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The politics of Harry Potter

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 3:35 am
by TheDeamon
This was something I was idly wondering about recently and decided to investigate further, and wiki delivered in rather interesting ways. It seems that the series written by Rowling is being claimed by just about all corners of the political spectrum. But this is where it gets weird, but then I guess George Orwell and his concept of doublethink can be applied. I'm somewhat inclined to say Rowling did the smart thing and let the story (mostly) "write itself," as it seems to run roughshod over some of the same things she evidently supports.

She self identifies as left-wing, one of her personal heroes is a communist activist from the early/middle of the 20th century. She does admit the death eaters and Voldemort are patterned after the Nazis and Hitler, and will acknowledge Minister Fudge as being loosely based on Chamberlin. She even gets cited by wiki as generally holding the Ministry's rampant corruption as an example of Capitalism run amok. (How a state controlled system would have been better in her view, I guess she'll never demonstrate... Never mind how badly she shoots her own ideals in the foot with year 5 and the "ministry approved _______" mayhem, communistic and/or socialistic systems don't inherently do that? Really?)

Of course, it also preferentially ignores the matter of the Nazi party being the National Socialist Party. So you're supposed to forget that they were socialists as well as racists, and just buy into the common portrayal of the Nazis being extremist right wing political activists. (Hint: They're only right wing when compared against communists)

But going back to the story she wrote, we have a blatantly corrupt government that can't seem to get in the way of actual solutions fast enough for its own satisfaction. A mostly docile population that is constantly looking for somebody else to "do something" about their problem.

"Doing something" is a recurring theme in Harry Potter, and ironically enough, when it comes to the state "doing something" we get Sirius Black wrongfully imprisoned, we get Hagrid wrongfully imprisioned. We essentially get an ongoing "wanted dead" on a fugitive Sirius Black, something that stood until his eventual death, even in the face of evidence supporting his possible innocence which should have at least dropped it to "wanted alive." Which isn't to mention that "doing something" about the recently escaped Sirius Black leads to Dementors being unleashed on school children multiple times. We even get to see power and influence create a crisis out of nothing with Buckbeak, of which something was almost done. We then see the Ministry "doing something" about declining educational standards at Hogwarts (lol at the real world parallel she was drawing) while also "doing something" about the fear mongering and attempts to incite a panic by Dumbledore and one Harry Potter. Later we get to see the Ministry "do something" about the now confirmed return of Voldemort by imprisoning "suspected death eaters" who are anything but. Ultimately the ministry even starts "doing something" about all those muggleborn wizards and witches. As strongly as Rowling associated "doing something" and the Ministry with an unmitigated disaster to follow it is hard to seriously believe Rowling is an advocate for more government involvement in people's lives, but I guess she is.

The protagonists in the story spend most of the time acting out of self-interest as Harry has a compelling list of reasons to want to foil plans belonging to the big bad. The characters everyone else expect to have the solutions (Dumbledore and Harry) invariably cycle being loved, and being reviled and ridiculed by the populous at large, which it is seemingly decided upon by what the state's unofficial mouthpiece (The Daily Prophet) decides to print, at the behest of the government of course.

It is also noteworthy that while attempts are made to get the proper authorities involved, they either ignore the attempt, or the protagonists end up acting in their stead due to one reason or another (lack of time, corruption, or complacency being the main ones) which makes for amusing mental gymnastics that have to happen for a person to acknowledge the fictional events as valid in their context, and being unable to conceive such a context happening in reality. Umbridge and the DADA class where she instructs the class that if they find themselves in danger they're to summon the Aurors and wait for them to resolve the situation comes to mind, as Rowling had the protagonists openly scoffing at that idea(keeping in mind near instant response times are possible in their case because magic, rather than minutes or the better part of an hour later in reality). That scene screams NRA, not the Liberal party, or the DNC here in the States. (Which isn't to mention that by all rights, a wand is a deadly weapon, and every magical 11+ year old has one....)

Re: The politics of Harry Potter

Posted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 12:01 pm
by Ishpeck
I don't think that Harry Potter offers enough substance to justify the effort of reading this.

I don't think that Rowling herself constitutes enough meaning as a person to justify the effort of reading this.

Are you just trying to slog together "content" to attract other subscribers to the forum?

Okay, fine. I'll play.

It's pretty well established that socialist-types are really good at writing fantasy fiction. Because in order to be a socialist, you gotta entrench yourself in a world of delusion anyway. Thus, my favorite author, Steven Brust, is a hard-up Trotskyite Marxist. Rowling, being less steeped in her delusion and consigning herself only to the standard fish-and-chips-style beltway "left wing" has a much weaker, shallower fantasy. Which is why Harry Potter is such placid tripe.

HG Wells, a socialist from the era when it was possible to be both smart and socialist, does a lot of interesting fantasy as well.

Re: The politics of Harry Potter

Posted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 12:19 pm
by TheDeamon
And on the other side, we end up with C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein (who it appears to closely match some political views Ishpeck has espoused recently, oddly enough--inasmuch as Tolkein bothered with the political sphere), and George Orwell(Who spent some time working/fighting alongside the communists in the Spanish Civil War during the 1930's)

But HG Wells gets points for being a socialist at a time when the methodologies and outcomes that have long since become entrenched in those approaches had a chance to be realized or well known.

For that matter, the "communal" part of Communism should be appealing to most Christians(or persons raised in that environment) on at least some level. For that matter, it was attempted by the Puritans in New England as well as the Mormons, and probably a number of other Christian sects and creeds in what is now the United States years, decades, or even centuries before Marx ever started drafting his Manifesto. Of course, that virtually all of those attempts ended in narrowly averted disasters for all of the would be practitioners is irrelevant to the ongoing advocates for it in the modern era. "This time it'll work."

Although I will give one fictional Franchise some props for getting it (somewhat) correct: Star Trek. I could see the potential for a society with a sufficiently advanced technology base and plentiful supply of energy to use for "making things happen" without human intervention being able to employ a rather large and very comfortable social safety net across significant portions of its population base. Star Trek also gets props for not completely obliterating the ability for people to function above the communal level, and reward them accordingly.

We're a long way from being able to automate everything, or turning raw matter into edible foodstuffs, never mind we have a significant energy crisis of a sorts ongoing in our world, so we're a far cry from being able to quite so accommodating to those who want to be unproductive.

Re: The politics of Harry Potter

Posted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 1:24 pm
by Ishpeck
TheDeamon wrote:And on the other side, we end up with C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein (who it appears to closely match some political views Ishpeck has espoused recently, oddly enough--inasmuch as Tolkein bothered with the political sphere), and George Orwell(Who spent some time working/fighting alongside the communists in the Spanish Civil War during the 1930's)
Gonna need you to clarify what you mean by that.

Also: https://antidem.wordpress.com/2015/08/3 ... ian-novel/
TheDeamon wrote:But HG Wells gets points for being a socialist at a time when the methodologies and outcomes that have long since become entrenched in those approaches had a chance to be realized or well known.

For that matter, the "communal" part of Communism should be appealing to most Christians(or persons raised in that environment) on at least some level.
Or to ... jews?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kibbutz

Kinda depends on the Christian, doesn't it? Russian Orthodox Christians were well represented among the White Movement. Pro-establishment, anti-communist.
TheDeamon wrote:For that matter, it was attempted by the Puritans in New England as well as the Mormons, and probably a number of other Christian sects and creeds in what is now the United States years, decades, or even centuries before Marx ever started drafting his Manifesto.
If you want to be that sloppy with your comparisons, the vast majority of modern right-wing Americans also want this.
TheDeamon wrote:Of course, that virtually all of those attempts ended in narrowly averted disasters for all of the would be practitioners is irrelevant to the ongoing advocates for it in the modern era. "This time it'll work."
I think your dishonesty here stems mostly from ignorance.

19th century Communists are characteristically different. They were principally rooted in an assumption of egalitarianism -- that the only difference between people is their upbringing. They presumed that in the absence of the seemingly coercive behaviors of the capitalists, poverty would cease to exist and thus, the inputs that yield criminality and greed in people would go away. Their folley was one of egalitarian assumption.

American religious revolutions of the same character did not make an assumption of egalitarian thought. Indeed, Mormonism subscribed to the hereditarian assumption that descendants of Cain, by virtue of some heritability of worthiness, were ineligible for priesthood office.

The assumption there was not that humanity was generally good and only capitalism corrupted us to do bad things. The assumption was that man was born sinners and it took a miracle (on the order of healing leprosy, causing the blind to see or raising the dead) to reshape us to non-greedy people who had all things in common. Such miracles were predicated upon faith.

In the former case, the communism was the goal and even seen as the inevitable outcome. In the latter case, the united order was an indicator that you'd reached the ultimate goal of being truly born again.

These core differences in assumption are principally why these different parties assumed their socialistic commune would work. They are rooted in ideologically opposed beliefs.

Modern communists are nothing like either of the above. Both of them were internally consistent and predicated simply on (to them) untested notions. The modern left, doesn't even base itself on a coherent fundamental theory. It's just a series of contradictions that crash together into an illustrious, sentimental train wreck. Like Harry Potter novels.
TheDeamon wrote:Although I will give one fictional Franchise some props for getting it (somewhat) correct: Star Trek. I could see the potential for a society with a sufficiently advanced technology base and plentiful supply of energy to use for "making things happen" without human intervention being able to employ a rather large and very comfortable social safety net across significant portions of its population base. Star Trek also gets props for not completely obliterating the ability for people to function above the communal level, and reward them accordingly.
Star Trek's "technology" is also predicated on the assumption that thermodynamics ceases to exist.
TheDeamon wrote:We're a long way from being able to automate everything, or turning raw matter into edible foodstuffs, never mind we have a significant energy crisis of a sorts ongoing in our world, so we're a far cry from being able to quite so accommodating to those who want to be unproductive.
We experience a ludicrous degree of wealth with today's technology. In America, in order to starve, you really have to want to. The number of people eager to rush to your rescue is sufficient that you're probably going pull a Karen Carpenter and starve to death while surrounded by food if you starve at all.

Even in the case of Star Trek, it seems that the Venus Project koolaid drinkers were compelled to admit the folley of their own ideology as they wrote. We observed an unequal distribution of wealth all over the place. People sought Star Fleet's help to colonize uninhabited worlds and were wholly dependent upon the elite class within the military -- THE MILITARY -- for transport and supplies. They faced regular distribution problems that put all sorts of people in jeopardy more often than never.

In conclusion!

It seems that old communists of the 19th century were simply misguided in their assumptions: The absence of capitalism does not leave us in a natural "social" state that distributes wealth fairly. Modern science and social studies (not science) both seem to be continuously churning out evidence that this assumption is false.

All others predicate their <john lennon>dreams</john lennon> upon a miracle. Be that a miracle of technology (technology that defies all current understandings of science), a miracle of Jesus (a faith that doesn't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon) or a miracle of the state (which is hilarious to me because the state only seems to be capable of producing curses and cursed roads).

Re: The politics of Harry Potter

Posted: Sun Nov 29, 2015 10:43 am
by TheDeamon
Ishpeck wrote:
TheDeamon wrote:And on the other side, we end up with C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein (who it appears to closely match some political views Ishpeck has espoused recently, oddly enough--inasmuch as Tolkein bothered with the political sphere), and George Orwell(Who spent some time working/fighting alongside the communists in the Spanish Civil War during the 1930's)
Gonna need you to clarify what you mean by that.

Also: https://antidem.wordpress.com/2015/08/3 ... ian-novel/
Good link, I agree completely. The better stuff tends to be unselfconscious about what the writers goals are. If you go back to my statement about the Harry Potter series, I put that work in that category. Rowling allowed the story to flow and work its way onto the page in a (mostly, there are some noted exceptions to this some are not even political in nature) natural manner, rather than trying to consciously force her own ideals, views, and message into it. Allowing the story to create its own path, as it was, made it a better work than the alternative likely would have been.

C.S. Lewis probably doesn't much clarification for you.

Tolkein was to some extent a "unconstitutional monarchist" (his own words) and this even bears out in some of his works. He held to the idea of a monarchy that wasn't restrained by law, but rather one that was primarily restrained by
1) Tradition (nebulous as that is)
2) The promises made to his subjects. ("honors his words" would probably cover that too)
3) The willingness to act in a "Christ-like"("king of Kings") manner when it came to carrying out those promises to his subjects, ie being willing to die in service to his subjects if such an extreme act is called for.

Orwell, while nonreligious in his works, was very strongly anti-fascist from the get go(its how he ended up in Spain after all), and blatantly anti-Communist in his works after his time in Spain, he had no use for either group.
TheDeamon wrote:But HG Wells gets points for being a socialist at a time when the methodologies and outcomes that have long since become entrenched in those approaches had a chance to be realized or well known.

For that matter, the "communal" part of Communism should be appealing to most Christians(or persons raised in that environment) on at least some level.
Or to ... jews?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kibbutz

Kinda depends on the Christian, doesn't it? Russian Orthodox Christians were well represented among the White Movement. Pro-establishment, anti-communist.
Ah but Marxist thought also was very atheistic in nature, and the Red Movement doubtlessly blamed the Orthodoxy(seeing as the (leadership for the) church was part of the "established order" in Russia at the time) as much as the nobility for the plight of the common man in Russia. Painting a target on the backs of their religious leaders is a surefire way to get the devout followers to sign up in defense of God and Country(the establishment) against those communist revolutionaries.

They probably did agree on a number of desired end-results, but the methodology involved getting there was wildly different.
If you want to be that sloppy with your comparisons, the vast majority of modern right-wing Americans also want this.
To some extent I do too, but I know it is a want, I also understand it is not a viable option for the era we live in. It is an ideal that would be nice to see realized, but the reality of human nature and the state of the world we live in makes it unworkable.
19th century Communists are characteristically different. They were principally rooted in an assumption of egalitarianism -- that the only difference between people is their upbringing. They presumed that in the absence of the seemingly coercive behaviors of the capitalists, poverty would cease to exist and thus, the inputs that yield criminality and greed in people would go away. Their folley was one of egalitarian assumption.
21st Century communists aren't far removed from that line of thought, in their view, the Communistic and socialistic systems setup in the 20th century only failed because the Capitalists in the United States of America and many of the other "1st world nations" was around to lure people off of the proper path to living an enlightened life(as they wanted to live like the Capitalists). So now their reason for why Communism doesn't work is that it evidently must be an all or nothing proposition, either everybody everywhere needs to adopt that mode of governance/living, or it will always fail.

Which is ironic in a way, as that is in itself an inherent admission that Communism cannot hope to compete with Capitalism wherever it is practiced.

But yeah, otherwise it was nature vs nurture for the 19th century thinkers, and their thinking at the time was leaning towards nurture.
American religious revolutions of the same character did not make an assumption of egalitarian thought. Indeed, Mormonism subscribed to the hereditarian assumption that descendants of Cain, by virtue of some heritability of worthiness, were ineligible for priesthood office.
Are we talking teachings of Joseph Smith Jr. or teachings of Brigham Young? IIRC, there were Black Seventies called while Joseph Smith headed the church(and considering only he could call Seventies while he was alive...), and I know there were black men who continued to hold the priesthood in the LDS Church even after Brigham Young implemented the policies that prevented any future "descendants of Cain" from holding the priesthood. In fact, it has been commented by many that Official Declaration #2 was unnecessary insofar as actual docrtines and scriptures of the LDS Church were concerned, the only reason to release it as they did was to remove all doubt among the people who had subscribed to Young's interpretation as to who could hold the priesthood, and to ensure that nobody attempted to roll back the clock once again as to that subject in the future.

But what Brighamite thought regarding black men holding the priesthood has to do with what the Mormons today call "The Law of Consecration" and their attempts at a communistic setting in the 1830's--when Joseph Smith headed their faith, is beyond me.
The assumption there was not that humanity was generally good and only capitalism corrupted us to do bad things. The assumption was that man was born sinners and it took a miracle (on the order of healing leprosy, causing the blind to see or raising the dead) to reshape us to non-greedy people who had all things in common. Such miracles were predicated upon faith.

In the former case, the communism was the goal and even seen as the inevitable outcome. In the latter case, the united order was an indicator that you'd reached the ultimate goal of being truly born again.

These core differences in assumption are principally why these different parties assumed their socialistic commune would work. They are rooted in ideologically opposed beliefs.
Would mostly agree to that, although they both failed ultimately for generally the same reason: Nature doesn't tend to do things that are hard, nature takes the path of least resistance. So human nature, by extension, in a communistic setting, likewise prefers to take the path of least resistance. Which is a problem when you start talking about communal outcomes, once people start to realize they can be as unproductive as they want, and reap the benefits of the labor of someone else, things start to go downhill. The proverbial snowball really starts to grow once the people that do decide to be productive realize that working harder doesn't benefit them, but rather those benefits will be enjoyed by somebody else.
TheDeamon wrote:We're a long way from being able to automate everything, or turning raw matter into edible foodstuffs, never mind we have a significant energy crisis of a sorts ongoing in our world, so we're a far cry from being able to quite so accommodating to those who want to be unproductive.
We experience a ludicrous degree of wealth with today's technology. In America, in order to starve, you really have to want to. The number of people eager to rush to your rescue is sufficient that you're probably going pull a Karen Carpenter and starve to death while surrounded by food if you starve at all.
We have multiple sides to this, I'm far from advocating making or letting people starve, as we(the United States and Canada at least) have had net food surpluses for decades, and have significant amounts of food stored away as well. We are able to, and do with variable degrees of success, prevent starvation on a national scale without inducing any real hardship on anyone else. There still are issues with near-starvation and malnutrition, but yeah, we do not have a problem of people keeling over in the streets, back alleys, or some other public space and dying from literal starvation, unless it is an outcome stemming from some other psychological or physiological condition. That being said, there are people who are quite content to take that path of least resistance, and are willingly living off of government food subsidies because they can and they're content enough with that.. Which circles back to why communistic and socialistic systems fail if the implementations become more extreme, because the population that becomes content with mediocrity grows larger as the quality and quantity of the safety net improves until the safety net ceases to be such, but instead becomes a boat anchor that threatens to swamp the proverbial boat.

It just happens that as technology allows for us to become more efficient in performing various tasks, particularly as more automation becomes possible, the larger the proverbial "boat" becomes, which in turn allows for a heavier "anchor" to be safely carried around before the boat gets swamped and begins to sink.
Even in the case of Star Trek, it seems that the Venus Project koolaid drinkers were compelled to admit the folley of their own ideology as they wrote. We observed an unequal distribution of wealth all over the place. People sought Star Fleet's help to colonize uninhabited worlds and were wholly dependent upon the elite class within the military -- THE MILITARY -- for transport and supplies. They faced regular distribution problems that put all sorts of people in jeopardy more often than never.
I actually considered commenting on that in my initial commentary on Star Trek, it works in my mind because the outposts/(early stage)colonies and refugee camps do not have the requisite infrastructure and systems in place to be in a situation of "plentiful abundant energy" with the means to use replicators to simply materialize most of their needs seemingly from thin air after providing it with some form of basic feed stock, as it takes energy to dematerialize that feed stock and process it into a form such that it can then be rematerialized later into a form more useful to the end-user.

Which isn't to mention that they did later start to incorporate limitations as to what the replicators are able to produce, be they hard technical limitations, such as certain alloys that simply could not be replicated, to other such examples("You cannot use the replicator to create fully charged power cells. You can replicate the power cell, but you'll have to charge it before you'll be able to use it" -- I'd call BS on that where chemical batteries and some other existing "power cell" technologies are concerned, but it is what it is) or self-imposed(software) limitations("It will not allow us to replicate (harmful) ammunition for a Tommy Gun, but if you want to fire off a few thousand rounds of blanks...").

------

Otherwise...

There is the matter that Star Fleet isn't exactly considered military as we'd do so today. Conceptually, I'd say Star Fleet is generally more like what the US Navy would call its Fleet Auxiliary. There may be clearly military personnel on board, and the ship may even possess military capabilities(for "self defense") on board, but the primary mission of the craft is civilian in nature. For example, the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D had ~1,000 people on board(of a possible 5,000!), that included crew and embarked family members. Of that number, once you remove the children and embarked family members from the list, what they'd call the "military" component of the crew probably only numbered a few dozen people. Basically the bridge crew and command staff(exceptions for the medical types, Dr. Crusher and Counselor Troi would fall into grey areas, for much of the series run, they wouldn't normally be considered "fully" military as Medical personnel in the present day and thus existing in a special category, at least until they started taking up command of the ship and standing watches on the bridge), plus anybody assigned to security, and any engineering staff who helped maintain the ("defensive") weapons systems installed on the ship.

All those people working in the various science, medical, and other assorted support sections of the ship? Yeah, they may wear the Starfleet Uniform and have a rank, but they aren't "military personnel" persay. Much like my infamous partial (mis)quote in the random text for the Rubber Room saying "bullets aren't chemicals" as per the Geneva convention. It may be chemically propelled(at present), and the bullet must obviously be composed of chemicals otherwise it wouldn't have any substance, but for the purpose of the ban of chemical weapons, bullets don't qualify because their means of harming a person is not chemical in nature, but rather kinetic.

Now when you start getting in Deep Space Nine's story, and start dealing with the USS Defiant, the Dominion War and some of the craft Star Fleet started churning out to fight the Dominion and the Borg, such as the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E, and you're starting to talk military spacecraft with everything else as a secondary mission.
It seems that old communists of the 19th century were simply misguided in their assumptions: The absence of capitalism does not leave us in a natural "social" state that distributes wealth fairly. Modern science and social studies (not science) both seem to be continuously churning out evidence that this assumption is false.

All others predicate their <john lennon>dreams</john lennon> upon a miracle. Be that a miracle of technology (technology that defies all current understandings of science), a miracle of Jesus (a faith that doesn't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon) or a miracle of the state (which is hilarious to me because the state only seems to be capable of producing curses and cursed roads).
Agreed on that. The 19th century crowd was operating in theory with no real data available to them for drawing further conclusions. So their being wrong was less of a mark against them as it is for others since then who continue to persist in their support of those same theories in spite of evidence to the contrary.

Re: The politics of Harry Potter

Posted: Sun Nov 29, 2015 5:26 pm
by Ishpeck
TheDeamon wrote:Tolkein was to some extent a "unconstitutional monarchist" (his own words) and this even bears out in some of his works. He held to the idea of a monarchy that wasn't restrained by law, but rather one that was primarily restrained by
1) Tradition (nebulous as that is)
2) The promises made to his subjects. ("honors his words" would probably cover that too)
3) The willingness to act in a "Christ-like"("king of Kings") manner when it came to carrying out those promises to his subjects, ie being willing to die in service to his subjects if such an extreme act is called for.
If you zoom out far enough, the continents of Earth are all the same little blob of rock.

Tolkein is probably a South to my North America -- based on everything I _do_ know about him. Your tendency to ambiguate makes me unsure of how similar I am to him.
TheDeamon wrote:Ah but Marxist thought also was very atheistic in nature...
That the communists were antagonistic to the church is no an "Ah but" thing. It's very much in support of my position.
TheDeamon wrote:They (the white movement) probably did agree on a number of desired end-results, but the methodology involved getting there was wildly different.
See _this_ is the "ah but" situation. But you're just assuming that much. I know of no reason to share that assumption with you.
TheDeamon wrote:To some extent I do too, but I know it is a want, I also understand it is not a viable option for the era we live in.
Consider Friedrich Engels.

https://archive.org/details/originoffamilypr00enge

He who wrote that the "social" (communist) nature of man was observable in old hunter gatherer human societies. He refers to archaeological and anthropological studies and uses them as examples of a natural inclination toward socialist communes among human society. He's not blazingly wrong.

In a hunter-gatherer society, everyone's pretty equally poor. The poverty puts _everyone_ closer to the risk of starvation and everyone needs each other individual in the group more acutely in order to survive. This is the environment that the human brain developed in.

It may actually be part of your human nature to want these kinds of social orders. This may be why you assume the White Movement wanted some of the goals of the Reds. But again, I think you're just glossing over important details when you do that.
TheDeamon wrote:But what Brighamite thought regarding black men holding the priesthood has to do with what the Mormons today call "The Law of Consecration" and their attempts at a communistic setting in the 1830's--when Joseph Smith headed their faith, is beyond me.
It was a hereditarian world-view and is entirely antithetical to the egalitarian assumptions of socialists like Bakhunin, Engels, and Goldman. It's relevant as a refutation of your claim that Mormons and socialists are somehow interchangeable.

Socialists asserted "because humans are generally interchangeable at birth and predisposed to 'social' behavior, they will share their resources freely as a collective if the trammels of capitalism are removed."

This is not and never was the Mormon position. Mormons believed there were inherent differences that people are born with. So the very first premise of the socialist world view is gone and thus, none of the rest of that socialist statement applies. Mormons believed that the United Order is a byproduct of being sufficiently righteous but that righteousness is not the natural state of mankind. The United Order isn't even the final goal, it was just considered an indicator that you are approaching the final goal. When and where the Law of Consecration proved impractical, it was abandoned because it was entirely ancillary to begin with.

You call them the same thing just because you're TD and sophistry is your thing.
TheDeamon wrote:There is the matter that Star Fleet isn't exactly considered military as we'd do so today. Conceptually, I'd say Star Fleet is generally more like what the US Navy would call its Fleet Auxiliary. There may be clearly military personnel on board, and the ship may even possess military capabilities(for "self defense") on board, but the primary mission of the craft is civilian in nature.
The Spanish navy of the 17th century did a lot of exploring.
TheDeamon wrote:...exceptions for the medical types, Dr. Crusher and Counselor Troi would fall into grey areas
Because military bases don't have surgeons or chaplains?
TheDeamon wrote:All those people working in the various science, medical, and other assorted support sections of the ship? Yeah, they may wear the Starfleet Uniform and have a rank, but they aren't "military personnel" persay.
Scientists certainly have a role to play within militaries.

http://www.goarmy.com/careers-and-jobs/ ... ntist.html

http://www.academyadmissions.com/the-ex ... nce-major/

Why aren't Star Fleet's scientists military personnel?
TheDeamon wrote:Agreed on that. The 19th century crowd was operating in theory with no real data available to them for drawing further conclusions.
I don't believe they had _no_ data. They had some. Engels did try to point to actual things that supported him.

I don't believe that they used _all_ of the data available at the time. As time has continued, more data has become available and it makes the communist assumptions seem less likely.

They presumed that the so-called "social" tendencies observed in small groups of impoverished humans would persist in very large groups of wealthy ones. There's more data that indicates that humans won't tend to work for the benefit of others with-whom they don't identify and that our neurological tendency to identify with others is limited to a finite number far smaller than the millions that live in an industrialized society.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar ... 849290081J

All measurable things indicate that the horrors of capitalist greed correlate with widespread increases in standards of living.

They thought that religion was a superstition trained onto of people in order to keep them under the thumb of an oppressive upper class where the wealth is unjustly hoarded. But modern data suggests that religion is genetically heritable...

http://midus.wisc.edu/findings/pdfs/1268.pdf

... and that religious people tend to be better-adjusted...

http://pss.sagepub.com/content/23/2/158

... and everyone knows that they are more generous with their substance than others on any measurable standard.

This may be why some modern socialists try to co-opt biblical passages; they know that Christianity isn't going anywhere and if you can't beat 'em, join 'em (or better; get them to join you). They demand that we submit to their attempt at wealth redistribution lest we be bad Christians or something.

It's a pretty clever tactic. Just ambiguate the meaningful differences between the two groups and then you can claim one group's population as supportive of your own ideology! Thanks for helping them out in that way, dude.

Re: The politics of Harry Potter

Posted: Sun Nov 29, 2015 9:42 pm
by TheDeamon
Ishpeck wrote:
TheDeamon wrote:But what Brighamite thought regarding black men holding the priesthood has to do with what the Mormons today call "The Law of Consecration" and their attempts at a communistic setting in the 1830's--when Joseph Smith headed their faith, is beyond me.
It was a hereditarian world-view and is entirely antithetical to the egalitarian assumptions of socialists like Bakhunin, Engels, and Goldman. It's relevant as a refutation of your claim that Mormons and socialists are somehow interchangeable.

Socialists asserted "because humans are generally interchangeable at birth and predisposed to 'social' behavior, they will share their resources freely as a collective if the trammels of capitalism are removed."

This is not and never was the Mormon position. Mormons believed there were inherent differences that people are born with. So the very first premise of the socialist world view is gone and thus, none of the rest of that socialist statement applies. Mormons believed that the United Order is a byproduct of being sufficiently righteous but that righteousness is not the natural state of mankind. The United Order isn't even the final goal, it was just considered an indicator that you are approaching the final goal. When and where the Law of Consecration proved impractical, it was abandoned because it was entirely ancillary to begin with.

You call them the same thing just because you're TD and sophistry is your thing.
You're putting my proverbial cart before my proverbial horse. They have common elements, in that both groups, at least on paper, view resource sharing and communal type arrangements to be desirable outcomes. In that respect they have common ground, and because of that common ground, as you later alude to with:
Ishpeck wrote:They presumed that the so-called "social" tendencies observed in small groups of impoverished humans would persist in very large groups of wealthy ones. There's more data that indicates that humans won't tend to work for the benefit of others with-whom they don't identify and that our neurological tendency to identify with others is limited to a finite number far smaller than the millions that live in an industrialized society.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar ... 849290081J

All measurable things indicate that the horrors of capitalist greed correlate with widespread increases in standards of living.

They thought that religion was a superstition trained onto of people in order to keep them under the thumb of an oppressive upper class where the wealth is unjustly hoarded. But modern data suggests that religion is genetically heritable...

http://midus.wisc.edu/findings/pdfs/1268.pdf

... and that religious people tend to be better-adjusted...

http://pss.sagepub.com/content/23/2/158

... and everyone knows that they are more generous with their substance than others on any measurable standard.

This may be why some modern socialists try to co-opt biblical passages; they know that Christianity isn't going anywhere and if you can't beat 'em, join 'em (or better; get them to join you). They demand that we submit to their attempt at wealth redistribution lest we be bad Christians or something.

It's a pretty clever tactic. Just ambiguate the meaningful differences between the two groups and then you can claim one group's population as supportive of your own ideology! Thanks for helping them out in that way, dude.
I know they're fundamentally different in where their respective starting points are, and that they're also fundamentally different as to the methodologies they'd be willing to employ in order to get to their respective end goals. But those areas of overlap is why I said it was easy for people in the 19th century to get lead down the proverbial garden path on the matter of Communism/Socialism.

The generosity of "Christians" also had an exemplar in the 2012 presidential campaign when Romney's tax returns came out, as there was a brief flash in the pan discussion about the charitable donations claimed between Romney vs Obama and Biden. As I recall, Biden who I'm sure Snapper could link us to plenty of Articles about well informed Biden is about the plight of people in all kinds of obscure places, and on a number of other social issues to boot, and how "concerned" he was about them, had a total claim of less then $100.00 in charitable donations across all the years disclosed. Obama did a little better, but the charities identified were laughable, and as a percentage of his income, it was paltry all the same. Romney's numbers were much more impressive, albeit he had some of the same issues Obama had as to the charity selections he made for donations(mostly for Multiple Sclerosis oriented groups, which his wife suffers from).

It should be noted that there is "try to co-opt Christianity" with communistic or socialistic teachings. It's already long since become a done deal, you wouldn't have had people like the good Reverend Jeremiah Wright(Obama's "spiritual leader" prior to running for president), who just so happens to be of that political persuasion, and has been a Reverend for decades. He isn't an isolated case either, IIRC there are old cold-war era KGB documents floating around out there that strongly encouraged infiltrating the clergy of the various faiths as one means of carrying out subversion operations in the US. The Commies were very much aware of it, and they weren't shy about using it when they thought they could get away with it.

Edit to add: Even older sourcing, try the 1930's
https://books.google.com/books?id=KSEeP ... &q&f=false
Ishpeck wrote:
TheDeamon wrote:...exceptions for the medical types, Dr. Crusher and Counselor Troi would fall into grey areas
Because military bases don't have surgeons or chaplains?
TheDeamon wrote:All those people working in the various science, medical, and other assorted support sections of the ship? Yeah, they may wear the Starfleet Uniform and have a rank, but they aren't "military personnel" persay.
Scientists certainly have a role to play within militaries.
Don't look at me, I'm not the one who wrote the Geneva Conventions, Doctors, Nurses, and Chaplains fall into a special category under rules of war, so while they are part of the Military, they are not "military targets" until or unless they "take up arms," at which point, depending on circumstances, things could get sticky for them under the rules of war. Not being one of the protected groups, and not likely to be in a situation where I'd encounter one of those protected groups in a hostile situation, it wasn't something I bothered to investigate further.
Ishpeck wrote:Why aren't Star Fleet's scientists military personnel?
Why are NOAA ships operated under the US Navy's Military Sealift Command, crewed mostly by civilians(but some military present all the same), but considered to be a civilian vessel? Granter, the NOAA scientists on board don't belong to the US Navy, but they work for the US Government all the same, but they're not military, even if a military member can probably be found not far from them. Legal fictions are funny that way. Comparable thing for Navy Hospital ships(any country that has them, we're not the only ones), many of the fleet oilers and resupply ships used by the US Navy(actually, all of them at this point are considered "civilian shipping" at this point, I think), and so forth.

Re: The politics of Harry Potter

Posted: Sun Nov 29, 2015 11:17 pm
by Ishpeck
TheDeamon wrote:You're putting my proverbial cart before my proverbial horse. They have common elements, in that both groups, at least on paper, view resource sharing and communal type arrangements to be desirable outcomes.
Let me get this straight.

I'm saying that...
1. Socialists have these assumptions and based on them, they draw these conclusions.
2. Mormons don't have those assumptions. They coincidentally briefly say something similar but don't stand by it.
3. Therefore, they aren't the same.

You're saying "Look, two groups that have ever said things that I can associate together somehow! THEY MUST SHARE VALUES!"

And then you say that I am the one putting the cart before the horse?

Re: The politics of Harry Potter

Posted: Sun Nov 29, 2015 11:44 pm
by TheDeamon
Ishpeck wrote:
TheDeamon wrote:You're putting my proverbial cart before my proverbial horse. They have common elements, in that both groups, at least on paper, view resource sharing and communal type arrangements to be desirable outcomes.
Let me get this straight.

I'm saying that...
1. Socialists have these assumptions and based on them, they draw these conclusions.
2. Mormons don't have those assumptions. They coincidentally briefly say something similar but don't stand by it.
3. Therefore, they aren't the same.

You're saying "Look, two groups that have ever said things that I can associate together somehow! THEY MUST SHARE VALUES!"

And then you say that I am the one putting the cart before the horse?
Let's go back to what I said in that respect:
TheDeamon wrote:For that matter, the "communal" part of Communism should be appealing to most Christians(or persons raised in that environment) on at least some level. For that matter, it was attempted by the Puritans in New England as well as the Mormons, and probably a number of other Christian sects and creeds in what is now the United States years, decades, or even centuries before Marx ever started drafting his Manifesto. Of course, that virtually all of those attempts ended in narrowly averted disasters for all of the would be practitioners is irrelevant to the ongoing advocates for it in the modern era. "This time it'll work."
Also note the quotes I put around "communal" when I initially posted(indicating the use of that word between the Communists and Christians probably differed as well). The expansion was to then state that some christian groups have attempted to do communal resource sharing in the past prior to the Communist Manifesto being written. So in that respect attempting to create Communes for the purpose of sharing resources for the good of all is not an unknown or unprecedented concept for Christians as a whole, they've been there, done that, well before anyone tried to co-opt parts of their belief systems.

I made no allusions as to the motivations or theory behind why the various groups made their various attempts at living as a commune, I just made the observation that virtually every attempt to do so ended badly.

You are the one that decided to take my statement and use it to draw the conclusion that I thought the Marxists and the Christians were coming at the idea of Communal living from the same place.

Also, for the point I was making, that virtually every attempt at communal living ends badly (for large groups) shouldn't really be a point that is terribly dependant on the underlying rationale for why they had a communal system. That they had one and it failed should general be sufficient. That they all had widely different philosophical reasons for doing so before going into it just further underscores the point that Communes in that context appear to be a bad idea for virtually everybody and it would require someone to build one hell of a strong case for why their attempt at it wouldn't end in the same way as all the ones that have gone before.

Re: The politics of Harry Potter

Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 12:26 am
by Ishpeck
TheDeamon wrote:Also, for the point I was making, that virtually every attempt at communal living ends badly (for large groups) shouldn't really be a point that is terribly dependant on the underlying rationale for why they had a communal system.
But it does matter!

I am asserting that they fail for different reasons.

Communists made a POSITIVE statement: "This is how humans are. We predict this is how they will be in a different environment." They then attempted to change the environment in a myriad of ways and everyone gets to laugh at East Germany's faceplant.

Mormons made a NORMATIVE statement: "Humans must change in order for things to be this other way." They then attempted to change peoples' DESIRES by preaching harder and everyone gets to laugh at Nauvoo's faceplant.

The character of each of these things means that they're failing at different things. One failed to change the world (and also misunderstood humans). The other failed to change human nature.
TheDeamon wrote:... it would require someone to build one hell of a strong case for why their attempt at it wouldn't end in the same way as all the ones that have gone before.
I agree.

You build a "hell of a strong case" precisely by not being as sloppy as you've so far been. By diving into the gritty of each failure, understanding the differences of each failure, and all the possible contributing factors --- as I have attempted so far.

It seems to me like you're trying to construct a convenient narrative for rampant dismissal of others' political views by creating just a couple of ambiguous buckets and haphazardly throwing all not-your-opinions into them.

Kibbutzim do still exist and they still produce exports. Sure, not as much as real industries but I think you will need to clarify why they should be counted among the resounding failures of the Soviet Union. But I do smell a No True Scottsman coming from you if you try.

Orderville, Utah managed to practice the United Order pretty well (for longer than the rest of the Church cared to) until the town was destabilized by anti-polygamy statute. I would say that is an example of it failing for a different reason than why Holodomor happened or why India's automobile industry is such a joke.

If you say that Orderville and Kibbutzim succeed because they're smaller-scale operations than Soviet Yugoslavia was, then you're proving my point for me. The Law of Consecration was always intended to be implemented on smaller scales; on a town-by-town or ward-by-ward basis. They're characteristically different --- possibly because of Dunbar's Number (cited previously).

So yeah.

You're being sloppy.

Re: The politics of Harry Potter

Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 8:58 am
by TheDeamon
I had already made a carve out for large groups. ;) After all, it can be argued most families operate as communes. Which in the case of the Kibbutz as I understand, isn't far off the mark, just with a broader definition of "family."

I think it is safe to say that compulsory communalism doesn't work well for a myriad of somewhat obvious reasons. (Likely to be poor performance on the part of the unwilling member, and other people potentially being tasked to "supervise" said underperformer(s).) It follows that the larger the group becomes, the more likely it becomes that a unwilling or reluctant participant is added to the mix.

I imagine drilling further into the kibbutzum and Orderville, Utah situations that we would likewise find they had means of removing people from their collective, making problem persons someone else's problem as soon as they vacate the premises. Which again isn't an option in compulsory situations or where it is a matter of national law.

But I can also invoke a comment/position I've stated elsewhere: People like to feel good about themselves. In a small scale commune, you would know everyone in it, knowingly doing things which will harm someone you know isn't an abstract. It's right there and in your face so to speak, so you're more likely to do things to make sure that doesn't happen. As you're going to have a hard time feeling good about yourself each time you cross paths with Bob otherwise.

In a larger commune you start to get to the of the faceless "other guy" that you can rationalize as being the "victim," and as you have no idea who he or she is, it isn't personal and isn't as likely to haunt you. There also is that sneaky bugger referred to as "deferred responsibility" where people are aware of something needing done, but not doing so because they think "someone else"(see: "other guy") is going to take care of it. It is much easier to defer responsibilities in larger organizations than it is in small ones, generally speaking.

Re: The politics of Harry Potter

Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 10:10 am
by Ishpeck
TheDeamon wrote:I had already made a carve out for large groups. ;) After all, it can be argued most families operate as communes. Which in the case of the Kibbutz as I understand, isn't far off the mark, just with a broader definition of "family."
So then you're admitting that the United Order and Leninism didn't (always) fail for the same reason?

Re: The politics of Harry Potter

Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 10:34 am
by TheDeamon
That communes are very tenuous things which have to be handled delicately and with lots of communication and cooperation between members and are comparatively easy to upset and destroy regardless of however much you may try to force it to succeed?

Sure.