's meaning is clear and resists re-definition.

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mimi's picture

@Azazello
but that's because I don't understand English. Populism is a label created by the oligarchs of the social media platform owners to exploit the poor dreaming folks.

I wonder when the label 'populism' was created? Did it exist before the mighty internet messed up the whole world?

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“Trauma is not what happens to you.
Trauma is what happens inside you,
as a result of what happens to you.”
— Dr. Gabor Maté

Pluto's Republic's picture

... meanings a lot last year. Back then I felt an early push of reassigned definitions. Intellectual dishonesty and logical fallacies were in the air. There were attempts to label all sorts of annoying and unfamiliar things "The Left."

The author's amusing 'off-the-shelf' rationalizations at the end of the essay, perfectly mimic the way dumb people explain to each other why capitalism in the US always tastes like a shit sandwich:

People who complain about inequality forget that we are promised to be viewed equal in the eyes of the law, but not in terms of our talents, looks, material possessions or anything else. Capitalism is a system that allows for different levels of participation and different outcomes.

Which is another way of saying "meritocracy".
Which is another way of saying "everyone gets what they deserve".
Which is totally in contradiction with a known fact that "life is unfair".
You can't have both be true
.

.

It occured to me last time, and now once again, that this perception problem keeps erupting in the US because Americans — alone among citizens of the world's developed nations — are not afforded the most basic Human Rights that this nation ratified at the United Nations in 1948.

Food is a human right. So is housing. The up-coming Eviction Extravaganza in the US will be a true teachable moment in this regard. You won't see people forced into the streets and into bankruptcy in other developed nations — or in any nation where Human Rights have been directly conferred upon the People. The problems will be mitigated to minimize suffering and protect those Rights.

Other nations corrected their Constitutions and regulated their capitalists to respect the rights and dignity of humanity.

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Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.

— Martin Luther King

@Pluto's Republic

You won't see people forced into the streets and into bankruptcy in other developed nations — or in any nation where Human Rights have been directly conferred upon the People.

For the most part, basic needs in the US aren't rights but privileges. During the progressive era - roughly 1900-1970 - some of those privileges were slowly recast as rights. Slowly reversed from that point on and before any of it became universal. The poisonous Flint water by the design of government officials would have been unthinkable and intolerable in 1950. Tax dollars for private schools -- ridiculous. However, such basic needs - potable water, sewers, schools, public housing, and medical care* -- were matters of local taxation and control and that led to wide disparities between wealthier and whiter and poorer communities and states. The New Dealers succeeded in reducing much of those disparities (and not without many mistakes which is to be expected when creating anew), but the backlash was in full force by 1980.

*Interesting to ponder the differences in the development of public education and health care in the US. People wanted both, but were more easily snookered into viewing health care as a privilege.

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Jen's picture

@Marie

*Interesting to ponder the differences in the development of public education and health care in the US. People wanted both, but were more easily snookered into viewing health care as a privilege.

That's because they need schools to watch their kids while they work themselves to death for healthcare privileges.

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Is it great yet?

@Jen -- that came long after mandatory public education. Medical care was always expensive in comparison to average wages, but there were public and charity clinics and hospitals. Plus what doctors/nurses could do back then was fairly limited. Thus, per capita medical care was low. (How do you think the relatively broke England after WWII was able to afford the NHS?)

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mimi's picture

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“Trauma is not what happens to you.
Trauma is what happens inside you,
as a result of what happens to you.”
— Dr. Gabor Maté

Of the proper definition of socialism the other day and realized socialism is a form of capitalism.
I then looked up McDonalds data.
Rounding here for simplicity.
Annual profits $11 billion.
Total employees worldwide: 1.1 millon.
That's $10k/yr extra for each employee if McD's was socialist. Assuming no capital investments.
It would be a socialist means of production but still part of the marketplace. Still mercantile.
Still requiring capital.
Just without the exploitation.

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

I've been terrified nonstop since you showed me that Taibbi article.

Let me ask you this: Is this a majority belief??? How do I, as an individual, escape this and build anything resembling a happy, non-lobotomized life for myself?

I don't just feel marginalized - I feel buried alive. I keep thinking of The Cask of Amontillado. "Invisible blood" is a term I believe I've seen on here.

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

@The Liberal Moonbat
Get angry that people are being lied to and deceived.
Sure, you may not change the world in a significant way, but that isn't the point.

If you get angry enough, and you spend enough time attacking the lies, then you'll forget about being afraid. You'll be too busy carrying out a righteous crusade.

As long as you focus on attacking the lies rather than attacking the deceived, I think a crusade can be therapeutic.

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@gjohnsit versus attacking the deceived. Brilliant way to put it gjohn. I am getting clearer everyday on focusing on the lie and not just blaming. It's not easy and I'm hardly perfect at doing it but no more valuable words can be said about just what our goal should be.

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Only a fool lets someone else tell him who his enemy is. Assata Shakur

Pluto's Republic's picture

@gjohnsit

Pushing back on the institutional lies and blatant, manipulative propaganda is good citizenship and good for society because it reminds people of their civic duty to 'question authority'.

Plus it is excellent mental hygiene. It also keeps the IQ pumped up and is a realty check on one's intellectual honesty.

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Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.

— Martin Luther King

@Pluto's Republic
can be depressing.
It leaves one feeling like they are a victim.

But if you go on the attack, you may still be a victim, you may still be alone, but you won't feel like it.

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@gjohnsit I've been doing that for years, in fact; I just get attacked back - and I can't win arguments.

How, short of eugenics or something, is intelligence supposed to prevail over stupidity if you can't win an argument with a moron? How do you cure groupthink??? I wish vaccines did cause autism.

I'm not even meant for this; I'm supposed to be some kind of creative type. That's what I'm good at, and it's what makes life worth living for me - but these days it seems like artists who don't conform to The Narrative(TM) are near the top of the hit-list. There's no FREEDOM anymore.

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

@The Liberal Moonbat

and I can't win arguments

That makes no sense.
You're smarter than most people on the internet.
Perhaps you are using the wrong measuring stick for "winning".

Rule #1: No one ever admits to being wrong on the internet, especially conservatives and neolibs.

If your measurement for "winning" is having someone tell you "I was wrong" then don't hold your breath.

Rule #2: You win an argument on the internet when a) your opponent completely abandons the topic at hand and launches personal attacks instead, or b) your opponent completely rejects proven facts.
(note: these rules apply IRL 90% of the time as well)

If your opponent does either a or b, then simply kick back, point out what he/she is doing, and taunt him/her until it isn't fun anymore.

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@gjohnsit That's something, at least. Some people praise my intelligence up and down, other people insist I'm stupid, and manage to make me look it, too; I don't get it. One of the worst experiences of my life was when somebody said "he doesn't know what he's talking about" after I'd been publicly humiliated. Turns out I was the only one in the room who did. What did I get for it, though, other than life-ruining PTSD?

It's difficult to say what "winning an argument" for me means. Part of it is certainly...I feel like I've won. I walk away from it not feeling damaged, confused, or mind-raped. I don't expect a full recantation, but I should be able to feel like I've made a dent. Other people can destroy me, I don't understand why I can't do the same to them.

Back in 2017, I once found myself in an argument with actual open neo-Nazis; what was troubling was that even after I'd taunted them with my Semitism, they were more coherent and civil and less disturbingly Orwellian than a lot of the people on DailyKos. I kind of enjoyed that exchange; I felt like I'd learned something, or at least not been lobotomized at all.

I'd say it was because I'd been "inoculated" against anything thrown at me by such people, that I walked in prepared...but it was more than that. I wasn't prepared for everything they said, but it didn't knock me down like a tower of alphabet-blocks like often happens to me. It was just less gaslight-y and more civil. With skinheads.

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

Jen's picture

It depresses me when someone I know will look up socialism in the dictionary and then turn around and tell me that the dictionary is wrong, and socialism is actually free stuff for lazy people.

It depresses me when someone I know will try to tell me that capitalism allows for anyone to be a millionaire or even a billionaire if they just work hard enough. Then when I try to find out how hard they think Bezos works and it morphs into having an idea (like Amazon) is just another path to being an 'aire.

It depresses me when I try to point out that under their definition of socialism, the 'aires would be the socialists getting free stuff. And they twist themselves into knots trying to explain that capitalism made them billionaires and they deserve all the money they have.

It thoroughly depresses me when they contradict themselves in trying to demonize socialism and glorify capitalism. Like saying socialism is free stuff for lazy people but those 'aires worked hard to get where they are even though they get one government handout after another.

When I say billionaires shouldn't exist, they take it as an attack on someone they know that has more money than they do even though they are nowhere close to being billionaires. It's like they can't comprehend that even if someone made 1 million a year, it would take 1000 years to make a billion.

They'll rant and rave about things like Bilderberg and a new world order and our own shitty government but then say they don't hate billionaires. It's like they think poor people belong to these groups or are controlling these groups. It's like they think poor people are the ones that want to send all the peons to space cylinders to produce crap for the 'aires that did their best to destroy this planet and then get to stay on it while they ship everyone else off to space. It's like they think poor people are the ones wanting to put tracking chips in vaccines. Maybe it's poor people that pad the politicians pockets to do what they want.

Honestly, it's just depressing. Makes me feel like beating my head against the wall.

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Is it great yet?

@Jen

turn around and tell me that the dictionary is wrong, and socialism is actually free stuff for lazy people

They can believe what they want to believe, but you can tell them that they should spend a few minutes actually looking up the history of socialism.

When I say billionaires shouldn't exist, they take it as an attack on someone they know that has more money than they do even though they are nowhere close to being billionaires. It's like they can't comprehend that even if someone made 1 million a year, it would take 1000 years to make a billion.

This one is more fun because it involves simple math.
Ask them if they work hard. They'll say "yes".
Then ask them if it's even possible for the to work a million times harder? (Put it into context. If they are, say, a janitor, and they scrub 100 toilets a night. Would it be possible for them to scrub 1,000 toilets a night? How about 100,000 toilets? Well, Jeff Bezos is getting paid like he scrubs 1,000,0000 toilets a night)
Then see if they can wrap their minds around that.

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lotlizard's picture

@gjohnsit  
Man, that sort of thing really sticks in my crore

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/crore

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Lookout's picture

windemere (2).jpg

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

lotlizard's picture

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omroepvereniging_VARA

Unfortunately not much of that historical influence seems to be left after the forced merger with another public broadcaster in 2014.

Why aren’t there any alternative cable TV channels? We’re going backwards. Here in Germany, I can’t even get RT, PressTV, or Al Jazeera anymore as was possible a few years ago. Obviously the elites’ goal is a façade of a gazillion different sources of programming, confined behind the scenes to transport only messages falling within the same narrow ideological band.

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