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Journal: [TCM] Communist Manifesto Reading Club, Part 5 2

Journal by smitty_one_each
We've passed the halfway point in the first chapter. Golf clap. Let's continue the journey. I'm going to use a lone capital B (Das Kapital) for "bourgeoisie":

The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the towns. It has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life. Just as it has made the country dependent on the towns, so it has made barbarian and semi-barbarian countries dependent on the civilised ones, nations of peasants on nations of bourgeois, the East on the West.

So Marx is against urbanization, without explitely saying why, other than crediting his B strawman with the development, while decrying the "idiocy" of rural life.

The bourgeoisie keeps more and more doing away with the scattered state of the population, of the means of production, and of property. It has agglomerated population, centralised the means of production, and has concentrated property in a few hands. The necessary consequence of this was political centralisation. Independent, or but loosely connected provinces, with separate interests, laws, governments, and systems of taxation, became lumped together into one nation, with one government, one code of laws, one national class-interest, one frontier, and one customs-tariff.

Well, that blows away a lot of thought which credited technology with liberating agrarian labor, in addition to providing new work in cities, for the urbanization. Is technology, itself, a B conspiracy in the B movie of Industrialization?

The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. Subjection of Nature's forces to man, machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam-navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalisation of rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground--what earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labour?

Marx's genius is elevating the B to near-Cthulhu levels of diabolical power. Here we are decrying all of the improvements that have made modern life possible, AND set the stage for the reactionary counter-charge that labor is being exploited and Gaia molested.

We see then: the means of production and of exchange, on whose foundation the bourgeoisie built itself up, were generated in feudal society. At a certain stage in the development of these means of production and of exchange, the conditions under which feudal society produced and exchanged, the feudal organisation of agriculture and manufacturing industry, in one word, the feudal relations of property became no longer compatible with the already developed productive forces; they became so many fetters. They had to be burst asunder; they were burst asunder.

So Feudalism--it's not clear whether it was as bad as the B, or merely a precursor--was superceded by this hellish B force. As far as I can tell, Marx is noting a technological progression, and attributing societal side-effects to his B group. Has he confused horse and cart here? Perhaps. Is this a deliberate rhetorical choice? Let's keep the disbelief suspended.

Into their place stepped free competition, accompanied by a social and political constitution adapted in it, and the economic and political sway of the bourgeois class.

Heinlein replies:

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded--here and there, now and then--are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as "bad luck."

A similar movement is going on before our own eyes. Modern bourgeois society, with its relations of production, of exchange and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells. For many a decade past the history of industry and commerce is but the history of the revolt of modern productive forces against modern conditions of production, against the property relations that are the conditions for the existence of the bourgeois and of its rule. It is enough to mention the commercial crises that by their periodical return put the existence of the entire bourgeois society on its trial, each time more threateningly. In these crises, a great part not only of the existing products, but also of the previously created productive forces, are periodically destroyed. In these crises, there breaks out an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity--the epidemic of over-production. Society suddenly finds itself put back into a state of momentary barbarism; it appears as if a famine, a universal war of devastation, had cut off the supply of every means of subsistence; industry and commerce seem to be destroyed; and why? Because there is too much civilisation, too much means of subsistence, too much industry, too much commerce. The productive forces at the disposal of society no longer tend to further the development of the conditions of bourgeois property; on the contrary, they have become too powerful for these conditions, by which they are fettered, and so soon as they overcome these fetters, they bring disorder into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of bourgeois property. The conditions of bourgeois society are too narrow to comprise the wealth created by them. And how does the bourgeoisie get over these crises? On the one hand by enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces; on the other, by the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of the old ones. That is to say, by paving the way for more extensive and more destructive crises, and by diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented.

It's as though Marx views technological improvement as though it were nuclear fission. Was he a proto-Luddite?

The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the ground are now turned against the bourgeoisie itself.

Here is a critical point: Marx has said that the B are bad, and will now be hoisted upon their own petard. But who is managing that? If the B were so clever as to fell Feudalism, how is the B to be eliminated by less than an Ueber-B?

But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons--the modern working class--the proletarians.

Oh, the Proletariat is going to be bigger and tougher enough to slay the B dragon, while somehow not actually becoming even worse than the B, even though the slope of history sketched by Marx seems rather negative.

In proportion as the bourgeoisie, i.e., capital, is developed, in the same proportion is the proletariat, the modern working class, developed â" a class of labourers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labour increases capital. These labourers, who must sell themselves piecemeal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market.

Wait--are the Proletariat the victims, or the conquerors of the B.

Owing to the extensive use of machinery, and to the division of labour, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character, and, consequently, all charm for the workman. He becomes an appendage of the machine, and it is only the most simple, most monotonous, and most easily acquired knack, that is required of him. Hence, the cost of production of a workman is restricted, almost entirely, to the means of subsistence that he requires for maintenance, and for the propagation of his race. But the price of a commodity, and therefore also of labour, is equal to its cost of production. In proportion, therefore, as the repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage decreases. Nay more, in proportion as the use of machinery and division of labour increases, in the same proportion the burden of toil also increases, whether by prolongation of the working hours, by the increase of the work exacted in a given time or by increased speed of machinery, etc.

OK, here is what I don't get. If "individual character" and "charm for the workman" are a key component of work in the market, why aren't the workers in the proletariat leveraging that? I'm talking craft beer, artisinal cheese, and hand-made furniture.
That is, Marx seems to appeal to fear of obsolescence in the proletariat, rather than appealing to individual greatness and pursuit of excellence.

Modern Industry has converted the little workshop of the patriarchal master into the great factory of the industrial capitalist. Masses of labourers, crowded into the factory, are organised like soldiers. As privates of the industrial army they are placed under the command of a perfect hierarchy of officers and sergeants. Not only are they slaves of the bourgeois class, and of the bourgeois State; they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine, by the overlooker, and, above all, by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself. The more openly this despotism proclaims gain to be its end and aim, the more petty, the more hateful and the more embittering it is.

One of the interesting aspects is how readily Marx both (a) rejects individual responsibilty for life outcomes, and (b) places individuals like sheep in the B factory pens in support of his argument.
In this, Marx seems ready to agree with the B, while purporting to attack them.
The contemporary version is rioters destroying small businesses in Ferguson, in the name of "Fighting the Power". Because #Justice.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Pastable version:
<a href="">Part 1</a>
<a href="">Part 2</a>
<a href="">Part 3</a>
<a href="">Part 4</a>

User Journal

Journal: Cardow cartoon cannot be unseen 14

Journal by smitty_one_each
Click at own risk:

While the 2013 "Lie of the Year" was Obamaâ(TM)s pledge that you can keep your doctor and your health insurance, the 2014 "Weasel of the Year" must surely be Herr Gruber, architect of fraud and deceit.

I guess, since damn_registrars doesn't really fib (does he?) and Gruber is an Economist from MIT, that MIT is some kind of an insurance company, right?
I recall going to my soon-to-be-ex Congresscritter's town hall on the Affordable Care Act, and being verbally accosted by an Obama drone of working for an insurance company because I opposed ObamaCare. #GoodNotGoodTimes

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Journal: Does Being Honest About A River Of Lies Count As Integrity? 33

Journal by smitty_one_each

In a recently uncovered video taken at an event in October 2013, Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber says that lack of transparency was a key advantage in helping get the law passed.
"This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes," Gruber stated. "Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage," he explained adding, "Basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really critical to getting the thing to pass." Given a choice between honestly informing the public and passing the bill, Gruber says he'd rather have the bill.

Would that I'd confidence the Republican's didn't secretly agree.
Anybody who thinks good can come from this river of lies is an utter fool.

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Journal: Keeping the Pimp Hand Strong 9

Journal by smitty_one_each

In June 2012, Mr. Walker became the only governor in American history to survive a recall election--initiated to reverse his enormously controversial 2011 budget-repair bill, Act 10, which limited the collective-bargaining powers of public-employee unions, as well as automatic dues collection and health and pension benefits. Big Labor and national Democrats returned this year to avenge their loss, though the irony was that Ms. Burke declined to relitigate Act 10 or even take a coherent position. The election turned on competing accounts of economic progress under Mr. Walker, such as job creation and rising household incomes.

Like the Confederate States of America, the Wisconsin unions don't seem to be on the correct side of the argument.
Walker is like Chris Christie, with less bloat in the ego and waist.
Presidential timber? Heck. To. The. YEAH!

And I fully expect at least one person on here to blow a hole through his Depends on this JE.

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Journal: 6) I believe in God. 48

Journal by smitty_one_each

Read Marx and discover a mythology that is irreconcilable with any other narrative, including the Bible. Hang out in leftist internet environments, and you will discover a toxic bath of irrational hatred for the Judeo-Christian tradition. You will discover an alternate vocabulary in which Jesus is a "dead Jew on a stick" or a "zombie" and any belief is an arbitrary sham, the equivalent of a recently invented "flying spaghetti monster." You will discover historical revisionism that posits Nazism as a Christian denomination. You will discover a rejection of the Judeo-Christian foundation of Western Civilization and American concepts of individual rights and law. You will discover a nihilist void, the kind of vacuum of meaning that nature abhors and that, all too often, history fills with the worst totalitarian nightmares, the rough beast that slouches toward Bethlehem.

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Journal: Context? Context? Hahahaha 20

Journal by smitty_one_each
What a goofball's goofball:

Jesus said render unto "Caesar" that which is Caesar's. In this context, Caesar isn't just referring to one individual, but to the government which he stands for. It is through government that Caesar ever could claim authority such that you have to render undo him anything.

Look. At. The. Context:

15. Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.
16. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.
17. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
18. But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?
19. Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.
20. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
21. They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.
22. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

A few points:
15. The Pharisees came for a bit of gotcha journalism.
16. They start by buttering Jesus up.
17. Then the gotcha question: as a matter of Jewish religious law (because the taxes in question were collected via tax farming, not a proper legal code) is it kosher to pay taxes?
20. Jesus specifically asks whose image is on the coin before him. Jesus is explicitly referring to the individual on the face of the coin. He is doing it precisely NOT to be referring to the government in question, damn_registrars. You have the scene Completely. Backward.
21. By personalizing the question in this way, Jesus both directly answered it, and utterly refuted some dishonest interlocutors.

Aside: are you going to pick up the Communist Manifesto Reading Group project after the election?

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Journal: Just How Blatant Must The Democrats Be? 31

Journal by smitty_one_each

National Review Online is reporting that the FBI (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the DOJ) has made the highly unusual decision to disclose their investigation into Mike Rounds (pictured above), a Republican Senate candidate in South Dakota, less than a week before next Tuesday's vote.
The alleged misconduct being investigated is somewhat obscure-something involving a work visa program in the state-but it is notable that the alleged misconduct was to have occurred three years ago, and the FBI's announcement comes a year after the state's own attorney general closed its own investigation without bringing any charges.

I am sure some sycophant on here will offer a Nuremberg defense.

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Journal: [TCM] Communist Manifesto Reading Club Part 3 39

Journal by smitty_one_each
Still in Chapter 1 of The Communist Manifesto:

The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his âoenatural superiorsâ, and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous âoecash paymentâ. It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom â" Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.

The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage labourers.

The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation.

The bourgeoisie has disclosed how it came to pass that the brutal display of vigour in the Middle Ages, which reactionaries so much admire, found its fitting complement in the most slothful indolence. It has been the first to show what manâ(TM)s activity can bring about. It has accomplished wonders far surpassing Egyptian pyramids, Roman aqueducts, and Gothic cathedrals; it has conducted expeditions that put in the shade all former Exoduses of nations and crusades.

The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society. Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered form, was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes. Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.

The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere.

"The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations."
It almost sounds as though Marx is an apologist for Feudalism here.
(a) I doubt that he seriously is, and
(b) I completely disagree that the bourgeoisie behaved or continue to behave in any manner substantially differnet from those they supplanted.
(c) However, this passage is consistent with the rhetorical need to instantiate the bourgeoisie as a new object for reader consideration.

"The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo. . ."
Has it?

"The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation."
Karl the Kloset SoKon! It's almost as though he views the bourgeoisie as proto-Progressives, or something.

"The bourgeoisie has disclosed. . ."
Really, really needs some kind of reference as to what he means. Is Marx a crypto-Luddite?

"The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production. . ."
I don't actually think Marx is in any sense a Luddite. Rather, I think he's trying to strum the Luddite strings in his audience with this technological angst talk.

"The need of a constantly expanding market for its products. . ."
Well, if we're supposed to genuflect to the unions for the 40-hour work week, then let's at least offer a nod to the risk takers and experimenters who've actually *enabled* the modern world we like.
Or one could just head off to Papua-New Guinea, I suppose.
I can track Marx's point, insofar as having your bling steal your soul is an eternal tragedy--yes.
But bling as such is neither good nor evil, and not explicitely sinful, kept in perspective.

Part 1
Part 2
Pastable version:
&lt;a href=""&gt;Part 1&lt;/a&gt;
&lt;a href=""&gt;Part 2&lt;/a&gt;

Business is a good game -- lots of competition and minimum of rules. You keep score with money. -- Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari