David Thompson
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October 18, 2011

Comments

sk60

"The government is being run by corporations and what that is called is neoliberalism."

Aargh. Where to begin…?

DB

The woman giving the speech at 7 mins in the video is holding a conch. That doesn't bode well.

I like the idea of lefties' heads exploding due to build up of pressure caused by trying to be ultra right-on. The end of the universe would be a risk worth taking just to see that.

Cisgendered was a new one on me. I felt offended that I didn't know what it meant, but nobody could tell me as they're not allowed to know better.

David

“Aargh. Where to begin…?”

What’s striking is the common assumption that cronyism and free markets are somehow the same thing, and not, say, at odds. And that the solution to cronyism is to create a world in which much greater cronyism would be inevitable and a default condition. And then there’s the assumption that “the” wealth is invariable and something to be “allocated” by an enormous government apparatus, and that “equitable distribution,” so conceived, should apparently take no account of who did what to generate the wealth being “allocated,” or of how to ensure the wealth-creating process continues.

Likewise, there’s Bearded Hat Guy, who insists, rather indignantly, that the bourgeoisie – say, the owners of a small restaurant across the street - aren’t workers at all, but “dominators.” And by extension, they don’t deserve whatever benefits have resulted from their labours, risk, vision and investment. Bearded Hat Guy isn’t into domination, of course. He simply wants to, in his words, expropriate your property and control how you – and everyone else - may live.

So he’s an angel, obviously.


DB,

Victimhood poker can get very competitive.

DB

Here's some more penetrating analyis from followers of the Occupy movement on the Howard Stern show.

David

Stop harshing his buzz, you fascist.

[ Added: ]

I suppose that’s the sad part of what we’re seeing. It’s a missed opportunity. A focussed protest against cronyism could have found very broad support across the political spectrum. But with the issue now so ideologically befuddled, and the protests so encrusted with pinheads and delusional lefties, it’s hard to take any of it seriously.

ErisGuy

"let me count the ways in which I am privileged..."

No one who is educated talks like this.

Sam

"We're the richest country in the world and we have the most inequality between the rich and the poor."

Er no, we don't.

Where do these people get their 'facts'?

Anna

What's not to take seriously?

Horace Dunn

"let me count the ways in which I am privileged..."

Listen woman. Why not forget about yourself for a moment and have a think about the people in the world who are badly off, and maybe have a think about how you might help them. Take a look at the evidence for what works and what doesn't work. Talk to some experts. Talk to some of the people you say you want to help, too. You will most certainly find that it is those people who have the best ideas about what needs to be done to help them escape poverty or whatever other circumstances they find themselves in. Having done that, use that considerable intellect of yours, and your expensive education, and the leverage of your privileged chums to do something constructive and make people's lives better.

But the main thing is: stop talking about yourself. Otherwise people might think that this whole protest thing is all about you. Which it surely isn't.

JuliaM

"The woman giving the speech at 7 mins in the video is holding a conch. "

Oh, dear. Who is going to be the one to smash it to pieces, then?

DB

A Twitter search for "cisgendered" turned up this recent tweet which I thought just had to be a piss-take. In fact it's for real - Ms Weiser is a "sexuality and gender activist" involved in the Occupy Boston protest.

@MWeiser22 Michelle Weiser
Appeal to white cisgendered men to remain in prison in #solidarity with their traditionally less privilaged brothers& sisters @Occupy_Boston

DB

Messed up the link - here it is: http://twitter.com/#!/MWeiser22/status/123584938904780801

Dom

At the Biased BBC site, when you start the video, an ad pops up. For BMW. How telling.

David

Horace,

“But the main thing is: stop talking about yourself.”

Heh. But identity politics is a license for fantasy and endless narcissism. Surely that’s the appeal? After all, students of identity politics are encouraged to contemplate themselves – or rather, a tribal caricature of themselves.

Being fixated with notional groups as opposed to individuals, identity politics also makes realistic discussion rather difficult.

If, for instance, an opinion has to be weighted based on the pigmentation or genitalia of the speaker and mentally positioned in some hierarchy of Designated Victim Groups, then things can become a wee bit contrived, and most likely dishonest. For instance, see this exchange, in which ‘far-centre loony’ insisted that “white male” critics of academic feminism should be regarded as suspect unless they first demonstrate their feminist credentials - as defined by… well, by people like far-centre loony. In effect, he wanted to be the gatekeeper of permissible debate. Apparently, people who belong to Designated Victim Groups (including, ahem, tenured academics) should receive special favours in debates – a certain immunity from criticism - regardless of any illogic or unreliability. And conversely, people who are “privileged” and belong to Designated Oppressor Groups should basically confess, comply or shut the hell up. Simply highlighting certain assumptions of the “privilege” meme can invite accusations of nefarious intent. And these absurd exchanges happen quite often.

Which suggests they’re a feature, not a bug.

Andrew Duffin

Cisgendered?

Blimey but that's a fine neologism.

Showing off her chemistry knowledge I reckon, or possibly someone else's.

Not sure it's a reasonable derivation, though.

Dom

I just found out what "cisgender" means in wikipedia. Okay, I'm leaving this planet now. You're on your own.

Megan90

fixated with notional groups as opposed to individuals

God, that story you linked was depressing.

JuliaM

According to Wiki:

" In April 1996, Buijs said in a Usenet posting, "As for the origin, I just made it up. I just kept running into the problem of what to call non-trans people in various discussions..."

Again, this obsession with labels for people, and the fear of not using the right one. What the hell is wrong with these people?

David

Megan90,

“God, that story you linked was depressing.”

Who could have guessed that racial condescension might have a downside? But it’s an obvious endpoint of identity politics. People with the right levels of melanin can become things to collect. On a lighter – well, more bonkers - note… it can also throw up some unintended surrealism.

Sam

Who could have guessed that racial condescension might have a downside?

You're not supposed to call it what it is.

Anna

And so greed is bad but covetousness is good and entirely unrelated.

Irony alert!

AC1

> He simply wants to, in his words, expropriate your property and control how you – and everyone else - may live

He sounds like those property NIMBYs.

Ted S., Catskills, NY

From the fine folks at reason, 49% of OWS protesters think the bank bailouts were necessary:

http://reason.com/blog/2011/10/18/poll-49-of-occupy-wall-street#comments

From the potty-mouthed comments, comes the linked story that thieves are preying on the protestors:

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/criminal_occupation_oh3CnKANUqYHrGPCaZaLRK

The first person quoted has a Mac stolen, which she claims is worth $5,500. I'd think that's in the top 1% of all home computers out there.

Ted S., Catskills, NY

Ah, I see Anna's link is to the same story as my second link, only from a different source.

dr cromarty

Difficult to know where reality ends and satire begins. The Mash, as usual nails it:
http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/business/city-protestors-offered-tantalising-range-of-free-gifts-201110174429/

But first-time protestor, Roy Hobbs, insisted: "I'm here because I'm sick and tired of all the greed that stops me from getting what I want.

"That's why I've come up with a plan that will solve everything. It involves dividing all the money in the world equally and then waiting to see what happens next."

RickC

Roy Hobbs. Wasn't that the protagonist in "The Natural"?

Also even though it's satire I have a theory concerning " . . . dividing all the money in the world equally and then waiting to see what happens next." I imagine that within two years 90% of said money/ wealth would be right back in the hands of the people who earned it in the first place. Despite all resistance to the idea, people get "rich" because they work hard and smart and understand how wealth is generated and maintained. Look at what happens to the majority of people who come into easy money via inheritance, lottery, law suits etc.

Rich Rostrom

"Cis" and "trans" are standard opposing prefixes used in many contexts.

Geography, for instance.

The Romans wrote of "Cisalpine" and "Transalpine" Gaul - the Po Valley, south and east of the Alps, as opposed to France, beyond the Alps.

Historians used to refer to the "Cisleithine" and "Transleithine" parts of Austria-Hungary. The Leitha river was the traditional border between Austria and Hungary at the Danube. The lands under the Austrian Crown were "Cisleithania"; the lands under the Crown of St. Stephen were "Transleithania".

TimT

Nah, they use cisgendered a lot on lefty blogs to show how virtuous and considerate they are. It's not a neologism anymore.

Horace Dunn

David

“Which suggests they’re a feature, not a bug.”

Well, I find it difficult not to reach the same conclusion. And as for the discussion you had with Far-center loony, I remember it well. Indeed, I stuck in an oar in at the time.

What we seem to have here is a case of the Disclaimers. You see, if you make a remark such as “I hate communism” you are opening yourself to criticism because, after all, we adherents of capitalism can’t claim that we’ve made the world a joyous place. Therefore, it’s necessary to insert a disclaimer: “While I acknowledge that the capitalist system has many flaws about which we should be concerned, I nonetheless have some problems with communism”. That’s so much better, you see, as it demonstrates a certain political sophistication, not to say humility and decency. And you need to get that disclaimer in quickly in any argument lest someone think that you’re a piratical oppressor of the poor and sick.

Something like this was in play when you were arguing with Far-center loony. Fcl felt that, because you were taking exception to a certain strand of feminist thinking, without making any disclaimers about how some strands of feminist thinking were admirable, your views were, therefore, suspect. His notion was silly, to be sure, and he was duly dispatched. I’ll leave out the fact that he also felt your line of argument inappropriate because of your assumed racial / cultural / economic profile: let’s not even go there.

The disclaimer has become all, it seems to me. But why? If I criticise, for example, the terrorist predations of Hamas, why must it be assumed that I condone all policy decisions of the Israeli government? No *logical* reason, of course, but modern discourse demands that I first wring my hands about Israel before I dare to wag a finger about, say, the treatment of non-Muslims or homosexuals in the Palestinian controlled territories. Unless I present the disclaimer, society might think me a belligerent Zionist, and that might not show me in my best light.

Listening to the words of the protesters in clips posted here and elsewhere on your site, I can’t help but think that this necessary disclaimer – that shows the speaker to be sophisticated, caring and so on – has taken on a peculiar importance. The disclaimer has become the argument. They all seem so keen to tell us how they’re in favour of fairness and justice, so one has to assume that they would despise any political system that destroys lives ruthlessly. Nonetheless, they’re all happy to demand the application of Marxist nostrums that we know, from overwhelming experience, would result in impoverishment and misery on a scale difficult to imagine. That, despite this, they feel the need to promote evil, totalitarian solutions over admittedly flawed capitalist ones, suggests a level of self-absorption and vanity that I can only characterise as pathological.

Wm T Sherman

Capitalism is not flawed. Like a hammer is not flawed - it's hitting your thumb with a hammer that is flawed. Capitalism is simply not the whole story. It is a highly useful and effective tool that has its uses and coexists with other activities.

Watching these sniveling hothouse orchids complain abut the greenhouse panes that keep out the cold, the question that arises for me is - do these people matter? Will they ever be anything but scoungers and dependents? Will they ever be a fighting force? Will any of them corrupt other minds as a teacher? Or will they puff weed and mutter impotently for the rest of their lives?

We have a socialism problem. But are these the people who are going to make it worse, or are they just going to float along with it like leaves in the gutter?

David

Horace,

“What we seem to have here is a case of the Disclaimers.”

Heh, exactly. And by way of illustration, here’s a drama in two parts, starring Laurie Penny.

Chapter One, Flirtation:

In a cafe. Being chatted up by aggressive lesbian waitress. My analysis of gender, privilege and travel has not prepared me for this.

Chapter Two, Anxiety:

Hasten to add: not all lesbian waitresses are aggressive. This one is. She’s making lewd comments about me to her colleagues in Spanish.

Remember, ladies. Should you ever recount a story of how you were once chatted up by an aggressive lesbian waitress, you must always hasten to add. As you say, this disclaimer isn’t for the benefit of the world’s lesbian waitresses, whom we would otherwise naturally assume to be surly and insatiable – every last one of them. The object is to signal the speaker’s bien-pensant status. It’s an ideological tick.

Torquil Macneil

How can I be expected to take seriously anything this blog has to say about fairnesss or justice after you failed to deliver me my weekly entitlement of Friday Ephemera? Pshaw!

David

Torquil,

I’m compiling as I type.

After nearly five years you’d think I’d have minions to do this.

Bart

Speaking of Ms Penny, she is predictably overexcited about the Occupy tomfoolery:

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/laurie-penny-across-the-world-a-new-spirit-took-hold-ndash-power-was-taken-back-by-the-people-2371590.html

A new spirit has taken hold of the world and 'the people' have taken back power, no less.

A few hundred professional protesters temporarily camping out in city squares might look like just as a nuisance, but it is, in fact, nothing less than a recolonisation of public spaces and the forming of alternative communities based on direct democracy. Communities completely unable of existing without generous outside funding and seemingly incapable of even cleaning up the piles and piles of their own filth they're camping in, but alternative communities nonetheless.

Arguably the best line: "The fact that politicians and pundits are asking what all these people want can be considered a victory for the "occupy everywhere" movement." None of the protesters can properly articulate their already vague, confused and possibly non-existent goals to anybody! Victory to the proletariat!

Bart

Hard to believe, but a movement populated largely by junkie slackers with a strong entitlement mentality has a large number of thieves within its ranks:

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/criminal_occupation_oh3CnKANUqYHrGPCaZaLRK

The comrades are stealing from the revolutionary brothers they're in solidarity with on a massive scale. One starving, oppressed member of the huddled masses even had the $5,500 Mac he could afford at 18 stolen from right under his deprived nose.

Laurie and Hardly

The more I see of all this sort of thing, the more I begin to see why the protestors and activists do it.

It's because people put microphones in front of them and allow them appear possibly on TV or on film or most likely on the tinterwebs. For a glorious moment these nonentities can have their opinion heard, and the more strident those opinions are said the longer exposure they get.

Warhol was right; everyone can now have their fifteen minutes. He just never foresaw it would be 15 minutes of venting spleens and expressing hatreds.

AC1

>The comrades are stealing from the revolutionary brothers they're in solidarity with

The term is "Personal Wealth Redistribution", they just cut out the middle man (the state). His Mac has now been shared! He should be pleased at the increase in social-justice.

dr cromarty

Did you see the guy at about 01:00? Tin helmet and a great coat. Would you want him in a trench next to you? I doubt he could fight his way out of a wet paper bag.

Posture, pure and simple. Look at me -a righteous soldier.

Pussy.

mojo

IMHO, anybody using a word like "cisgendered" should be viciously slapped by somebody claiming to be transgendered...

AC1

Laevo (as opposed to Dextro)gendered must have been rejected as it sounded SINISTER.

mojo

No, no - trans (beyond, past) is the opposite of cis (within, near). The gendered (a good 98+ percent of the animal kingdom) are between the two, the demarcation.

DB

Re conch woman.

Guess what? 'Occupy Oakland Devolves into “Lord of the Flies”'.

From The Oakland Tribune: "One Oakland police officer, who asked to remain anonymous for reasons of police protocol, described the scene in tent city as akin to a scene from "Lord of the Flies." And, indeed, the on-the-fly rule-making can often veer into an oppressive, anarchic mood."

Connor J

“social justice,” as conceived by their predecessors, led directly to this. Which helped create the very problem the protestors now complain about.

David,

All true, but what makes you think the protestors are interested in what actually happened?

What caused the crisis, the indebtedness, the unemployment, the stagnation? The culprits are state agencies and enterprises, including our Federal Reserve (our government’s bank), Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), which jointly flooded the country with cheap credit and encouraged and subsidized unsound banking and subprime mortgages, all to encourage wider home ownership, paper prosperity, and cozy relationships with their cronies. We got a housing bubble, mountains of unpayable debt, and a financial crisis. Thanks, Uncle Sam.

The Occupiers have the wrong address. The subprime crisis was designed in Washington, not New York. The FHA discouraged down payments (those old fashioned “savings”), pushing them from their traditional level of 20% down to 3% - and at the start of 2008 to 0%. Everyone, regardless of whether they can afford it, should own a home! Don’t save; speculate in the hope that prices will rise!

Government sponsored enterprises Fannie and Freddie “securitized” home loans under congressional mandates to direct more funds to lower incomes. In 1996, the Department of Housing and Urban Development directed Fannie and Freddie to target 42% of financing to borrowers with incomes below the median in their areas, going to 50% in 2000 and 52% in 2005. Such funding was directed to financing even mobile homes, a move lauded by Rep. Barney Frank as “one of the most important things to happen to make home ownership affordable to people who might otherwise be shut out of the market.” Also, “special affordable” loans were created, with HUD directing Fannie and Freddie to target 12% of financing to borrowers earning less than 60% of the median income, a percentage that rose to 20% in 2000, then 22% in 2005. That percentage was scheduled to go to 28% in 2008.

A speculative bubble was pumped up by deliberate government policies. Gains were private, but losses were government guaranteed. Sound banking principles were discarded and people were encouraged to load up on unsustainable debt. And when the bubble burst, homeowners, who were encouraged by government policy to buy bigger houses than they could afford, found themselves under water. Insolvent banks – some of the biggest of the big guys - were bailed out, and the printing presses were fired up even further.

This has been spelled out hundreds of times. Do you think they want logic and facts?

David

Connor,

“…what makes you think the protestors are interested in what actually happened?”

I’d say many of the protestors have at best an intermittent interest in reality. Likewise, any number of professional politicians.

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