Comments on “Rotating politics ninety degrees clockwise”

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Reno is also affected by BM

Ben K's picture

Great page! I’ve been devouring your writing the last couple days, both here and Vividness, and also your Aro site. Looking forward to reading more.

Reno is also probably more monist/weird due to the influence and proximity of Burning Man, which leaves its imprint throughout the year despite being only an annual event.

"Shifting political conflict

Bad Horse's picture

“Shifting political conflict from economic to “values” issues lowered the stakes, but pumped up the rhetorical viciousness.”

That’s a very good observation. I’m not convinced monism/dualism is what underlies the divide. I don’t think it’s even a split–it’s a 3-way. The last 110 years of Presidential elections can be summarized as: The northeast (plus the west coast) votes for graduates from elite Yankee colleges; the South (plus Texas) votes for military men; the rest of the nation votes randomly because they’re not involved in choosing the candidates.

Trump’s election wasn’t a win for the Republicans; it was a win for the third party, which hasn’t had a candidate since William Jennings Bryant. Or at least, the third party thought Trump was their candidate. Or at least, they thought he wasn’t anybody else’s candidate. Really they’re just sick of being ignored.

Just sick of being ignored

Yes, your last paragraph seems the right analysis to me.

I don’t want what Trump voters want, but I do think they’ve been unfairly and deliberately exploited as well as ignored, and are right to be angry about it.

Meanwhile, the culture war

Bad Horse's picture

Meanwhile, the culture war was cheerfully coopted by consumer capitalism. Income does still contribute to your position on the middle class ladder, even if it does not determine it. Every conceivable category of consumer product comes in monist and dualist versions, at a full range of price points. You can precisely signal which ladder you are on, and how high up, by what you fill your house with.

I saw this ad in the New York Review of Books:

Not for consumers

Vitsoe’s furniture does not shout; it performs its function in relative anonymity alongside furniture from any designer and in homes from any era. We make the effort to produce products like this for intelligent and responsible users–not consumers–who consciously select products that they can really use. Good design must be able to coexist.

So now you can buy expensive designer furniture to prove that you aren’t a “consumer”, but a “user”.

BTW, I object to the words “capitalism” and “consumerism”. They’re hate speech, no better than the N-word, loaded only with contempt, not meaning. “Capitalism” is said to mean “the owners of the means of production decide what to produce”, but this describes nearly every government that’s ever existed, including most communist ones (in which a central committee owns everything and decides what to produce), and it makes medieval landowners the archetypal capitalists, even though Marxist revisionist history contrasts the nasty bourgeois capitalists with the kindly feudal lords of yore. In actual use, “capitalism” means precisely “having a free market, protection of private property, and enforcement of contracts”. All critiques of “capitalism” imply that we should forbid people the freedom to set prices or to sell or rent their property or labor.

“Consumerism” means–and this is obvious from Marxist doctrine and practice–the negation of the concept of Christian poverty. A “consumer”, in Marxist ideology, is anyone who gets what they merely want, instead of getting only what they literally need to survive. The Marxist state is based on the assumption that each person will get what they need to survive, and no more. No music, no art, no unnecessary education, no entertainment, no vacations. To give people what they want requires choice and a free market, not central administration. The real purpose of the central administration in Marxism, I believe, is moral supervision–to ensure no one gets what they want, because wants are individualistic and hence divisive.

Note that historic Marxist regimes, and other dualist ideologies such as ancient Sparta, Platonism, Neo-Platonism, Christianity, & Islam, have often extended anti-“consumerism” to being anti-money, anti-freedom, and anti-pleasure, e.g., Byzantine & Islamic iconoclasm, Islamic prohibitions of non-vocal music, Christian & Maoist denigration of sex, and all the bans on non-propagandist art from Sparta, thru Plato and Christianity, down to contemporary modernist & post-modernist art.

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