Unreality and Conformity of the Left

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Wed, Aug 5 - 9:00 am EDT | 2 years ago by
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    The Wright Perspective - The Decay of America

    In the Nineteenth Century, intellectuals raised the argument that Western Civilization was wrong about all its major conclusions, from Christianity to Democracy to Capitalism, and that a rational system of scientific socialism should and would correct these errors and replace them.

    This, over the next hundred years, was attempted, with the result that in a single generation the socialists and communists and national socialists of various stripes had killed more people and wrought more ruin than all world religions combined during all the previous generations of history.

    Meanwhile, the visual arts were reduced to aberrant rubbish not merely ugly and untalented, but objectively indistinguishable from the work of schizophrenics; literature reduced to porn and tales of failure and decay; science was reduced from an honest and objective pursuit of truth to a whorish tool servicing political ends, particularly the ends of environmentalist hysterics, but creeping into other areas; universities degenerated from bastions of learning protected by traditions of academic freedom to the foremost partisans in favor of speech codes and political correctness; family life was and continues to be assaulted; abortion continues to carry out a slow and silent genocide of negro babies, girl babies, and other unwanted humanoids; law enforcement has been redirected from protecting the innocent because they are innocent to protecting the guilty because they are guilty; the Fair Deal and New Deal of the socialist philosophy at its height of intellectual respectability did nothing but prolong what should have been a ten month market correction into a Great Depression that lasted ten years; Welfare programs encouraged, exacerbated, and created a permanent and unelevatable underclass in America, ruining the very lives the programs were alleged to help; Affirmative Action has made race-hatred, accusations of racism, and race-baiting a permanent part of American life, despite that no less racist nation ever has nor ever could exist.

    So the Left has not only failed in everything they attempted, and failed at every promise they made, they failed in an immense, astonishing, unparalleled, and horrifying way, a way so deep and so vast and so gross as to never have been seen before in history nor ever imagined before, not even by science fiction writers. Even Orwell did not foretell of a time when men would voluntarily adopt Newspeak and Doublethink and all the apparatus of oppression, freely and without coercion. Even he, the most famous writers of dysutopia of all time, could not imagine the modern day. The failure of the Left is indescribable: one can only grope for words like ‘awe-inspiring’ or ‘astronomical’ to express the magnitude. If Lot’s wife were to look steadily at what the Left has done, she would turn to a pillar of salt, so horrifying, so overwhelming, so dazzling is the hugeness of failure.

    Now, when your prediction and worldview and way of life and philosophy turns out to be an utter failure of epic, nay, apocalyptic proportions, you have one of two choices. The honest choice is to return to the drawing board of your mind, and recalculate your ideas from their assumptions, changing any assumptions that prove false to facts.

    Pardon me. I have to stop typing for a moment. The idea of a Leftwinger actually doing this honest mental act is so outrageous, that I am overcome by a paroxysm of epileptic laughter, and must steady myself ere I faint.

    Back again. The second option is to construct an illusion, an elaborate falsehood, a lie, and pile lie upon lie upon lie, so that every single line item of the huge multi-volume manifest of failures, false promises, pratfalls and atrocities can be justified by reference to something other than the truth.

    This second option is political correctness.

    Political correctness is the attempt to stifle truth by means of social cues. By social cues, I mean that set of unspoken signals and understood expectations a man attempting to follow and conform to the consensus uses to determine the wishes of the consensus.

    It is often called ‘peer pressure’ but let us avoid that term, because pressure implies that the confirming is unwilling to conform and must be pressed into it. The opposite is true. The conformist is desperate to conform, and panics when the normal mechanisms of rewards and punishments, applauds or criticism, is not immediately visible. They feel the same way a motorist at night would feel approaching an intersection at high speed with the traffic lights broken.

    Political correctness obviously cannot use social cues to conduct a debate between two men, nor an honest introspection between a man and his own soul. What it can do, however, is find any topic where a line item uncomfortable to the self-esteem, the lies, and the self-flattery of the Leftist is threatened and rule that topic to be out-of-bounds, anathema, beyond the pale, heretical, crimethink.

    So, when in a pack, the Leftist cooperates with the conformity of the consensus by sending signals, either overt or subtle, telling other members of the rabbit-warren of his ilk when a word or deed or thought is appropriate, that is, conformist, and when it is inappropriate, that is, crimethink.

    We sane people often accuse the Leftists of behaving in this way to gain power, or to control the minds of others. This is the precise opposite of the truth. The Leftist is not attempting to control the minds of other men, he is attempting to induce other men to control his mind.

    It is not for the sake of power, but for the sake of comfort, that the social cues are used to determine content of right or wrong and true or false rather than using facts and logic to determine the content right or wrong and true or false.

    When a Leftist comes across a sane person, at first the Leftist will use the social cues system to discover what is the appropriate or expected behavior, and so at first he will seem to live in reality. It is only after a few moments of increasingly disconnected and disjointed speech will the sane man discover that the Leftist is neurotic, and, if the topic turns to a core Leftist dogma, psychotic.

    But the moment the conversation veers to some topic on which the social cues have not ordained a falsehood, the Leftist will answer truthfully, and his remarks will once again be related to reality, at least until the intellectual fashions change.

    For example, he might express concern about violent crime in society, or fret that minorities or women are treated unfairly. These seem perfectly reasonable thought at first. Upon questioning, he will reveal the roots of his thought is that women are the victims of a war against them propagated by a conspiracy of boogiemen and hobgoblins, and that homosexuals must be allowed to marry each other, lest the White Supremacy movement in America will rise up and thrown them all in concentration camps, while the Pope removes all contraceptives from the poor, destitute, suffering distaff side of the race. And then the entire planet will fry under the influence of global warming brought on by genocidal oil companies, whose dearest wish is to kill all humans. But humans are a blight and the best thing that could happen to the environment is that we all should be wiped out.

    I wish I were kidding or exaggerating. I am not. These are reports of real conversations I have had with Leftists, and not isolated crackpots either, but members of the mainstream.

    The Leftist will display social cues, such as an unconvincing pantomime of shock or, better yet, jeering laughter, if the sane man makes any statements of fact or logic, or talks about the real world.

    In other words, the Leftist will try to signal to the sane man that his opinions are socially inappropriate. They are harmful to the warren. They might create discomfort. They are thoughtcrimes. They are outside the consensus. They are nonconformist. Whether they are true or not, logical or not, is never raised as an issue, nor do these words have meaning in their vocabulary. ‘True’ means a narrative that helps the consensus; ‘logical’ means shut up.

    Naturally when a sane man hears an insane idea, and the insane idea is not given any disguise of attempted reasoning to make it appear even mildly plausible, he does not react as expected to the social cue. It is as if the light turns green on the road leading off the cliff, and the sane man does not press the gas to go. It is as if the stagehand whispers to a man who is not in the play the scripted lines meant for someone else, and so he does not say them.

    When the cues do not work, the Leftist is stranded, and has only two options: he may either abandon the social cue system of determining conformity (in which case, like it or not, sooner or late, he will discover he is no longer a Leftist) or he redoubles his efforts at signaling the social cue. He flashes the green light more brightly, or whispers the scripted line more forcefully.

    In this case, in order to make the signal more forcefully, the Leftist will make even more outrageous accusations against the sane man, as if to warn him how angry the warren of little fluffy bunnies will become if the lone wolf does not immediately take his assigned number and get in line and conform.

    So he moves from the accusation that the badthought is ‘inappropriate’ to ‘insensitive’ to some word implying a mental disease like ‘transphobic’ or ‘Islamophobic’ to some word implying the worst thing the Leftist can imagine.

    Their colorless and flat and foolish world has neither gods nor devils, neither good nor evil, so the worst word in their vocabulary is the rather mild ‘fascist’ (which means a Mussolini socialist, that is, a type of Leftist considered anathema by other Leftists) or the utterly meaningless ‘sexist’ or ‘reactionary’ (which are words that shock only members of the Left, to whom they apparently have an emotional connotation, even if they have no denotation) or the dread and dread social cue of last resort, which is to call someone a ‘racist’ (which is what the Leftists are, since they judge all men solely by race, not by merit).

    To add absurdity to folly, one of the line items in the failure manifest is the realization that the Left are unintelligent, unintellectual, undereducated or, rather negatively educated (their indoctrination process by design makes them stupider), and conformist.

    This means that the conformist narrative of the warren of the bunnies, all snuggled together for intellectual warmth, says that each of them are free and independent thinkers smarter than the sane people. Everyone is smarter than average. The way to prove you are smart is to act like a total fool.

    The question here is not why the criticism of the Nineteenth Century intellectuals of democracy, decency, and Christianity was permitted. Democracy permits dissent by its very nature, decency includes a decent sense of fairplay to allow each man a time to have his say, and the faithful Christian expects not merely criticism from the world, but hatred and defamation.

    The question is why, now that the fever has run its course, and astronomical numbers of the dead slain by socialism cry out for vengeance from a bloodsoaked world, these lunatics are permitted to continue, long after their mental bankruptcy and moral depravity have been so amply demonstrated for so long?

    And the answer to that is too painful to admit. It is not merely cowardice on our part, but also the lure and pomp and false promise of life in a lax and dishonest society that lacks all standards of right and wrong.

    We live in a madhouse where the inmate run the asylum because we let the crazies throw the doctors and wardens out the windows.

    So now the halls of power, the courts of law, the groves of the academy, the agora of news media, the temples to fine art, and the amphitheater of popular entertainment are all firmly in the control of Tom o’Bedlam, Ophelia from Hamlet, and the Joker from Batman.

    John C. Wright is a retired attorney and newspaperman who was only once hunted by the police. He is a graduate of St. John College (home of Mortimer Adler’s “Great Books Program). In 2004 he foreswore his lifelong atheism and joined the Roman Catholic Church. He has published over 10 SF novels, including one nominated for a Nebula award, and was described by Publisher’s Weekly as “this fledgling century’s most important new SF talent.” He currently lives in fairytale-like happiness with his wife, the authoress L. Jagi Lamplighter, and their four children.

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      • Steven Schwartz

        Well, let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

        “In the Nineteenth Century, intellectuals raised the argument that
        Western Civilization was wrong about all its major conclusions, from Christianity
        to Democracy to Capitalism, and that a rational system of scientific
        socialism should and would correct these errors and replace them.”

        I am truly impressed with the broadness of your brush, Mr. Wright.

        We lump “intellectuals” into a single giant bucket, ignore Voltaire (it’s not as if anti-Christian reaction started in the 1800s.), somehow conclude that people advocating for wider suffrage were anti-democracy, and so on.

        “This, over the next hundred years, was attempted, with the result that
        in a single generation the socialists and communists and national
        socialists of various stripes had killed more people and wrought more
        ruin than all world religions combined during all the previous
        generations of history.”

        Insert standard conflation of national socialists with the Left — an argument we can hash out over and over again. Add in a large helping of failing to understand that populations increase, and that, for example, the Thirty Years’ War (a religious war) killed a greater percentage of the European population than WWII, and you get, well, more rhetorical nonsense.

        “Meanwhile, the visual arts were reduced to aberrant rubbish not merely
        ugly and untalented, but objectively indistinguishable from the work of
        schizophrenics”

        Chagall, Klimt, O’Keefe, and Mapplethorpe would like to have a few words with you.

        But the key thing to note here is that once again, Mr. Wright hauls out his broad brush; that is all you will find here.

        “literature reduced to porn and tales of failure and decay”

        See above re: broad brush.

        “science was reduced from an honest and objective pursuit of truth
        to a whorish tool servicing political ends, particularly the ends of
        environmentalist hysterics, but creeping into other areas”

        He says of the century that brought us manned flight, travels to outer space, and the computer. Oh, and which happens to be *correct* about anthropogenic warming.

        “universities degenerated from bastions of learning protected by traditions of
        academic freedom to the foremost partisans in favor of speech codes and political correctness”

        Bastions of learning whose admissions were restricted to only the right sort — at the time he wishes to hearken back to, that would be White Christian Males. Indeed, it wasn’t until the latter part of the 20th century he apparently so loathes that that ceased to be, by and large, the standard.

        And I think that’s enough; if other people want to argue the specifics, I’ll go for it, but I think we’ve seen enough of Mr. Wright’s wails of complaint about the Death of Society (such as people ahve been wailing since at *least* the ancient Greeks).

        Oh, wait — I have to include one more:

        “Affirmative Action has made race-hatred, accusations of racism, and race-baiting a permanent part of American life, despite that no less racist nation ever has nor ever could exist.”

        Rarely have I seen a more perfect example of “blaming the victim”. No, no; somehow, racism ended in the mid-1970s, and everything since then has been the fault of “affirmative action”, despite the fact that, in comparison to the scope, breadth, and effect of, say, Jim Crow laws, the cases of affirmative action have been miniscule — somehow, racism ended, and the only people perpetuating it are those who were its former victims.

        How *anyone* can look at the U.S. today, and proclaim that “no less racist nation ever could exist”…well, I was going to say boggles the mind, in this time of hearing about a new unarmed black person shot by police every few days, in this time of hearing presidential candidates describe entire ethnic groups as rapists, etc.

        But there’s a clear explanation; and if it’s not true, Mr. Wright, do please explain. It’s because Mr. Wright feels the level of racism in the U.S. right now is the *correct* level — that to be less racist than we are now would be contrary to fact.

        “Now, when your prediction and worldview and way of life and philosophy
        turns out to be an utter failure of epic, nay, apocalyptic proportions,
        you have one of two choices. The honest choice is to return to the
        drawing board of your mind, and recalculate your ideas from their
        assumptions, changing any assumptions that prove false to facts.”

        Physician, heal thyself. Because in order to support the philosophy you espouse, you need to falsify history, and reality, to such an extent that it is not recognizable in correlation to the real world.

        A tip: First get a smaller brush, and perhaps your tendencies towards apocalyptic dualism will be somewhat reduced.

        • jupta

          I don’t know you but I wonder why you write these long responses to articles whose logical and factual flaws are, to put it mildly, *obvious*. As I see it, Mr. Wright is an entertainer, and that is what these articles are for. They’re like Star Trek movies – you have to believe in and like a certain premise before you can enjoy it.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Because if you read around here, Mr. Wright does have a following (though the comments section has been shrinking) who don’t appear to find his errors obvious at all.

          So every so often it’s worth popping around and pointing out that Mr. Wright’s getting so much wrong, and in what ways.

        • jupta

          You could at least respond more impartially. Your responses appear to me like alternating bands of red and blue.

        • Steven Schwartz

          What do you mean by “impartially”? Should I be trying to pretend that I am neutral?

          I attempt to answer honestly — it is difficult to avoid being caught somewhat in a binary when one’s interlocutor is so utterly wedded to one, despite one’s best efforts.

      • Astrosorceror

        Lovecraft, Wells and other writers of the time freely used the words “socialist utopia” without irony. I think we can forgive the writers and philosophers of that early time. Socialism was untried and untested (except for Revolutionary France which might have served as a warning).

        It took the nightmare of the 20th Century to truly show the grinding horrors of the concentration camp, the gulag, and the reeducation camp. Even then, with the Iron Curtain raised, many were still ignorant of the appalling conditions in Eastern Europe.

        Once it came down, the horror was there for all to see. It was rather like a a great social science experiment: take a large landmass with similar populations and cultures. Destroy all of the infrastructure and governments by war. Separate populations and permit no interaction. Then, have both rebuild according to different economic principles.

        The results are obvious to all who can see.

        • Steven Schwartz

          ” Destroy all of the infrastructure and governments by war. Separate populations and permit no interaction.”

          I’m presuming you’re talking about WWII here.

          If so, you neglected to mention “Inject one side with large amounts of aid from a third party, while the other one is forced to spend large sums of money to keep up with that third party militarily”.

          Every time socialism has been tried, its first trial has *always* been the attempts of non-socialist nations to destroy it. I wonder how effective our American Revolution would have been if, instead of seeing it as a chance to weaken English domination, the French had seen it as an experiment in anti-monarchial thinking, and aided the English? I suspect we would not now be proclaiming the glories of the United States.

          Yet that is what happened, for example, to the Soviet Union at its founding. THat’s what’s happened over and over again — heck; the U.S. itself has taken it upon itself to overthrow “socialist” governments when it felt it was in its best interest.

          So, the results are obvious — there’s never been a fair test, or anything even approaching an unbiased experiment.

          (As a side note — if you’re going to compare “concentration camp/gulag/reeducation camp” all as one thing, are you going to a) include the British, as the *inventors* of the concentration camp, or b) try and make the frequent, but oft-discredited claim that “national socialism” was, in fact, socialism?*)

          *I find it bitterly amusing that many people have no problem saying that “democratic republics” aren’t democratic, even though they have it in their name, but then claim that “national socialism” must be socialist because it’s in the name. I am not saying you’re one of those people, but it is a trend worth noting.

        • Astrosorceror

          Gosh, so much to reply to…
          I’ll stick with two points.

          The US and USSR built up, funded and effectively determined much of the character of divided Europe. Both spent colossal amounts on defense, and built up their military in Europe. That W Europe did not have to spend as much in defense is taken as part of the “success” of their mixed-socialist experiments that are now failing. They succeed to the extend that they were capitalist (Germany and Britain very successful, and the most capitalist, while more socialist Mediterranean countries are about to go bankrupt, even with the USA paying for much of their defense.) So, E Europe had their defense provided by an external power as well (the USSR) and still ended up a basket case due to the economic regime imposed upon it.

          As for attempts to destroy socialism: I couldn’t care if another nation wants to experiment with economic suicide. The issue I have is when their ideology includes the violent conquest of other nations and violent revolution as a dogma to spread it. That would be why other nations fight against it: because they are constantly under hostile attack from that ideology.

        • Steven Schwartz

          OK: “The US and USSR built up, funded and effectively determined much of the character of divided Europe. ”

          And the two did not start from equivalent positions; one was a war-ravaged nation, the other one barely touched, in terms of its economy, by war. And yet, somehow, we are to treat their results as equal?

          For example, the U.S. could afford to subsidize West German redevelopment; the Soviet Union stripped East Germany of much of its remaining industrial capacity in order to maintain its own.

          As I said, not a valid “experiment”.

          As for your other point: “The issue I have is when their ideology includes the violent conquest of other nations and violent revolution as a dogma to spread it.”

          Pray tell, what violent conquest was Chile about to be engaged in when we overthrew its government? For that matter, what violent conquest were the socialists and anarchists in Spain about to engage in?

          Other nations fight against it because it is contrary to their ruling class’ interests at the time; that does not speak in any way to its validity or lack thereof.

          As I said — had the French decided that ideology was more important than sticking it to the English, would we now be talking about non-monarchic democracy as a hostile ideology that has failed? You place great weight upon contingencies of history to make a supposedly open-and-shut case.

        • jupta

          “And the two did not start from equivalent positions; one was a
          war-ravaged nation, the other one barely touched, in terms of its
          economy, by war. And yet, somehow, we are to treat their results as
          equal?”

          The other one “barely touched” by the war? You need some education in recent history my friend. The USSR could be said to have been “war-ravaged” from 1942-44. After Kharkov, Germany was as good as vanquished. Besides, the USSR itself received considerable aid from the USA.

          But I do see your point. The USA got lots of territory with arable and inhabitable land and vital industrial resources for nothing or next to nothing, because the European empires which owned them were either not bothered or incapable of keeping them.

          However, it is unlikely that, even with an even start, the USSR would be as prosperous as the USA. Communism is inherently flawed because it turns ethical principles to economic-political models. Socialism cannot be forced upon the people, at least not without straying from socialism.

        • Steven Schwartz

          ” The USSR could be said to have been “war-ravaged” from 1942-44. After Kharkov, Germany was as good as vanquished. Besides, the USSR itself received considerable aid from the USA.”

          When your country is still a battlefield, you’re reasonably describable as “war-ravaged”. It’s not like by 1945 they were back to where they would have been had the invasion not happened.

          “However, it is unlikely that, even with an even start, the USSR would be as prosperous as the USA. Communism is inherently flawed because it turns ethical principles to economic-political models.”

          We can argue that point — all I am saying is that your claim of a “great social science experiment” was faulty, and we can’t derive the results you want so easily.

        • jupta

          “When your country is still a battlefield, you’re reasonably describable as “war-ravaged”.”
          I would estimate that, at *most*, 20% of the USSR’s territory was occupied by Germany. That’s not what I’d call war-ravaged. Also, most of the industry was moved to Siberia. Really, Germany lost the war the moment they invaded Russia. The world, Insha’Allah, is fortunate that Hitler was a colossal idiot.

          Which brings me to another point – by late 1944 Germany was *truly* war ravaged and yet they (mostly) became an exceptionally prosperous capitalist nation not too long after that. While their redevelopment was sponsored by the USA, but that is far from the only reason for their triumphal return from utter ruin.

          Meanwhile, the war accelerated the industrial development of the USSR manifold, and yet their peoples were far less prosperous than Germany throughout almost the entirety of their post-war existence. They had the West to compete with of course, but I think it’d have been possible for them to circumspect the Cold War altogether – especially with nuclear weapons – if they didn’t feel compelled to be the defender of the International.

          You cannot say that socialism/communism didn’t have a chance, when you look at all the other socialist nations like China, India or Vietnam who transitioned from heavily socialist governments to capitalist ones on their own, and without any external persuasion from capitalist countries.

          All said, a capitalist selfishly wants to have more than others, whereas a socialist selfishly doesn’t want others to have more than him. Political and economic ideologies are diagrams of power and greed, and socialism’s model is incompatible with our current environment. That’s why it, as political/economic model, has failed and most likely will continue to fail. It will only succeed when people choose to let the dead bury the dead, but then socialism itself (along with capitalism) will be dead.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “I would estimate that, at *most*, 20% of the USSR’s territory was occupied by Germany. That’s not what I’d call war-ravaged.”

          I’m sorry, but this is just silly; it’s rather like saying that, say, Hurricane Sandy did as much damage as a California wildfire, because so little U.S. territory was under water.

          As you point out in your next paragraph, a huge amount of industry was uprooted and moved — and much of it was also *lost*.

          This is in addition to massive civilian casualties, several major cities ravaged, etc., etc., and so forth.

          Germany suffered *more* — but I’m not (nor have I been) comparing the USSR to Germany — but rather the USSR to the USA, the country that was able to pour massive amounts of aid into Germany, to get it back on its feet.

          “but that is far from the only reason for their triumphal return from utter ruin.”

          True. However, in terms of the original so-called “experiment”, it’s enough to make the data useless as a straight up capitalism/non-capitalism comparison.

          “They had the West to compete with of course, but I think it’d have been possible for them to circumspect the Cold War altogether – especially with nuclear weapons – if they didn’t feel compelled to be the defender of the International.”

          You may think that — but I do believe you’d be wrong. Consider this: the Soviet Union was invaded by Western-supported armies when it first came into existence. There were people in the U.S. high command calling for a continued push into Soviet territory *at the time*, and very strong evidence that the West was only tolerating the Soviet Union because it had to.

          So, if you were a country who’d been invaded twice in your then 30-year history, with people making threatening noises at your borders, what do you do? You build up buffer states when you can, since the outside world has shown nothing but hostility to you. Indeed, while this was happening, the U.S. was sponsoring anti-communist wars in other places.

          “and without any external persuasion from capitalist countries.”

          “We, the rich countries, will agree to share with you some of our wealth provided you follow our economic models; if you do not, we will continue to isolate and threaten you, acknowledging your rivals to power (if not directly arming and supporting them), and arming in preparation for a war of annihilation with you.”

          That’s persuasion, and that’s what’s been going on since at least 1917, whenever socialist governments come near power — or anything to the left of socialism. And that’s not even counting direct invasion/intervention.

          ” Political and economic ideologies are diagrams of power and greed, and socialism’s model is incompatible with our current environment.”

          But why do you presume our current environment is immutable? After all, someone looking at Western Europe circa 1400 could argue that clearly, multiple religious views are incompatible with our current environment.

          Just because something is entrenched doesn’t mean it’s *right* — it means it’s dug in.

        • jupta

          “I’m sorry, but this is just silly; it’s rather like saying
          that, say, Hurricane Sandy did as much damage as a California wildfire,
          because so little U.S. territory was under water.”

          Both of them did/do very little damage, from a broad perspective, to the US itself. The USSR was damaged, but not *ravaged*, from the same perspective. Iraq & Palestine are examples of war-ravaged regions.

          “Germany suffered *more* — but I’m not (nor have I been)
          comparing the USSR to Germany — but rather the USSR to the USA, the
          country that was able to pour massive amounts of aid into Germany, to
          get it back on its feet.”

          Actually, West Germany received less aid than the USSR from the USA. Look up “Lend-lease” and “German reconstruction”. Besides, West Germany was shorn of much of its territory and essentially barred from the human race until they decided to get into the EU.

          But I will concede that the USA was in a better position than the USSR. However, you are likely to get disparate results out of a comparison of the respective differences between their “positions” and the prosperity of their populations.

          “However, in terms of the original so-called
          “experiment”, it’s enough to make the data useless as a straight up
          capitalism/non-capitalism comparison.”
          Not possible to do that with empirical things. You need to adjust and collate the measurements to simulate congruence. Like I suggested above.

          Besides, as I see it, both capitalism and socialism are woefully insufficient for describing the human condition. People of the future will look back upon these ideas as 19th century fairy tales that people pretended made sense of the world until it cost them too much to do so.

          “So, if you were a country who’d been invaded twice in your
          then 30-year history, with people making threatening noises at your
          borders, what do you do?”

          If you subscribe to an ideology that preaches equality, prosperity and peace for all men, you attempt to take the path least detrimental to the greater good, even if it means the political defeat of your ideology or nation.

          “We, the rich countries, will agree to share with you some of our wealth
          provided you follow our economic models; if you do not, we will
          continue to isolate and threaten you, acknowledging your rivals to power
          (if not directly arming and supporting them), and arming in preparation
          for a war of annihilation with you.”

          The West had as much to lose from the East’s belligerence as the East from the West’s. Besides, as you have said, the USSR was treating them the same way.

          Also, why is isolation even part of the argument here? What business does a socialist have with a capitalist who doesn’t want to be a socialist?

          “That’s persuasion”

          That’s reality. What determines the nobility of men is how they act in its midst, or to put it more simply – how they act.

          “But why do you presume our current environment is immutable? ”

          I didn’t say that. It’s highly unlikely to change. But even if it did change, why would that be good? Socialist greed is as bad as capitalist greed.

          The reason multiple religious views seem to be compatible is that prosperity makes people more tolerant. When Western people becomes less prosperous, they’ll also become less tolerant.

          My point, though, was that both socialism and capitalism are just two branches of the same tree of evil. What needs to change are not the branches but the tree itself, and yet almost all people think precisely the opposite – the other branch needs to be cut down.

        • Steven Schwartz

          OK. From the top:

          “Both of them did/do very little damage, from a broad perspective, to the US itself.”

          [sigh] I was using that as a comparison; that talking about “land area” is a bad way to measure devastation. But we’ll return to that.

          “The USSR was damaged, but not *ravaged*, from the same perspective.”

          The USSR lost 14% of its population during the war, according to the sources I checked. That’s 1 in 7 people, and is considerably higher than, say, Germany.

          I would consider that “ravaged”, frankly.

          “Actually, West Germany received less aid than the USSR from the USA.
          Look up “Lend-lease” and “German reconstruction”.”

          When you’re talking about economic situations after the war, comparing military materiel and economic gifts seems rather like comparing apples and oranges.

          “Besides, West Germany
          was shorn of much of its territory and essentially barred from the human
          race until they decided to get into the EU.”

          And the Soviet Union had been “essentially barred from the human race” for much of the inter-war period. The treatment that Germany received after WWII was far kinder than the Soviet Union received after WWI.

          “You need to adjust and collate the measurements to simulate congruence. Like I suggested above.”

          And your results then depend heavily on how you “adjust” the measurements; my point is that such adjustments make the experiment practically meaningless, since the adjustments depend upon the POV of the person coming in, providing, surprise surprise, confirmation of the opinions they came in with.

          “Besides, as I see it, both capitalism and socialism are woefully insufficient for describing the human condition. ”

          Out of curiosity, what, then, would you use? (given that both are functionally economic systems, rather than all-encompassing moral/economic/political/psychological environments. :))

          “If you subscribe to an ideology that preaches equality, prosperity and
          peace for all men, you attempt to take the path least detrimental to the
          greater good, even if it means the political defeat of your ideology or
          nation.”

          OK, this is a truly impressive level of self-abnegation you’re expecting here. And impressive levels of short-sightedness.
          You’re saying, in effect, that an ideology that preaches equality must always surrender, because the costs of overturning one that does not would be too great in the short term.

          “Also, why is isolation even part of the argument here? What
          business does a socialist have with a capitalist who doesn’t want to be a
          socialist?”

          Isolation is part of the argument here because, for example, a single isolated country has to spend a much larger percentage of its wealth on defense than those who are isolating it — making judgments as to the effectiveness or not of its economy rather less meaningful, and certainly causing its citizens to be less well off than they would otherwise be.

          “My point, though, was that both socialism and capitalism are just two
          branches of the same tree of evil. What needs to change are not the
          branches but the tree itself, and yet almost all people think precisely
          the opposite – the other branch needs to be cut down.”

          OK; you’ve made vague references to some third path, some other way — what is it?

        • jupta

          “The USSR lost 14% of its population during the war, according
          to the sources I checked. That’s 1 in 7 people, and is considerably
          higher than, say, Germany.”

          Germany lost about 10% (c. 7 m/c. 70 m – from memory), so it’s not considerably higher. The USSR was able to consistently push back the Wehrmacht (still the best land army in the world) after Stalingrad – that is not being war-ravaged.

          “When you’re talking about economic situations after the war,
          comparing military materiel and economic gifts seems rather like
          comparing apples and oranges.”

          Without US aid Germany would be stuck in the Middle Ages. Even without Lend-lease, the USSR would have triumphed.

          “The treatment that Germany received after WWII was far kinder than the Soviet Union received after WWI.”

          This is true because you say it is? You do realise that there was a civil war in Russia? And that the USSR was created 6 years after the revolution, and 4 years after the war?

          “And your results then depend heavily on how you “adjust” the measurements”

          Of course, but it’s more than a little intellectually dishonest to suggest that any one collecting or collating such data would be biased.

          “an ideology that preaches equality must always surrender”

          Why do you insist on putting words in my mouth? When surrendering would be better – according to its principles – than not, it should surrender.

          “a single isolated country has to spend a much larger percentage of its wealth on defense than those who are isolating it”

          I think most people in the West would have been happy to leave the USSR alone if they’d done the same. Your premise seems to be that the USSR would have been far more in line with the socialist vision if only it didn’t have to constantly react to things done by the Western powers – which, to be honest, is hilariously insane.

          “OK; you’ve made vague references to some third path, some other way — what is it?”
          There isn’t any third path. When human beings become more rational and sane, their political systems – whatever they may be – will do the same. Doctrine doesn’t need to be reformed, individuals do. But currently they’re very irrational, so — tough.

        • Steven Schwartz

          OK. We’ve clearly reached the point where we’re talking past each other. You seem to think that losing 1 in 7 people isn’t “war-ravaged” because, with much assistance, they won the war.

          This is, to put it mildly, an incomprehensible viewpoint.

          “This is true because you say it is? You do realise that there was a civil war in Russia? And that the USSR was created 6 years after the revolution, and 4 years after the war?”

          Fine — “Revolutionary Russia”. There? Happier now?

          “Of course, but it’s more than a little intellectually dishonest to suggest that any one collecting or collating such data would be biased.”

          I acknowledge my bias — and yours is demonstrable, given that you’re prone to hyperbole (“the Middle Ages”, indeed), nitpicking, and irrelevancies — one country is “war-ravaged” because it lost, while the other, despite losing a greater percentage of its population, is not?

          “Why do you insist on putting words in my mouth? When surrendering would be better – according to its principles – than not, it should surrender.”

          Then demonstrate such a case. Because “Hey, look, our people are suffering because those who oppose our ideology are willing to go to great lengths to destroy it” is either a) not a valid reason to surrender, or b) a valid reason, thus choking off any real hope of improvement.

          “I think most people in the West would have been happy to leave the USSR alone if they’d done the same.”

          To quote you: “This is true because you say it is?” Given that, as stated before, the West funded anti-Revolutionary forces in the Civil War, did its level best to prevent any spread of influence from the USSR — far more vigorously than the reverse — etc., I see little evidence supporting your point.

          ” which, to be honest, is hilariously insane.”

          See above re: bias.

          “There isn’t any third path. When human beings become more rational and sane, their political systems – whatever they may be – will do the same. Doctrine doesn’t need to be reformed, individuals do. But currently they’re very irrational, so — tough.”

          In other words, “We need better people”. Well, thank you for that gem of insight; I don’t know how we could have lived without it.

          Of course, the side of the scale on which you stick your thumb makes it clear which of the two (in this particular false dichotomy) you believe is preferable and more correct, despite your lamenting that neither one is adequate.

        • jupta

          “You seem to think that losing 1 in 7 people isn’t “war-ravaged” because, with much assistance, they won the war.”

          “War-ravaged” does not apply to the USSR in terms of your original point, which was that no fair comparison between the USSR and USA’s post-war development could be made because the former was in too disadvantageous a position. The USSR could not be described as being war-ravaged in the same sense as, say, Poland, or present day Iraq, outside the period 1942-44.

          “Fine — “Revolutionary Russia”. There? Happier now?”
          My point was that the fact the USSR was established, free of western influence, after the war proves it was not treated less kindly than Germany, which was divided and disarmed militarily and industrially.

          “I acknowledge my bias — and yours is demonstrable, given that you’re prone to hyperbole (“the Middle Ages”, indeed)”

          Bias as consequence of hyperbole usage? And bias against what, I wonder? “Middle Ages” was not that much of an exaggeration. Google “JCS 1067″.

          “one country is “war-ravaged” because it lost, while the other, despite losing a greater percentage of its population, is not?”

          The latter had about 3 times the population of the former at the war’s end, so yes.

          “Because “Hey, look, our people are suffering because those who oppose
          our ideology are willing to go to great lengths to destroy it” is either
          a) not a valid reason to surrender, or b) a valid reason, thus choking
          off any real hope of improvement.”

          It is a valid reason if your people won’t suffer more under theirs, or suffer less under yours in the future. Far more importantly, it is invalid if your ideology has no more intimate connection with reality or truth than its antithesis, but is rather just a different conception of social hierarchy and order, corrupted by men’s emotional attachment to such. I hope that clarifies my “biased” position.

          “the West funded anti-Revolutionary forces in the Civil War”

          They lost. The USSR formed. The West gave up.

          Actually, reading my last comment, I can understand why you would interpret it to mean that I blame the USSR for the rivalry/antipathy between it and the West.

          What I really meant was that if the USSR believed in the ideals of justice, truth and compassion, it would have striven for peace despite the West’s non-commitment to that goal. Of course, it did eventually relent to the West, but by that time it was unable to compete with it. It’s kind of like the British liberating their colonies.

          “I don’t know how we could have lived without it.”

          Look around mate, or at yourself or Wright. Everyone believes we need to become better people, except everyone defines that phrase differently, and almost always in a way that has little to do with truth and reason (including people like Wright who spare no chance to proclaim their devotion to truth).

          I normally don’t have e-debates, but I think all of this needed to be said, because I don’t see any genuine respect for truth in either Mr. Wright or his readers both supportive and critical.

          BTW, if you really do think I am “biased”, I rest my case.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Here we go again:

          “”War-ravaged” does not apply to the USSR in terms of your original point, which was that no fair comparison between the USSR and USA’s post-war development could be made because the former was in too disadvantageous a position. The USSR could not be described as being war-ravaged in the same sense as, say, Poland, or present day Iraq, outside the period 1942-44.”

          You are once again making irrelevant comparisons.

          I did not say, nor have I ever claimed, that the USSR was “the most war-ravaged nation” or anything like it. I said that, considering the economic impact of WWII (in which one country lost 1 in 7 of its population, relocated or lost most of its industrial base, etc. while the other country lost less than one percent of its population, and engaged in no such massive relocation (nor, indeed, had enemy troops occupying any significant portion of its territory) comparing what the USSR accomplished and what Germany accomplished with massive injections of aid was not a fair comparison of their systems.

          Poland, Iraq,etc. — irrelevant. Population totals — irrelevant, since you don’t even mention the starting line. You appear to want to stick to a definition of “war-ravaged” that implies “enemy soldiers on your turf *right now*.” If you’d like, we can refer to war-ravaged(s) for my definiton, war-ravaged(j) for yours, since this seems such a critical point to you.

          “Bias as consequence of hyperbole usage? And bias against what, I wonder? “Middle Ages” was not that much of an exaggeration. Google “JCS 1067″.”

          I did. And read it. And far from making your case, it appears to me to read that “We need to destroy/remove for reparations German industry lest it grow back too quickly”. Hardly trapped in the middle ages.

          “Far more importantly, it is invalid if your ideology has no more intimate connection with reality or truth than its antithesis, but is rather just a different conception of social hierarchy and order,”

          Because people who have an ideology will, of course, be able to completely step outside it and make this judgment. Your position of “I’m-outside-it-all” pseudo-objectivity is rather risible.

          “What I really meant was that if the USSR believed in the ideals of justice, truth and compassion, it would have striven for peace despite the West’s non-commitment to that goal.”

          And if the west believed in ideals of justice, truth, etc., we would have done the same, no?

          It’s very easy to get up on the high horse and say “Come on, we all just need to be better people” — which is what you’ve given so far (along with misinterpreted history) — but it really doesn’t do much to try and solve problems, or to try and *get* to better people.

          I’ll give Mr. Wright credit for this: he’s wrong, but he’s trying. I’d like to hear some of your ideas, beyond “we need to be better people”. I mean, given the right people, *any* social/economic structure will work, so that’s really not saying very much.

          “BTW, if you really do think I am “biased”, I rest my case.”

          I do; because you seem intent on arguing any line of reasoning that will defend your position (e.g. “They’re not war-ravaged because they had a higher population at the end of the war/aren’t as bad as this country/didn’t lose *that many more people than this other war-ravaged country, by percentage/didn’t have troops on their soil”) rather than exploring *why* or what it means; and because every time I’ve seen someone who pronounces a great belief in truth and reason, who has far more *answers* than *questions*, it’s because they know what Truth is, and are simply trying to spread it; and such people *always* have their unexamined biases. I know *I* have them; I try and work around them, or detect them. The fact that you claim not to, well…

        • jupta

          In the opening para, I think you got USA and Germany confused.

          “one country lost 1 in 7 of its population, relocated or lost most of its industrial base”

          For the last time: the population of the USSR was more than 300% that of Germany and more than 60% that of the US both before and after the war.

          The USSR did lose most of its western industrial base during Barbarossa, but after the war its industrial capacity had more than doubled. The Germans never got anywhere near the USSR’s crucial resources and supply lines except at Stalingrad.

          “I did. And read it. And far from making your case, it appears to me to
          read that “We need to destroy/remove for reparations German industry
          lest it grow back too quickly”. Hardly trapped in the middle ages.”

          How does that not make my case that Germany was utterly ruined at the end of the war?

          Until 1950 or so a significant portion of its population was in fact trapped in the middle ages. No guarantee that anything beyond vital resources would be available and forced labour at their conquerors’ whim. And that’s not counting some 4 million POWs (all young men – the engine of any economy), who were denied Red Cross aid and only released on the Allied side after ’48.

          “And if the west believed in ideals of justice, truth, etc., we would have done the same, no?”

          The West was more prosperous and less chaotic, therefore it could afford to actually believe in those things to a greater extent than the Soviet Union. Some of the principles of capitalism certainly played a role in that prosperity. Or perhaps prosperity made those principles feasible in the first place, thus leading to greater prosperity.

          “Your position of “I’m-outside-it-all” pseudo-objectivity is rather risible.”

          You’re the one who is being pseudo-objective by claiming to understand my thoughts whilst scorning my objectivity.

          “It’s very easy to get up on the high horse and say “Come on, we all just need to be better people” — which is what you’ve given so far”

          It’s not easy if you are actually making an effort to understand what “better” means, and changing your worldview accordingly. I’ve shown you a bit of it already, by exposing the deluded and poisonous dogmas both you and Wright espouse for what they are.

          “I do; because you seem intent on arguing any line of reasoning that will defend your position”

          No. I was arguing against your position, which apparently sees nothing untoward in defending a bloody and corrupt regime because it has “socialist” in its name. It evinces the same hatred of truth that makes Wright defend anything related to “Christianity”.

          “rather than exploring *why* or what it means”

          What it DOESN’T mean is that just because one side is less deluded than the other, it must be the side of truth.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “In the opening para, I think you got USA and Germany confused.”

          The first paragraph is a quote from your previous post.

          “For the last time: the population of the USSR was more than 300% that of
          Germany and more than 60% that of the US both before and after the war.”

          For the last time (perhaps) — your comparison is irrelevant, because I’m not claiming the USSR was “war-ravaged” because of its population size, but because it lost ~1 in 7 of its population during the war. It would be *underestimating* it to say the USSR was “decimated” ;). Furthermore, if that loss is not enough to qualify as “war-ravaged”, then neither, by population loss, was Germany.

          “The USSR did lose most of its western industrial base during Barbarossa,
          but after the war its industrial capacity had more than doubled. The
          Germans never got anywhere near the USSR’s crucial resources and supply
          lines except at Stalingrad.”

          OK. Let’s try this one final time: if you lose most of your core industrial base, you qualify as “war-ravaged” — even if you managed to gain much of it back, in a damaged or destroyed condition.

          *Nowhere* have I said the USSR had it worse than Germany — I have argued, from the start, that comparing the ability of a country to aid others, when one was scarcely touched by war (and already the larger industrial powerhouse) vs. one that had massive reconstruction work to do of its own, is not a valid comparison.

          Got it?

          “How does that not make my case that Germany was utterly ruined at the end of the war?”

          Because that wasn’t the case you were making there — or, more precisely, not the case I was arguing with, because I have never disputed the wreck that Germany was. Your case was, and I quote: “Without US aid Germany would be stuck in the Middle Ages.”

          If the occupying forces felt it needful to declare that they would prevent undue German industrial growth in certain categories, it speaks volumes against that claim.

          [omitted -- more of your "I must be right at all costs, even if it's irrelevant" fact-flinging.]

          “It’s not easy if you are actually making an effort to understand what “better” means, and changing your worldview accordingly.”

          OK: What does “better” mean to you? Because you’re not showing any indication of it, other than saying that people need to be it.

          “I’ve shown you a bit of it already, by exposing the deluded and poisonous dogmas both you and Wright espouse for what they are.”

          Except you don’t know my dogma. I’ve been arguing historical points — I am not a Stalinist, nor a communist. However, saying that the US and USSR were on equal footing post-WWII is simply a historical error, and drawing any political conclusion from that is invalid.

          Similarly, arguing that an ideology that has been attacked whenever it appears has clearly “failed” is similarly dubious.

          “No. I was arguing against your position, which apparently sees nothing
          untoward in defending a bloody and corrupt regime because it has
          “socialist” in its name.”

          See above.

          I don’t hate truth — I seek it out. However, the fact that you view disagreement with you as a hatred of truth makes me once again point to my comments about bias — especially unexamined bias.

        • jupta

          “The first paragraph is a quote from your previous post.”

          The second one, then.

          “For the last time (perhaps) — your comparison is irrelevant,
          because I’m not claiming the USSR was “war-ravaged” because of its
          population size, but because it lost ~1 in 7 of its population during the war.”

          Since the USSR’s post-war population was more numerous than the USA’s by 50% of Germany’s, it is your comparison that’s irrelevant here.

          “OK. Let’s try this one final time: if you lose most of your
          core industrial base, you qualify as “war-ravaged” — even if you
          managed to gain much of it back, in a damaged or destroyed condition.”

          The USSR destroyed or moved some of their industry after the Germans invaded, and then started reconstructing in Siberia. To reiterate, their industry at the end of the war was 2x their prewar capacity.

          “*Nowhere* have I said the USSR had it worse than Germany — I
          have argued, from the start, that comparing the ability of a country to
          aid others, when one was scarcely touched by war (and already the larger
          industrial powerhouse) vs. one that had massive reconstruction work to
          do of its own, is not a valid comparison.”

          I can only repeat my agreement with the point about the USA having the advantage, along with my reservation that the advantage was not so enormous that the two economies cannot be compared whatsoever.

          After the war, the USA did not have enough nukes or delivery range to bomb the USSR into submission. If they did, they’d probably have nuked ‘em. The Red Army at that point was the finest land fighting force in the world, which practically defeated the Wehrmacht single-handed. From 1942-3 onwards, the USSR and the USA were spending approximately the same percentage of their GDP on the war effort.

          “Your case was, and I quote: “Without US aid Germany would be stuck in the Middle Ages.”

          If the occupying forces felt it needful to declare that they would prevent undue German industrial growth in certain categories, it speaks volumes against that claim.”

          Wonderful. You have somehow interpreted the policy of limiting industry to the level necessary for maintaining a basic standard of living for citizens (a “pastoral state”) as being the reluctant durance of an economy that would otherwise reemerge as a superpower.

          “[omitted -- more of your "I must be right at all costs, even if it's irrelevant" fact-flinging.]”

          Do you realise how stupid you look when you follow an unfounded accusation of bias with one of conceit?

          “However, saying that the US and USSR were on equal footing post-WWII is
          simply a historical error, and drawing any political conclusion from that is invalid.”

          Where have I said that? For that matter, where has the OP of this thread? Not having an “equal footing” does not invalidate any contrast that may be drawn between two countries/economies.

          No two countries in history have ever had an equal footing, since there are always multiple layers of advantages and disadvantages, some of which play out in either one’s favour over time. Was Islam on an equal footing with Christianity or Hinduism when it was founded? Were the British with Siraj ud Daula? The Americans with the British? Sweden with the Hansa? None of this means that one cannot make any comparison between those various entities.

          True, one cannot draw a political conclusion from the disadvantageous position of the USSR wrt the USA immediately after WWII. But what about the other 64 years of its history? How far ahead in time of aforesaid disadvantaged position does the impossibility of drawing a political conclusion hold true?

          “Similarly, arguing that an ideology that has been attacked whenever it appears has clearly “failed” is similarly dubious.”
          So the only way communism can show its worth, let alone succeed, is if it’s not “attacked”? Every ideology, and *especially* revolutionary ones, will be attacked when they appear and attain some degree of success and sway. However, if they respond to such attack irrationally, as did the USSR, I don’t care how disadvantaged they are.

          Now, in my experience capitalists are as irrational as socialists, albeit better at being prosperous. But the irrationality of either does not legitimise that of the other, even if the latter is reactive.

          “However, the fact that you view disagreement with you as a hatred of truth”

          You are only willing to acknowledge truth to the extent it serves your delusions – i.e., to the extent it serves untruth. Wright very logically refutes the post-modernist position that there is no truth, because such a refutation vindicates the Christian perspective. You correctly debunk Wright’s ridiculous historical generalisations because such confutation vindicates the perspective of whatever flavour of leftism you find piquant.

        • Steven Schwartz

          “Since the USSR’s post-war population was more numerous than the USA’s by 50% of Germany’s, it is your comparison that’s irrelevant here.”

          For the last time — because if you fail to get it this time, I’m going to give up and presume you’re willfully trolling:

          When it comes to judging whether a country is “war-ravaged”, which is the term you originally took exception to, why you think the post-war population is critical, rather than the losses suffered, I don’t know. The USSR lost a larger percentage of its population than Germany, and *vastly* more than the United States.

          I stand by the simple statement that losing 1 out of ever 7 people in your population qualifies you as war-ravaged. Is it the worst any have suffered? No. Was it the worst ratio in that particular war? If not, it was very close, and was larger than a country that everyone has accepted as war-ravaged.

          If you want to disagree with that, go ahead; I rest my case.

          “Wonderful. You have somehow interpreted the policy of limiting industry to the level necessary for maintaining a basic standard of living for citizens (a “pastoral state”) as being the reluctant durance of an economy that would otherwise reemerge as a superpower.”

          You are the one who claimed “without US help Germany would be stuck in the middle ages.” An explicit policy *preventing* industrial development makes that point clearly false; if it were, there would have been no need for such a policy at all.

          “Where have I said that? For that matter, where has the OP of this thread? Not having an “equal footing” does not invalidate any contrast that may be drawn between two countries/economies.”

          When the footing is as unequal as described, it does. The U.S. could easily spend resources rebuilding West Germany, having lost much less during WWII than the Soviet Union did; so declaring the West/East divide and their results an experiment on the value of the two economic systems is highly dubious, to the point of invalidity.

          “No two countries in history have ever had an equal footing, since there are always multiple layers of advantages and disadvantages, some of which play out in either one’s favour over time.”

          Congratulations! You’ve managed to state the obvious and support my original point — that calling these things useful or helpful experiments is dubious at best. We can draw large-scale conclusions — but if you ignore many of those layers to make a simple binary conclusion, you’re making a mockery of history.

          We can attempt to draw broad conclusions; but that is not what the OC on this thread was doing, nor what I was arguing with.

          “You are only willing to acknowledge truth to the extent it serves your delusions – i.e., to the extent it serves untruth.”

          As I said before, I am not impressed with your pseudo-objectivity, holding whatever it is you hold (since you are remarkably sparse on anything positive, instead primarily commenting that “you people are wrong/irrational/untruthful”) when you do not present any positions of your own, only attempt (often through complete irrelevancies) to discredit others’ views.

          In short, you clearly value truth very highly, given that you appear intent on hoarding it to yourself, and not letting anyone else see any. ;)

        • jupta

          “When it comes to judging whether a country is “war-ravaged”, which is the term you originally took exception to, why you think the post-war population is critical, rather than the losses suffered, I don’t know.”

          Post-war population in 1946 to be precise. “Ravaged” means “devastated” or “severely damaged”. If the USSR were severely damaged after the war, it would not have been a superpower. “War-ravaged” applied to a country usually means “rendered practically dysfunctional by war”. These are points which I’ve repeatedly averred, and which you have obtusely pretended make no sense, when their sense is quite obvious.

          “You are the one who claimed “without US help Germany would be stuck in the middle ages.” An explicit policy *preventing* industrial development makes that point clearly false; if it were, there would have been no need for such a policy at all.”

          If you had any idea what you were talking about, you’d know that none of the powers were stupid enough to expect Germany to magically become a superpower again, and the Morgenthau plan was an extra kick in the ribs for the journey home.

          “The U.S. could easily spend resources rebuilding West Germany”

          “Easily”? How do you know that? It was giving aid to a lot of countries – its allies – both in Europe and Asia, along with maintaining a globally dispersed and more expensive war machine than the USSR.

          “Congratulations! You’ve managed to state the obvious and support my original point — that calling these things useful or helpful experiments is dubious at best.”

          Firstly, I didn’t call them “experiments”, because they were/are not. Like all things in the world, they can potentially be meaningfully interpreted, regardless of their dissimilarity. Speaking purely logically, Socialism should work best in situations where competition is unnecessary and even harmful, whereas Capitalism should work best when competition is necessary and sharing is harmful. Broadly speaking, our situation is the latter rather than the former, so the latter has outlived the former.

          Ironically, both systems inevitably lead to one another. When competition weeds out the incompetent, the competent take their place, thereby perpetuating inefficiency, waste and inadequcy, thereby necessitating competition again. It’s the cycle of samsara. The only way out of it is to make both competition and sharing the means for higher ends than the ones they currently serve.

          “since you are remarkably sparse on anything positive, instead primarily commenting that “you people are wrong/irrational/untruthful” ”

          One cannot honestly pursue truth whilst acknowledging – explicitly or implicitly – untruth. Everyone can talk about standing up for truth when it’s the apron strings of whatever they believe in or belong to, but to actually do it requires a courage not of this world and wholly unwelcome in it.

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