Saturday, December 22, 2007

People are Stupid

It's true. We are. We're also, on the average, selfish and lazy. That's why the more intelligent of right-wingers embrace their philosophy of "personal responsibility" and "law and order." They believe that humans need to be forced to work and that rational institutions are needed to police and control us. They would also argue, quite sensibly, that some people definitely are smarter than others. And others are more humane and noble than some others. And that a system that rewards the intelligent, hard-working, law-abiding, is better than a system that tries to enforce some unrealistic equality of outcomes, that only serves to bring the lowest up to a level that the superior would find depressingly low.

But, I would argue to such a conservative, that right-wing policies really only serve to reward a rapacious elite, people more selfish and thoughtless than is healthy for human society. Inequalities of power, meant to place the superior over the inferior have invariably rewarded the most violent and rapacious. And then the system produces a ruling class of the privileged, unremarkable children of those greedy sociopaths.

It remains the case that the best years for industrial capitalism were the years between 1945-73. The time when our societies were at their most democratic. This was the era that saw significant gains in living standards for the working class, for the democratic and material rights of oppressed minorities, for feminism, for the rights of youth. All these gains in the Western capitalist democracies produced a fear on the part of the elites, so that they called it a "crisis of democracy." And they therefore worked to destroy it. But the achievements of that era are with us still: a vibrant peace movement, sanity on the strength of the environment, and a more mature attitude towards sexuality and its diversity (please remember the pathetic batch of closet-cases and rapists who seek to impose their "family values" upon the rest of us).

Even the poorer nations were getting in on the act. And when it came to the enormous rise in oil and other commodity prices, Western elites had had enough and they sought to destroy the many-headed hydra of democratic impulses. We see the glorious results of their efforts. The demented simpleton, george w. bush has presided over the creation of perhaps one million violent deaths in Iraq, the creation of 2 million refugees, which, in the calculus of narrow-minded bigoted US policy leaders, counts as the greatest foreign policy blunders in their country's history. Meanwhile, the capitalist ruling class, the mass entity that had the power to sabotage (alas, perhaps not fatally) bush II and Cheney's delusions about attacking Iran as well, has not had the power to police itself, and has produced with its real-estate speculations yet another gigantic credit crisis for the US and world financial systems.

It appears that social inequality only gives a minority of stupid people the power to lord it over everyone else and to create even bigger messes that mass democracy produces. The genius of democracy is that individuals' self-interest works at a rational level to counteract the selfish attacks of other peoples' stupidity. We are not all uniformly stupid all the time, and we can and have acted to defend ourselves from the out-of-control stupidity of the most violent and rapacious.

Finally, social inequality prods people to put their own selfishness and desperation to work as a survival mechanism, creating a society of bitter, vicious cretins.

The best means for conducting the affairs of the billions of voracious humans on this planet is through leftist policies of equality, democracy, and human rights.


trog69 said...

Good morning, and a hope that you are enjoying the holidays, thwap.

This was argued persuasively by Paul Krugman, either in the latest of his books, or in a not too distant op-ed piece. Or sumpin. Perhaps that relative prosperity by the middle class was our downfall; Complacency, as we see so perniciously today, found it's seeds in the '70's as the factories and big business were booming, and as the 2-income family was starting to see the checkbook fatten. Fuck the one measly chicken in the pot, we need a two-car garage, now damnit!

Another great post...keep 'em comin'!

thwap said...

Well, middle-income earners did become complacent in the face of prosperity, and capitalist propaganda about the glorious system and about fulfillment through consumption.

And thus we see the phenomenon of unionized factory workers voting for right-wing union-busting politicians who promise them tax cuts.

The achievements of the capitalist "golden age" were not sustainable, but rising incomes and rising consumption was what capitalism based its legitimacy on.

It has reneged on the rising incomes, soon debt-fueled consumption will collapse as well.

And there will be nothing and capitalism's apologist/champions will continue to say "There is no alternative."

trog69 said...

Good morning again, thwap.

As a retired union man, I can attest to the workers spouting the company line to me when I'd suggest just looking into the union movement. Nothing could convince them that the leadership wasn't corrupt,(funny, my wages weren't!) and that our contracts were for the worker's AND the contractor's benefits.(Contrary to rightwing TP's, most union workers realize that the contractors have to make money for it to come back to us.) The only way the non-union guys would finally see the light, was for them to be detached from their company phone and clipboard. Vision becomes sharper when it becomes clear that they'd been lied to, just as they'd been told to lie for the company. Of all the men I've helped turn around, the former foremen were the ones who needed little in the way of inticement. We have a saying for jagoffs who think they're indispensable, "The Best go down the road with the Rest." We're all just TOOLS; When they break, or cheaper alternatives become available, out the door they go.

"no alternative". Yeah, I look forward to hear about all the 'belt-tightening' we peons will have to endure so that the economy can get back on track, or some such.

Abuabasabat said...

"The best means for conducting the affairs of the billions of voracious humans on this planet is through leftist policies of equality, democracy, and human rights."

Beautiful. Just beautiful. Leftist democrats and renowned supporters of human rights like Mao, Che Guevara, Fidel, Pol Pot, Stalin, Trotsky, Lenin, and Kim Jong-il. Did I miss any? Probably.

As opposed to the US -- despite its Constitution and clear democratic practices -- which is governed by a "capitalist ruling class" and therefore not a democracy, apparently. Do you always speak in communist jargon and cliché, Thwap? Good grief, you are an atavistic bore! It figures that someone named "troglodyte" thinks you are the bee's knees.

If I have ever read someone so able to fill the shoes of these Leftist democrats and humanitarians, it would be you. “The people are stupid! Off to the camps and off with their heads!” I can only imagine what your rule would be like. More like Stalin or more like Mao? You certainly don’t have the charm of those Latin murderous thugs, Che and Fidel. You are more akin to an East German Honecker: dull, dim, nasty, and brutish.

thwap said...

Abu Asshat,

Thanks for attempting to provide something other than your usual empty snark.

And double thanks for demonstrating what a 10th-rate brain you possess.

Where do you find me advocating for Stalinism?

Or are you merely a graduate of the Jonah Goldberg School of Sloppy, Unoriginal Thought?

I know this will require work on your part, something alien to you I'm sure, but go through this blog alone for evidence of my antipathy to Stalinism and authoritarianism in general.

For once in your goddamned life, think before you express yourself.

"As opposed to the US -- despite its Constitution and clear democratic practices "

You're obviously blind to, or in denial about the bush II regime's assaults on the US Constitution and the US electoral process. There's plenty of stuff online to get you up to speed on this. Read it. While you're doing that, you can maybe shut the fuck up about subjects you know nothing about. How's about that, hmmm?

"You certainly don’t have the charm of those Latin murderous thugs, Che and Fidel."

You see, this is the sort of shit that makes you such a laughable, contemptible, tiresome, idiot. As soon as I read "Latin murderous thugs," I started to think of the death squad governments of Central America, trained, installed, and supported by your beloved USA.

What is happening in Iraq is enough to make a hash of all your claims of Western civility and benevolence.

IMF austerity packages brought premature deaths to millions of people. Western businessmen and politicians supported Hitler as a bulwark against communism. Earlier than that, we have the mass slaughter of World War I, and the Late Victorian Holocausts as described by Mike Davis, in which millions of lives were sacrificed on the altar of imperialism and "free markets."

There are calamities enough to worry about today, all caused by inhuman systems perpetuated by delusions such as those you possess.

Some people are capable of pointing out the flaws of both sides of an ideological debate. Others, such as yourself, are mere partisan hacks with little of substance to say on any subject. In your case it would be a delightful change of pace were you able to even say anything relevant.

trog69 said...

Though it called me names, I cannot condone your mislabeling dear Abuabasabat. The nickname it prefers, rather than Abu Asshat, S/B Assbuhat. A minor detail, but still...

dull, dim, nasty, and brutish.

Project much?

thwap said...

Abu Asshat just rolls off my keyboard, ... but I'll try to remember to accomodate you.

Abuabasabat said...


"You're obviously blind to, or in denial about the bush II regime's assaults on the US Constitution."

You don't know squat about the US Constitution. Don't pretend otherwise.

PS: You love all those old commies. Fidel and Che most of all. Man-up and admit it.


48 years old and retired? What the hell are you complaining about, Lefty? Get a job and quit your bitching.

thwap said...

That's the best that you can do? Really?

"You don't know squat about the US Constitution. Don't pretend otherwise."

No. You don't know squat about the US Constitution. And don't go tryin' to pretend otherwise, ... y'heah?

Boy, that sure is an easy debating tactic. But nothing good is easy I suppose, because it's certainly not a very effective tactic.

"PS: You love all those old commies. Fidel and Che most of all. Man-up and admit it."

PS: You love all those old fascists. Rios Montt and Pinochet most of all. Man-up and admit it.

I don't understand you. Are you some kind of weird masochist or something? According to my records you twice submitted your first embarrassing post to this thread; once on Friday and again on Saturday.

And for what? To have it easily humiliated so that you could follow it up with that even more pathetic gurgle?

Do you get turned on by being shown to the world as some kind of ridiculous idiot?

If you do, ... I mean, that's cool and all, ... but I wish you'd man-up and admit it, so that your behaviour becomes more explicable.


thwap said...


Your submitted comment included the following:

"Boy, you sure labor under a lot of delusions, Thwap. What makes you think that I thought I was debating you?"

You remind me of this kid from my grade school days who, whenever he lost at some competition would petulantly declare that he hadn't been trying.

Whatever floats your boat.

It's quite clear though that your lame attempt at actual intellectual debate has been a miserable failure and so you've retreated to the relative security of irrelevant and empty insults.

You're actually a nice writer. It's a damned shame that you don't have anything interesting or important to say.


But let's play a little game.

I'll pretend that you really weren't trying to debate with me, but that you were only trolling.

In that cae, you're a total waste of my time and I'm banning you.

You'll have to invent another blogger id. and affect another personality to get posted here and recieve the attention you seem to so desperately crave.

trog69 said...

"...What makes you think that I thought I was debating you?"

As I searched for the comment thwap was referring to, the words above sunk in, and I figgered out that I'd not be seeing any such phlegm. And shore enough...

Oh, and should you be as delightful in person as you've shown to be here, and thus nothing better to do than continue hugging yourself that you're still being mentioned, I bitch though I'm fine, financially, because I learned that the best thing about unionism is doing things that aid and assist others beside myself. Very anti-establishment, no?

trog69 said...

Hmm, lemme see if I can help ya out, Assbuhbybat...somethin' thwap'll never figger out...mebbe asshatboy; No too close...footballbat...allbatnoballs...
Okay, okay...thisn's kinda long but, howsabout...sixtoesandcounting!...I'll keep tryin'!