Arts & Letters Daily

It was always a worry to me when Denis Dutton died that Arts & Letters Daily would drift over to the left. While I do not find it all that surprising, the full-speed-ahead pace at which the change has taken place has been quite disorienting. There is a rule invented by someone whose name escapes me that states that if an institution is not explicitly on the right it will move to the left. And so we have found once again.

What has clued me in has been how seldom I have opened a posting on A&L since the selection process was turned over to the anonymous researchers who had always sought out the various articles but until Denis passed away were not responsible for what was actually put up on the site.

But today’s article “In Praise of Marx” has finally done it for me and it is from the Chronicle of Higher Education itself which runs the site. Here is the final para from an article by someone who has just published a book titled Why Marx Was Right:

Why might Marx be back on the agenda? The answer, ironically, is because of capitalism. Whenever you hear capitalists talking about capitalism, you know the system is in trouble. Usually they prefer a more anodyne term, like “free enterprise.” The recent financial crashes have forced us once again to think of the setup under which we live as a whole, and it was Marx who first made it possible to do so. It was The Communist Manifesto which predicted that capitalism would become global, and that its inequalities would severely sharpen. Has his work any defects? Hundreds of them. But he is too creative and original a thinker to be surrendered to the vulgar stereotypes of his enemies.

That this sort of political statement is becoming more the rule than the exception on A&L Daily seems to be part of the nature of things but it is sad to lose an old friend not once but for a second time as well.

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64 Responses to Arts & Letters Daily

  1. wayne of perth

    Yes I agree and it is a shame. I used to read practically all the articles referenced but now few and far between.

    Does anyone have an alternative digest?

  2. Steve Kates

    I’m glad you said that so it isn’t just me.

  3. daddy dave

    I kept visiting after Denis died, hoping that they would retain both the high quality of the site, and spirit of Denis’ selections. At first the signs were promising, but I’ve found myself dropping in on ALD less and less.

    Someone said that the internet has ushered in a new “age of the editor” – that people who can sift and select the cream of the content will have a valuable role to play. Denis’ passing proves that ALDaily was a great site because it had a great editor.

  4. daddy dave

    Rafe seems to be performing a similar function with “Rafe’s roundup.” Perhaps we could talk him into expanding the roundup to more of an aldaily format – 4 links a day, 6 days a week? or is that just too much work?

  5. twostix

    Marxists were warning of the perils of fascism while the politicians of the so-called free world were still wondering aloud whether Hitler was quite such a nasty guy as he was painted. Almost all followers of Marx today reject the villainies of Stalin and Mao, while many non-Marxists would still vigorously defend the destruction of Dresden or Hiroshima. Modern capitalist nations are for the most part the fruit of a history of genocide, violence, and extermination every bit as abhorrent as the crimes of Communism. Capitalism, too, was forged in blood and tears, and Marx was around to witness it. It is just that the system has been in business long enough for most of us to be oblivious of that fact.

    1. Ordinary people were worried about the perils of Fascism AND Marxism. Two bitter new psuedo-religions both born of the same corrupted mother.

    2. Using superior weapons against a country that is waging total, barbaric and fanatical war on many others totally unprovoked is not quite the same as intentionally starving your own populace, mass murder of political opponents and anybody who just doesn’t happen to agree with you and, in Stalins case, a new idea for the “final solution” for the Jews.

    What a sickening attempt at equivocation.

    Just sick, but dare state that higher education has been completely co-opted by marxist ratbags and the average uni-student will laugh at you.

    Sad.

  6. Jarrah

    “Has his work any defects? Hundreds of them.”

    Case closed.

  7. daddy dave

    Does anyone have an alternative digest?

    Glenn Reynolds links a lot of interesting stuff on his blog “Instapundit.” The reading is more current and not usually as meaty as ALD, but he has a big range with lots of nuggets. But of course, you already read Instapundit, right?

    Of course you do.

  8. dover_beach

    Marxists were warning of the perils of fascism while the politicians of the so-called free world

    Don’t you just love that? Rather than comparing Marxists to liberals or conservatives of the day they compare them to unnamed politicians. Morevoer, how about comparing politicians of the ‘so-called’ free world to Marxist politicians of the day like Stalin or Molotov (yes the same Molotov that connived with Ribbentrop to dismember Poland).

    The rest of what he says is the same drivel.

    BTW, who is the author of that puff piece? I can’t seem to load that page or anything from the Chronicle.

  9. Jarrah

    “2. Using superior weapons against a country that is waging total, barbaric and fanatical war on many others totally unprovoked”

    Except by then Japan had been losing for quite some time, and certainly by early 1945 were not any kind of threat that necessitated industrial-scale mass murder.

    But I agree with you that it’s a different kind of mass murder – in scale and intent – to the atrocities of Stalin and Mao.

  10. THR

    Another case of simple-minded, right-wing hysteria. Capitalism is neither eternal, nor beyond reproach, except to half-wits and cultists. Marx is one of the most influential thinkers who ever lived, next to whom the Austrian cranks are mere footnotes.For these reasons alone, one ought to at least be able to read a defence of Marx without clutching one’s pearls.

  11. dover_beach

    Let’s give Marx his due, few writers are as capable as he in adding a touch of vulgarity and exaggeration to a half-truth.

  12. THR

    Rather than comparing Marxists to liberals or conservatives of the day they compare them to unnamed politicians.

    The latter were too busy forming coalitions with Hitler, Mussolini, and Petain.

    As you seem to be interested in history, DB, do you also consider as ‘drivel’ the proposition that industrialisation in the west was a brutal and horrific process, roughly as bad as that in the USSR? (Less intense, but far more protracted). And you have forgotten the links between colonialism and capitalism?

    In any case, it’s telling that, rather than actually engage in any Marxist points, the usual suspects run straight to Molotov and Stalin.

  13. C.L.

    Hitler and Mussolini were good socialists.

    Ask the old timers from the Australian Seamans’ Union.

    They were hot for the Pact.

  14. .

    Except by then Japan had been losing for quite some time, and certainly by early 1945 were not any kind of threat that necessitated industrial-scale mass murder.

    Jesus do you really need a history lesson again?

    There are two reasons below as to why Japan needed to be knocked out of the war quickly.

    The Army High Command still wanted to fight after Nagasaki.

    Casualties and losses, Ryukyu Islands Campaign (Okinawa and Iwo Jima)

    United States of America

    19,840 dead or missing,
    58,105 wounded,
    33,096 non-combat losses,
    79 ships sunk and scrapped,
    773 aircraft destroyed

    Empire of Japan

    90,400 dead or missing,
    17,000 wounded,
    7,671 captured,
    21 ships sunk and scrapped,
    3,130 aircraft destroyed,
    75,000-140,000 civilians dead or missing

  15. daddy dave

    For these reasons alone, one ought to at least be able to read a defence of Marx without clutching one’s pearls.

    Sure. And Dutton might even have linked to it himself just to spice things up, if it was good enough, provocative enough, and maybe had some interesting things to say.

    The fact that ALD promoted this article is a symptom of a broader issue. Namely, Arts and Letters Daily is
    a) swinging left;
    b) declining in quality.

  16. dover_beach

    do you also consider as ‘drivel’ the proposition that industrialisation in the west was a brutal and horrific process, roughly as bad as that in the USSR? (Less intense, but far more protracted). And you have forgotten the links between colonialism and capitalism?

    Yes, all drivel.

    In any case, it’s telling that, rather than actually engage in any Marxist points, the usual suspects run straight to Molotov and Stalin.

    I didn’t ‘run’ to Molotov; I simply pointed out that if you want to compare the politicians of the free world with Marxists, you might as well choose actual Marxist politicians, rather than some Marxist scribbler of the day. I now that Lenin, Stalin, Molotov, Mao, in fact almost any actual Marxist politician embarrasses current-day Marxists, but you and they will have to live with it.

  17. Piett

    From the article:

    What did [Marx] think we would do then? Whatever we wanted. If, like the great Irish socialist Oscar Wilde, we chose simply to lie around all day in loose crimson garments, sipping absinthe and reading the odd page of Homer to each other, then so be it.

    Is this how you envisage yourself after the revolution, THR? :)

  18. johno

    ‘Marx is one of the most influential thinkers who ever lived, next to whom the Austrian cranks are mere footnotes’

    One of those cranks, Böhm-Bawerk, demolished Marx’s economics. In ‘Capital and Interest’, Bohm-Bawerk showed how Marx’s exploitation theory
    is flawed because it ignores the time dimension of production. Capitalists pay their workers for the work done, before the capitalist recieves the revenue from the sale of the goods. The capitalist bears the risk that the goods produced may not be sold or can only be sold at a loss. This means the whole value of a product is not produced by the worker, but that labour’s value is the expected future value of the planned output.

    In ‘Karl Marx and the Close of His System’, Bohm-Bawerk showed there was a basic error in Marx’s theory of labour value that comes about from a self-contradiction of Marx’s law of value, namely how the rate of profit and the prices of production of the third volume of Marx’s Capital contradict Marx’s theory of value in the first volume. He also explained how Marx downplays the influence of supply and demand in determining prices, and is deliberate ambigious with thess concepts.

    Marx may have influenced a lot of people, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing!

  19. twostix

    Except by then Japan had been losing for quite some time, and certainly by early 1945 were not any kind of threat that necessitated industrial-scale mass murder.

    But I agree with you that it’s a different kind of mass murder – in scale and intent – to the atrocities of Stalin and Mao.

    The fact that you use the term “mass murder” in that little spiel outs you as a bit of a headcase.

    Americans (and Australians) after years and years of dying by the tens of thousands, living under rations and a state of total war trying to put down the vicious, rabid dog known as Bushido Japan, didn’t want to die no more.

    So the Americans dropped two bombs and the war ended without one single more life lost.

    You in the most sickening way, demand that the victims of aggression had instead thrown thousands more of their own lives away to fight “conventionally”. Purely to please the distorted mushy headed “morality” of an over privileged 21st century hand wringer.

    Insanity.

  20. daddy dave

    Whenever you hear capitalists talking about capitalism, you know the system is in trouble. Usually they prefer a more anodyne term, like “free enterprise.”

    I notice two things: capitalists are “they” (presumably for the writer and the intended audience); and ‘capitalism’ is a dirty word that hides behind euphemisms.

    Yep, ALD and indeed the Chronicle itself have been captured by the left, all right. The Marxist left, in fact.

  21. twostix

    The latter were too busy forming coalitions with Hitler, Mussolini, and Petain.

    As opposed to the wonderful workers paradise the USSR, who never had anything to do with Hitler.

  22. dover_beach

    dd, ‘capitalists’ and ‘capitalism’ are nonsense terms. Smith, for instance, never used these words himself. I really don’t understand why anyone other than a Marxist engaging rhetorically would use them.

  23. ken n

    I disagree that there has been a substantial political swing at ALD. Dutton would, quite possibly, have linked the Eagleton article.
    ALD is still edited by Tran Huu Dung who worked (virtually) with Dutton on the site for the past ten years.
    Certainly there has been a slight change in personality but as a long term reader of the site, I find it still a necessary daily read.

  24. Rococo Liberal

    a) swinging left;
    b) declining in quality.

    Same thing really :)

  25. Rococo Liberal

    I agree with Ken M.

    In any case, it’s good fun to read the lefty bunk and pick the illogicality and stupidity of those who espouse it.

    No matter how many times the left fails, it keeps getting up and having another go.

    Marx? Please, only a complete fool would believe any of that stuff any more. Marx is a mere cover for second-rate bourgeoise boys and girls to grab a bit of power for themselves whilst pretending to care about the oppressed.

  26. Jarrah

    “The fact that you use the term “mass murder” in that little spiel outs you as a bit of a headcase.”

    How do you describe the deliberate killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, twostix?

    Personally, I think anyone defending the bombings is “a bit of a headcase”.

    “You in the most sickening way, demand that the victims of aggression had instead thrown thousands more of their own lives away to fight “conventionally”.”

    Actually, I demand no such thing – that’s all in your head. This is also the same error Dot constantly (constantly!) repeats. You are both wedded to the false dichotomy of A-bombs/invasion.

  27. daddy dave

    I disagree that there has been a substantial political swing at ALD. Dutton would, quite possibly, have linked the Eagleton article

    Today there are two excellent links that seem to disprove the idea that ALD is drifting left.
    An article about Niall Ferguson;
    and an article suggesting that college kids should give up all that liberal arts rubbish and learn entrepreneurship.

    Not exactly left wing! :-) I withdraw my earlier assessment.

  28. .

    You are both wedded to the false dichotomy of A-bombs/invasion.

    How many Japanese would have died from starvation in a blockade?

  29. Jarrah

    So Dot, are you acknowledging that there were plausible alternatives? Because I don’t want this issue to arise some time in the future only to have you quote invasion statistics again as if they were some form of rational argument. I want to settle this now – do you concede that my opposition to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki cannot be automatically rebutted by repeating dubious predictions about hypothetical invasions?

  30. THR

    One of those cranks, Böhm-Bawerk, demolished Marx’s economics. In ‘Capital and Interest’, Bohm-Bawerk showed how Marx’s exploitation theory
    is flawed because it ignores the time dimension of production.

    If this is the ‘demolition’ I’m thinking of, it involves the Austrian fellow basically fictionalising Marx (and empirical reality) until a worker’s wage becomes something conceptually equivalent to a cash advance. It’s one of the more elaborate, bizarre, and ridiculously unsuccessful strategies I’ve seen in an anti-Marxist.

  31. THR

    Yes, all drivel.

    You seem to be a little rusty on your history, DB. How and why was Australia settled (for instance), and did it have anything at all to do with conditions in England at the time? Perhaps you can answer this, unless you have some magical account of history and sociology whereby a state’s control over citizens, and brutality toward colonials is utterly unrelated to its economic development.

  32. Jarrah

    The technical term ‘exploitation’, as used by Marx, is 100% drivel. It assumes no input by the ‘capitalist’.

    Production, when it involves more than one person, is a collaborative exercise. If entered into freely, there is no exploitation, unless one contends that each ‘exploits’ the other to put themselves in a better position than they would occupy if working alone. In which case the term ‘exploitation’ loses all meaning.

  33. THR

    It assumes no input by the ‘capitalist’.

    Have you read Marx, Jarrah? There’s no such assumption in Marxist economic texts. If anything, liberal economists have the contrary assumption (amplified to idiotic extremes by Ms Rand) that profit derives principally through the capitalist’s ingenuity and risk-taking, and the plebs doing the labour are merely incidental to the whole process.

    If entered into freely, there is no exploitation

    A statement like this, a typical liberal mantra, falls at the first hurdle. Plenty of people ‘freely’ enter into exploitative arrangements of all kinds. Chinese sweatshop workers ‘freely’ consent to 14 hours days without toilet breaks, where they are locked into factories (and die if the place catches fire). A Marxist would see surplus value being skimmed from the workers in that scenario. A liberal would see a clever capitalist making good on his ‘inputs’.

  34. Jarrah

    “Have you read Marx, Jarrah?”

    Excerpts only. It’s dreadful writing, regardless of ideology.

    “There’s no such assumption in Marxist economic texts.”

    Yes, there is. The whole idea of ‘surplus value’ depends on it.

  35. Jarrah

    “Chinese sweatshop workers ‘freely’ consent to 14 hours days without toilet breaks, where they are locked into factories (and die if the place catches fire). A Marxist would see surplus value being skimmed from the workers in that scenario. A liberal would see a clever capitalist making good on his ‘inputs’.”

    We’ve had this argument before, and you lost. Do you really want to repeat the process?

  36. THR

    Yes, there is. The whole idea of ‘surplus value’ depends on it.

    Are you denying that surplus value exists? If so, why then do capitalists make commodities? For laughs?

    We’ve had this argument before, and you lost.
    You’re mistaken. Yes, I understand that you think sweatshop labour is wonderful benevolence on the part of the capitalists. I get that. That’s not the point here, however. My point is that the worker’s ‘freedom’ is merely supposed by the capitalist (and his apologists). Why would anybody freely choose to work in the conditions I described above? Yet people do; ergo, the ‘free contract’ argument beloved of liberals is bullshit.

  37. daddy dave

    Why would anybody freely choose to work in the conditions I described above?

    Well, they do. Freely.
    The reason, at risk of stating the obvious, is that it’s the best option they have. Western manufacturers set up their factories in Asian countries and simply open the doors. People come to work of their own accord. They don’t round workers up at gunpoint.

    the ‘free contract’ argument beloved of liberals is bullshit.

    it’s not bullshit. it’s true at face value. Therefore, the onus is on you to explain why third world worker are somehow enslaved.

  38. daddy dave

    Are you denying that surplus value exists?

    are you claiming that employers should only employ people at a break-even rate? That being the case, what’s the point of employing anyone, ever?

  39. Jarrah

    “Are you denying that surplus value exists? If so, why then do capitalists make commodities? For laughs?”

    I’m denying Marx’s definition of surplus value. He appeared to believe that the means of production were costless, and therefore any surplus value derived from producing came off the backs of the workers.

    It also totally ignores that productivity is dependent on capital goods. That is, that the contribution of the capitalist enhances the labour-power of the worker. Like I said, it’s a collaborative enterprise. Each needs the other (ignoring for the sake of simplicity that rigid delineations along these lines is simply false, particularly in today’s world).

    “Why would anybody freely choose to work in the conditions I described above?”

    Because the alternative is worse. Also, such conditions are transient, thanks to the build-up of capital and productivity that this capitalist process delivers. All progressive (in the real sense of the word) societies go through that phase. Attempting to bypass it is impossible.

  40. THR

    Well, they do. Freely.
    The reason, at risk of stating the obvious, is that it’s the best option they have.

    Yes, if the alternative is starvation for them and their families, then it certainly is their best option. It isn’t freedom, however, unless your idea of ‘freedom’ is something so glib, facile and degraded as to be practically meaningless. The freedom for which men fight, or even the freedom of which philosophers theorise is not the ‘freedom’ on libertarian law.

    He appeared to believe that the means of production were costless, and therefore any surplus value derived from producing came off the backs of the workers.

    There are two separate propositions here.
    First, Marx fully acknowledged that capitalists covered production costs. In fact, his theory presupposes this, as the capitalist has to solve the problem of what to do with his surplus value. In any case, Marx supplied lots of equations that clearly acknowledge that capitalists pay a cost.
    The second proposition concerns whether the surplus value comes off the back of workers. Logically, a certain amount of it must. Anything that doesn’t come off the back of workers is nonetheless in dispute between workers and industrialists. The only real debate to be had is how much does come from labour, and how much ought to.

    Remember, Marx was looking at what was unique in industrial capitalism, namely, large-scale, mechanised manufacture. This industry has very largely been globalised to the developing world, precisely because labour costs are so cheap.

    Because the alternative is worse. Also, such conditions are transient, thanks to the build-up of capital and productivity that this capitalist process delivers.

    Even if we accept your cheery teleology tacked on at the end there, none of this has anything whatsoever to do with freedom. To take an extreme example – an 18 year with a background of having been repeatedly sexually assaulted, who is driven by poverty and drug dependency into prostitution can formally ‘consent’ to such a thing, but there is no philosophically valid sense in which this ‘consent’ means anything, and the notional consent in no way alters the fact of exploitation. This is your ‘freedom’.

  41. daddy dave

    Yes, if the alternative is starvation for them and their families, then it certainly is their best option. It isn’t freedom, however, unless your idea of ‘freedom’ is something so glib, facile and degraded as to be practically meaningless.

    I genuinely don’t understand your position.

    If I go to a region in a poor country, build a factory, then sit at the door taking employment applications, how is anybody worse off?

    They are free to come and work there or not. Furthermore, the situtation isn’t a static “exploitation” setup. It’s dynamic, and the evidence is that as more factories get set up, and as more people earn money, wages go up, standards of living go up, the lot.

    Look at South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore. Now China and India. It’s great for these people. They love it when the West exports industrial capacity to them.

  42. daddy dave

    an 18 year with a background of having been repeatedly sexually assaulted, who is driven by poverty and drug dependency into prostitution can formally ‘consent’ to such a thing, but there is no philosophically valid sense in which this ‘consent’ means anything

    Well, I don’t agree because you’re treating the poor like children who can’t make decisions, but more importantly, I don’t agree with that characterisation of prostitution. The driving force behind prostitution isn’t child abuse (altough this is a long-standing leftist myth), it’s economic hardship. In that sense, it’s no different from any other unskilled job.
    (nb please explain how it is different from other unskilled jobs)

  43. THR

    Dave,

    The debate on freedom here began when Jarrah said:

    If entered into freely, there is no exploitation

    The problem for Jarrah is that any ‘free’ choice between one’s labour and one’s life is not worthy of the name ‘freedom’. So when I gave the example of the prostitute, I was not wishing to offer sociological explanation (though, in truth, repetition of trauma is very often the psychological basis for street prostitution, at least). I was hoping that my example would give you a clear sense of how facile the notion of ‘consent’ and ‘freedom’ that you and others here are peddling.

    And that’s the thing – irrespective of whether we regard capitalist (sweatshop) manufacture as ‘exploitative’, it’s only entered into ‘freely’ by workers in a trivial and debauched sense of the term.
    Consequently, the Marxist perspective on these things is still a very long way from having been refuted.

    Finally, it’s a matter of indifference as far as freedom is concerned whether or not industrialisation brings benefits. It clearly does, though they come at a large price, and apologies for the hardships of British/Chinese industrialisation could equally be used for forced industrialisation under Stalin.

  44. .

    So Dot, are you acknowledging that there were plausible alternatives? Because I don’t want this issue to arise some time in the future only to have you quote invasion statistics again as if they were some form of rational argument. I want to settle this now – do you concede that my opposition to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki cannot be automatically rebutted by repeating dubious predictions about hypothetical invasions?

    No, how could you possibly conclude that? How many people would have died in a blockade? How would have Japan unconditionally surrendered? What if they didn’t?

    do you concede that my opposition to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki cannot be automatically rebutted by repeating dubious predictions about hypothetical invasions

    Fuck no, I don’t concede anything. Use your God given brain and rationalise the casualties from an invasion of the four main home islands or give a metric for a blockade and consequent wars if the Bushido cult wasn’t utterly destroyed. I’ll give you a hint: Okinawa compares roughly to greater Sydney with at the time, 1/30 of the population Sydney has now. Japan has 70 million at home and an undefeated Manchurian army group. That’s just for the invasion.

  45. .

    “Japan HAD 70 million at home”

  46. daddy dave

    I was hoping that my example would give you a clear sense of how facile the notion of ‘consent’ and ‘freedom’ that you and others here are peddling.

    Well sorry but it didn’t work. I’m not being deliberately obtuse, I’m being genuinely obtuse.

    People face hardship and poverty the world over. Industrialisation is often the only thing that provides a way out for them and their children. Capitalism provides alternatives (distasteful as they may be to comfortable westerners) that weren’t there before.

    We know the trajectory. Countries that have been “exploited” in the past – South Korea, Taiwan, etc – are now wealthy and the children of those workers have benefited from their parents’ toil. Even now, in China, wages are going up and there is an exploding middle class.

    Compare and contrast to African nations that haven’t been “exploited” by the modern industrial West. instead, they get billions in aid. They have stayed in poverty, and they will continue to stay in poverty, until industrialisation comes to their neighbourhood.

  47. dover_beach

    You seem to be a little rusty on your history, DB. How and why was Australia settled (for instance), and did it have anything at all to do with conditions in England at the time?

    No, I just think that a historical account of anything that occurs at the level of ‘capitalism’, colonialism, etc. is more or less drivel, or to put it more politely, vulgar.

  48. Jarrah

    THR, you are trying to say that anything short of absolute freedom isn’t freedom (or somehow ‘trivial’). Which is ridiculous. It would mean we don’t have freedom of movement because of gravity.

    And as daddy dave has pointed out, adding the option of sweatshop work where previously there was no option can hardly be described as a lessening of freedom!

  49. dover_beach

    Fair’s fair to Eagleton. It’s not his fault people have mistakenly taken him seriously. Surely, anyone that places the leaders of the free world in scare quotes is indicating they have their clown nose on, no?

  50. Peter Patton

    The author of that silly article is Terry Eagleton; a shining example of my exasperation with people who cite as authority and wisdom people such as novelists or English teachers who teach them.

    What on earth does a person who has spent their life as an English lecturer at universities have to say that anyone would listen? And get this. The silly old tool has been a life-long Communist!

    At Oxford during the 1970s, he and a gang of similar-minded passengers and assorted ghastlies set up the Workers’ Socialist League. The prick has never worked a day in his life!

  51. Peter Patton

    OTOH. The actual Labor PM of Australia has just given a speech to the Sydney Institute titled

    The Dignity of Work

    Hilariously, Australia’s greatest threat to the English language, has come out adjectives akimbo.

    Julia Gillard’s Calvinist Nation

    What a bunch of tools they are.

  52. Peter Patton

    THR

    The latter were too busy forming coalitions with Hitler, Mussolini, and Petain

    Indeed!

  53. Peter Patton

    And you have forgotten the links between colonialism and capitalism?

    Of course not. The link is inextricable. Poor, ignorant, and backward peoples – such as Communists – can hardly share their knowledge and advances with the rest of the world can they?

  54. Peter Patton

    How do you describe the deliberate killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, twostix?

    Efficient? Decisive?

  55. Peter Patton

    How and why was Australia settled (for instance), and did it have anything at all to do with conditions in England at the time?

    Yes, England was the most advanced, exceptional, breathtaking society mankind have ever achieved.

  56. Peter Patton

    Are you denying that surplus value exists? If so, why then do capitalists make commodities? For laughs?

    Why don’t you ask one, THR? I have to say, despite having lived a while, travelled, and worked in the rpofit-centre, including being a full-time gun for hire advising on how to make companies more profitable, blah, I am fucked if I could even name one person I have ever encountered, who answers to the call of “a capitalist who makes commodities”.

    How about you try and think for yourself, about the world in 2011, instead of just continually dumping phrases, relevant to 1811, written by a racist bedint mooching biblical nutter, who died 130 years ago?

  57. THR

    No, I just think that a historical account of anything that occurs at the level of ‘capitalism’, colonialism, etc. is more or less drivel, or to put it more politely, vulgar.

    Yet the non-vulgar nuances of things seem to escape you when discussing communism…

    It’s not his fault people have mistakenly taken him seriously. Surely, anyone that places the leaders of the free world in scare quotes is indicating they have their clown nose on, no?

    Dover beach – probably the only fellow in 21st century Australia who feels relaxed and comfortable. With or without a clown nose.

  58. THR

    THR, you are trying to say that anything short of absolute freedom isn’t freedom (or somehow ‘trivial’). Which is ridiculous. It would mean we don’t have freedom of movement because of gravity.

    1. If freedom exists at all, it ought to be conceived along positive rather than merely negative lines.
    2. Acting under compulsion (on pain of death/starvation) is more than a smidgen short of ‘absolute freedom’, don’t you think?

  59. THR

    Oh Patsy. Like a 7-year old who keeps soiling himself, here you are again. You’d really be much more at home at Bolt’s blog.

    The latter were too busy forming coalitions with Hitler, Mussolini, and Petain

    I won’t defend the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, but it should be noted that Stalin arranged this after being rebuffed by the allies, who were more afraid of communism than of Hitler. Also, Stalin aligned himself with Hitler on pragmatic, rather than ideological grounds (unlike the conservatives of Germany, France, Italy, et al).

    Yes, England was the most advanced, exceptional, breathtaking society mankind have ever achieved

    The English system killed tens of millions of Indians, invented the concentration camp, destroyed Ireland for generations, and condemned a vast percentage of the populace to execution or prison (or Australia). It was basically a police state. Little wonder that you like it.

  60. Peter Patton

    THR

    Actuully THR, backward, less together societies lack the sophisticated social order to prevail, when faced by humanity’s creme de la creme. Shit happens dude. The tawdry, shithouse, also-rans are removed from out sight.

  61. Tillman

    You are both wedded to the false dichotomy of A-bombs/invasion.

    What’s the third option?

    And why should the Japanese civilians who started the war not have had its consequences brought home to them?

    For the sake of a lasting peace, it was essential that the Japanese understood (i) that war is horrible and to be avoided at all costs and (ii) that they well and truly got their arses kicked.

    A couple of nukes conveyed those points very effectively.

  62. THR

    Actuully THR, backward, less together societies lack the sophisticated social order to prevail, when faced by humanity’s creme de la creme. Shit happens dude. The tawdry, shithouse, also-rans are removed from out sight.</i

    Is that a comment, or did you have too many shandies tonight?

  63. dover_beach

    Yet the non-vulgar nuances of things seem to escape you when discussing communism…

    If there were “non-vulgar nuances” I would attend to them, but when it comes to Communism there are none for much the same reason there are none for Nazism.

  64. .

    I know Tillman. Jarrah then has the temerity to call quoting casualties from the Ryukyu Islands campaign as “trivial” and a “non argument”.

    Somehow he thinks a blockade with millions of deaths by starvation and malnutrition, and the ensuing inhumanity of cannibalism and lawlessness would have been better…all along with the IJA pushing their fanatical, unrepentant line.

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