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Friday, 1 June 2007

Off to Belgium by Bike

I'm leaving in the morning, but tonight, while checking my email, I find that some guy has written a novel in responce to a snarky post I made in 2003. Not exactly timely, but I think I will address some of his points.

I was intrigued by your inquiries as to why artists tend to be leftists. However, your current theory, that leftist opinion is clearly the end-result of higher-level thinking, and therefore, people who think critically will become leftists, doesn't leave a whole lot of room for critical thinking.

Well, it was a snarky post. I can think of several non-leftist artists off the top of my head, some of whom are quite good. Including fascists like the Futurists, Ezra Pound and Hitler's filmmaker whose name is escaping me at the moment. Clearly no political philosophy is required for the making of art. However, it is often the case that art is created by outsiders and outsiders are less likely to be conservative as a rigid system of social order tends to exclude them. If you are trying to create a space for yourself in the mainstrem by expanding the definition of creative expression in your culture, you're going to favor things like change and inclusion.

Engineering is freakishly challenging. Engineers have to ask questions. Good engineers orgainize what they know and don't know and find out what questions need to be asked. There are whole systems in place to prevent decisions being made based on "gut emotions." So why is it that so many engineers tend to be conservatives?

Asberger's Syndrome

No, really, being conservative in America is often linked with a lack of empathy. anyway, a lot of Engineers are white, many are male and almost all are upper class. These factors don't tend to encourage empathy. Also, the questions engineers ask about problem solving don't really apply to trying to gain empathy about another person's problems. They're different sorts of problems with different kinds of solutions and which need different sorts of skills.

t seems to me that, in the West, the arts have been supported predominantly by wealthy patrons, some of which happened to be heads of state, so technically, paid for by government money. That's entirely different from the sort of governments we have today . . .

Building national identity is still a major task of government or the country will fall apart. Major effort and energy is invested in this project. It's sad that America no longer prioritises fine art as a part of national identity.

Ironically, the non-linear (leftist) tax system of the U.S., which taxes richer people at a higher % rate than poorer people, is taking much of the 'surplus' money away that used to be used to support the arts.

Um, so Trump, his surplus taxed away, forced to choose between waxing his yacht and commissioning a symphony, picks the yacht. My eyes well with tears for this cultural loss.

Every other first world country in the world and quite a few in the second and third world invest public money in art, not relying on the surplus whims of the well-heeled.

So maybe, for the sake of argument, we should clarify what we both mean by "capitolist system." Capitolism, as I understand it to be defined, is the free and peaceful exchange of goods and services.

Thanks for the deinfition, as I've never even heard of "capitolism." I would have guessed it had something to do with seats of government.

Under the marxist system, everything people make is taken from them, and in return they receive whatever the planners have deemed necessary and fair for them to have. Obviously, someone who produces a 'non-practical' good (like art) is going to be more pleased with this system than someone who produces a 'practical' good (like wheat or toaster ovens). This begs the question, is life really full if only the practical is taken provided for? On the other hand, is life really full if every detail is controlled by some gov. bigshot?

I want to know if life is really full if you've got mental health problems and have become homeless. Cuz that doesn't seem all that peaceful or full to me.

Also, why would toaster oven makers be opposed to getting aliving wage? I'm confused.

You dream of the socialist utopia where people will be free from the toils and daily grind of work. I'm sure everyone would love to switch from occupation to occupation, but, please, explain to me, rationally, how this would work.

Um, there's, like, this famous quote by Marx where he talks about having different jobs at a different time of day and they include occupations like farmer and poet and um, yeah, nevermind.

Can you point to one example of a community (or nation) where this ever happened without the system going bankrupt?

I always thought the Soviet Union went bankrupt because it was stuck in a destructive and expensive arms race with an agressive, wealthier world power. But maybe it was because everybody kept switching jobs.

People actually achieve freedom to do what they want without being oppressed by the demand of life (gotta-work to eat, gotta eat to live) in the pseudo-free-enterprise system of America and other countries. They do it by sucking it up, putting in some hours into providing services that feeds people's bellies, then cutting back their expenses to what is really necessary (which isn't much, considering that most of the world makes it by on less), and then pouring their energies into services which feed people's souls (like the arts), or whatever they feel like. Besides, people who spend too much time in one discipline often get lost in it, and lose the ability to relate to other people (and the rest of life). This is an ever-present danger to specialists, like scientists, engineers, artists, and the like.

Ah, see, suffering for art is very healthy. We have a better system when only the idle rich have the resources to create. All you poor folks with creative ideas should just suck it up. You can paint nights. Just quit sleeping.

Explain what you mean when you say that "corporations are basically feudal and anti-democratic." I'm fascinated by the comparison.

Oh man, it's too late at night for this.

The prisons are full because there are more criminals than ever before (and a well-funded police force to put them into a forced wellfare state). This is indeed due to a lack of education, but not of the sort that can be fixed by an increase in federal education spending. The education deficiency is one of morals, not one of knowledge . . .

Racial and economic disaprities in prison populations reflect moral disparities in social groups as a whole. It's a little known fact that rich white folks have really great morals. Really, really great. My morals can totally beat up your morals.

I have got to go to bed. I don't even know where to start with this.

1 comment:

Nicole said...


I'm sure everyone would love to switch from occupation to occupation, but, please, explain to me, rationally, how this would work.

This is funny since I'm pretty sure that after companies move their operations out of the country, conservative types start babbling about "job training" and the like. So under the captialist system in America you can work somewhere for 20 years, get laid off and have to start a new career. This happens in a big way - say, having to go from building cars to fixing sinks - and in smaller ways. Even if you're, say, a software engineer instead of a factory worker, you're going to get laid off and then have to switch jobs. And the likelyhood that you'll find another job doing the same sort of programming is pretty low so you're going to have to build up a whole new skill set, which may only have so much to do with the skill set you already had. So I'm not really sure why this person needs the idea of switching jobs expalined to him as it's a feature of his ideal captialist system right now.