Re: The International Forum on Globalization - More suitablefor Halloween th...

From: nrb (
Date: Thu Feb 08 2001 - 23:55:11 MST

Michael Lorrey wrote:

> Funny, but since I've never seen a post from you here that I recall, I
> suppose I was assuming you might possibly be a lurker who is a green
> keeping an eye on us.

Actually, today is the first time I've posted here, although I've been on and off the list
over the last few years. I'm definitely not a green (I actually don't believe in party
affiliations; it's too limiting), although I did vote for Nader in the last presidential
election (but not because he ran on the green ticket).

> They are invariably anti-capital, and blame all of society's ills on
> corporations. They refuse to see government as the problem, using the
> same sort of excuses they use to apologize for the USSR: government is
> just a tool that has been corrupted by corporations because it was
> structured to protect the rich, etc. etc etc.

I would be interested to know if your sampling from these groups is scientific or
anecdotal, because this seems like a simplification. Of course, it's common for people
from all political persuasions to lack the critical thinking skills necessary to make
sound judgments about issues that push emotional buttons in them. But I would be no more
willing to accept the position that ALL of anything this complex can be attributed to
corporations than I would be to entirely blame government. Just because there are people
in the greens who only see things in black and white doesn't weaken the argument that some
corporations are responsible for some ills (this seems more reasonable and likely to me).
I am confused by your statment that "they refuse to see government as the problem," since
it is unlikely that government is THE problem any more than it is that corporations are
THE problem. Certainly it's more likely a confluence of culprits, many of whom are not
acting out of greed or evil, but are simply misinformed or ignorant (although there are
glaring exceptions).

As for the last sentence quoted above, I believe there is plenty of actual evidence that
the US government (at least) has pretty much been bought and paid for by powerful (i.e.,
rich) interests. This has been par for the course throughout the history of this country,
and the recent presidential coup is only one more example of it. Why exactly does
accepting this interpretation somehow conflict with your libertarian position? Why is a
large, powerful collective that calls itself a corporation better than a large, powerful
collective that calls itself a government? I mean, who's watching the watchers here?

> It is only an ideal in that despots and demagogues have warped the
> political landscape so much that we think the current state is 'the
> norm', that the middle of the current political landscape is 'centrist'.
> Its not.

I agree with you on this, but it seems likely I would probably attribute it to a different
set of interpretations.

> If your statement is true, then why do the people in every other culture
> invariably want the sort of society we have? They want 4 door cars, PCs,
> internet access, good neighborhoods and schools, honest elections, and
> all of the other features of the America that isn't marred by big city
> welfare state problems.

I'm not saying my statement is true. I'm just asking that we allow for the possibility
that not everyone values what we value, even though many do. There is a rich body of
anthropological evidence that suggests that imposing our values on other cultures has
been, in many (but not all) cases, a negative process. I believe they used to call this
imperialism. ;-)

> > I agree with you on this one because it can be traced to our biology. This applies to
> > most animals in varying degrees.
> Then you should accept the previous one as well. Animals always want to
> get the greatest benefit for the least investment possible, and will
> engage in pecking order behaviors.

I can't accept your line of reasoning here, but would defend to the death your right to
say it. Something we humans have going for us that appears to be lacking in most of the
other animals (as far as we can tell) is this nifty little thing called culture, which
provides us with such potentially elevating concepts as ethics, morality, altruism and
cooperation (among so many others). Self preservation is still there underneath it all, of
course, but we now have thousands of years worth of conceptual tools that help us to think
about our actions and their consequences.

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