Defeating the Left in argument

Thoughts on socialism and leftism generally

Re: Defeating the Left in argument

Postby Yessica » 07 May 2014, 09:37

Paul wrote:I've also heard that a lot of 'traditional' North European people have (of did have) about 4% Neanderthal DNA. As the Neanderthals of Northern climates were overrun by Homo Sapiens, there occurred apparently, the greatest mass rape in human history - about 35,000 years ago.


I have been told in school nothern Germans have up to ten percent Neanderthaler DNA and assume it to be true. Do you know the pictures of the Neanderthalers? One of the pictures of a child just looks like British actor Rupert Grint.

Edit: There seems to be a Neanderthal genome project but I remember learning it before results were published. Either my memory serves me very wrong or there has been other researh before.


Neanderthalian DNA is associated with a fairer skin, fairer/reddish hair and a lighter eye colour... but not all people having that chracteristics have a lot of their DNA. You probably know that fair skin is beneficial in less sunny climates because it allows the body to produce more vitamin D and nature came up with a great number of genes which make your skin lighter, the more you have, the fairer your skin.
Even more interesting: It is associated with a greatly reduced reduced fertility... that genes would die out if they did not have any benefits.
As far as I know it is believed today that Northern Europeans having so much Neanderthalian DNA must not mean that many many Neanderthalians were involved. Instead it is believed that in a world without vitamin D supplements fair skin is that much of an asset that that genes greatly reduced mortality in children and that is why they are so common today.


Paul wrote:Neanderthals had by the way, bigger brains than Homo Sapiens or so I've heard. About 1600 grams on average compared to the modern average of 1300 grams.


I heard the same thing but I do not think that must mean they have been smarter. Elephants have much bigger brains than humans.

Did you know we have enough Neanderthalian DNA today to be able to clone one? We could learn how smart he is... but it would be very cruel. That poor soul, his people gone and you would not know how well he would get along in modern world which was not build by his people.
A civilization build by them could be completly different, who knows?
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Re: Defeating the Left in argument

Postby Paul » 02 Nov 2014, 11:24

I had an argument with Mother the other day, though I can't say I defeated her in that argument. She just went quiet, no doubt inwardly seething in a way. Sulking at least.

She's a Boomer and a woman and hails from coal miners in the NW of England. She can't let go of any of that. She's basically inculcated into a form of mental soft-leftism, despite some aspects and evidence that would suggest the contrary.

The subject was that of discounts offered by grocery supermarkets, in a never-ending frenzy as they strive against each other. Some, as we know, have loyalty schemes whereby 'points' are achieved by spending that can later be converted to discounts on future spending. Some have 'price-match' guarantees that promise to equal or beat the price of rivals. Some send you discount-coupons for various products.

It's not something that I have ever noticed but apparently there are never discounts offered on food (milk mainly) for babies. Never any 'money-off' coupons for baby milk. One is not permitted to spend one's 'points' on baby food (as one isn't on tobacco or pharmacy products or lottery tickets).

My Mother thinks it's 'disgusting' (a foolish and melodramatic statement I think) and also that it's 'wrong' - an even more worrying statement I say.

I asked her what she meant by 'wrong'. Should the discounting of baby food (by private enterprises) be incorporated into the law? That's a terrible and even tyrannical intrusion. Is it a moral failing? What business is it of the government, and similarly customers, to tell a vendor what price they should be forced to charge for a product? Beyond supply and demand, and competition and basic market forces, it's not for a customer to decide what price they are prepared to pay for a product - not by virtue of authoritarian force. And of course a discount to one man, for any product, is a form of the spending of wealth by someone else. The discount has to come from somewhere. And the stores still have to make a profit, else they will cease to exist, and then there will be no baby milk in the first place.

She couldn't, or rather refused to accept any of these points. Supermarkets have lots of money. They are the owners of the store (and the baby milk) and so represent the initial authority. They make a 'profit' (dirty word). They do 'what they like' - yes, within the law. It's a free country.......!

My Mother would have an imposition in cases like this (cases close to her own heart) and never accept that one day a similar imposition could be against her interests. Or that such impositions are against the general interest in the first place.

She knows I'm self-employed and sell products. So, it's like someone coming to me requesting a product and telling me what they were going to pay me for it, and backing-up that demand with authoritarian force in order that I comply. She wouldn't agree with that - it would be 'wrong'. Well, maybe. I'm not so sure though. Socialism could easily trump the blood. As could my beliefs of course!

I said - "they're private businesses who have to turn a profit - not philanthropic enterprises who are just there for the whims and desires of everyone else ." Silence!
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Re: Defeating the Left in argument

Postby Yessica » 03 Nov 2014, 10:32

Paul wrote:I said - "they're private businesses who have to turn a profit - not philanthropic enterprises who are just there for the whims and desires of everyone else ." Silence!


I agree with that. Private businesses should be able to sell what they want unless they are a danger to the public health or safety (such as a typhoid Mary running a fast food restaurant).

I know of a guy who owned a cafe bar near a buststop and people waiting for a bus would always expect him to allow them to sit down there without buying anything which of course would take places away from real customers. When he told them some got quite angry and tell them that the council did not put up enough seats at the bus stop - which was true but not the guys fault.
Also some people would ask him to give them cakes he was not going to sell the next day and the like in the evening instead of throwing them away and again he did not do it - because would he have done it nobody would have bought a cake, everybody would have waited for the evening to come.

In the case a baby formula however it is a little bit different. I think companies would love to give discount thus recruiting new customers but are not permitted by the law.
I did a little research before I had my first son because I wanted to know the pros and cons of breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding.
While there are situations when bottle feeding can be life-saving for the baby (such as when the mother is unable to breast feed or she is on certain medications or has certain infectious deseases) breast feeding is highly recommended by the WHO because of the health benefits it offers for both mother and child. That is why the WHO urged countries to make laws to raise the quote of mothers breastfeeing. In the EU it is forbidden to advertise for formula for babies under six years of age or give discount for formula for the same age group.
In Germany the laws go even further. Packages of formula have warnings like cigarettes stating something like "Feeding your child bottled milk is not recommended by the WHO. If you want to do it nevertheless talk to your GP or pediatrician before. If you need help with breast feeding call that toll free number". Something like this. I don't know the exact words.

After giving birth a realized that it was not even necessary to do reasearch before because young mothers are bombed with breast feeding info.

The labels on the formula and the constant breast feeding information must be pretty hard for the people who cannot breast feed but I am happy I had all the infos available.

So that's the reason and it has nothing to do with free enterprise. Quite the opposite. I am interested how your mother would think about that.
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Re: Defeating the Left in argument

Postby Paul » 04 Nov 2014, 19:19

Thanks Yessica.

D'you know, I suspected it was something like this. That there were regulations against the subsidy of baby milk. If true (and I had no reason to disbelieve Mother), then it seems too co-incidental to be merely 'how things are'. Surely supermarkets would discount anything, here and there, either in a spirit of competition or as a loss-leader for other purposes and etc?

I just didn't work out why this might be so, but yes, now it's obvious - it is an attempt to dissuade too much bottle-feeding over breast-feeding. I shall return with this information and see what Mum has to say to that. Ho hum.

I forgot to include it in my first post but I did in fact, at the time, ask the question or propose that there might well be regulations against a subsidy. As I said, I just didn't work out why. It's not something I had ever thought about before (or was aware of as such) and the matter was brought up suddenly by Mum. I shall scold my mother for not knowing this herself already. She should know. I should not - initially.

I have of course bought quite a moderate deal of baby food in my time without actually going buying it. In other words I've paid for it but not (as I recall) actually gone to the store to buy it. Although maybe I did, forgotten in the welter of other chores. I'm not complaining. As to the price I probably thought it was about right at the time. I'm not constantly clamouring for discounts or subsidies. Sometimes things are a fair price. Why would you want discounted goods for your children anyway, especially food? Besides, the baby food in my case was only a supplement as they were both predominantly breast fed, at least initially.

I think on balance it might be a little indication of differing attitudes to business and trade by male and female minds. I'm afraid that again sounds a little sexist, I would agree, in advance of any such accusation.. It could also be a generational thing or, as I've inferred by threading it here, a left-wing view of how things should operate.

Addition: Ah yes, I now remember that the subject of baby-feeding has arose over the years, and I'm aware that, in the UK at least, various schools of thought and even 'fashions' (as my Mum would justifiably say) have existed down the years. Opinion is constantly shifting, some no doubt with good reason, and the various ages for various baby recommendations have moved with the times. Some things have changed and then changed back again some years later. I forgot what this is now, but Mum mentioned it quite recently.

I was born in 1963 and from what I can gather, breast-feeding was very much 'out of fashion' at that time, in the UK. No doubt exciting new baby formulas were being produced by then (one doubts that they would be in say, the 1920s or 30s), and the view was that (in the UK) we were on the edge of yet another brave new world. Post-war, post-rationing, the cusp of the faux (in many ways), less natural and more plastic 1960s. My parents were told they had never had it so good (and so they hadn't) and this was driven by technology and science (hence baby food) and the welfare state (babies would be subsidised). I think this also colours her thinking. She used bottled milk and it was, at that time, probably subsidised, though she hasn't said this. She probably can't remember!
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Re: Defeating the Left in argument

Postby Andrea » 21 Nov 2014, 17:22

Going back to the title of this thread, 'Defeating the Left in argument' - sometime the left-wing people themselves have a go at the more militant elements of their ideology. Take for instance this well-written and I think largely correct view, "Progressive Authoritarianism & the Death of Debate": http://jacobinism.blogspot.co.uk/2014/1 ... lence.html

A FB friend of mine posted this and I thought it was perfect to share here.

The chap brings up good points:

In academia, the humanities began a process of decline as the demands of rigorous and fair-minded scholarship gave way to the requirements of a stultifying and increasingly censorious political correctness.


and

As the Left's progressive movements splintered into a kaleidoscope of bitter, competing interests, sectarianism was transformed from a by-product of radical squabbles into an ideological imperative, and a divisive grievance hierarchy was constructed, based upon the intersection of privileged characteristics.


and

Instead, those inclined to defend free expression were variously tarred with the brush of racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, or rape apologism (depending on what was at issue).


Check it out, as I think it's worth a read.
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Re: Defeating the Left in argument

Postby Yessica » 10 Feb 2015, 13:11

Thanks for posting the link, Andrea.

Another point:

But then something interesting began to happen. Having fought for and (mostly) won parity under the law, progressive activism found itself faced with an existential dilemma. What was it now for? It was, after all, not simply a vehicle for social change; it was also a productive receptacle for anti-authoritarianism and a valuable crucible of radical thought. Where was all this energy to be directed next?

In response to this challenge, progressivism took a dismaying and thoroughly retrogressive turn. Since inequity in society indubitably persisted, often disproportionately affecting minorities and women, it became increasingly fashionable to question whether universalist struggles had actually achieved anything of consequence at all.

Having built progressive movements on the basis of liberal values, it became an imperative to kick those values apart with the same enthusiasm, just as a child might destroy a sand-castle which hadn't turned out quite as well as expected.


and
A commitment to universalism was replaced by the fetishisation of difference and specificity; a belief in egalitarianism gave way to demands for exceptionalism and double-standards (only this time favouring the 'oppressed'); and the language of emancipation and liberty was replaced by a cult of victimhood, self-pity, and a brooding, masochistic solipsism.


This is just true. The Left of the West used to be about equality but now it seems to be about inequality.
Is there really a difference between keeping Simon out of college because he is jewish (once) or keeping him out of college while he is white (now).

By the way @ Paul, other topic, the milk, I have always been interested (and still am) about what happend in the Western democracies between the the end of WWII and the 1990s. I know the political facts but little about day-to-day life. I do live in Western Germany and have enough people to pester about the life of their parents of course but as time goes by they seem tired of my questions (and I still think it is fascinating to learn).
Do you know any good books or TV programmes also about the UK?

I imagine that there must have been a great optimism in the UK which had won the war, probably similar to our 1990s - the earliest times I do remember.
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Re: Defeating the Left in argument

Postby Paul » 11 Feb 2015, 02:43

The milk Yessica?

Would that mean the baby milk that was mentioned on a thread? I recall I discovered (and you confirmed) that subsidies for baby milk were prohibited, to encourage as little of it (as opposed to natural) as was necessary. I kind of agree with that, but it does seem a little disconcerting that we should have to have actual laws (and so presumably punishments) in relation to this. It's a complicated world now.

I think any optimism after the war was very soon over and would have been one rather of sheer relief among the people as the dominant feeling in the immediate aftermath. Nobody (or few) really wanted to fight after all, not for a moment.

Obviously I wasn't there in the immediate aftermath but if I had been (and had been adult) I think I might have been a bit more worried than optimistic to be honest, though still hugely relieved. Just because it's over (and even if you've 'won') doesn't bring back thousands of dead people. It doesn't erase all the material consumption and waste you have endured. It doesn't return the wealth expended. It seems obvious now that Britain was virtually bankrupt by the end (of a second war) and disrupted. A wise man could easily have predicted the total loss of empire in the years to come (and which was already underway), and the gradual diminishing of the nation.

I understand that Germany must have had it worse in many ways. That would seem obvious. I don't know how we (both) got over it and rebuilt everything. It's all the more tragic yet again that there seems so much looming trouble in Europe and mainly, that our leaders (I'll just speak for the British) seem so foolish - and yet really utterly unscrupulous and even treacherous.

It's hard to talk about the day-to-day life over decades without expending thousands of words. Our vehicles have got better and far more numerous. We now all have computers and the internet. Rationing ended long ago (1954). Housing is much better. There are far more people and far less open spaces and countryside. There are also lots more laws!

We had the 1960s, maybe in quite a big way here (as in America) more than other European countries. A lot of the 60s culture was driven from London and Britain generally. We had our day again it seemed, despite near bankruptcy after the war and all the loss (including empire) and many eyes seemed to be upon us. It now seems that the seeds of a lot of our current woes were sown in that decade too and yet it was probably our most successful decade and the one which finally erased the austerity of the war years and two decades after it.

Nobody mentions the war in other than an historical way. I can't really say they ever did, the everyday people. Not even the old people, now mostly gone. There were never any real details. You would have to seek them out through study, if you were specifically interested. Of course now there's the internet and maybe more people are interested these days in why and how and who.

But of course we've had no shortage of war since, though on smaller scales and all further afield. This predominantly in our supposed liberal era. This may tie in with your observation about the left being more about inequality than equality these days. But the left, in a hard way, have always imposed their version of so-called equality surely? There is the case of your former country and the whole Soviet Union. The common people on the street, or even the middle-men, chanting the slogans and enacting the policies are just the useful idiots remember. They might begin thinking it's all about equality and tolerance (although deep down I doubt that many really feel that benign), but they're duped from the start (or they're liars).

If you know a lot of the political stuff then you might know that serious malcontent with one government or another, up to the now widespread disillusionment with almost ALL politicians and parties, could be said to have begun from the early 1970s. Britain has been marked and even dominated by recurrent political, industrial and social malcontent since then. Maybe there are a number of factors.

The first and subsequent 'oil crises', initially in 1972. The world seemed to enter yet another era at this point. It's the first time I heard the word 'inflation' and it seemed then to be a constant theme.

Britain entered the EEC in 1972/3. Which became the EC, now the EU.

It seemed that Britain's industrial decline (and dismantling) began from around this point or shortly after. Which may or may not be coincidental to the above two points.

But day-to-day? People just talked about their job (or school), or sport (mainly football), or stuff on TV or going to the pub........! Obviously there was some intellectual stuff going on as well - but that has diminished...!

Now, not as many people talk about their jobs - because there aren't as many jobs and jobs seem less worthy and are more mind-numbing and are less secure. I would guess that a far greater proportion of people are less content in their jobs as once they were.

I suppose football is still there but it seems (to me) less so than earlier decades. It has become a trifle more elitist, in that it's comparatively more expensive than ever (surely?) to follow a team. It has been sanitised a bit (because the fan-base had to be) and this has caused less mass following. Maybe I'm out of touch and it's as fanatically followed as ever.

Stuff on TV is now mostly drivel. I think most people (of any sense and of any memory of earlier) would agree with this.

Pubs in Britain are disappearing at an astonishing rate, The last data I read said approximately 86,000 per year, which seems incredible, unbelievable and impossible. But they are disappearing fast. In time for Islamic Britain you see...!

Newspapers used to have pictures of Margaret Thatcher in full flow on the front page. Or pictures of the inevitable industrial disputes. I suppose they always featured high profile crimes. Various other things in the public or national interest. Now, they seem to feature a near continuous stream of 'celebrities' on the front pages. That, it seems is the national interest. Or so they would seem to tell us.

I can't tell you too much about TV. I haven't really watched that much of it since aged about 16 or 17. There are some threads on here about older, quality programmes that were shown on British TV and depict various situations. I can't for the life of me think what they were. It seems that when I was a teenager and indoors I watched a heck of a lot of American TV cop shows. I quite liked them to be honest, in that era. Other than that - British cop shows and sci-fi and studiously avoiding soap operas. Gosh, it all seems inane. And now, I'm absolutely sure, it's even more so.

I probably now watch on You Tube, in a week, more stuff I enjoy and want to watch, and which informs, than I might ever have watched in a year or more on TV, in any decade.

But no - there have been some fine dramas on British TV and especially by the BBC and they still make occasional good programmes. But they are invariably all historical programmes and usually historical by two centuries and more. They aren't a look at how Britain is today or anytime post-war, for a non-British person to view.

Totally out of time scale and so not relevant to this thread, but I watched this on YT recently. I like this kind of thing and it's entertaining and informative. It's British historians, but they are in France for this one. And it relates to the 13th Century. I think it would be interesting to any European who admires the past. This is episode one of five, each about an hour long.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5IMeODLND8

I will repeat this link in the TV threads. They've done a few other series too, all different eras and all about farming in Britain, but the closest one historically is Wartime Farm, which is then life outside the normal. There was a little bit of information in one of those about the situation in Germany, particularly towards the end, which I found very sad.


Books? Non-fiction books must get a little heavy going at times, it would seem to me. They may become dogmatic or bound with theory and viewpoint (of the author). Maybe not with yourself.

I do like novels (but usually historical novels again) and find that you can learn a great deal about the places, the people and the times, as a backdrop to the story. But I couldn't recommend any novels to you. You're a different gender, half my age and from another country, albeit European. I can't think of any novels about post-war, day-to-day Britain either. Something might come to me. I've recently read novels about Roman Britain, a series relating to Caesar, the Norman conquest of Britain and the Napoleonic wars. It's all war and action (gulp).
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Re: Defeating the Left in argument

Postby Yessica » 12 Feb 2015, 08:15

Thank you, Paul.

Yes, the milk was mentioned in this thread and you said that in 1963 the view was that you were at the edge of a brave new world :) That is what my question was related to.

Germans were not too optimistic after WWII. I assume you would have thought so. After all we had lost.

We learned a lot about Hitler and WWII and Hitler and Nazi Germany... oh and did I mention Hitler? in school and actually I think it was a waste of time because all we learned during all of this lessons was "it was very bad" but there was no analysis. Sometimes I started daydreaming and thinking of something completly different during a lessons and when I "woke up" 30 minutes later the teacher was still going on about the very same topic.
It's such a pity that we did not learn nearly as much about all other times of German history together. Also a pity we never learned about those Germans who opposed Hitler - which were many.

I used to think that it must have been uplifting to be in an English history lessons because I thought you were told about how your grandfathers were heroes - but by now I think you probably weren't. You only learned about colonialism.

I am into reenactment. German reenactors nearly never choose the 1930, 40s or 50s as the period they like to reenact - but I noticed that a lot of reenactment events in GB center around this period as may be something you are still proud of???
I have been invited to a austerity motto party which celebrated life under socialism and thought it was a bit odd and may be not so respectful of the sacrifies of our parents. So I made sure I talked to older people and asked them how such a thing can be celebrated in a respectful way.
If I was to attend a 1940s reenactment I would make sure to act the same way because the people are still around.
My favourite time for reeanactment are the middle ages. Life was full of sacrifice back then but the people are no longer among us and we cannot possible hurt their feeling (unless they are watching us from above but then there are better things to do in heaven than watching some people reenact ;))

I don't know how we (both) got over it and rebuilt everything.


Because were are tough :) We come from tough people. It's something I am proud of. The same toughness runs in our veins - only sometimes we do not remember and that is why so many people of today (including me sometimes) complain about trifles.

It's hard to talk about the day-to-day life over decades without expending thousands of words.


Definitely. Let me ask like this: was a typical day in the 1950s or 1970s very different then today? Was there a different mood?

But the left, in a hard way, have always imposed their version of so-called equality surely?


Socialism in the GDR was different from the "Western socialism" we know today. Today's socialism is psychological. It is a lot about feelings. It is about how being poor or being subjected to racism is psychological damaging.
In the GDR the ideas of psychological damage or "legitimate needs to express your anger in a way adequate for your subculture" or "schools using language that is holding back minorities" simply did not exist.

In all honesty minorities had it tough in the GDR. Women had to work full time but still do all the household chores - without the labour saving devices we have today. Well children were in creches from an early age on which made it easier.
The underclass was send to jail for typical underclass behaviour. "Workshyness" and "being antisocial" were counted as crimes (§ 249 StGB DDR).

Failure to put enough effort into your work could also be seen as "obstruction" and the punishment was even worse.

But they are invariably all historical programmes and usually historical by two centuries and more.


Could you recomment some? I will watch "secrets of the castle". Sounds interesting.

I actually do like non-fiction books. I don't think they are boring at all.

But I couldn't recommend any novels to you. You're a different gender, half my age and from another country, albeit European.


Why not? We are both human :) and I like to read stuff from all eras.
I don't like the idea of having to confine myself to the stuff people my age and gender typically read.
My friends all do read vampire novels but I dislike them - the novels not the friends. They are all that gloomy and vampires have that sick and descending air about them. I cannot help wondering if reading about them is the hallmark of a sick and descending culture.
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Re: Defeating the Left in argument

Postby Paul » 13 Feb 2015, 00:41

Thanks Yessica

It's probably better if I answer in the section for 'Other Topics', as this isn't related specifically to Politics, Socialism or Defeating the Left.
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