Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn
dachte

Saneometer

I finally got around to reading the various communist newspapers I picked up at the G20 protests. Saneometer ratings:

  • Worker's Vanguard - About as sane as Glen Beck on Cough Syrup. Paranoid and demonising. Single-minded magnet from all perspectives back to a single idea. Ahistorical.
  • Spartacist - Slightly saner than Rush Limbaugh, makes arguments that one could restate and agree or disagree with. Shows some understanding of history. Questionable tactics, insufficiently careful.
  • For the record, I consider both Marx and Trotsky to be pretty sane, although I disagree with them on several matters of tactics and principle.
I am always disappointed whenever I read socialist newsletters, and usually disappointed whenever I talk with other socialists. They usually assume bad faith (far too broadly, at least), often assume conspiracy, and their conclusions drawn from historical events are usually just as thin as those who say 「Socialism can't work because of the Soviet Union」.

Perhaps the mistake is assuming that the mass philosophy of any movement is likely to be of quality. Even the American Revolution was based on shoddy philosophy (whether it brought a net positive or negative to the world is left for judgement elsewhere). I sometimes wonder, if we assume that the best political philosophies have nuances, and further assume that most people will not have developed philosophical virtues sufficient to grasp those nuances, whether rapid development of those virtues in the demos or development of trust of appropriate leaders pending slower development of those virtues is the more appropriate tack. As advertising and political campaigns have shown us, people are easily swayed by bad arguments, by appearance, and by soundbytes. These problems are just as present within a revolution as outside - corruption within any structure other than the demos is as much of a concern as the demos being led to bad conclusions by a charismatic and skilled leader. Perhaps there is no principled solution, in which case we should try for both virtuous leaders and rapid development of political virtue in the masses - teaching skepticism, independent inquiry, socialist values, etc.

Currently: Feeling pretty shaky, so I went to Tazza d'Oreo, where I am now. Maybe I'll swing by 「Fuck Yeah Icecream」 in a few hours. I seem to be torturing myself with dreams recently. On the upside, that Pecan Pie, as usual, was excellent.

Tags: philosophy
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