Re: Beyond Dialectics/Critique of Fascism

Democracy “will in practice lead to the destruction of a people’s true values”

I think your Hitler quotes show mainly buzzwords and populism. I think he used nationalism because it was the most popular ism at the time.

“preservation and intensification of the race”
“primarily serve the preservation of physical life”

Preservation might be a good word to describe fascism, or maybe bodily self-defense, or physical violence. I was wrong to say that fascism simply is violence. What I should have said is that fascism is “material violence-populism” (populism with the aim of total war. i.e. populism with the aim of getting the biggest possible army within the frame of the nation-state, not because nationalism, racism, anti-Marxism, Christianity or any other specific ism matters, but because the state was in 1939 (and still is) defined mainly through nationalism) and that the state is a metaphor for violence, that the oral or written law is a metaphor for material violence. The words of violence are e.g. property laws, orders, bureaucracy, offices, formal hierarchies. They’re not informally recognised except at gunpoint.

In this context I define property as violence (of the soul) towards matter. The soul is a metaphor for the nervous system, and as such can only influence the material world by proxy, using official words to make claims on the material world. The concept of a soul isn’t inherently violent, but the relationship between the immaterial claim and the material reality is such that immaterial claims are not enough to prevent physical force.

Consider this: A man claims ownership of a carrot. The villagers might respect this and so he has de facto ownership. However, a sneaky rabbit eats the carrot anyway. No matter how strong a claim an immaterial soul makes (in addition to a claim in itself being immaterial) it can only prevent other immaterial forces, e.g. spreading the word that the man owns the carrot through-out the village. Against actual physical force, the rabbit’s teeth, the soul and the law are useless.

So, it is not necessary to apply violence, in fact, no physical force beyond speech is inherently necessary, but at the same time is becomes apparent how immaterial claims may lead to violence. This, in my opinion, demonstrates what the state is, it’s an immaterial word of material violence. Fascism is the (highly exaggerated) embracing and encouraging of physical violence. But it seems that organized violence was not necessary before property, assuming again that state and property appeared at the same time, but this is not because psychology has changed, because there has always been violence in the animal kingdom. Instead it’s the scale that has changed.

One question is if the soul is relevant to the change, although that’s rather a subject for me to investigate. By thoroughly metaphorizing the self we create an abstraction, which can be freely applied to a concrete object and thus freely manipulated to achieve something that would normally be independent of the metaphor. To say that culture is in the blood transcends the concept of the soul. Amazingly, it seems like just like Marx, we’re dealing with the materialization of people, turning them into machines, but instead of being cogwheels in a factory, they’re soulless, impersonal, expendable cogwheels in the state military (given that men exude more, and perhaps more aggressive, physical force, this is almost what you call collectivist quasi-masculinism). Your quoting Hitler again: “physically and psychically homogeneous creatures”. Again, this isn’t inherent to either property or the state, but I think I’ve described how violence may come out as a good option.

Btw, while the sex drive is not in the driver’s seat of the brain, suffering might be, although driving in reverse gear. You made me think of how there is only one known neurochemical, norepinephrine, that makes us experience a negative emotion. It is interesting to contemplate the consequences of this. If we only have one negative emotion and every other emotions counter-balances it in a variety of different ways, then, still, we could be said to only have two basic directions of drive, suffering and not-suffering, with the reservation that there are many neurochemicals with unknown functions. It means on the one hand that Buddha might’ve been correct but I don’t think it justifies the will to life. The positive emotions condition us to recreate, but it does so with blunt tools as each neurochemical is blind to anything but chemistry and has to rely on basic connections like sleep-good, sugar-good, severed nerves-bad. This means a specific event in a specific environment is never perfectly predicted by conditioning (or evolution) and causes animals to make mistakes in complex situations. This also means that the ego is not driving either, which I believe Stirner says. Norepinephrine is coded by several genes, so Dawkins is probably wrong about selfish genes as well.

I think of nationalism as cultural permanence, a homogeneity over time. This idea coincides with the idea of a state, perhaps simply because the state has persisted over time. I would thus agree with you and separate nationalism and fascism, but you wrote something I don’t understand: culture is “the abstractification or externalisation of individuals’ free agency – as another foundational block underpinning the construction of the self-alienating spook of ‘authority.’”

Do you mean that culture is only concerned with authority? I mean, I don’t believe in a free will so if we’re talking about will as in e.g. being prevented from happiness, then I wouldn’t necessarily distinguish between an authority figure and a natural disaster as the cause. So, free will is not just a matter of authority. Also, while authority is immaterial and so cultural, surely not all aspects of culture are caused by our attitudes towards authority? I agree with this though:

“‘we’ is still just as much a hallucination, designed to subvert the sovereignty of the individual”

I agree with it if applied to the nationalist or fascist ‘we,’ but I don’t think that the generalizing notion of a ‘we’ is purposely designed in all contexts, nor do I think it any less false than the notion of a self which holistically generalizes my trillions of cloned cells plus the even more numerous cells that don’t contain my DNA (I consist of more than 10 times as many bacterial cells as my own cells) and the 70% dihydromonoxide and so on. Even the term I use, nervous system, is a generalization as it consists of a myriad of experiences over time, of various intensity and chemical composition and has fuzzy borders between consciousness and other states or non-states of mind.

You write a lot of things, like your conclusion that “fascism is the social evolution of feudalism, of kingship,”
that makes me think we’re probably closer to agreeing than disagreeing, but I don’t agree with this: “Fascism can, effectively but ironically, be reduced down to a lust for social order as tradition and control – all of which are extensions of determinism. With two other aggravating factors being the centuries-long sexual repression by traditionalism that solidified a national character structure of authoritarianism, via heightening the social construction of civilisation as the national superego suppressing Eros – the sex drive.”

There’s no such thing as a superego. 🙂 Also, does Freud reconcile the supposed dominance of our sex drives and the fact that our sex drives don’t really kick in during our most formative years and often “malfunctions” or lessens or goes too far at later points in our lives? Mightn’t you at least expand it to the will to life more generally?

Also, the importance of physical force may be relevant to labour as well. I don’t agree with your last sentence stating, and I paraphrase, that labour is the key to freedom. I don’t believe property, metaphysics or violence are fundamental to culture and so freedom/authority, which is at least an aspect of culture. I believe freedom is a constant negotiation, (where we always have to settle for less,) that is always a feedback-loop between two or things in the universe, or communication between two people, either verbal, facial or hands-on, and so while this more or less physical exchange is a fundamental consequence of time and space, labour in its specifically capitalist sense is not fundamental, because there are so many other types of communication besides commodities and services.

Btw, about the suffering thing, I think are too many unknowns to make any bold statements, but I don’t agree with Schopenhauer that life has to be meaningless and full of suffering even if we were to find a fundamentally negative dimension of reality in norepinephrine. The balance of neurochemicals follows extremely complex feed-back loops, so we can’t really determine if the net result is positive, neutral or negative. If it is negative, then it is better to die than to live, but if it is neutral or positive, then it is not better to die, so it doesn’t matter if live is meaningless, as long as it’s not negative we might equally well just keep living.

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6 Responses to “Re: Beyond Dialectics/Critique of Fascism”

  1. In Conversation: A Response To Enleuk | Beyond Dialectics Says:

    […] @enleuk’s response to my critique of fascism:  https://enleuk.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/re-beyond-dialecticscritique-of-fascism/ […]

  2. enleuk Says:

    Let’s start with the state. I wrote earlier:
    “Military is violence at a sufficient level of organization.
    Hierarchy is the sum of authority in a given population.
    The law is the symbolic representation of hierarchy.
    The state consists of law and military.”

    I think that’s a reasonable definition of the state, with the specification that this definition of military includes police and that it is implied that law necessarily entails a certain amount of bureaucracy. That would mean that bureacracy could amount to any volume of paper work or it could probably be simply the memory of the “law-keeper” (not necessarily the judge) as was the custom prior to writing. All laws concern property and/or subjects. We can have a state in a society without property, and in theory we can have a state without subjects, but we can’t have a state without violence. In such a hypothetical scenario without legal subjects, that violence would be directed towards natural forces, like a tsunami, and aimed at the preservation or destruction of objects that are not the property of subjects. We can probably ignore that scenario though. We still have to define authority and violence though, but not yet.

    People who support the nation-state often see nationalism and statism as inseparable. Given that the state depends on violence, and that nationalism rallies the people to this end, the connection is obvious, however, while I think nationalism is a type of affinity that could unite heterogenous subjects, it is not the only type. E.g. brotherhood, motherhood, love, sexual attraction, friendship, religion, culture, peer pressure etc are other alternatives. Using affinity of some form in militarism is necessary because the definition requires organization, i.e. a unified group consisting of more than one person, but it doesn’t require a specific type of affinity. Thus, nationalism is not fundamental to human societies, not even to statist or capitalist societies, as it could be replaced by other types of unifiers. This is a response to the idea of a national superego, which I don’t necessarily disagree with as a metaphor, I’m just saying it’s not an irreplaceable phenomenon.

    But let’s first try investigating labour. Labour, most generally speaking, is all work or energy. Quoting wikipedia here: “In physics, a force is said to do work if, when acting on a body, there is a displacement of the point of application in the direction of the force. For example, when a ball is held above the ground and then dropped, the work done on the ball as it falls is equal to the weight of the ball (a force) multiplied by the distance to the ground (a displacement).” If needed we can separate labour into work carried out by subjects and impersonal work, like the work of a machine or, as in the example, the work of dead mass (the ball) forced by gravity. We could also separate human labour from that of other animals.

    Manual labour is physical work carried out by subjects. If needed this can be distinguished from metaphysical work, or in a more vulgar context we might call such work mental, psychological or even digital and perhaps include e.g. the work implied in investing capital and collecting yield from those investments. In modern economics, manual labour is equated to blue-collar work as opposed to white-collar work, the difference being the relative amount of physical exertion required, with white-collar jobs involving relatively more paper work, sitting down, holding conferences, distributing orders, oral services (pun intended) and so on. I say it’s relative because I consider talking, typing and paper shuffling to be physical activities just like manual labour. I might add that work is work regardless of the intentions of the worker or the worker’s boss as the case may be.

    (This is a side-note, but, as Einstein said, matter is energy. Material particles are not solid in the mundane sense of the word. What we see as atoms is like a photo, a moment frozen in time, because if we look more closely at the atom we see that its shape is a result of smaller particles moving in a certain pattern, round and round or back and forth. Think of a spoked wheel. If the wheel is spinning fast enough you can’t see the motion of the individual spokes, the empty spaces between the spokes appears to be filled in and the wheel appears as a solid round object to you. In addition, those smaller particles, or spokes in this case, are themselves not solid but also apparently solid because of patterned, or repetitive, motion of even smaller particles. I know I’m getting side-tracked here, but eventually we get down to the smallest 3-dimensional particles, which are not solid particles either, but just apparent structures shaped by the patterned motion of 2-dimensional particles. Since they’re less than 3-dimensional we don’t call them particles but instead filaments, strings or fabric, as eventually we get all the way down to the 2-dimensional fabric of space-time. I guess this is about as reductionist as anything could possibly be, but, at least in my opinion, this was predicted by Kant. I only included this to be comprehensive, not to revitalize that debate.)

    Involuntary work, slavery, and voluntary work, contractual or otherwise, concern only subjects as they are the only ones who can be described as having wills.
    Wikipedia: “Slavery is a legal or economic system in which principles of property law can apply to humans so that people can be treated as property,[1] and can be owned, bought and sold accordingly, and cannot withdraw unilaterally from the arrangement. While a person is a slave, the owner is entitled to the slave’s labour, without any remuneration.”

    This definition does not include the word violence. However, it relies on the existence of property, which we agree is inherently violent, although, as previously announced, I’m going to refine that statement shortly. The definition also states that the labour/work/energy of the slave is the owner’s property. The physical body of the slave is also owned. The mental activity of the slave is also the property of the slave-owner and although it’s perhaps the most difficult type of energy for the owner to harness it is not categorically different from the other types. It is true for all types that the owner has formal ownership over them, but not necessarily de facto ownership, as the slave “freely” might spend some mental energy trying to come up with an escape plan and some muscular energy on executing said plan. I think we might say that property is control of energy and that control of labour is a subtype of property that specifically addresses the will of a subject. Additionally, property, or control, can be either de jure or de facto

    To achieve de facto ownership of at least part of the slave’s energy, the owner has to take action, go to work on the slaves as it were, although not necessarily violent or coercive action, violence being defined here as relatively more bodily than mental and coercion being defined as violence or the threat of violence. What other methods are there then to have de facto ownership over another person’s labour power specifically or over property more generally and how should we label this category if violence and coercion are too narrow?

    Let’s try to think of some other methods to achieve control. I’m gonna use the term “non-violent manipulation” (manus is Latin for hand, with my association of “handling a matter” as well as the Swedish verb ‘handla’ meaning ’to act’) simply because I’m tired of not having a word for it, even though it may be a contradiction in terms.

    A threat against a third party might oblige a person to work, possibly reducible to the well-being or will of the person, who doesn’t want to see the third party hurt or destroyed or if their morality or conscience would simply make them feel bad about the consequences of not performing the work.

    As in the example with the sneaky rabbit, simply transporting the property may shift the de facto ownership. Transportation, like property itself, doesn’t fit the typical definition of violence, and a tsunami can transport an object without the willed effort of a subject, so I’m a bit lost as to how to define ownership at the moment. Does it require force? De facto ownership does not require force unless you include e.g. a persuasive monologue in the concept of force. De jure ownership is just a symbol and so does not require force to exist. Does it require control? De facto ownership is equivalent to control, but de jure ownership doesn’t require control. So, it is only de facto ownership that requires control, achieved through either violent or non-violent manipulation. De jure ownership requires only the mental capacity to formulate the abstract symbolism of a subject owning property. This also means that violent manipulation is not inherent to ownership, either of property or labour power, but it’s a common consequence of it. To clarify, controlling labour power is not inherently violent because control can also be achieved through non-violent manipulation. Of course, we’re down to semantics now meaning we could just as well use this new term as redefine violence.

    But, either way, I think we can conclude that if free will is not a fundamental essence in the universe, then the labour power or energy belonging to that will is also not fundamental. Instead the energy of a subject is just one type of energy among many others. But I willingly admit that we can’t say for certain that free will does not exist.

    We can still talk of authority as the negation of will, desire, happiness or something similar without specifying whether that will is metaphysical or simply a metaphor for neurochemical processes. If the law is the symbolic representation of hierarchies and hierarchy is the sum of authority, then the law is the symbolic negation of will. If the negation of free will is the same as control, then the law is the symbolic control of will.

    Perhaps we can conclude that symbolic control, whether of will or of property (with control of labour being a subset of property), remains forever symbolic. It is only through manipulation that we can achieve de facto control and de facto ownership of property and people. This manipulation tends to be violent, not because it is inherent to these concepts but because it’s the simpler solution, especially in more complex societies. Fascism, to return to the original issue, is thus not a necessary phenomenon, but just the simpler option, appealing to the uneducated, the scared, the aggressive etc.

    I’ve skipped a few exchanges, but to conclude:

    There’s a difference between seeing the state as the primary source of coercion at this particular moment in time and seeing the state as the fundamental source of coercion. I see neither statism or capitalism as the fundamental source of coercion, but instead I think I’ve described the conflict of wills (whether as an essence an Sich or as a metaphor for chemistry) as the source of coercion and property, military, state, wage labour, politics etc as all being extensions of this conflict.

  3. enleuk Says:

    In your case, your morality is determined by your materialism, and separately by your socialisation. The notion of ‘objectivity’ is a social normality, which is why I’m contrasting it with your moralism; still, I tend to refer to objectivity through the existential Look – as found within your advocacy of materialism, which relies on two or more people coming to shared conclusions about the world. Here’s a new question then, why should anyone care about your sense of morality, and thus what is or isn’t exploitation, if you accept that everyone’s moral compass is purely subjective and yet determined by conformity and biology?
    James J. Walters
    Do you think that private property involves one owning the full fruits of one’s own labour?
    Oct 22
    James J. Walters
    I’ve been thinking about it, and I think that my main issue with ‘morality’ – regardless of whether it’s objective or subjective – is that it is socially constructed, and thus it has just as much legitimacy as the state, hierarchy, etc.. Plus, there’s Lenin’s point that the existence of culture disrupts class consciousness: or that, class consciousness is disrupted by the adoption of other consciousnesses.
    Oct 22

    Anything that is socially constructed is collectively constructed and therefore by definition never purely subjective. A moral compass that is socially constructed is thus not purely subjective. In my materialism, the compass exists only in my biology and is therefore purely subjective. It is relevant to others because the same is equally true for them.

    Just like with the genetically engineered people of the future, it will be possible with better technology to create a moral code that follows determinism, meaning we can quantify emotional qualities and weigh them objectively. Or, it would have been possible were it not for practical limitations we can never transgress, like the speed of light. So, on the one hand I agree with Kant’s moral imperative which states that an action is only moral if it can be raised to a universal law of conduct where that action is always moral and on the other I must accept that this objective morality is practically impossible. My idea of subjective morality is thus a pragmatic approach, just like my approach to knowledge; we can only collectively adhere to approximations, we can never reach the ideal morality or the complete truth.

    No, I don’t think private property involves the full fruits of one’s labour. I already explained this in the Proper Anarchist Manifesto, which I believe you’ve read.

    Culture, in my opinion, is the plurality of minds as opposed to the physical aspect of reality. Admittedly, I don’t accept the division into physics and metaphysics so the separation of culture from the rest of the universe is just a matter of convenience.
    Oct 26
    enleuk
    These metaphysical questions are perhaps better left alone though. For the sake of pragmatism if nothing else. I wish to return to the state, fascism, labour, property and violence. I felt like we had an agreement that a) the state is property law + law enforcement and b) that the economy is a collaborative game and is not based on a fundamental aspect of the real economy. However, your return to labour as a justification for property challenges that agreement. Either I misunderstood before or I misunderstand now. I’ll make a few statements and you can either agree or disagree with them.
    Oct 26
    enleuk
    A law consists of words that have meaning.
    The state is property law + enforcement.
    Property laws can be arbitrarily made up by anyone with sufficient power.
    Economy is the description of the rules of the game that is a consequence of these made-up concepts.
    Violent enforcement is e.g. police and military.
    Non-violent enforcement is bureaucracy (this is a new one).
    Oct 26
    enleuk
    Fascism is an ideology that focuses on hierarchy, physical power, violence, individualism, insubstantial populism, especially rhetoric that unites an army, e.g. pro-nationalism, pro-Christianity, pro-state, pro-monarchy and anti-Other of any number of varieties.
    Oct 26
    enleuk
    Regarding your return to labour, I think I should correct myself slightly by saying that it is homesteading I adress in the proper anarchist manifesto, rather than private property. Do you believe homesteading can justify property?
    Oct 26

    James J. Walters
    What are your thoughts on Neo-Druidism?
    Oct 29

    enleuk
    I think it is more like New Age than what the actual people of the Iron Age believed. It seems to include Mother Earth, tree worship, ancestor worship and other elements that have existed or still exist in some cultures. However, we don’t know enough about the so called Druids to know that.

    We do know that hunter-gatherers revered animals, in particular dangerous animals. We also know that Iron Age agricultural societies sacrificed bread and wine to the Gods. The Celts, for lack of a better word, might’ve adhered to either of these traditions or a unique combination of the two.

    The tree symbolism is interesting though. In Iron Age agricultural societies the tree is connected both to the garden/farming and to the forest/hunting/untamed nature/animals. However, I can’t find the source for this. In e.g. Norse mythology the universe is a giant tree called Yggdrasil, and the first man and woman were trees that a god found on the shore and made into humans. Both of these stories can be found in very distant cultures, but I havn’t been able to pinpoint the source.

    There’s a Swedish idiom “rak som en fura” meaning “straight as a fir (tree),” which alludes to trees as tall, straight and strong. This symbolized a distinction between humans and animals. Animals walk on all fours, eyes on the ground, while humans walk on two legs, heads held high, overseeing the earth, capable of higher thoughts.
    Oct 30
    enleuk
    I was hoping you would comment on my last statements. Maybe you missed them? I’ll add one more statement as well.

    A law consists of words that have meaning.
    The state is property law + enforcement.
    Property laws can be arbitrarily made up by anyone with sufficient power.
    Property is both people’s own bodies and other material objects.
    Economy is the description of the rules of the game that is a consequence of these made-up concepts.
    Violent enforcement is e.g. police and military.
    Non-violent enforcement is bureaucracy.
    Oct 30

  4. enleuk Says:

    Would you agree that statism and propertyism(?) are among the most impactful of the abstract symbols we have in our culture?
    Nov 9
    James J. Walters
    The greatest social construction, with the largest impact on the world, has been civilisation itself
    Nov 9
    James J. Walters
    Propertyism comes a close second, as I argue that it spawned civilisation but became secondary to collectivity.
    Nov 9
    Spooks like statism (including liberalism) and patriarchy (and feminisation) are constructed to mitigate such propertyism and maintain collectivism.
    James J. Walters
    Hence social duality 🙂
    Nov 9
    Could you define civilization and collectivism? I like the term social duality btw, although I assume it’s basically the
    enleuk
    same as identity politics, the Orwellian Other or divide-and-conquer as Ceasar or someone called it.
    Nov 9
    James J. Walters
    Social duality is the link between ideologies and the structures that they oppose: an example I like to use the underlying duality between feminism and patriarchy. They sustain each other through members, who socially construct both, self-imposing and thus perpetuating the struggle.
    Nov 9
    James J. Walters
    I can only define civilisation in three ways: 1) it is no different from the social order, it’s just another construct, 2) I think that it developed out of the invention of private property – as evolved from personal property – prior to tribalism, at the creation of agriculture. And 3) it led to collectivism by embodying the notion of collectivity.
    Nov 9
    James J. Walters
    Collectivism is the ideology of collectivity, the notion of the “in-group” which led to the creation of the Other. Collectivism tends to express and sustain itself nowadays through the “big state”, the national myth, and post-fascism within post-modernity.
    Nov 9
    enleuk
    Civilization is the social order, ok, but I don’t know how you define social order either. Do you mean social stratification?

    I agree that it is a historical fact that propertyism led to social stratification, although there is no necessary link between the two. I don’t think the state/proto-state/police/army was invented to lessen the impact on and protect the collective, it was only invented to prevent theft of property. It seems more reasonable to think that collectivist propaganda is just a useful tool for maintaining the state and not the other way around.

    Then again, if you define the state by its de jure bureaucratic organization of the police/military rather than by its de facto police/military function, I can see how you would describe that as mitigating its function.
    Nov 10
    enleuk
    Well, prevent theft and enable theft, the latter being lauded as justified conquest. Maybe I should’ve said to have control over property and include the further incorporating of more things under the label property generally and ‘my’ property specifically, where ‘I’ am the king.
    Nov 10
    James J. Walters
    You’ve misunderstood me: civilisation is not the social order, it is the same as the social order – the ‘social order’ is my term for the aggregate of social constructions within an area or population. In this, all constructions, like the state-form and private property, are the same as the social order, because the order comprises them.
    Nov 10
    James J. Walters
    Again, you’ve misunderstood me: I don’t attack all propertyism, just the emergence of private property – spawned by agriculture and leading to the state and patriarchy according to Engels.

    And I stated civilisation as a facet of the social order was the embodiment of collectivity, and that ‘collectivism’ – its ideological extension – has acted to protect said order. This equates to collectivism being used to protect private property.
    Nov 10
    enleuk
    For the record, I still believe private property was invented in a non-agricultural herding society.

    Ok, I think I might agree with you on collectivism. I think collectivism, defined as the propaganda for a specific group, (like someone saying “We are all Swedes”), does aim to protect the social order. Maybe you’ve managed to distill this distinction; that the propaganda of the state defines the state because its core is made up of the wording of the law, while the desired function of the state, which currently is to control state property and private property, is the independent cause of the state. That means property is not an inherent component of the state, but the word/propaganda is.

    The type of state that appeared about 5,000-10,000 years ago was in fact motivated by the construction of private property, but in theory there are other types of states. However, a state is not just the word, or law, because then every sentence would be a state. What about oral law or customs; should they be considered a state? Maybe. Maybe violent enforcement is required for the definition of state. Maybe there is no definition and instead the level of stateness in a society is defined by the level of organization of violence, or the level of organization of control of various kinds. That would also relate to the level of formalization of the word/custom, which could be measured e.g. by how well people can repeat it or how slow the bueaucratic process is.

    “civilisation is not the social order, it is the same as the social order.” Do you mean similar? Did agriculture cause the social order to come into existence? What about all the social constructs that had existed during the hundreds of thousands of years before agriculture?
    Nov 10
    enleuk
    This could also be relevant to the issue of a common, formal language within a state, which of course is something nationalists use for Othering minorities and which might have played a role in the success of the nation-state.
    Nov 10
    3 unread messages
    James J. Walters
    I explained what that phrase meant: “You’ve misunderstood me: civilisation is not the social order, it is the same as the social order – the ‘social order’ is my term for the aggregate of social constructions within an area or population. In this, all constructions, like the state-form and private property, are the same as the social order, because the order comprises them.” I never argued that social constructions and thus the social order were caused by private property, because private property is a social construction.
    Nov 10
    James J. Walters
    IMO the economic conditions of agriculture spawned private property and thus the social construct know as civilisation.
    Nov 10
    James J. Walters
    I’m largely neutral to the rest of what you’ve said, as I just have a different perspective on history

  5. enleuk Says:

    Ok.
    Informal, oral customs, (could be labelled proto-law) was invented at least 40,000 years ago and probably closer to a million years ago with the development of complex language. This includes marriage at least 40,000 years ago. Semi-sedentary agriculture was invented 20,000 years ago. Permanent hunter-gatherer settlements appeared 13,000 years ago. Permanent agricultural settlements appeared about 11,000 years ago. These cities had only a single common grain storage and no palaces or other indicators of social stratification.

    A herding group invented private property, the social stratification it spawned and the organized violence (could be labelled proto-state) that controlled/managed this property about 7,000 years ago. Within the next 2,000 years some herders invaded the agricultural cities to the south and imposed their culture on them.

    The result is a city with an economy based on agriculture, but now with the addition of social stratification, organized violence, private property and property laws. What’s new compared to the herding society is that the city and the plowed fields occupy a specific physical territory which becomes part of the system of property and consequently part of the state, which now appears in its modern form with the addition of the physical territory.

  6. enleuk Says:

    …the propaganda of the state defines the state because its core is made up of the wording of the law, while the desired function of the state, which currently is to control state property and private property, is the independent cause of the state. That means property is not an inherent component of the state, but the word/propaganda is.

    The type of state that appeared about 5,000-10,000 years ago was in fact motivated by the construction of private property, but in theory there are other types of states. However, a state is not just the word, or law, because then every sentence would be a state. What about oral law or customs; should they be considered a state? Maybe. Maybe violent enforcement is required for the definition of state. Maybe there is no definition and instead the level of stateness in a society is defined by the level of organization of violence, or the level of organization of control of various kinds. That would also relate to the level of formalization of the word/custom, which could be measured e.g. by how well people can repeat it or how slow the bueaucratic process is.

    Stalin writes: “Marx said that the economic conditions of men determine their consciousness, their ideology” and that “in Marx’s opinion human “will and striving” acquire their content from economic conditions.”

    Marx writes: “Labor is not the source of all wealth. Nature is just as much the source of use values (and it is surely of such that material wealth consists!) as labor, which itself is only the manifestation of a force of nature, human labor power. the above phrase is to be found in all children’s primers and is correct insofar as it is implied that labor is performed with the appurtenant subjects and instruments. But a socialist program cannot allow such bourgeois phrases to pass over in silence the conditions that lone give them meaning. And insofar as man from the beginning behaves toward nature, the primary source of all instruments and subjects of labor, as an owner, treats her as belonging to him, his labor becomes the source of use values, therefore also of wealth. The bourgeois have very good grounds for falsely ascribing supernatural creative power to labor; since precisely from the fact that labor depends on nature it follows that the man who possesses no other property than his labor power must, in all conditions of society and culture, be the slave of other men who have made themselves the owners of the material conditions of labor. He can only work with their permission, hence live only with their permission.”

    Stalin writes: “Then came the time, under the patriarchate, when the predominant position in production passed to men. Why did this change take place? Because under the kind of production prevailing at that time, stock-raising, in which the principal instruments of production were the spear, the lasso and the bow and arrow, the principal role was played by men. . . . There came the time of large-scale capitalist production, in which the proletarians begin to play the principal role in production, when all the principal functions in production pass to them.”

    So, here’s my question. If labour/production is the principal and not the only source of use-values, nature being the ultimate source, why is the antithesis to the current problems in society limited to labour/production and does not address all aspects of nature/society?
    16h 16 hours ago
    Because, in the eyes of Marxism, changing the mode of production changes everything else; Marx saw our “species-essence” being suppressed by the crude commodity fetishism of capitalism, and thus such a mode altering our human nature – something that’s stopped through socialism. Various forms of false consciousness, like nationalism and conservatism, are economically determined in this sense, and serve to suppress class consciousness and interests – and thus this is also counteracted by socialism. A little bit of context for Marx’s labour theory of value here is that it was based on the ones originally developed by Smith and Ricardo, which stated that nature becomes property through being worked-upon by labour-power: hence why there’s a distinction between the fall of the matriarchy within hunter-gatherer societies, and the predominance of patriarchy and industry now. Arguably, socialism is much broader than just dealing with labour.
    James J. Walters
    The underlying principle is that: society as a whole is economically determined.
    15h 15 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    Hence the case for historical/dialectical materialism.
    15h 15 hours ago
    enleuk
    I understand that the point of departure for Marx was the description of labour as the source of property, but he also specifically wrote that labour was not the source of use-value, so why would despite this hang on to the labour theory of value?
    15h 15 hours ago
    enleuk
    And he writes “The bourgeois have very good grounds for falsely ascribing supernatural creative power to labor” and yet his species-essence seems to be exactly that.
    15h 15 hours ago
    For the first comment: I can’t answer that question confidently 🙂 Jehu or Arbitrary Design probably could though
    James J. Walters
    Second comment: that’s something that I’ve criticised Marx for on my blog.
    15h 15 hours ago
    enleuk
    So, in your opinion, is society economically determined and if so, is society defined by a species-essence?
    15h 15 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    I see determinism as a myth that we embrace due to the comfort surrounding denying our own free will and the Absurd or unpredictability of life and reality. In this manner, we impose upon ourselves extrinsic determinism. I also deny intrinsic determinisms, such as species-essences and human natures, because of the same reason; they are merely self-deceptions that enable us to act irresponsibly and lead us to complacently accept other social constructs – that we wrongfully see as “social facts”.
    15h 15 hours ago
    enleuk
    Ok. Do you have a definition of society and/or economy?
    14h 14 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    I see what people describe as ‘society’ – the culmination of institutions and social conventions centred around a folk, typically embodied within a national myth – to actually be a facet of the overarching social order, which contains extended institutions, long-term social conventions, and the social contract. In terms of the ‘economy’, I don’t have a specific definition but I could define it as the systematic aggregation of trade.
    3h 3 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    I’m guessing that you have a differing view?
    3h 3 hours ago
    enleuk
    I don’t know, I think that would depend on how you define social order and trade. However, I would’ve thought that you’d define society as the overarching social order and not as a specific group of people.
    3h 3 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    Technically, the folk and the social order define and guide each other
    3h 3 hours ago
    enleuk
    Ok. What about trade?
    3h 3 hours ago
    enleuk
    Is folk variable, i.e. can e.g. family or class constitute folk?
    3h 3 hours ago
    I see ‘folk’ as encompassing the whole of a ‘people’, including internal social organisations like the family unit and class. I do see the family unit as being the heart of the social order.
    James J. Walters
    I define ‘trade’ as a any transaction.
    2h 2 hours ago
    And how do you define transaction?
    enleuk
    Is the social order/society/people separate from the material world?
    2h 2 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    An instance of buying or selling something.
    2h 2 hours ago
    enleuk
    So economy is the transactions of private property then?
    2h 2 hours ago
    That depends on how you interpret it: social constructs, labels, are generated by us as humans, and I know that you see us being neurologically determined.
    James J. Walters
    Of any kind of property.
    2h 2 hours ago
    enleuk
    How do you define property?
    2h 2 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    Accepted ownership
    2h 2 hours ago
    enleuk
    But can all kinds of accepted ownership be bought and sold?
    2h 2 hours ago
    enleuk
    And do you agree with the statement that “nature becomes property through being worked-upon by labour-power”?
    2h 2 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    Not in the conventional manner, but let me use an example: mutualised property is traded or transacted when its owner no longer uses that property, and thus that property is transferred or ‘sold’ to whoever can utilise that possession.
    2h 2 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    I agree that land becomes mutualised property (not private) when, additionally, it is in constant use.
    2h 2 hours ago
    enleuk
    I’m leaning towards such a definition of property as well, where personal property is any matter or energy which only has a direct use-value and no value as a tradable item, i.e. not believed by a subject to have trade-value or use-value to another subject, and where private property is anything with some degree of added trade-value. This trade-value is determined by what we expect of others’ intentions are therefore relative to the total potential trade network of individuals, which mirrors Marx’s emphasis on the value as relative to the whole group. The difference is that Marx’s had value as relative to the group’s labour power, which is based on the fact that this is how many people have historically viewed value, but it is in my opinion better to think of value as the result of a more or less accurate estimation of how other people value things.
    2h 2 hours ago
    Social constructs in general, and this “trade network of individuals,” I don’t view as holistic entities. Instead, the network constantly has branches being cut off and no clear border because the border of ‘society’ or ‘economy’ is also determined by what we expect of how others define the borders. This means animals can be part of both our society and our economy and participate in the creation of social constructs. E.g. body language is as much a real, symbolic language as spoken or written English, meaning we can form social constructs through body language and we can include animals in society since we can communicate, although to a limited extent, with animals and create social constructs together through body language.
    enleuk
    I also believe that the state belongs to the category of “social constructs that are being violently enforced”. Specifically, the state is a violently enforced social construct that is contingent on the concept of two-dimensional private property, meaning the state in its current form could not exist without private property.
    2h 2 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    I would largely agree with that analysis, I just care about the organisation of socialism and communism.
    2h 2 hours ago
    enleuk
    Yeah, you said earlier that “Arguably, socialism is much broader than just dealing with labour.” Could you expand on that?
    2h 2 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    I do disagree with stating that animals generate social constructs, and that the state-form is reliant on private property.
    2h 2 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    Socialism has become an ideological identity politics, has adopted workerism, and as such has naturally adopted constructs that don’t have a direct relation to economics: like anti-patriarchy, environmentalism, and this is why it has been subject to the “red bureaucracy” as the internalisation of the capitalist RSA.
    2h 2 hours ago
    enleuk
    But doesn’t the dialectic narrative of socialism, between workers and owners, necessitate identity politics?
    2h 2 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    Over time, yes. But it can be mitigated and delayed by not becoming an ideology
    2h 2 hours ago
    enleuk
    Why would animals not be part of the inter-subjective generation of social constructs? Is body language not a symbolic language? Are humans not animals?
    2h 2 hours ago
    enleuk
    Do you believe that taking control over labour is the antithesis to all oppression?
    2h 2 hours ago
    enleuk
    Do you disagree that the modern state relies on turning the surface of the planet into two-dimensional private property, owned by the state as a legal person?
    2h 2 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    I would argue that animals don’t have social constructs, that they base their “body language” on instinct and nature. Social construction isn’t derived from just simple communication; it’s derived from social interaction, such as when two individuals use communication to construct a game.
    2h 2 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    I regularly argue for the de-monopolisation of labour
    2h 2 hours ago
    enleuk
    But you don’t think de-monopolizing labour is enough in itself?
    2h 2 hours ago
    I argue that the state-form is not different from any other social construct, utilised to mediate relationships between individuals, only here with the same purpose as human rights: to mitigate the coercive relationships generated by private property. However, the state-form has survived throughout history by co-opting revolutions, and this is something that is being accentuated by the emerging class consciousness of the national bureaucracy – and hence the transference of political power away from the bourgeoisie.
    Obviously not, but I see it as two of the three steps on the road to socialism.
    James J. Walters
    Keeping in-mind that the goal is not socialism, but full communism.
    2h 2 hours ago
    There is a gorilla named Koko who knows over a thousand words. She has a grammar of subject-verb-order and she knows how to make puns. There are also bonobos who can tell someone who wasn’t present about something that happened to them.
    enleuk
    What, apart from de-monopolization of labour, is required to achieve full communism?
    2h 2 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    I’m just sceptical.
    2h 2 hours ago
    enleuk
    I agree that the state is not categorically different from other social constructs, I was trying to say just that, but that the specific state we have today is a social construct that is, in practice, largely dependent on organized enforcement of anything located on the two-dimensional piece of private property it owns.
    2h 2 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    The de-monopolisation of labour is not a method for achieving full communism, but only for achieving socialism. But, I also argue for de-financialisation, a very small state, open borders, here’s my series on economic changes needed to achieve socialism: https://beyonddialectical.wordpress.com/2015/11/06/end-of-2015-thoughts-part-two-anti-humanism-and-a-look-into-my-economic-views/ … / https://beyonddialectical.wordpress.com/2015/11/12/more-on-my-economic-views-part-two-the-tripartism-of-monopoly-power-labour-and-credit/ … / https://beyonddialectical.wordpress.com/2015/11/16/economic-views-part-three-the-de-bureaucratisation-of-the-political-economy/
    2h 2 hours ago
    enleuk
    I agree with you on the importance of education and on decentralization, but it seems your idea of local councils is different from Marx’s idea of a centralized state dictatorship of the proletariat.
    1h 1 hour ago
    James J. Walters
    I disagree: https://beyonddialectical.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/another-analysis-of-modern-marxism-karl-marx-and-centralised-socialism/
    1h 1 hour ago
    enleuk
    Ok, seems like you got Marx on your side there. I also agree with all your goals, like being yourself and not defined by social constructs, but you still return to labour and the corresponding private property, as if that was the only social construct that needs to go away to free a person.
    1h 1 hour ago
    In an economic sense, yes. But I should specify that I see any other form of false consciousness – ranging from the national myth to religion – disrupts the class consciousness.
    James J. Walters
    disrupting*
    52m 52 minutes ago
    enleuk
    But isn’t class consciousness specifically an identity based on labour/private property?
    51m 50 minutes ago
    enleuk
    Don’t you also expand capital to culture (like intellectual property) and thus not limited labour/private property?
    48m 47 minutes ago
    James J. Walters
    Class consciousness is the pre-communist self-realisation of one’s own wage-slavery. Unlike identity politics, which are embedded by ideology, this consciousness is imploded by the attainment of full communism
    48m 47 minutes ago
    enleuk
    You also write “labour as a commodity is no more variable nor key to surplus value than any other factor of production when social intersubjectivity is considered” again indicated that you are not talking about labour but about something bigger, but without stating what that bigger category is.
    44m 43 minutes ago
    James J. Walters
    I’m not sure that I understand your criticism, do you mean that I haven’t specified what social intersubjectivity is?
    43m 42 minutes ago
    enleuk
    That’s a possibility. How do you define social intersubjectivity?
    37m 36 minutes ago
    enleuk
    “I envisage full communism being beyond the limitations of marxism, with a unification of many disparate views and beliefs – a notable example being my acceptance of mutualised property.” Again you hint at something unknown beyond labour/private property.
    35m 34 minutes ago
    James J. Walters
    I use Pilkington’s example: “We desire to gain (a) medal or to capture (an) enemy flag (in battle) because it will win recognition in the eyes of our peers. (A) medal (or an enemy) flag are not valued for their objective properties, nor are they valued for the amount of labour embodied in them”.
    34m 34 minutes ago
    enleuk
    Is that an example of social intersubjectivity?
    31m 31 minutes ago
    James J. Walters
    Yes
    31m 30 minutes ago
    enleuk
    And is this value something we should get rid of?
    30m 29 minutes ago
    James J. Walters
    I would argue that it can’t be eradicated, and that it has an invariable effect on evaluations despite the material essentialism pushed by ideologies like Marxism.
    28m 28 minutes ago
    enleuk
    Ok, so which values do you want to get rid off?
    27m 27 minutes ago
    enleuk
    I again wonder what you mean by social and cultural capital, not just capital as surplus abstract labour power. You write: “the social construction of ‘capital’, and thus the self-imposition of capitalism, is based around recognising the false binary between the objective and the subjective (or, as Zizek states, the gap between reality and our perception of reality, which should be minimised) – that is, the existence of private property that mandates coercive relationships, and mediating forces like capital and the state-form/government to mitigate such, due to how it divides individuals along gentrified lines. In this manner, liberalism – as the ideological identity politics of private property – is the ultimate expression of the predominance of capital, and is the bane of the existential proletariat by being the perpetuator of industrial and modern capitalism.”
    and that
    “capital is a spook, a hallucination, constructed and thus guided by the constructors (us) – and so has no innate, general laws or behaviours.”
    26m 25 minutes ago
    James J. Walters
    I don’t want to get rid of ‘values’, because I think that they’re false justifications for social norms, which are, in themselves, not universal – hence why I dispute the existence of ‘culture’. Cultural capital is the sociological term for customs, that are traded with other ‘cultures’. Social capital is the same thing, but is derived from centres of social responsibility, like the state-form.
    23m 22 minutes ago
    enleuk
    You don’t want to get rid of false values?
    22m 21 minutes ago
    James J. Walters
    I want to get rid of false consciousness, or the self-imposition of collectivity – the acceptance of conformity, of determinisms.
    21m 20 minutes ago
    enleuk
    And is Pilkington’s example an example of one such conformist value?
    19m 18 minutes ago
    enleuk
    An example of a gap between reality and our perception of reality?
    16m 15 minutes ago
    I don’t see social constructs as being destroyable, only reconstructed. I don’t care what ‘values’ or social norms that you have, as long as they don’t force you to conform, to suppress your own will-power and free will 🙂

    Social intersubjectivity is an social interaction, and is thus inescapable.
    James J. Walters
    The labour theory of value is not an example of reality in my mind
    15m 14 minutes ago
    So, which social norms force conformity and which don’t?
    enleuk
    What’s the difference between a personal value and an abstract social value?
    14m 13 minutes ago
    James J. Walters
    Various forms of false consciousness, of self-imposed determinisms.
    12m 12 minutes ago
    In reality, there are no universal values, but the issue lies in people believing that there are – and thus self-imposing them on themselves, self-regulating themselves.
    James J. Walters
    Hence why I said that there are no “social facts”
    10m 9 minutes ago
    enleuk
    Ok. So you describe yourself as a socialist, and in favour of the antithesis of the proletarian identity, but you don’t agree with the labour theory of value and you want to go beyond this dialectic and include (all?) other oppressive social constructs, like patriarchy and state education. How do you reconcile that?

    I agree that all social values are simplifications, but I don’t see you addressing all social values, instead you address one type of oppression at a time, without presenting a platform from which these oppressive social constructs can be addressed as one; instead you say that all social constructs are false but only some of them need to be reconstructed, without providing a distinguishing feature of oppressive as opposed to non-oppressive social norms.

    I describe myself as a communist, and one that opposes scientific socialism; my interpretation of communism is not based on any other interpretation nor the mainstream understanding, as shown by the fact that I support Marx’s goals but not his methods. My political philosophy is a mixture of communism, post-left anarchy, and existentialism.
    Flag this message Delete this message
    20h 20 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    I wasn’t aware that I had to provide an essentialist basis for my opposition to essentialist determinisms like patriarchy 🙂
    20h 20 hours ago
    enleuk
    What is an essentialist determinism?
    20h 20 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    All determinisms are essentialist
    20h 20 hours ago
    enleuk
    Ok, what is a determinism then?
    20h 20 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    A belief or theory that we, either as a collective or as individuals, can be reduced down to specific components that follow fundamental laws or rules.
    20h 20 hours ago
    enleuk
    And all social constructs are deterministic?
    20h 20 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    Social constructs aren’t deterministic in themselves, but become so when we falsely attribute them universality. Our belief in the national myth is what makes us patriotic.
    20h 20 hours ago
    enleuk
    I’m not sure I agree with Marx’s goals. I’ve yet to read a text in which he describes capital as social intersubjectivity and not limited to transactions of goods.
    20h 20 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    He doesn’t
    20h 20 hours ago
    enleuk
    But you do?
    20h 20 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    Yes
    20h 20 hours ago
    enleuk
    So you’re not a Marxist?
    20h 20 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    I haven’t been a Marxist for four years
    20h 20 hours ago
    enleuk
    And not a communist?
    20h 20 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    Marxism and Communism are not the same
    20h 20 hours ago
    enleuk
    Does communism define capital as social intersubjectivity?
    20h 20 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    Marxism, or scientific socialism, is merely the modernist interpretation of communism. Utopian socialism and mutualism came before it, and anarcho-communism is the most recent, popular interpretation of communism. Communism is but an umbrella term for any ideology or philosophy that attempts to achieve itself.
    20h 20 hours ago
    enleuk
    Is that the mainstream definition? 🙂
    20h 20 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    My interpretation wants to achieve communism, and is thus communist.
    20h 20 hours ago
    enleuk
    Don’t all philosophies want to realize themselves?
    20h 20 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    Yes, Marx himself called Marxism “scientific socialism” to differentiate it from Utopian socialism and Proudhon
    20h 20 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    Hell, the original word for communism in 19th century Europe was libertarianism, because of its original association with anarchism.
    20h 20 hours ago
    enleuk
    I meant, is that the mainstream definition of communism i.e. an “umbrella term for any ideology or philosophy that attempts to achieve itself”?
    20h 20 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    That depends on who you ask: historians have argued my point, but Marxists tend to argue that it’s the “true” interpretation.
    20h 20 hours ago
    enleuk
    Ok, but don’t all philosophies want to realize themselves?
    20h 20 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    I thought that was superfluous?
    20h 20 hours ago
    enleuk
    What do you mean?
    20h 20 hours ago
    enleuk
    Why do you want to get rid of private property, the state, patriarchy, family et cetera, while you don’t want to get rid of some social constructs, like a medallion?
    20h 20 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    I thought that it was superfluous that all philosophies wish to enact themselves upon the world
    19h 19 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    I don’t want to eradicate them, I just want to reconstruct them. I tend to focus on the big constructs because they’re the ones that A) most people recognise 🙂 and B) that affect us the most.
    19h 19 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    For instance: changing the mode of production from capitalism to socialism is the reconstruction of the ‘economy’.
    19h 19 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    As I don’t think that the social constructs of the social order can be eradicated, as they are generated by the everlasting existence of the family unit by default. Hence why I want to transfer from private property to mutualised property, as ‘property’ can’t be eradicated.
    19h 19 hours ago
    enleuk
    What is the family unit, is it a myth? Which social constructs belong to the social order?

    Have you named this Reconstructionism?
    18h 18 hours ago
    The family unit is just the family, which I contend has always existed as a default extension of being conscious animals. In this sense though, it’s still a construct.

    I use the ‘social order’ in two ways: 1) my personal definition is that it is the culmination of all constructs within an area or a population, and 2) I extend this into Durkheim’s definition: that social order is social integration and various forms of kinship.
    James J. Walters
    I’m not that it’s advanced enough to be given a title 🙂
    18h 18 hours ago
    enleuk
    Wouldn’t the Other come before the family in your description of the development of consciousness?

    I think it’s kind of advanced since it addresses all social constructs simultaneously, which is what I strive for as well and which I’ve not seen any other ism manage to do, although I label myself anarchist because I equate oppressive social constructs with hierarchies. I also realize that the packaged narrative contained in an label is sometimes the best way to communicate an idea while at the same time labels are divisive. If you’re hesitant to use labels for this reason, then I’m right there with you.

    Lately I’ve written so many notes (which I will edit and publish soon enough) on property, state and society, but leaving definitions aside, I don’t know how to solve the problem that some social constructs are oppressive, or bad, while some are not. This is what I was pressing you on. Your solution, which is to name the worst ones, is similar to my solution, which is to to allow the subject the primary right of defining which social constructs oppress them. However, as a materialist/reductionist this is unsatisfactory to me. I’m working on a solution and I’m sure you think me a fool for pursuing that end, but anyway, do you have any further thoughts on how to distinguish bad/oppressive constructs from good/neutral constructs?
    6h 6 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    I never stated what order we developed our constructs.

    Why don’t you distinguish between the two by ethics or morality? By social utility?
    3h 3 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    For instance, how functionalists have argued that modern traditionalism is justified because it serves the social utility of integration and thus solidarity.
    3h 3 hours ago
    enleuk
    You said that the family unit was the source of social constructs, i.e. it came first according to you.
    3h 3 hours ago
    enleuk
    For me, emotions are the only real values, so I can base it on that, but emotions are temporal and difficult to quantify so it’s not easy to extrapolate from that a clear line between oppression and non-oppression.
    3h 3 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    I think that I consider the family unit being the source of the social order, which is the culmination of what we mostly describe as ‘social constructs’, but I can see more fundamental or prior constructs developed at an individual level.
    3h 3 hours ago
    enleuk
    Wouldn’t these prior words and concepts be the source of subsequent concepts since all words are relativet?
    3h 3 hours ago
    James J. Walters
    I would argue that there is no clear line, because that would be arbitrary. But that doesn’t stop me from emphasising the worst systems.

    Surely, there must be some form of moral condemnation that you can place through emotionalism?
    3h 3 hours ago
    enleuk
    I don’t think so. As is the problem with social constructs, their general, abstract value in society, as opposed to their direct and real value to an individual, so it is too with emotions. We can’t generalize our individual experiences into a moral code, we need to look at the electrochemical details and even then we’re simplifying the experience as chemicals in turn are made up of smaller parts and our description of them as individual chemicals is a generalization.
    3h 3 hours ago
    Why don’t you just state that the experience is too qualitative, and so that it would be unfair to specify a line?
    James J. Walters
    I hope I’m not being too pushy 🙂
    2h 2 hours ago
    enleuk
    Not at all, I appreciate that you’re helping me.

    I can accept that there is no clear line, I think I’ve already said that. But if there is no clear line between good and bad constructs, how do we know which ones to reconstruct?

    As an example, compare your mutualized property to private property and explain what the difference is; what is it that makes one of these concepts oppressive but not the other one?
    1h 1 hour ago
    James J. Walters
    I think that my rule of thumb is that most constructs will be reconstructed as the major are. And that the ones that aren’t, don’t necessarily need to be.

    I support mutualised property because of the logic of Proudhon and Marx: communism is a ‘negative community’, an advanced version of the primitive communism embodied by the idealised hunter-gatherer societies.
    52m 51 minutes ago
    James J. Walters
    major ones*
    52m 50 minutes ago
    enleuk
    Ok, but what makes communism negative, or what makes mutualized property not negative?
    51m 49 minutes ago
    James J. Walters
    The goal is to return to primitive communism, or pre-agricultural society, on the basis of the abolition of capital and labour within the context of advanced productive forces – like factories. Primitive communism was described as the “negative community”, that mixed together personal property and community values – the latter I, of course, interpret as the family unit as the basis of the social order. Personal property is the same as mutualised property.
    48m 46 minutes ago
    James J. Walters
    Proudhon merely adapted personal property to fit advanced productive forces, and called it ‘mutualised property’.
    45m 44 minutes ago
    enleuk
    Ok, but still, what is the difference between personal property and private property? Why can’t private property be mixed with community values?
    44m 43 minutes ago
    James J. Walters
    Private property generates coercive relationships, as shown by – as Durkheim stated – how the division of labour drives gentrified individualism, and so reduced social integration. Personal property doesn’t because it A) doesn’t make ownership permanent, and thus maximises the social capital invested in the ‘community’ via only enabling ownership for as long as usage is in order, and B) this axiomatically prevents artificial scarcity and the need to steal or fight for property.
    40m 39 minutes ago
    enleuk
    I’m ok with this, I want this type of personal property as well, but the problem is that it reduces personal property to matter and energy that directly interacts with the nervous system at this exact point in time. Thus it excludes the apple I am just about to bite into, it excludes the home I just stepped out of et cetera.

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