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Wow, what an interesting site. I'll most certainly give some thought to contributing an article.
Consider it done. A very interesting site, BTW
I own the end of money facebook page. Thanks for your links. Could you do me a favor? I have not been on FB for over two months because of a hassle I am having with then. It's explained in two essays on my blog The End of Money. Please go there read the essays and put links to them on your Facebook page. I want to raise this issue to the community.
Hi Andy, it's Stuart from Resource Based Living
I'm involved in a new website which is a communal effort, wondered if you'd like to contribute.
I reckon it's right up your street
Actually, I agree with much of what you say. The trouble is there’s a huge problem with political terminology. And in all honesty, I’m not sure which way to jump on this matter (See my http://socialistmatters.webs.com/ site)
On the one hand, I’m from a political tradition sometimes referred to as the ‘Anti-state, non-market’ sector, which includes – here in the UK – such groups as the Libertarian Communists, the World in Common movement, and the Socialist Party of Great Britain (I’m a member of the latter). All of these groups regard themselves as wholly outside the conventional left-right political spectrum. The terms ‘socialism’ and ‘communism’ are used interchangeably within these groups to refer to a future world society in which there would be free access to all goods and services, the absence of a ‘state’(and therefore state oppression) and common ownership of the means of production. This usage accords with how Marx and Engels defined ‘socialism’ or ‘communism’, at least in their later years, and was a commonplace in the late nineteenth century. It obviously bears no relation to the sort of society found in China, Soviet Russia or Cuba or to the policies of the so-called ‘Labour Party’, or so-called ‘Communist Party’. The rot set in with the Bolshevik revolution, which inevitably saw in the introduction of a variation of capitalism known as ‘State Capitalism’ in an economically backward country that, at the time, was ill prepared for socialism. Lenin himself admitted that that was what had happened in Russia. Bearing all the hallmarks of conventional laissez-faire capitalism, viz money, wages, profits, property, and commodity production, it can hardly be denied that these societies labelling themselves ‘socialist’ or ‘communist’ are intrinsically capitalist in nature. Blimey, when China starts boasting about its cheap labour when seeking to attract foreign investment the penny ought to drop! And yet they continue to mendaciously apply the labels ‘socialist’ or ‘communist’ to themselves. Why so? Well, in my opinion it is no more than to legitimise the elitist and often authoritarian power structures that exist in these societies – as I say in my essay, they attempt to ‘cloak themselves in communist or socialist raiment to enhance their standing and legitimise themselves internally and externally’. The pretence that everyone is a ‘comrade’ enables them to lord it over a suppressed proletariat. It’s just another variant of the ‘we’re all in this together’ spiel the bourgeois press here in the West tends to spout when times become hard. And to concur with their description is, in some measure, to be complicit in this Big Lie. Moreover to give ground in this semantic battle is in many ways to be dishonest to one’s political tradition, if you see what I mean.
On the other hand, I can quite see where you are coming from: The terms have become altogether debased. As you say, they carry huge negative connotations for a lot of people. I myself have often mooted the idea of changing the name of our political Party to something along the lines of the Free Access Movement, which carries a more concrete and unambiguous meaning, and more importantly has no semantic baggage. But I’m not sure that even then we should desist from describing the sort of free access, and yes, non-hierarchical society that I and evidently you want as ‘socialism’ or ‘communism’. I guess the jury is still out on this one. Perhaps when or if the ‘Anti-state, non-market’ sector becomes a force to be reckoned with the relevance of this discussion may change.
As regards the petition, I’m sure you must realise that its purpose was not to garner the 100,000 signatures needed to spark a parliamentary debate( I wouldn’t have a snowballs chance in hell of managing that!), but rather to stimulate discussion around the notion of a non-exchange economy. If you’re in agreement with why not sign, and, hell, get all of your email contacts to do likewise?!! Never mind the packaging; it’s the content that matters
Communism/totalitarianism is just another form of economic hierarchy, along with capitalism, fascism, dictatorships, and nazism. Your petition will get a lot more signatures, including mine, if you do not refer to the abolishment of the monetary system as the Establishment of Socialism/Communism Act. Egalitarian economics is non-hierarchical. My suggestion for a replacement is Equality Act, but whatever you might change the name of the Act to, it should represent non-hierarchy. Socialism/Communism carries a huge negative connotation with many people, to the point that discussion of cooperation and sharing of the natural resources is stymied. I look forward to your opinion about this idea.
In Peace, Love, and Solidarity,
kya (aka Frank U Farmer)
Hi Martha, I have no problem separating the institutions of religion, or particular religions, from the concept of ‘God’: The former are real, organised by human beings, and serve human ends. The latter however, is a fanciful notion that essentially revolves around an entity or entities purportedly causally responsible for all that exists in the universe. Other attributes such as love, omniscience and omnipotence may be attributed to such an entity or entities as well. Ironically, this notion, which is essentially inexplicable (I would maintain that the idea of God creating the universe is fundamentally incomprehensible), has for millennia been used as an explanatory device to account for the reality we see around us by utilising flawed analogies based on everyday scenarios we experience in life. People, having an overwhelming desire to make sense of the meaningless universe around them, clutch at the anthropomorphic but flawed explanations elaborated by holy men as these have a reassuring human aspect to them, with which they can identify and which cloaks the frightening reality that the universe is not built around us. Thus the Book of Job, despite its profound literary qualities, essentially requires us to beg the question as to Gods existence in the first place and merely reconcile his existence with the ongoing presence of evil and suffering. I guess you could call it an exercise in trying to iron out the contradictions implicit in the Judeo-Christian concept of God. As to your contention that, in contrast to Catholicism, ‘the Jewish religion is God's’, I’m not too sure what to make of that. But aside from matters theological, it is good to know that we appear to be of one mind on the important question of how to order the world we can actually perceive. Warm regards, Andy
Hi! Thanks for setting up this site. After perusing your essay (POV), a thought: you might try separating religion from God. They are not the same thing. Religion is man's messy attempt at God; God is -- well, we don't know what God is, but if you haven't read the book of Job in a while, you have a treat awaiting you. It's worth a re-visit. When (if) you go back to thinking about God, remember these 2 things: our religion (Catholicism) is man's (Jesus gave the Keys, those ponderous Keys to St. Peter), but the Jewish religion is God's. I promise, the more you study, the more sense it will all make. Re-visit the Apology of Socrates, too. He seemed to know all of that, I think. Weird, but it's the weird stuff that makes the most sense. I'm with you on the hunger and the money. Thanks again.
Many thanks for your comment, Elsa! Its gratifying to know that there like-minded people around. Keep in touch. Warm regards, Andy
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Thank you! At last reading something tnat resonates my thoughts.
Consider the following statements:
(A) ‘There is no such thing as a square circle’
(B) ‘There is no such thing as X’
(C) ‘There is no such thing as a unicorn’
(D) ‘There is no such thing as God/a God’
(D) is certainly not like (A) as it does not contain some a priori contradiction. But it does bear comparison with (B): Without (B) being bracketed with a corollary statement along the lines of, ‘X ‘refers to’ such and such; this ‘such and such’ being something comprehensible’, (B) is essentially meaningless. Hence, it is impossible to show that X exists. To even attempt this would be to put the cart before the horse. Likewise, the notion of God being incomprehensible, I cannot see how one might demonstrate that he/she/it exists. Because, what is it one is claiming to exist? (C) is an altogether different proposition: It is quite possible to conjure up an image of a horse possessing a single keratinous protrusion emanating from its forehead. But, of course, no such creature has ever been found. In a similar vein, I think a lot of discussion about God revolves around him being demonstrable or not, but without seriously considering the meaning issue. Culturally informed images of God overlie the abstract notion and mislead people into thinking that the only issue at stake is the evidential one. Thus, just as it is possible to conjure up the image of a unicorn, God may be imagined as old man with a long white beard looking down on us. A sort of Religious Fallacy (akin to the Pathetic Fallacy found in literature) is therefore created. With this ironically concrete image of the old man in mind, people are hoodwinked into believing that God – as this old man - must surely be capable of creation, conveniently forgetting that the analogy is deeply flawed. Now, getting back to your suggestion that ‘the atheist position validates that which it seeks to deny’, Chaz, could it be that you are likening (D) to (C), rather than (B)? Could it be that you see atheists as ransacking the universe with a ‘wanted’ poster of God to hand, and not finding anything answering the description, concluding that God does not exist? On the face of it, the statement, ‘There is no such thing as God/a God’, could imply that a search has been undertaken, that one knew what one was searching for, and that the object of one’s search was comprehensible. However, to continue with the ‘poster’ metaphor, I would prefer to argue that it isn’t possible to have such a poster, that the God concept itself is incomprehensible. I defy any theist to explain what is truly meant by the proposition, ‘God created the heavens and the earth in seven days’. The trouble is, we are so habituated to seeing this proposition in anthropomorphic terms, to looking upon God as an essentially a superhuman person with feelings and thoughts (God is said to love us, for example) that this simply obfuscates the sheer incomprehensibility of the notion of creation, the key concept in any religious credo.
As to the dearth of members, well, yes, it would be nice to have a few more around. However, I’m happy to tell you, Chaz that this site continues to get hits from all over the world. It’s just that most callers sadly resist the temptation to leave a comment (I wish the same could be said for the many spammers who have left their calling cards). But do keep writing in. - your comments are most welcome. And if you know of anyone else who might be interested in the issues discussed here, why not send them the link.
Hmmm, thought provoking this. I’m not sure, though, that I agree with you that ‘proposing ANY credentials for an atheist position validates that which it seeks to deny’ ‘Credentials’ amount to ‘evidence or testimonials concerning one's right to credit, confidence, or authority’. Is this what atheist claim, metaphorically or otherwise, when asserting their position in response to the claims of theists? Perhaps. Certainly, atheists will state ‘There is no such thing as a God’, and this bears all the hallmarks of an authoritative declaration. But the authority, or legitimacy, for this is derived (or ought to derive) not just from the total inability of theists to empirically or otherwise demonstrate the existence of God (this on its own would not suffice as grounds for asserting that there is no such thing as God as it could be argued that God is empirically inaccessible), but because the notion of God is incomprehensible, and thus meaningless. Atheism, in other words, call into question the credentials of theists, and insofar the latter are found wanting, it could be said that their own credentials are borne out. This ‘meaning’ issue is crucial: My view is that the use of analogy is absolutely central to the arguments proffered by theists (this instrument being one of the ‘intellectual roots’ discussed in my ‘Point of View’), and that because its usage by theists is inherently and possibly necessarily flawed, what they are proposing is incomprehensible. More specifically, it is impossible to understand the notion of God qua ‘creator’ (yet without this attribute, God is a meaningless proposition). This being the case, I cannot see how one can then proceed to argue for the existence (in the sense of ‘being’ without reference to or contingency upon anything else that might ‘be’) of God, because we can have no idea of what it is we say exists.
Thanks. On the point of atheism as negation: proposing ANY credentials for an atheist position validates that which it seeks to deny. My attitude to 'what do you mean, atheist', my response is "wadda ya got?" In a sense all theists are atheistic about some god or other. So when you say "to challenge the claims of religious apologists" - what do you mean exactly?
I look forward to a time when the issue will be finished. I call myself an Atheist but really I want to be a post-theist to be able to say that the issue of God, however it is constructed, is of no importance.
Why are there not more members here?
andycox1953 says... Hi Chaz, Welcome to the site, and thanks for the contributions.In regard to analogy, I’m entirely with you on the point you make about the pervasiveness of this mode of thought in our attempts to get to grips with reality. To even talk about ‘getting to grips with reality’ is to deploy analogy. Its as though we look to our basic, everyday, ‘non-intellectual’ activities, or to the ‘brute facts’ of our life on this planet, to serve as explanatory templates for things we can never access empirically: God, the Afterlife, Free Will etc. There are some interesting resonances here with the Marxist distinction between infrastructure and superstructure, where, crudely put, the economy exerts some sort influence on various cultural institutions, from religion to the arts. I’m not too sure about the subsequent point you make. Yes, atheism is the negation of the religious proposition that there is such a thing as a god. But ‘being an atheist’ must surely also mean taking issue with the arguments for the existence of god, Importantly, I think atheists also need to challenge the claims of religious apologists that it is a meaningful concept. And here we need to return to the role of analogy. Whilst it can be useful, this intellectual tool can give rise to spurious understandings.Later on in my Point of View essay, I make the point that atheism per se does not amount to a ‘World View’. I guess that in this sense, it is merely a negation, as it doesn’t tell us much about how life should be led or what goals should be pursued. When coupled with something else, such as Marxism, however, it can lend tremendous weight to the arguments advanced.
Welcome to the site, and thanks for the contributions.
In regard to analogy, I’m entirely with you on the point you make about the pervasiveness of this mode of thought in our attempts to get to grips with reality. To even talk about ‘getting to grips with reality’ is to deploy analogy. Its as though we look to our basic, everyday, ‘non-intellectual’ activities, or to the ‘brute facts’ of our life on this planet, to serve as explanatory templates for things we can never access empirically: God, the Afterlife, Free Will etc. There are some interesting resonances here with the Marxist distinction between infrastructure and superstructure, where, crudely put, the economy exerts some sort influence on various cultural institutions, from religion to the arts.
I’m not too sure about the subsequent point you make. Yes, atheism is the negation of the religious proposition that there is such a thing as a god. But ‘being an atheist’ must surely also mean taking issue with the arguments for the existence of god, Importantly, I think atheists also need to challenge the claims of religious apologists that it is a meaningful concept. And here we need to return to the role of analogy. Whilst it can be useful, this intellectual tool can give rise to spurious understandings.
Later on in my Point of View essay, I make the point that atheism per se does not amount to a ‘World View’. I guess that in this sense, it is merely a negation, as it doesn’t tell us much about how life should be led or what goals should be pursued. When coupled with something else, such as Marxism, however, it can lend tremendous weight to the arguments advanced.
I just surfed in from Philosophy Now.
Just a quick response.
You say you want to 'slice apart' Knowledge through analogy.
By extension, all knowledge is gathered this way as all concepts are formed as metaphors, as constructed in the image of reality we keep inside us to represent what we think is real. So in a sense every thing we think is analogical, but to different degrees which we need to take care to approach with due proportion.
Also you want to 'slice apart' atheism. Myself, in common with many who would allow themselves to be identified as atheist feel that it contains nothing that would submit to slicing apart, as it is nothing but a negation of another thing, and it seems you yourself contribute to that negation with your approach to tradition 'proofs' of god.
You're very welcome!
DJ says...Utopian socialists are terribly amusing. You seem to forget that humans really are furry little animals under a brittle veneer of civility -- and you seems to sneer at the notion of using the heavy mind control that your socialist utopia would require.
I am glad that you've at least acknowledged the utter failure of the Chinese communist experiment. They had utopian ideas, too, y'know.
Honest capitalism, driven by informed long-term self-interest is really the only way to get the furry little animals to behave. What we have today, this short-sighted robber baron bullshit is not capitalism, it's advancing feudalism.
That said, true capitalism is only slightly less difficult to manage than your proposed atheist socialist state. But the socialists are gaining ground very quickly, since the furry little animals just love a handout -- until they realize what it ultimately costs.