Nothing in this blog can be believed. If you think that anything in this blog is true or factual, you'll need to verify it from another source. Do you understand? No? Then read it again, and repeat this process, until you understand that you cannot sue me for anything you read here. Also, having been sucked into taking part in the mass-murder of more than 3 million Vietnamese people on behalf of U.S. Big Business "interests", I'm as mad as a cut snake (and broke) so it might be a bit silly to try to sue me anyway...

Saturday, April 16, 2005

amateur hour in politics 101...

Ok, would the serious political pundits and historians now leave the room please. This is amateur rant hour, ok? Leftie fundamentalists? Put a sock in it. Right wing death beasts? You shouldn't even be here... Ok, here goes...

Communism: The USSR and China (where no democracy had yet existed) banned religions, private enterprise and private ownership of real estate. Politically, only communism was condoned. In other words, authoritarian and totalitarian communist regimes evolved. And they were expansionist, seeking to spread their doctrines across as much of the of world as they could.

Capitalism: By its very nature, expansionist. The Western reaction to communism was that the Christian and Jewish religions increased the intensity of their courtship of the business world (and the business world increased the intensity of its courtship of these religions) for the mutual benefit of putting up a united front against what they saw as a mortal threat to their very existence, including the democracies which had evolved. Similarly, the Christians and the Jews were driven closer together by this common threat. And anti-communism gained a huge power boost.

But in their fear and panic, the West, and America in particular, also became authoritarian and totalitarian, not just with regard to how they dealt with communism at home, but also the type of regimes and political movements they would allow in the countries over which they had power. And in this regard America stands out as having been the bloodiest and most globally ambitious. And as we can now see, this has predictably morphed into a religious fundamentalism that is wedded to Big Business and which has hijacked politics to the degree that America's behaviour in the world has become identical to that of an authoritarian and totalitarian regime. They have become that which they feared.

Communism's own behaviour has a lot to do with the kind of monster America has become. And perhaps the machinations of the early capitalists originally created the monster that communism became.

Enter socialism and secularism in the West: Capitalism sees socialism as no different from communism and fears it just as much. Socialism comes hand in hand with secularism and secularism scares the pants off some Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Yes, there are some Christians, Jews, and Muslims who are are politically secularist (and/or socialist), but I'm talking about the secularism driven by atheism and agnosticism, and those who see secularism as a means to becoming (or remaining) free from the intrusion of someone else's religious beliefs or values into their lives.

And so, a side-play to the communist/capitalist bunfight has been the increased threat religions have felt from the increased stridency, militancy and authoritarian tone of secularism in open societies. I think this has helped boost fundamentalism not just in the Judeo-Christian world, but also in the Islamic world (Bin Laden thinks he's waging war against secularism.) A fundamentalist mindset seems to have hijacked secularism just as effectively as it has the other major religions of the West.

Fundamentalism, absolutism , intolerance, monoculturalism. All of these now reside just as much in secularism as they do in the other religions. Secularism has been hijacked by extremism.

Speaking to the left (because there's no point in trying to speak to the right), get this: There are moderate, left-leaning Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Zionists, just as there are moderate, left-leaning secularists. If secularists keep alienating their moderate, religious brothers and sisters, the left is doomed to perpetual impotence.

Similarly, these religious, moderate, left-leaning people want nothing to do with violent and destructive politics, so if true pacifism doesn't become the left's dominant paradigm, left wing politics will just continue to be a bunfight between various ineffectual, small, extremist factions, great for causing death, destruction, retribution and disruption, but not big enough to get a democratic mandate. And quite frankly, I think the world has moved on from this style of "politics".

The common enemy we face today is fundamentalism, absolutism, intolerance and monoculturalism. In other words, extremism.

It's been said that I teach best that which I most need to learn...

Hope you found this interesting enough to want to leave a comment. Thanks for your time. For intellectual stuff, read other blogs.

4 Comments:

Blogger the urban fox said...

Agreed.

"The common enemy we face today is fundamentalism, absolutism, intolerance and monoculturalism. In other words, extremism."

Spot on.

Stop the self-deprecating comments at beginning and end of each post though, you're detracting from your highly persuasive, well-thought out arguments.

April 17, 2005 12:04 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Thanks for taking the time to understand what I wrote, fox.

The self-deprecating bits? They're part of the way I rant.

I refuse to cowtow to the principles of "writing for academic purposes". A bigger load of codswallop I've never come accross. Sure that's necessary if you're trying to be "autoritative" or you're trying to build "credibility", or you are submitting shit to get a degree (I think I'll just buy me one of the el-cheapo variety to nark the snobs).

Highly persuasive? I haven't had anyone come up to me yet and say "I used to be a right wing racist Nazi and now, thanks to your persuasive arguments, I've joinded the peace movement, I vote for the Greens and I've read all of the books on your booklist. YOu have saved my life!"

No, fox, I'm just preaching (badly) to the already-converted and the rest vomit and move on, I'm afraid. Even some of the converted vomit and move on.

But it is nice to get acknowledgement and encouragement, so thanks heaps.

April 17, 2005 8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd just like to say ditto to the urban fox's comments including the 'self-deprecating' (whatever that means) bit. I hate it when I have to open a dictionary to read your blog. I can see why Bush doesn't visit your site very often. ;-)

DS

April 17, 2005 1:12 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

DS, my mother drilled into us the absolute imperative to look up any word we come across if we didn't 100% know what it meant. I thank her for that. That's the only way to increase your word power. Mine is nevertheless abyssmal. You keep looking up the words, DS, y'hear?

April 17, 2005 5:38 PM  

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