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Re: <nettime> What Nettime could learn from Bush
Ian Dickson on Thu, 15 Jan 2004 08:31:09 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> What Nettime could learn from Bush


In message <200401141809.i0EI9Op17935 {AT} bbs.thing.net>, Eric Miller 
<eric {AT} squishymedia.com> writes

>So I ask the progressive community: Is talking, talking, talking really
>acceptable when more is clearly needed?  There are primal forces of human
>nature behind the shifts in global culture and politics nowadays, events
>springing from our inherent weaknesses as humans that don't particularly
>respond to dense and unreadable theoretical critiques. Or put another way: I
>don't see that dwelling over semantic differences in late-20th-century
>philosophy is going to keep the world from cementing itself into an era of
>cultural trench warfare.
>
>I ask these questions because like many people I speak with I don't have the
>answers.  And it scares the shit out of me.

Are you talking of the Left, or the Liberal?

The Crunchy Left, in the sense that there should be a general 
presumption that "the State" is a good thing has been shown to be too 
easily corruptible to work with real people. Socialist paradises can 
exist, but only if no one has power over others as a personal 
motivation. People are rightly wary of the Crunchy Left.

The Soft Left are torn between their desire that the State should have 
lots of power to do what they want it to do, and their desire that the 
state shouldn't have any power to do stuff they don't like. The Soft 
Left has always been riven with contradictions that they do not wish to 
face.

The other big problem that the Soft Left has is that it works on the 
assumption that actions should be consistent with theory, and doesn't 
like the fact that people are real, not theories.

Liberal. Means too many things to too many people.

The Right. The Right has the courage of pragmatism, and cares little for 
theory. It does have debates about theory, but short of a general belief 
that the private sector, given the right market signals, should make 
better decisions than the public one, pretty much everything is up for 
grabs. The Right includes libertarians and anti-abortionists. It 
includes libertarians and "hang all those who smoke a joint" types.

What the Right does care about is winning. And that counts for a lot.

If you don't like the Right, you'll have to fight them in the real 
world. Take the UN. A problem that the Left faces when it raises the UN 
up as some kind of world guide is that too many members of the UN are 
not exactly tip top representative democracies. It is therefore hard to 
argue that the UN should have any power, or even much influence, over 
the actions of democracies.

Lesson for the Left - Theory doesn't win elections UNLESS the present is 
clearly not working.

(In the UK theory won the 1945 one for the Left, and it won the 1979 one 
for the Right. Every other election has been about who can run things 
best without upsetting the horses).
-- 
ian dickson                                  www.commkit.com
phone +44 (0) 1452 862637                    fax +44 (0) 1452 862670
PO Box 240, Gloucester, GL3 4YE, England

           "for building communities that work"

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