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Atheist Mike's Avatar Comment 1 by Atheist Mike

I think you're quite right, I noticed the same phenomenon in all sorts of situations in society but especially in (higher) education and medias. There seems to be a fear of criticism from those on the left of the political spectrum which renders them strictly unable to engage in a rational objective observation of things that 'feel' like may belong to the right of the political spectrum (which is mostly obsolete nowadays). Perceived imperialism, inequality, racism etc. all send them running and hiding behind dogmatic leftist principles. While this form of dogmatism is much less potentially harmful than rightist dogmatism it's quite annoying to see people who supposedly support freedom act against it by refusing to even acknowledge problems that sometimes exist because they've learnt to feel outraged every time a term that they don't like is used or when something under their protection is criticized.

Thu, 22 Sep 2011 23:02:29 UTC | #874112

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 2 by Neodarwinian

An aside. Of course transmutability is a word! The greatest man who ever lived said so! That is my prejudice.

The left never was too comfortable with objectivity, but it's coziness with relative semantics is well known. When you argue with people of the left they will often reply to your precise definitions with, " oh, that is just semantics. " What else would it be? Or, my favorite, " that is just your opinion. " Said to that which is well supported by the evidence. This is not to say that words do not have many meanings, but to say that words do not have any meaning that you wish to apply to them at the time.

Fri, 23 Sep 2011 03:16:28 UTC | #874181

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 3 by Jos Gibbons

I consider myself someone on the Far Left who can criticise Islam with the best of them. Why? Because, unlike many on the Left, I don't think "be nice" means "shut up to avoid hurt feelings when people or their ideas really are wrong"; I think it means "improve our tax-funded provisions".(By "Far" Left I mean I want to be "very" nice.) The "economic" and "political" left and right are defined by different criteria, as the names suggest, but for some reason where you are with one correlates with where you are with the other. I think people make a decision at some point regarding whether they want to help or punish, and then they take on all the baggage of one position under the assumption every possible reading of the terminology that describes what they think has to apply to them. It's basically the fallacy of linguistic ambiguity (or whatever the technical name for it is). This is why the Nolan chart was invented.

Fri, 23 Sep 2011 07:51:08 UTC | #874227

TheRationalizer's Avatar Comment 4 by TheRationalizer

I wonder if he meant the execution method?

I'd certainly prefer a bullet in the head than the gas chamber, lethal injection, or electric chair.

Fri, 23 Sep 2011 08:31:41 UTC | #874243

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 5 by Nunbeliever

Regarding being on the left or the right I feel these distinctions (although superficially useful at times) are obsolete and ironically actually an indicator of dogmatic thinking. Yes, I consider myself to be on the left with regard to economical issues and I think terms like solidarity and shared sacrifice are crucial in order to make our societies more humane and nice places to live in. On the other hand I am also a strong supporter of individualism and individual responsibility. I am not a fan of big government per se and I think individuals ought to enjoy as much freedom as possible. In fact in an ideal world I don't think we would need governments. This might sound weird as I label myself a progressive but I find governments a necessary evil. That said, I much rather trust elected governments than corporations to make decisions that influence my life. But nonetheless, I ultimately consider governments a necessary evil. Although I can't possibly see how we could ever in a forseeable future be able to live without governments since they are the very foundation of our modern democracies.

The problem, as many others have pointed out, with using labels like 'left' or 'right' is of course that you don't necessarily agree with all the ideas promoted as leftist or rightist. I for one, tend to strongly disagree with most progressives regarding multiculturalism and religion. I also tend to agree with many on the right that continuity and having strong roots and conventional family ties is very important. Especially in these days of globalization where the world is changing constantly and many people in the western world seem to be struggeling with feelings of rootlessness and isolation. But, many on the left regard opinions like these as obsolete or even dangerous. My experience is that many on the left ironically while they support big government at the same time endorse a form of cosmpolitanism that I really find ridiculous and potentially quite dangerous. Or in fact it is not really cosmpolitanism. It is multiculturalism gone wrong. I don't think that any rational person is against multiculturalism per se. It's just that there are cultures out there that are not compatible with freedom and democracy. Cultures that are based upon dominon not mutual understanding. I am definately not a supporter of nationalism or other irrational dogmas. I am talking about having a strong foundation in you life. A place where you belong. A sense of continuity that I experience people on the left often seem to forget or even despise. Unfortunately if you express these ideas you are often labelled an ignorant conservative who hate progression by people on the left. People on the right on the other hand often combine these ideas with religion, nationalism or other irrational fear-based dogmas. So, I am caught in the middle. Does this make me a centrist? I don't want to be since that term to me is as meaningless as being an agnostic.This is just one example of how difficult it is for me to adopt labels like 'leftist' or 'rightist'.

Fri, 23 Sep 2011 08:39:42 UTC | #874249

skeelo's Avatar Comment 6 by skeelo

Comment 4 by TheRationalizer :

I'd certainly prefer a bullet in the head than the gas chamber, lethal injection, or electric chair.

I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my father. Not screaming and terrified, like his passengers.

(Apologies to Bob Monkhouse, again. Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Fri, 23 Sep 2011 08:43:53 UTC | #874250

KenChimp's Avatar Comment 7 by KenChimp

Comment 1 by Atheist Mike :

I think you're quite right, I noticed the same phenomenon in all sorts of situations in society but especially in (higher) education and medias. There seems to be a fear of criticism from those on the left of the political spectrum which renders them strictly unable to engage in a rational objective observation of things that 'feel' like may belong to the right of the political spectrum (which is mostly obsolete nowadays). Perceived imperialism, inequality, racism etc. all send them running and hiding behind dogmatic leftist principles. While this form of dogmatism is much less potentially harmful than rightist dogmatism it's quite annoying to see people who supposedly support freedom act against it by refusing to even acknowledge problems that sometimes exist because they've learnt to feel outraged every time a term that they don't like is used or when something under their protection is criticized.

I concur. Again I quote:

"Freedom, like charity, begins at home. No man is worthy to fight in the cause of freedom unless he has conquered his internal masters. He must learn control and discipline over the disastrous passions that would lead him to folly and ruin. He must conquer inordinate vanity and anger, self-deception, fear, and inhibition. These are the crude ores of his being.

He must smelt these ores in the fire of life, forge his own sword, temper it, and sharpen it against the hard abrasive of experience. Only then is he fit to bear arms in the larger battle. There is no substitute for courage, and the victory is to the high-hearted.

He will have nothing to do with the asceticism's or the excesses of weakness. Self-expression will be his watchword, a self-expression tempered, keen and strong. First he must know and rule himself. Only then can he cope with the economic pressures which are employed by economic groups and capitalists, or the political pressures employed by demagogues."

-John Whiteside Parsons, from "Freedom Is A Two-Edged Sword"

Fri, 23 Sep 2011 13:56:51 UTC | #874397

TeraBrat's Avatar Comment 8 by TeraBrat

When you're emotionally invested in an idea you don't want it to be wrong. That's why religion has been so successful. We all do it to a degree. It isn't easy to be a truely critical thinker. It means admitting you were wrong.

Fri, 23 Sep 2011 15:31:20 UTC | #874449

Atheist Mike's Avatar Comment 9 by Atheist Mike

@comment 7

Quite a wise quotation. I think I'll get this book.

Fri, 23 Sep 2011 15:56:54 UTC | #874462

Jay G's Avatar Comment 10 by Jay G

Comment 7 by KenChimp :

Comment 1 by Atheist Mike :

I think you're quite right, I noticed the same phenomenon in all sorts of situations in society but especially in (higher) education and medias. There seems to be a fear of criticism from those on the left of the political spectrum which renders them strictly unable to engage in a rational objective observation of things that 'feel' like may belong to the right of the political spectrum (which is mostly obsolete nowadays). Perceived imperialism, inequality, racism etc. all send them running and hiding behind dogmatic leftist principles. While this form of dogmatism is much less potentially harmful than rightist dogmatism it's quite annoying to see people who supposedly support freedom act against it by refusing to even acknowledge problems that sometimes exist because they've learnt to feel outraged every time a term that they don't like is used or when something under their protection is criticized.

I concur. Again I quote:

"Freedom, like charity, begins at home. No man is worthy to fight in the cause of freedom unless he has conquered his internal masters. He must learn control and discipline over the disastrous passions that would lead him to folly and ruin. He must conquer inordinate vanity and anger, self-deception, fear, and inhibition. These are the crude ores of his being. He must smelt these ores in the fire of life, forge his own sword, temper it, and sharpen it against the hard abrasive of experience. Only then is he fit to bear arms in the larger battle. There is no substitute for courage, and the victory is to the high-hearted.

He will have nothing to do with the asceticism's or the excesses of weakness. Self-expression will be his watchword, a self-expression tempered, keen and strong. First he must know and rule himself. Only then can he cope with the economic pressures which are employed by economic groups and capitalists, or the political pressures employed by demagogues." -John Whiteside Parsons, from "Freedom Is A Two-Edged Sword"

I'm surprised to see a quote from Parsons on this site. Was he not into the occult AND, crime of all crimes, a Zionist?

Fri, 23 Sep 2011 17:27:55 UTC | #874476

justinesaracen's Avatar Comment 11 by justinesaracen

I always cringe when I see the term "the Left" since it can mean a wide range of things, depending on the particular grudge of the particular individual using it at the time. For the Republicans, Obama is a far-out leftie, for progressives, he is on the 'right', so the terms 'left' and 'right' almost tell more about the user than the person they are using it for (or against). At least with Republican and Democrat, or Fundamentalists, you have a self-identification.

As for reluctance to criticism Muslims for anything, I notice also among many of my (self-proclaimed progressive) friends a reluctance to criticize Jews. As if any criticism about the Old Testament genocides, or kosher slaughter, Palestinian statehood, or the necessity of circumcision will be met by cries of antisemitism.

I think all the rituals of all the western religions are nonsense and some are destructive and they all come from the same network of fairy tales.

Sat, 24 Sep 2011 11:06:37 UTC | #874707

sanban's Avatar Comment 12 by sanban

WRT the charge of antisemitism, I find this is a charge used frequently to silence the rational criticism of such notions as 'a Jewish homeland' as well as almost any criticism of any actions of the state of Israel.

Comment 11 by esuther :

I always cringe when I see the term "the Left" since it can mean a wide range of things, depending on the particular grudge of the particular individual using it at the time. For the Republicans, Obama is a far-out leftie, for progressives, he is on the 'right', so the terms 'left' and 'right' almost tell more about the user than the person they are using it for (or against). At least with Republican and Democrat, or Fundamentalists, you have a self-identification.

As for reluctance to criticism Muslims for anything, I notice also among many of my (self-proclaimed progressive) friends a reluctance to criticize Jews. As if any criticism about the Old Testament genocides, or kosher slaughter, Palestinian statehood, or the necessity of circumcision will be met by cries of antisemitism.

I think all the rituals of all the western religions are nonsense and some are destructive and they all come from the same network of fairy tales.

Sat, 24 Sep 2011 15:59:01 UTC | #874753

The Jersey Devil's Avatar Comment 13 by The Jersey Devil

...listening to...WBAI (local progressive listener-supported radio station)

There's your mistake.

Sun, 25 Sep 2011 07:32:13 UTC | #874914

Red Dog's Avatar Comment 14 by Red Dog

Comment 13 by The Jersey Devil :

...listening to...WBAI (local progressive listener-supported radio station)

There's your mistake.

I don't really know WBAI but I know their sister station KPFA in the SF bay area quite well and from what I do know WBAI is quite similar.

I agree they have their fair share of loonies but they also have some very well done shows such as Democracy Now. They are one of a very few US radio stations that don't just give you the same homogenized music or talk.

They have a real commitment to free speech which means they will sometimes let people with extreme views that you will never hear anywhere else get a voice. As someone who believes in critical thinking I think that's a very good thing. Its good to hear people with unconventional views even if I don't agree with them.

Sun, 25 Sep 2011 17:06:56 UTC | #875038

Jay G's Avatar Comment 15 by Jay G

Comment 14 by Red Dog :

Comment 13 by The Jersey Devil :

...listening to...WBAI (local progressive listener-supported radio station)

There's your mistake.

I don't really know WBAI but I know their sister station KPFA in the SF bay area quite well and from what I do know WBAI is quite similar.

I agree they have their fair share of loonies but they also have some very well done shows such as Democracy Now. They are one of a very few US radio stations that don't just give you the same homogenized music or talk. They have a real commitment to free speech which means they will sometimes let people with extreme views that you will never hear anywhere else get a voice. As someone who believes in critical thinking I think that's a very good thing. Its good to hear people with unconventional views even if I don't agree with them.

WBAI is all about free speech so long as it's left leaning. Conservative or even centrist people have NO VOICE on WBAI.

Sun, 25 Sep 2011 17:36:17 UTC | #875044

Roedy's Avatar Comment 16 by Roedy

I once discussed the punishment of cutting off hands with a Saudi. He pointed out that though it was a drastic punishment, it was very rarely used. Also theft was rare. The punishment is different from execution in that it causes shunning. If a person with one hand goes into a shop, the shopkeeper will immediately scoop up the valuables. This is the punishment, not the pain of losing a hand.

In contrast, Mr. Perry alone has executed 235 people, and it clearly has failed to suppression of violence in Texas.

Americans shoot each other for entertainment, if the reality TV is to be believed. It is only after someone is killed does it seem to dawn on anyone that this game has undesirable consequences.

Mon, 26 Sep 2011 01:44:45 UTC | #875169

Ryucu's Avatar Comment 17 by Ryucu

If it is objectivity we seek, perhaps before we form hyper-critique of other cultures, we should recognise such faults exist at home, often under a different guise or name.

It may also be important to understand whether the radio presenter was talking about the extent of the punishment, or the provable guilt of the individual. To me, the recent execution in the States seemed based on weak evidence, whereas the protocol required for extreme punishment in Islamic states makes the criminality almost indisputable.

Whether the act is a ‘crime’ or the punishment is ‘extreme’ could be a different matter entirely, the rationality of the justice could arguably be the ease of which a person is subjected to death.

On another note, the severity of punishment can be subjective. Many people I know would find it more barbaric to be caged for many years, than to have their hand removed. And under Sharia law it is often the victim, or victims family who decide upon the severity of the punishment. I have no confidence that our western world would be any less barbaric if punishment was placed in our hands.

Mon, 26 Sep 2011 13:39:48 UTC | #875330

inquisador's Avatar Comment 18 by inquisador

comment 5 by Nunbeliever,

I am definately not a supporter of nationalism or other irrational dogmas.

As Atheist Egbert said recently; which makes me wonder: what is so irrational about nationalism? You follow that with:-

I am talking about having a strong foundation in you life. A place where you belong. A sense of continuity that I experience people on the left often seem to forget or even despise.

That, to me is what nationalism means. And whatever you call it, I agree that it is a sound and necessary value to have. I am saddened that the concept of nationalism seems to now be associated solely with racist or authoritanian groups like the BNP and the National Socialist Party. Why not reclaim the nation from bigots and make it respectable again, cleansed of those ugly connotations and re-imbued with smiley apple-cheeked loveliness? We have no other word for this, (or do we?) so we need to take back 'nationalism'. As someone said on sovereignty.org:

The ethical basis of nationalism is as a community in which every member has a certain responsibility for everybody else in that community.

Stand by now for George Orwell quotes...

Mon, 26 Sep 2011 14:28:28 UTC | #875354

KenChimp's Avatar Comment 19 by KenChimp

Comment 9 by Atheist Mike :

@comment 7

Quite a wise quotation. I think I'll get this book.

I must offer this caveat:

Parsons was.....an interesting fellow. In spite of his rather aggressive stance for reason in all human endeavors, he was also a member of the Thelemic Ordo Novus Templii co-founded by none other than Aliester Crowley, and was a student of Crowley in ceremonial magick until he broke away from "The Beast" to do his own thing.

His scientific associates and friends were quite baffled by this dichotomy in him, and his dabbling in the occult earned him some professional enemies, including those in the government who sought to prevent Parsons from access to the chemicals he needed to continue his experiments in rocket fuel development.

So you may find yourself thinking, "WTF?!?!?!" at some point when reading that collection of essays.

;-}

Mon, 26 Sep 2011 21:22:01 UTC | #875500

KenChimp's Avatar Comment 20 by KenChimp

Comment 11 by esuther :

I always cringe when I see the term "the Left" since it can mean a wide range of things, depending on the particular grudge of the particular individual using it at the time. For the Republicans, Obama is a far-out leftie, for progressives, he is on the 'right', so the terms 'left' and 'right' almost tell more about the user than the person they are using it for (or against). At least with Republican and Democrat, or Fundamentalists, you have a self-identification.

As for reluctance to criticism Muslims for anything, I notice also among many of my (self-proclaimed progressive) friends a reluctance to criticize Jews. As if any criticism about the Old Testament genocides, or kosher slaughter, Palestinian statehood, or the necessity of circumcision will be met by cries of antisemitism.

I think all the rituals of all the western religions are nonsense and some are destructive and they all come from the same network of fairy tales.

Indeed he was into the occult, much to the dismay and confusion of his friends and colleagues in the scientific community. I've seen no evidence to suppose he was a "Zionist", other than perhaps believing the state of Israel as created by the UN was a good thing. Considering the time Parsons was alive, and what the world experienced due to national socialism that wouldn't surprise or concern me in the least.

He may have been a crackpot in some ways, but in other ways he was brilliant. They didn't name a crater on the moon after him because he was a crackpot, but instead because of his relentless pursuit of science in chemical engineering which led to the development of the solid rocket fuel still in use today.

EDIT of addendum: My apologies for replying to the wrong post. I meant to reply to Jay's post.

Mon, 26 Sep 2011 21:32:41 UTC | #875505

raytoman's Avatar Comment 21 by raytoman

Latest Discussions

Prejudices By JAY G Updated: Friday, 23 September 2011 at 9:53 AM

Hello:

Yesterday, as I left work, I turned on the radio in my car and started listening to a show on WBAI (local progressive listener-supported radio station) which was discussing the execution taking place in Georgia. In the course of the discussion, one of the hosts claimed that he had witnessed Taliban executions in Afghanistan and that the justice handed out by the Taliban was more "rational" than American justice.

Now I am not saying that the justice system in America is perfect or not in need of repair, but I just don't understand how an intelligent person could argue that Taliban justice (which includes, among other things, dehumanizing women and chopping off hands and executing homosexuals) is more rational than American justice.

@@@

Hmmm!

Didn't the US have slavery? Didn't US citizens torture and kill black people, as recently as the 1960's, with impunity? Wasn't the segregation in the US (until well into the 1960's) even worse than that in South Africa? Didn't they just execute a guy where his accusers had almost all withdrawn their testimonies? Don't they torture prisoners in Guantanamo, most without any evidence of a crime? Don't they fly prisoners to other countries for even more extreme torture? Don't they support despots (doesn't matter as long as they are "our" despots)? Havn't they kept Haitai downtrodded because they were the first slaves to free themselves? Didn't they perpetrate genocide on over 6 million Native Americans? Aren't they currently the only country support Israel in it's genocide of the Palestinians?

Shit, they make the Taliban seem reasonable. Oh and don't forget, the US armed the Taliban to kill Russians and they Taliban ceased Heroine production which is now the greatest it has even been since the US invaded

Wed, 28 Sep 2011 00:30:21 UTC | #875828

Luis_Cayetano's Avatar Comment 22 by Luis_Cayetano

Yesterday, as I left work, I turned on the radio in my car and started listening to a show on WBAI (local progressive listener-supported radio station) which was discussing the execution taking place in Georgia. In the course of the discussion, one of the hosts claimed that he had witnessed Taliban executions in Afghanistan and that the justice handed out by the Taliban was more "rational" than American justice.

I wonder whether he was exaggerating for effect? Did he talk about what aspect he found more ''rational'' under Taliban than American justice? Also, did he happen to mention what the executions he had witnessed were in punishment for?

Speaking for myself, I'm a leftist (who guessed?) and I openly and unambiguously say that Islam fucking sucks (like lots of other suckey things in this world). For me, the leftism worth having is one that combines a rational approach with a strong humanitarian impulse (note: not the same thing as pacifism). This means that we try to be rational with respect not only to matters dealing with social organisation and political-economy, but also philosophy and epistemology. Genuine leftists are unapologetically scientific in their approach and their world-view. We defend Muslims against unwarranted attacks, and we draw attention to the hypocrisy of focusing on Islam at the expense of looking at bad stuff that we should be paying more attention to (especially if this plays into the hands of reactionary forces), but we also don't hide our rationality and smother it with a feel-good message of multiculturalism for its own sake. There's no mystery about the fact that some cultural forms are shit. We defend people's rights to be Muslims and to not be punished for it; we don't defend the notion that Islam is something that should be adopted, we don't encourage people to be Muslims, and we critique it like any other stupid lunatic notion when we need to. A left that is afraid to speak inconvenient truths is a left that is doomed.

Wed, 28 Sep 2011 14:22:33 UTC | #875953

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 23 by Schrodinger's Cat

Pat Condell raises this issue in his videos. He points out that people on the left seem to have some mental defect which renders them incapable of saying anything critical about Islam.

It's the traditional stance of leftists towards any seen as 'the underdogs'. The mere perception of being oppressed in any manner is enough to engender eternal and undying support from the left.

The trouble is that the left has never quite worked out what to do when the oppressed group is itself a major source of oppression in the world.

Wed, 28 Sep 2011 19:10:53 UTC | #876044

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 24 by Schrodinger's Cat

Comment 18 by inquisador

That, to me is what nationalism means. And whatever you call it, I agree that it is a sound and necessary value to have. I am saddened that the concept of nationalism seems to now be associated solely with racist or authoritanian groups like the BNP and the National Socialist Party. Why not reclaim the nation from bigots and make it respectable again, cleansed of those ugly connotations and re-imbued with smiley apple-cheeked loveliness?

The single biggest hypocrisy of anti-nationalists in the UK is that they never seem to have any problem standing up for the right of other 'indigenous peoples', such as the Palestinians, to their identity in whatever form it may take. Palestinians must have their nation, complete with historical cultural and ethnic identity.......nationalism in other words.

Yet dare even place an English flag in one's garden here......and all of a sudden one is a racist, fascist, nationalist.....****phobe of some sort......thoroughly unpleasant person.

The double standards stink. They reek of hypocritical apologetics.

Wed, 28 Sep 2011 20:49:23 UTC | #876082

Luis_Cayetano's Avatar Comment 25 by Luis_Cayetano

Schrodinger's Cat said:

The single biggest hypocrisy of anti-nationalists in the UK is that they never seem to have any problem standing up for the right of other 'indigenous peoples', such as the Palestinians, to their identity in whatever form it may take. Palestinians must have their nation, complete with historical cultural and ethnic identity.......nationalism in other words.

That isn't nationalism so much as nationhood, which has been denied to Palestinians, unlike Englishmen. Nationalism goes beyond identity and custom, and into vulgar adherence to a canon of divine mission, superiority, and/or specialness. It promotes the lie that the people born on one patch of dirt are somehow inherently different from those born on another. It smothers class differences to ''unite'' prince and pauper alike under the banner of ''the Nation'', which ''stands for'' certain principles (which are actually the preserve of all peoples, not just Americans, Frenchmen, Englishmen, Egyptians or whoever). Nationalism is actually a quasi-religious doctrine, more often in the service of reaction and opposition to progress than against it.

Yet dare even place an English flag in one's garden here......and all of a sudden one is a racist, fascist, nationalist.....****phobe of some sort......thoroughly unpleasant person.

I don't think the situation is quite as bad as all that.

Fri, 30 Sep 2011 13:28:55 UTC | #876578

bendigeidfran's Avatar Comment 26 by bendigeidfran

Civilisation came in with Glyndwr's parliament of 1404, and went out with Jonathan Davies defecting to rugby league.

The us/them may be an inescapable delusion like the I/it.

Fri, 30 Sep 2011 13:48:58 UTC | #876583

Atheist Mike's Avatar Comment 27 by Atheist Mike

Comment 25 by Luis_Cayetano :

That isn't nationalism so much as nationhood, which has been denied to Palestinians, unlike Englishmen. Nationalism goes beyond identity and custom, and into vulgar adherence to a canon of divine mission, superiority, and/or specialness. It promotes the lie that the people born on one patch of dirt are somehow inherently different from those born on another. It smothers class differences to ''unite'' prince and pauper alike under the banner of ''the Nation'', which ''stands for'' certain principles (which are actually the preserve of all peoples, not just Americans, Frenchmen, Englishmen, Egyptians or whoever). Nationalism is actually a quasi-religious doctrine, more often in the service of reaction and opposition to progress than against it.

If that were true we'd all be living in a happy world without borders. Palestinians are nationalists, if they weren't they'd just call themselves arabs. The definition which you use for nationalism is true only regarding those (few) who hold racist and reactionary views as well as nationalist ones.

I don't think the situation is quite as bad as all that.

It is.

Fri, 30 Sep 2011 16:16:49 UTC | #876629

Luis_Cayetano's Avatar Comment 28 by Luis_Cayetano

Atheist Mike said:

If that were true we'd all be living in a happy world without borders. Palestinians are nationalists, if they weren't they'd just call themselves arabs.

A bit of sophistry there. Like I said, basic nationhood has been denied to the Palestinians. Thus the entire question of justice for Palestinians is unavoidably and inextricably tied to the issue of nationhood. Sure, the Israeli state would love it if Palestinians simply identified as Arabs and stopped being so pesky about a separate, independent state, but for decent people that won't do. And like I also said, basic nationhood hasn't been denied to Englishmen. Thus to pretend as though there's a symmetry here between the woes encountered by the planter of the wanky English-flag-in-the-front-yard and the dispossession, displacement and ruthless exploitation of Palestinians isn't par for the course when considering reality. If Palestinians simply identified as 'Arabs', they would then lose any basis for a claim to nationhood. Palestinians actually have NO CHOICE but to identify as Palestinians (rather than as 'merely' Arabs), with a claim to their own land and national government. Anything less will help legitimate their own oppression, which happens to be real.

If an invading force disposed France of its people, and repopulated the country with, say, Zambians, the disposed French wouldn't be nationalists by virtue of their identifying themselves as the ones with a rightful historical claim to the land via their national identity, rather than an identification as Europeans.

The definition which you use for nationalism is true only regarding those (few) who hold racist and reactionary views as well as nationalist ones.

The pronouncements of US presidents, Australian Prime Ministers, Indian Prime Ministers, many Swiss people, Russian Presidents, and a host of others leads me to believe that nationalism in the sense I described is rather more mainstream and popular than you might want to admit.

It is.

lol

Fri, 30 Sep 2011 23:25:25 UTC | #876785

Atheist Mike's Avatar Comment 29 by Atheist Mike

@Luis_Cayetano

Well you should take a gander at the wikipedia article on nationalism:

What you stubbornly describe as a need for nationhood is actually, in the Palestinians' case, a mix of left-wing and anti-colonial nationalism (from their perspective anyway, which I don't think is rational).

The form of nationalism you were referring to in comment 25 is called 'Ultranationalism' and is indeed despicable, to apply this to nationalism in general however is being narrow-minded. If, as an Englishman, I am proud of the cultural, scientific and social advances my country and therefore, I, being a part of it, have made, I'd consider it an insult to not be allowed to express that pride through whatever (peaceful) means I want.

In comment 25 you said:

It smothers class differences to ''unite'' prince and pauper alike under the banner of ''the Nation'', which ''stands for'' certain principles (which are actually the preserve of all peoples, not just Americans, Frenchmen, Englishmen, Egyptians or whoever)."

The principles held in high regard by a nation are rarely seen in as much a favourable light in other nations. Nationalism is vital when defending those principles against others via cultural kinship, your view of the whole world being a welcoming recipient of humanist values is pleasant and comforting but unfortunately very unrealistic.

Sat, 01 Oct 2011 01:49:07 UTC | #876804

Luis_Cayetano's Avatar Comment 30 by Luis_Cayetano

Atheist Mike said:

What you stubbornly describe as a need for nationhood is actually, in the Palestinians' case, a mix of left-wing and anti-colonial nationalism (from their perspective anyway, which I don't think is rational).

Well, call it what you like, but there's a qualitative difference between an oppressed and dispossessed population trying to carve out a nation on the ground and an Englishman raising 'his' flag in the yard. And even if it is nationalism in any interesting sense, it's still more 'justified' than the English variety, for purely expedient reasons.

The form of nationalism you were referring to in comment 25 is called 'Ultranationalism' and is indeed despicable, to apply this to nationalism in general however is being narrow-minded. If, as an Englishman, I am proud of the cultural, scientific and social advances my country and therefore, I, being a part of it, have made, I'd consider it an insult to not be allowed to express that pride through whatever (peaceful) means I want.

But here's where the mystical aspect comes into play: why does pride emanate from a consideration of the nation? What's special about that level of abstraction and not, say, the city or the community? You're also part of Europe. Are you equally proud to be European? Or Northern Hemispheric? There's a definite irrational component in nationalism, no matter how mild.

The principles held in high regard by a nation are rarely seen in as much a favourable light in other nations.

Really? I can name numerous principles that are held in high regard by many nations.

Mon, 03 Oct 2011 21:50:14 UTC | #877599