Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Comments From Michael

These comments were very long and too intellectual for me to get through, but maybe some others would like to respond to them.

Here they are:

I would like to make a suggestion to folks who like to write multiple really long posts. Why not just post your first paragraph as a teaser, and then a link to your own blog with the rest of your comments for those who would like to read the whole thing?

Long comments tend to turn people away from reading other people's more succinct comments.



More arguing:

Blogger I.D.R.C. said...

That comment goes against everything you would find in an economic or political science class.

I'm not at all surprised about that, and more's the pity. It's getting worse.Take a good look at who controls textbooks. They all come from a review board in Texas.

Democracy doesn't trump capitalism in my mind-- it trumps capitalism, period.



1. government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

2. a state having such a form of government: The United States and Canada are democracies.

3. a state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges.

4. political or social equality; democratic spirit.

5. the common people of a community as distinguished from any privileged class; the common people with respect to their political power.


an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, esp. as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.

An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market.

Origin: 1850–55

Which one sounds like a place to live?

Take note of the origin; I believe it was first used by Marx as a perjorative. No surprise it surfaces around the time of the robber barons.

The word Capitalism did not exist during the American Revolution. It was not a goal of the founders, but Democracy is. They could not have relied on its definition in creating the country, nor is the definition we have the result of their aims and labors.

So why should we use it? What does it clarify, if you are not a banker or industrialist?

The founders were not crazy about bankers or industrialists, as both tend to take more and more control from the people. They saw them as necessary evils to be closely monitored, not saviors to be glorified.

I would state unequivocally that whenever and wherever capitalism rubs up against Democracy, that capitalism must lose.

12:29 PM

Blogger Mellanumi said...


Okay, your altruism has made you incredibly naive. The founding fathers wanted private ownership,and the right to pursue private financial ownership, which are tenets, ta-da, of Capitalism. You are arguing for the denotative concepts of both democracy and capitalism without understanding the context and the connotation of both AT THE TIME in which they were used by the founding fathers. So yes, the founding fathers were very much concerned by private ownership, which is why they reacted against, you guessed it, TAXES -- which could be monetary and in the form of goods like potatoes or tobacco -- and who harvested the goods and tobacco? You guessed it again. THE PEOPLE! And in Greek, the word "demos" means people. You cannot project your idealistic view of a Democratic-Republic onto the past conception of the phrase's meaning. The founding fathers were very much acquainted with classics and philology and philosophy, so they were very understanding of what a democracy was and what the economic basis of democracy was. And they understand both the Greek form of democracy and the Roman adaptation of it. I like living in a Capitalist society -- I like overachievers who create a company in which my skills might flourish and pay my mortgage; I like people who have fire in them to achieve. Without Capitalism (and ta-da Capitalism even exists in communist societies or else there would be no international trade), we would have no internet, no industrial revolution, no farms, no produce, nothing. Socialism is the artificial product of a governmental system to provide for those who can't harvest with their own hands. So yes, I want to live in a Capitalist society, because capitalism implies private ownership and rewards for your own hard work and diligence. Does that mean people won't take advantage of the system? NO. Indeed there are leeches out there and parasites, but that doesn't mean the system is flawed. If you really think any form of democracy can exist without Capitalism, point out one successful governmental structure that has done so. Every socialist country was hypocritically capitalist at some point, and still is if they have international trade. You really don't have the benefits of a classical education. You should read Livy's the "Rise of Rome" in latine, books 1-5 for a clear understanding of democracy. AND you should read Alexis De Toqueville's "Democracy in America." Capitalism is rule by the people; democracy is rule by the people. You seem to think the collective trumps the will of the invidual -- hello! Have you heard of the freedom of speech!!! That is the right of the indivual. So championing democracy as an antidote to Capitalism is misguided. And don't quote Marx to me because there is not one truly Marxist regime. There are five stages to Utopia and the final stage before Utopia is the point at which the leaders of a socialist regime divest themselves of the private property and return it all back to the farmers and divest themselves of power. Has Castro done that? Has China done that? The Marxist is fundamentally flawed because those who achieve revolution can never step down from their throne. And Marx was opposed to any form of power whatsoever. So yes, give me Capitalism or give me death!

7:58 PM

Blogger Mellanumi said...

"After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd."

-- Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) French historian
Source: Democracy in America, Vol. II (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1899), Chap. 6 (HT Liberty Quotes)

8:02 PM

Blogger Brian Goss said...

IDRC c&pd Democracy:

1. government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

Then by definition the US is NOT a Democracy, IDRC. Because: We have many people in gov't that weren't freely elected by We the People; We have laws jammed down our throats that we aren't allowed to vote on or have any say about.

The people speak but the people we elected don't listen. That's NOT a Democracy.


bergsten said...


(sorry, couldn't resist)

Chris said...

I actually read that book. It's full of pseudo-intellectual/philosophical New Age bullshit. Just another twerp telling you he figured out the Universe and everything in it and can break it down for to you in one long diatribe. Those hippies you talk of, John, eat this stuff up.

No offense to Michael or hippies. Just my opinion.

Chloe Cumming said...

Ah, Ken Wilber, I might have known. You opened a bit of a massive can of word worms with all that capitalism stuff! So many secret impassioned theories of how the world really works and who's right.

Oscar Baechler said...

All y'all need to whine about politics less and draw more.

HemlockMan said...

Just as long as no one else writes glowingly of that neo-fascist whore, Ayn Rand...

Ardy said...

Will do.

Niki said...

I understand that there is a hierarchy to everything but one major thing is to know what makes it up.

Needles G.'s Urban Exploits said...

well i've only skimmed Ken Wilber phillosophy stuff, he he has a lot of "everything" theories that are quite mind blasting in how complex and evolving they are. Its hard to understand his work(I had to read over many times though because its filled with a lot of jargon and meaningless quotes), but it is rewarding to undersand his ideas, just the excerpt above is completely complicated in dealing with the levels of human consciousness of the social condition in which they create. From what I mostly remeber from his works were quadrant systems that varied from the selfish thinking to universally empathetic and how the combine. I would enjoy seeing what you think about it though.

384Sprites said...

Ken Wilbur huh? First I've heard of him, I've been so into Krishnamurti lately, and now I think I need to give this guy a chance. It's funny that topics like this (and capitalism) help underline the people who are closed-minded. I find it interesting to see how people view their surroundings (per opinions)... how we receive their thoughts/idea is a true judge of our character.

Dorseytunes said...

There are way to many variables in the human condition to become one minded in any way. Maybe humanity can learn from it's hard lessons...maybe.

The second tier thinking has contradictory concepts within itself that have Utopian/anarchical tendencies. Oh well, like my mom used to say..."Let the boy dream".

gabriel valles said...

Ken Wilber = Balony.

A true intellectual is a clear communicator not one who tries to build a castle with walls of obfuscation.


Wow,great reply. Facts and sources, a logical exposition, clearly defined terms, and a concise argumentation.

There's no way you learned this in public schools or a goofy movie.

sean metcalf said...

i thought we lived in a republic

sharprm said...

"A true intellectual is a clear communicator"

Very true.

If you dress an idea up like a scientific theory it needs to be clear and make testable predictions.

(i+i)^h is meaningless (based on my highschool math knowledge). i=f(t), i(t)=(i(t-1))^h, are examples of how to write that information depends on time. He didn't define what i (information) is or how it is measured. Is there an experiment or computer simulation that can verify the (i+i)^h model?

The closest he came to making a testable prediction (besides vague doomsdays) was bjork being the ideal woman.

Anonymous said...

John, everyone in the internet is an economist. I'm reminded of Norm MacDonald: "I'm hearing all this talk about the DEFICIT on TV nowadays. And I'm like, "I've... heard that word..."

JS said...

Terrible New Age stuff, with the usual obsession with classifying Ask yourself where he gets those weirdly exact percentages - surveys? astral channeling? The wrapup has more than a slight hint of longing for a dictator, which is typical of two-bit mass-market Californized esotericism. It doesn't help that he physically resembles the stereotype of a creepy New Aged guru.

To call this philosophy is just sad