195 thoughts on “The culture wars are over. They lost.

  1. Perhaps I should’ve checked before engaging, but I had a look at JD’s blog – I wouldn’t recommend it. In summary: Quadrant, Ayn Rand, Libertarianism.

    I only bothered because of his weird retort to my last comment which consisted of calling me a Marxist.

    Anyway, I noticed this gem:

    “At root the AGW alarmism philosophy is: anti-liberty, anti-progress, and anti-human.”

  2. @John Dawson

    North Korea is clearly not an instance of capitalism, but neither is it any kind of instance of social|sm or working class rule. It’s a fairly primitive command economy in the hands of highly coercive dynastic rulers — a kind of mafia-like autarky with an essentially private army.

    {if} our M@rx|st professors … had their way the whole world would be like North Korea by now. {…}And it’s those professors who passed their wisdom on to the professors and teachers who teach you lot today.

    I’m yet to meet or even read of any professor of Marxism (or even a more loosely defined egalitarianism) who has mentioned North Korea as a model that he or she would endorse. Perhaps you can find one such person teaching in western university, but even allowing for the sake of argument that there is such a person, it’s scarcely a generalisation one could support, so I’m putting that claim under the heading of angst-driven nonsense.

    You might wonder, John Dawson, why China, which is just next door, hasn’t opted for the North Korean model, despite having a clear opportunity to do so and calling itself “commun|st” and why other regimes avowing a more egalitarian-populist ethic — Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Cuba for example — haven’t been tempted either.

    This is because North Korea was a special case — a result of the occupation by Japan and the Cold War in a ruined country, rather than something flowing from the logic of leftwing ideas. It’s not an inevitable endgame but a bizarre anomaly.

    The problem confronting humanity remains as it was for every previous generation — how to define socially necessary labour, and how to settle the burdens and benefits of socially necessary labour effectively, efficiently and equitably amongst human beings so that we may all have a maximum of effective autonomy. That is a problem that both capitalism,and previous exemplars of non-captialist collectivism or populism of one kind or another have failed to solve.

    Waving your hands about and pleading against Marxism may make you feel good but it contributes nothing to meeting that challenge.

  3. John Dawson 3/50,

    My reading of North Korea suggests that 75% of North Koreans are propertyless and incomeless. This makes them human capital that is exploited for personal gain by a politically faithfull 25% demographic elite. This is functionally a Capitalist domain of the darkest kind in the guise of a communist state, which, as I said, portrays the monopoly board style capitalist end game where a few own everything and the majority starve.

  4. @BilB North Koreans are propertyless because all property in a communist country is owned by the state and they are incomeless because the communist state decides how the produce of the country is to be taken from those according to their ability and distributed according to those whose need it decides to reward. Which makes it a model Marxist society. Of course its state didn’t wither away as Marx predicted, but nothing Marx predicted worked out anywhere. But that didn’t stop the useful idiots of the West rationalizing their way around the glaring failures and rationalizing everything bad in the world as the wages of capitalism. No Fran, of course they don’t advocate North Korea as a model because the results are too horribly visible – so they take their cue from Orwell’s handbook and call it “state capitalism”. No the likes of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Cuba never went as far as North Korea in the implementation of their creed, and so their results wern’t as bad, but they were quite bad enough as a million or two Cubans who risked their lives to get out attest. The country that implemented the creed even more thoroughly than North Korea was Kampuchea. Most communist countries were driven by despair to abandon Marxism and they have improved the lot of their citizens since doing so. But Marxism has a lingering effect, most particularly and inexcusably in Western Universities.

  5. @Chris Warren the wiki says that one-third of children and 59% of low-income children are insured through Medicaid or SCHIP. 130 percent of the federal poverty level for food stamps

  6. @John Dawson North Korea has more in common with a monarchy with all power held by the hereditary head of state. If it was a communist state property and means of production would be held the people. North Korea is not a cooperative it is a totalitarian regime.

  7. @John Dawson

    First you say:

    our Marxist professors denied and denied then blamed bad weather, bad leadership, the CIA, you name it. If they’d had their way the whole world would be like North Korea by now {…} And it’s those professors who passed their wisdom on to the professors and teachers who teach you lot today.

    then you say:

    No Fran, of course they don’t advocate North Korea as a model because …

    Consistency isn’t your strong suit is it?

  8. @rog Yes rog North Korea is totalitarian, so were all the communist states. Yes it is similar in some respects to an absolute monarchy, in that everything and everybody is owned or controlled by the state. The main difference is that the monarch’s “right” to rule was divine, where as the politburo’s “right” to rule was the collective. As long as they could claim that the sacrifices they demanded of individuals was for the “common good” of society they could justify any injustice or atrocity. The reason the kings lasted a couple of millennia where as the communists lasted only a couple of generations is that the kings could perpetuate the myth that peoples sacrifices on earth would be rewarded after death, where as the politburo’s myth that their sacrifices would be rewarded by their grandchildren living in utopia wore thin when the comrades noticed that “wage slaves” and grandchildren in semi capitalist countries lived in a utopia beyond the wildest dreams of their central planners while they were still being called on to sacrifice their selfish individualist interests for the collective.

  9. No one’s asking for communism, of course.

    John’s wild-eyed and arguing that everyone to the left of Ayn Rand is just itching to live in a Stalinist dictatorship, but doesn’t realise that Australia, Canada and most Western European nations have exactly the type of social-democratic setup most leftists want.

    The premise of this thread is that the right has lost the culture war. The results of the US election, coupled with this overwrought hysterical ranting about communism and violent coercion whenever the welfare state is mentioned, suggest it’s true.

    Really, John, if you had a balanced and compelling argument to make, you wouldn’t feel the need to start channeling Joe McCarthy the moment your assertions are challenged.

  10. @Fran Barlow What I said was perfectly consistent Fran, Marxists advocated policies that consistently led to bad results but they never acknowledged those results were due to their policies. If the whole world had followed their policies it would be like North Korea but they would still be blaming the bad result on something else – CIA plots, bankers conspiracies, depletion of resources, AGW, whatever. Only a select few of them mind you, most of them would be dead or slaving in the fields.

  11. @John Dawson

    Policies that are drawn from Marx include the union movement, feminism, and public health.

    The hate for Marx is largely based on the huge success of his ideas. And, hey, if I were a member of a hereditary ruling class I’d hate Marx too.

  12. John D,

    You don’t get it. North Korea is nothing like any other state. It is an enslaved nation, not a communist state.

    I’ve been trying to download documents on the assets of NK’s elite but there seems to be some blocking software at work.

    Click to access HRNK_Songbun_Web.pdf

    Give it a go see if you can download.

  13. @John Dawson

    Marxists advocated policies that consistently led to bad results but they never acknowledged those results were due to their policies. If the whole world had followed their policies it would be like North Korea

    “Marxists” have advocated a great many things in a variety of circumstances so we’ve no way of testing the hypothesis. That said, clearly some “marxists” got their way in China and Cuba and Venezuela and Bolivia and it didn’t end up like North Korea. In Chile, when they were denied their preference, people got murdered by anti-Marxists.

    What Marxists would do today is another thing entirely. It’s not clear whom you’re referring to, so we only have your bleating to rely on.

  14. If John Dawson wasn’t thicker than a woodchuck he would realise that his very own arguments in respect of those that adhere to the mainstream view on climate science are in themselves fundamentally Marxian. This Dawson argument, with its invocation of vested interests, favoured classes and ideology, has been practically plagiarised from the Communist Manifesto, Das Kapital and The German Ideology. http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2011/09/carbon-pathway-to-disaster

    Conservatism has traditionally been understood as entailing respect for “tried and true” institutions, be that religion, the current institutions of state or science and a range of personal traits including prudence and caution. This is the conservatism of Edmund Burke. In taking the advice of pretty much every major scientific establishment in the western world and acting on AGW, the Gillard Government has acted prudently and conservatively. More intelligent and better educated Australian conservatives, true conservatives that is, are well aware of this and deplore the cheap right populism of intellectual pygmies such as Dawson and squawking Galahs like Tony Abbott. Here is a splendid example of a true conservative: http://www.harryrclarke.com/

  15. Here’s Romney acting like an archetypal Randian hero:

    From the moment Mitt Romney stepped off stage Tuesday night, having just delivered a brief concession speech he wrote only that evening, the massive infrastructure surrounding his campaign quickly began to disassemble itself.
    Aides taking cabs home late that night got rude awakenings when they found the credit cards linked to the campaign no longer worked.


    That’s economic rationality for you. 

  16. Jim Rose :
    @Chris Warren the wiki says that one-third of children and 59% of low-income children are insured through Medicaid or SCHIP. 130 percent of the federal poverty level for food stamps

    Precisely. Would you be happy if only 59% of your socio-economic group had this access?

  17. @Katz

    Rand’s heroes are men who spy the greatest opportunities and make the most of the tools available to them. Romney is a conservative politician whose campaign paid tens of millions of dollars for software that failed from the moment it was activated, then put his preconfigured transition website up for two days, detailing how America would move smoothly into the Romney presidency and return to a golden age.

    I’m talking about the fictional heroes Ayn Rand wrote about, obviously. Her real life idol was a serial killer.

  18. @John Dawson

    There’s a predictable pattern here.

    Random poster: “The right is losing the culture war for these obvious and factual reasons.”

    John Dawson: “Fascist! Communist!”

    RP: “Here’s the evidence of my claims. Can you refute it with counter-evidence?”

    JD: “Fascist! Communist!”

    RP: “That’s pretty immature. You mean you don’t have any evidence at all to support what you’re saying?”

    JD: “Don’t attack me with ad hominem, you fascist communist!”

  19. I’m in awe of Romney’s staggering life giving productivity. I’m sure that if he had won the election, he would have done the best job of getting the government out of its citizens way.

    But he didn’t win, and if he ever runs again, his aides will probably want to be paid in cash, in advance.

  20. @John Dawson

    You are a capitalist denialist. Capitalism was introduced only by violence and all consuming force. Peasants were ejected from their livilihoods. Lebensraum was acquired by destruction of practically every indigenous peoples within grasp of British, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese and French. They also fought bloody wars among themselves killing thousands for hundreds of years, all through to 1945.

    Capitalism kills wage slaves as in Africa this month. This is the honourable tradition of capitalism. They fired at workers in Australia at Rothbery, killing one, just as they mowed-down protesting wage-slaves at Peterloo.

    Capitalism also used force to prevent democratic reforms by installing the infamous anti-conspiracy provisions and transporting Chartists to Botany Bay.

    The wealth in Australia, the base of capitalism, in the 19th century was achieved by the greatest crime against humanity ever perpetrated by a capitalist regime.

    You only have to look at any balanced documentary at working conditions in the Third World to see just how much force and violence is needed to keep the globe safe for our thieving billionaires and their denialist lackeys.

  21. @Chris Warren Many more are eligible for Medicaid and CHIPs and food stamps but do not enrol. The ratio may be 1 in 2 eligible people not enrolling for medicaid. there is also under-enrolment in CHIP. there is also wide state by state variation.

    The funding of Romney care was partly based on boosting Medicaid enrolments to increase matching federal funding flows and save on the state costs of hospital emergency room visits

  22. @Katz do former employees usually keep their business credit cards?

    the report did not say what normally happens when most of the campaign staff are redundant because an election was lost. what were they to do the next day – accounting and legal wrap-up staff aside?

  23. @Jim Rose

    It’s also an unusual case because everyone on the Romney team was convinced they’d throw off the socialist oppressor with ease, party for a week, and go on to be important players in the Great Neocon Revival.

    There would be genuine shock and grief issues for the campaigners to deal with, even without the sometimes excessive schadenfreude of Democrat supporters.

  24. I guess a considerate boss explains that the cards won’t work any more BEFORE they hire a cab.

    Then again, maybe Romney did tell them on ORCA.

    Oh, I forgot. ORCA didn’t work!

    (Mitt possibibly forgot it too.)

  25. @Katz how much severance pay and out-placement assistance did the campaign staff get? what happened to his secret service detail? who drove Romney home?

  26. @Katz three weeks severance pay, out-placement assistance and his son drove Mitt home because the secret service had already left.

  27. Why? It’s a waste of government money.

    I’m sure that the long suffering tax payers were relieved of this unnecessary expense.

  28. So all those right wing tycoons whose names you couldn’t find did their dough.

    That’s very satisfying.

  29. Perhaps this is relevant?


    “If conservative billionaires are looking for something else to be mad about, I’d recommend the Romney campaign’s apparent habit of paying about 50 percent more for TV spots than the Obama campaign. That helped line the pockets of the consultants who both recommended the buys and got the commissions for placing the spots, but it didn’t do much to win the election.

    In the end, it turned out that one side ran its campaign like a business, while the other side ran its like a local PTA. Ironically, it was the ex-community organizer who did the former and the ex-CEO of Bain Capital who did the latter.”

  30. Julie Thomas, a local PTA? didn’t obama pioneer data mining for tailored campaigning to “recruit volunteers, buy ads, tailor emails and mailers, raise money, dispatch surrogates — and, most importantly, scour the swing states for hard-to-find voters most likely to support the president”.

    His data team of 50 plus which had polling data on 29,000 voters in Ohio. national polling samples are usualy 1,000.

    see http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-obama-analytics-20121113,0,846342.story

  31. The PTA reference is about the way the Democrats built a local community awareness with voters rather than broadcasting stylised advertising from head office.

    The data resourcing is no surprise. Obama’s a technocrat through and through.

  32. @Sancho Obama outspent McCain 2:1 in 2008. The spending was about even in 2012.

    what did Obama go back on his word to limit himself to public funding for the general election?

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