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message 1: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3841 comments Mod
This is the thread to discuss the subject, i.e. Political Systems, Regimes and Ideologies

This can be a highly divisive topic, so please state polite and don't assume that only you hold keys to the truth


message 2: by Plamen (new)

Plamen Nenchev (vmro) | 95 comments As requested

Oleksandr wrote: "Plamen wrote: "N.K. Jemisin - just like many of other female sci fi/fantasy writers in America these days - is a cultural marxist. This is not something new."

I doubt that the split is by gender, ..."


No, you misinterpret what I am saying. I am not saying female authors are marxist, male are not. I say U.S. female authors are marxist, male one are absent. Do you see any white males nominated anywhere for anything? I don't. Whether this is positive discrimination of women, people of colour or LGBT members or negative discrimination of white men - I have no idea.

For 2, however, I think you are terribly wrong, especially after seeing what marxist-leninism can do to a country and how it can warp people's minds. In very simplistic terms, marxism views socioeconomy as a power play between oppressor (capitalist) and opressed (bourgeosie). A proletarian revolution can right this wrong and create a socialist society, which will be "Paradise on earth". The theory never really states what happens to the bourgeoisie, perhaps intentionally, In reality, ours was sent to labour camps, and those who survived after 10-15-year terms were only able to take blue-collar jobs. The economy slumped and suffered for decades as it turned out that the horrible bourgeoisie actually did not just "exploit the proletariat", but had actual knowledge of how to run the business, had trade connections, etc. etc., and this luck of capitalist know-how condemned socialist economies to falling enormously behind the West.

And I think you really underestimate cultural marxism. Because if marxism is evil as you rightfully claim, but cultural marxism is acceptable, then perhaps the argument can be made that even if nazism is evil, cultural nazism could nonetheless be acceptable? I think all of them should be outlawed as crime against humanity.

All offshoots of cultural marxism again only view everything in society as a power play: whites oppress blacks, men oppress women, straight people oppress LGBT people, etc etc. While this has certainly been true in certain periods of time, this is most certainly not true now, ano 2020. What do you think will happen if they have their dream revolution and remake the country according to their ideas? Do you think it will be any different from what we had?

I am getting tired of writing, so I'll take this up some other time. But I urge everyone who believes this sort of thing to push for conventions in Saudi Arabia and China. They should get out of their bubble in Manhattan/Northern California, etc. and see how people have it in the wider world. I think this should give some perspective


message 3: by Kalin (new)

Kalin | 767 comments Mod
"Cultural marxism" is not thing. Certainly not an ideology that anyone self-identities with. It's an antagonistic/hostile term mostly propagated by the American alt-right in recent years to define their enemy.


message 4: by Plamen (new)

Plamen Nenchev (vmro) | 95 comments Kalin wrote: ""Cultural marxism" is not thing. Certainly not an ideology that anyone self-identities with. It's an antagonistic/hostile term mostly propagated by the American alt-right in recent years to define ..."

Thank you for clarifying this, Kalin. It is indeed not a proper term, but it is easier to use it than spelling out critical race/feminist/gender theory - or any other cultural theory for that matter - which are all based on marxist ideas applied to areas other than socioeconomics.


message 5: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3841 comments Mod
An article that [1] claims "Cultural marxism" is real, [2] quotes and links (so one can read other views) that it isn't.
https://www.jamesgmartin.center/2019/...

The author is a lawyer not a culturologist/philosopher and is a Associated Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute - so is "right" (not "alt-right") in the US


message 6: by Kaa (new)

Kaa What's funny to me, Plamen, is that you clearly understand the idea of power dynamics and the importance of cultural context when it comes to the international system - the relationship between the US (both as a state and Americans as a individuals and a collective) to the rest of the world (other states and nations and peoples). Yet you completely dismiss the possibility that these power relations also operate between smaller groups of people within (and across) countries.

(And your use of the example of Saudi as an "alternative" to the US is especially interesting given the ongoing role of the US in maintaining the House of Saud in power and the role of anti-communism efforts in shaping that relationship.)


message 7: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (last edited Aug 03, 2020 01:54AM) (new)

Art | 2546 comments Mod
Plamen wrote: "They should get out of their bubble in Manhattan/Northern California, etc. and see how people have it in the wider world. I think this should give some perspective
..."


While I see the merit of this argument in general terms, over time I've grown to resent the attitude that prompts bringing it up.

Ideologies aside, some are just trying to live their lives in the locality they were born in. Being considered as something less than, suffering micro aggressions on a daily basis, does not inspire one to reflect on the state of the world. Nor in my opinion should it. And just because you were born or you live in a well-off neighborhood it does not put you in a bubble or nullifies your experience.

In the US if you have a job and your family does not have any debt hanging over them, it is most likely that you are in the top 10% of the wealthiest people in the world. Should that fact console you when you don't have insurance or dental and you end up owing $30k after a visit to a hospital?

Perspective is a luxury many people cannot afford.

Besides all that, more often than not it is a case of "damned if you do, damned if you don't", when it comes to the US. Many who take any interest in a global crisis get criticized and told to "get your house in order first" before meddling in somebody else's affairs.


message 8: by Plamen (new)

Plamen Nenchev (vmro) | 95 comments Oleksandr wrote: "An article that [1] claims "Cultural marxism" is real, [2] quotes and links (so one can read other views) that it isn't.
https://www.jamesgmartin.center/2019/...

The auth..."


The most recent studies I've come across is that 97% of all tenured positions in American universities are staffed by people with left convictions, 3% with conservative ones - almost exclusively in the economics departments ('cause obviously the real economy runs on real principles, not on dream ones). And a total of 20% of the faculty is marxist. All social studies are occupied entirely by people with left convictions.

I think cultural marxism is a very, very apt term. But it will be very difficult for it to actually gain currency if the humanities departments across North America do not want to accept it because of they are afraid of the negative connotations with marxism.


message 9: by Plamen (last edited Aug 03, 2020 02:45AM) (new)

Plamen Nenchev (vmro) | 95 comments Kaa wrote: "What's funny to me, Plamen, is that you clearly understand the idea of power dynamics and the importance of cultural context when it comes to the international system - the relationship between the..."

If you mean the convention sites, I can offer several 'cons:

a) China with
1) visit of Hong Kong during a demonstration and actual police violence
2) visit of an Uyghur concentration camp
3) walk of African American writers in a random second-tier city

b) Russia with
1) visit of a gay pride
2) visit of that mysterious place in Chechnya where gay people "vanish into thin air"

c) Somalia with
1) visit of a female genital mutilation ceremony
2) visit of the ritual stoning of an adulterous woman

d) DRC with
1) bushhunt of a African pygmies with (optional) cannibalism

This may put some things into perspective for some people. And so we exclude Saudi Arabia:)

I do acknowledge power dynamics, but I think neither cultural Marxism, nor its supporters realise it exists. Because if you give enough power and privilege to the "underprivileged class", it eventually becomes the new "privileged class", while the former privileged class becomes "underprivileged".

This is the pure and unadulterated evil of Marxism: it is not at all about freedom or equality, it is about replacing one set of people in power with another one.

Everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others


message 10: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new)

Art | 2546 comments Mod
Plamen wrote: "The most recent studies I've come across is that 97% of all tenured positions in American universities are staffed by people with left convictions,."

Just to clarify, 97% are registered democrats, the trend that has been an issue for over a decade now. Though how much of an issue it actually is a whole different question. Newspapers put their own spin on it, from favorable to uncharitable, depending on where on the spectrum of the political landscape they find themselves standing.

For those who are prone to panic, here is a direct quote from the study itself: The data show that there are virtually no classical liberals among Democratic professors

There was a similar study years ago, the results were similar, but I can see how in the recent years they could have exacerbated.

Among the key findings:

Faculty members were more likely to categorize themselves as moderate (46.1 percent) than liberal (44.1 percent). Conservatives trailed at 9.2 percent.


message 11: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3841 comments Mod
Ok, let's go back to the discussion

Plamen wrote: "I am not saying female authors are marxist, male are not. I say U.S. female authors are marxist, male one are absent. Do you see any white males nominated anywhere for anything? "

It is hard to evaluate who is Marxist, except for finding a self-identification. However, if under Marxist you mean left as this is used in the US politics, then such award-nominated male authors as China Miéville, Paolo Bacigalupi, Kim Stanley Robinson are all left. At the same time Lois McMaster Bujold is (or was) center-right, with a bit of libertarian.

As for nominations: I agree that after 2015 Rabid Puppies scandal, a lot of fandom, to show their disagreement with the abovementioned, when choosing between authors to nominate preferred people, who were underrepresented in earlier awards. At the same time, as I showed with detailed statistics on Hugos for 2019 and 2020 in top 16 (from which 6 nominees are chosen) there were men, e.g.

Best novel 2020: James S.A. Corey (8th, but next to lowest nominee because Ann Lockie decided not to run), Adrian Tchaikovsky (11th), Max Gladstone (14th), so while the list was still predominantly filled with women, there were men next to nomination.

Best novel 2019: Miller (7th), Bennett (8th), Polk (9th), Scalzi (10th) Robinson (16th)

Now to a more general claim about absence of "any white males nominated anywhere for anything" in "official" nominees, again let's limit with novels only.

Nebula 2019 (awarded in 2020) nominee Charles E. Gannon
Nebula 2018: Miller, Polk

The third most important US SFF award - Locus
best SF 2020: Gladstone, McDonald, Gareth L. Powell, Tade Thompson (ok, not white but male), Chuck Wendig - 5 of 10 nominees
best fantasy 2020 (where women are often stronger contestants): Guy Gavriel Kay, Michael Swanwick

So your claim about absence of "any white males nominated anywhere for anything" is clearly wrong, do you acknowledge that?


message 12: by Kaa (new)

Kaa My point was that it is impossible to understand social and political conditions in Saudi Arabia (or China, or Somalia, or the DRC) without understanding the role of Western European and then American colonialism and imperialism, which are necessary underpinnings of American-style capitalism.

Also, your argument seems to be "power exists, so we should just let those in power continue to be in power"? Because what you are saying is equally applicable to any attempt to remove existing power differentials.


message 13: by Kaa (new)

Kaa Re: American academia: a huge part of this is a self-perpetuating cycle of anti-intellectualism in the American right, likely combined with the fact that American "right" and "left" are far to the right of many other countries. And the continuing popularity of the Chicago school of economics in the US is less a matter of any proven efficacy and more a matter of political expediency. Democratic presidents are consistently better for the economy and for workers than Republicans.


message 14: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (last edited Aug 03, 2020 09:45AM) (new)

Art | 2546 comments Mod
A side note to my previous post.

I dug up some info on how democrats identify themselves in the recent years and the numbers are similar to what I quoted with a slight difference, the liberal graph had an uptick of about 7+ points, with conservatives losing at least 4 points and moderates making up the rest of the difference.


message 15: by Kristenelle (new)

Kristenelle | 326 comments I can't find it for the life of me now, but I remember reading a comment from Eva (I believe) saying that Bernie Sanders would be a right wing politician in Germany. Did I read that correctly? Because in the US he is considered radical leftist. That is how right leaning the whole country and political system is in the US right now.


message 16: by Kristenelle (new)

Kristenelle | 326 comments And well said, Kaa.


message 17: by Kaa (new)

Kaa Last point: the phrase "cultural marxism" is specifically associated with a far-right anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. That is why people don't want to use it. We can talk about Marxist influence on modern cultural theories without using that particular term, which is pejorative in ways I don't think anyone in this discussion intends.


message 18: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3841 comments Mod
Plamen wrote: "It is indeed not a proper term, but it is easier to use it than spelling out critical race/feminist/gender theory"

Bearing in mind that the term is loaded, it is still better to avoid it, maybe replacing with more neutral the Frankfurt School of critical theory or even shortening in this thread to just the critical theory.

@Kaa, great points! only about that:
And the continuing popularity of the Chicago school of economics in the US is less a matter of any proven efficacy and more a matter of political expediency.

The Chicago school ideas are originally made for developing nations and I as economist may cite a dozen studies that show that if correctly applied they do work and increase median incomes in a developing country. However, this is exactly because these nations say have awful property rights protection, so using them in the USA is a bit strange :)

A sidenote: originally I planned to post some stories about life in the USSR here (and ask Plamen do the same about Bulgaria), but the discussion went elsewhere. Is anyone interested in such glances?


message 19: by Kristenelle (new)

Kristenelle | 326 comments Oleksandr wrote: "A sidenote: originally I planned to post some stories about life in the USSR here (and ask Plamen do the same about Bulgaria), but the discussion went elsewhere. Is anyone interested in such glances?."

I'm very interested! My perspective is obviously as a US citizen and as such I have a feel for what is working and not working in the US. I have my theories and political leanings, but my theories are untested.

I've grown to greatly mistrust the history education I received as I keep learning more and more straight out lies I was taught. Communism (and all manner of socialism) was outright vilified. My background is coming from an extremely conservative Christian rural community. So I feel a lot of betrayal and mistrust towards capitalism. In my own country I'm watching as the wealthiest 1% own multiple private yachts and jets while normal people are literally dying because they can't afford medical care or drugs. I'm not trained in economics, but I can tell you that capitalism is not working. Allowing some citizens to have disgusting amounts of wealth while others die from lack of resources is morally reprehensible. So I would love to learn the pitfalls of socialism to balance out my understanding of the pitfalls of capitalism.


message 20: by Kalin (last edited Aug 03, 2020 09:50AM) (new)

Kalin | 767 comments Mod
Plamen wrote: "I think cultural marxism is a very, very apt term. But it will be very difficult for it to actually gain currency if the humanities departments across North America do not want to accept it because of they are afraid of the negative connotations with marxism. "

The term is inherently designed to carry negative connotations because marxism (along with "socialism") is a four-letter word in US politics, so it's a form of intended ideological character assassination, so to speak.

By choice I immersed myself in these denigrated lefty academic departments and studied critical race theory and gender studies, etc. There are certainly marxist influences, and I even read some Marx once or twice during my studies, but they are distinct from marxism (which is a method of political analysis) and I see no benefit to lumping them all together under a term that was created with no intention of contributing to the success of these fields.

I hold it in even less regard than I do the other rightwing culture war fixations like "PC," "SJW", "cancel culture", and so on. God forbid I start taking this -- or some crackpot shit like "white genocide" -- seriously.

And yes, Kaa, it would appear Plamen intends to use it pejoratively.

Art wrote: "Just to clarify, 97% are registered democrats, the trend that has been an issue for over a decade now."

Really? Considering that the reigning ideology in Democrat party politics is neoliberal capitalism, I find it pretty funny some consider 97% of academics being "leftist." The Democrats are far to the right of most centrist parties in other countries, so this really can't be any indication of whether these academics are marxists or anti-capitalists.


message 21: by Kalin (new)

Kalin | 767 comments Mod
Oleksandr wrote: "A sidenote: originally I planned to post some stories about life in the USSR here (and ask Plamen do the same about Bulgaria), but the discussion went elsewhere. Is anyone interested in such glances? "

I'm interested. The thread named seemed fairly broad so I figured it could accommodate multiple conversational tangents and directions.

I'd like to clearly state again (I did it in a more roundabout way in the other thread) that nothing I say is intended to endorse totalitarian bolshevik, leninists, or maoist dictatorships or their many, many crimes against humanity. They are not a political inspiration to me. It's entirely consistent to believe, like Kristen mentioned and like I do, that capitalism is not working, and at the same time point to the USSR and say "that's not the brighter alternative, or indeed the only alternative."


message 22: by Kristenelle (new)

Kristenelle | 326 comments Kalin wrote: "I'd like to clearly state again (I did it in a more roundabout way in the other thread) that nothing I say is intended to endorse totalitarian bolshevik, leninists, or maoist dictatorships or their many, many crimes against humanity. They are not a political inspiration to me. It's entirely consistent to believe, like Kristen mentioned and like I do, that capitalism is not working, and at the same time point to the USSR and say "that's not the brighter alternative, or indeed the only alternative."."

Seconded (thirded?). I am 100% against totalitarian regimes, dictatorships, and infringement on human rights.

I believe there are more choices than cut-throat, free market capitalism and totalitarian, denial-of-the-individual communism.

And I'll add that I personally agree with what Plamen alluded to earlier about violent revolutions not really fixing problems but rather replacing oppressive regimes with merely a different oppressive regime. How to actually get a better society in place for everyone is a question that is really interesting to me. The best answer I have so far is to baby step it and just try to elect better and better politicians/policies.


message 23: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (last edited Aug 03, 2020 10:33AM) (new)

Art | 2546 comments Mod
Kalin wrote: "Really? Considering that the reigning ideology in Democrat party politics is neoliberal capitalism, I find it pretty funny some consider 97% of academics being "leftist." The Democrats are far to the right of most centrist parties in other countries, so this really can't be any indication of whether these academics are marxists or anti-capitalists.."

And that is why I felt the need to clarify that, furthermore following it up with more stats in a later post. Plamen's omission of the facts about the study may not be intentional, but his painting it leftist seemed unnecessary.

Did you misunderstand my post or am I misunderstanding the point you are trying to make?


message 24: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (last edited Aug 03, 2020 11:17AM) (new)

Art | 2546 comments Mod
Kalin wrote: " It's entirely consistent to believe, like Kristen mentioned and like I do, that capitalism is not working, and at the same time point to the USSR and say "that's not the brighter alternative, or indeed the only alternative.""

I absolutely agree that that is a fair description of the present day western world. Capitalism does keep falling in more than one way and it only keeps snowballing at this point.

Regulation may even it out, but that is the dark side of the capitalism, there will be no regulations unless it brings in revenue or if the pressure from within is strong enough. Just looking at it from a historical point of view, the US is still such fighting the same battles from all the way back in the 60s. The only way we got anywhere with global warming is because it is profitable, but as long as the old money can hold on to their mines, fracking and oil, any new regulations with be opposed.

The other point I would like to make is that a big chunk of the evils that were perpetrated by the socialist/communist regimes were possible only due to the limited information flow.

Any quasi-socialist program is unlikely to get corrupted in this day and age because of the information flow and its accompanying transparency. While we still live in the age of misinformation, it will never be nowhere near the level of the propaganda and secrecy that unfailingly accompanied those failing regimes (no pun intended) .

P.s. before anyone else will bring up China in terms of propaganda, please don't. I get it, but it is a relic they carry from them old days/old ways.


message 25: by Antti (new)

Antti Värtö (andekn) | 818 comments Mod
Kristen wrote: "I believe there are more choices than cut-throat, free market capitalism and totalitarian, denial-of-the-individual communism."

Indeed there are! I've sometimes wondered why every developed nation doesn't simply transition to Nordic style welfare state with free markets, since that seems to combine the best aspects of socialism and capitalism. But yes, I know: every nation is different, with different cultures and histories.

And I may be a bit biased, living in one of those Nordic countries myself: perhaps not everyone finds them so great.


message 26: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3841 comments Mod
Yes, I agree that the dichotomy is not between cut-throat, free market capitalism and totalitarian, denial-of-the-individual communism. However, some of the issues are not due to individual evilness of a particular ruler but in incentives, about which I'll do a separate post.

First of all for a disclosure, as is now correctly noted "know your privilege": I was born and grew in Kyiv (Kiev) - capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, the 2nd largest in terms of GDP after Russia (Russian SFSR) and the city was 3rd best supplied by goods after Moscow and Leningrad. My parents were the 1st generation of white collars with higher education. Moreover, I'm cis-male which also helps.

All this means that I wasn't in a collective farm, which you cannot leave (it was even called as new serfdom) or an industrial mono-town (like US company towns in the 19th century), or a smaller town with much greater commodity deficit (by the mid-80s such deficits in the majority of urban areas included sugar, flour, meat, milk products, etc)


message 27: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3841 comments Mod
Propaganda trauma

Each year the first lesson in all schools after summer break was "the peace lesson", where teachers tell about how happy we should be that we live in the USSR, how people suffer in other countries. From the first grade we knew about "lynching of negroes" in the USA, about homeless and unemployed and that is all is due to capital and military that siphon all funds to make more weapons to threaten and maybe attack us, peacelovers. All this is not too bad, I guess some similar talks about "land of the free" and Reds that want to take your cow and home can be found in the 50-60s USA (I doubt about the 80s)

Now comes an ugly part, the story of "We are peaceful, but will overcome any enemy", with example of the WW2, or more precisely, the Great Patriotic War, a term to describe the conflict fought during the period from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945 along the many fronts of the Eastern Front of World War II. The part where the USSR split Poland with Nazi Germany and captured Baltic states as well as supplied fuel and food that possibly decided Germany's win in France were absent from the history. The teacher asks "raise hands everyone, whose grandparent or more was killed during the WW2 - there is a forest of raised hands (losses were enormous) and I, whose both grandfathers survived (both were solders, one got a shell fragment in the leg that ought to be amputated, another went thru the whole war) was shamed that they haven't died! I was wishing at at least someone in my direct family died to show everyone that I'm not an outlier!

Also from ages like 11-12 year old, when pupils were taken to pioneers (on a surface an organization close to boy scouts) each group adopted one of "young heroes" who died during WW2 or (less often) the civil war of 1917-1920 and everyone took an oath to be not worse when (it was more when that if in our minds) a new war with the capitalist come. A widely discussed topic was that we have to withstand tortures (they were quite colorfully described to us, preteens!) and there were cases when kids asked other to beat them or pull needles behind their fingernails to "train". We were conditioned from an early age that it is our duty to die for the motherland


message 28: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (last edited Aug 04, 2020 07:17AM) (new)

Art | 2546 comments Mod
Oleksandr wrote: "Also from ages like 11-12 year old, when pupils were taken to pioneers (on a surface an organization close to boy scouts) .."

While in reality was closer to Hitler youth in terms of the intensity and brainwashing.

Before pioneers there was another tier for younger children, called the Octobrists if I remember correctly. Just to make sure that you railroad them towards the communist party from early on.

Thanks for the post, Z.


message 29: by Kristenelle (last edited Aug 04, 2020 10:19AM) (new)

Kristenelle | 326 comments Antti wrote: "Indeed there are! I've sometimes wondered why every developed nation doesn't simply transition to Nordic style welfare state with free markets, since that seems to combine the best aspects of socialism and capitalism. But yes, I know: every nation is different, with different cultures and histories.
"


I wonder that too! Seriously, it seems like Scandinavia has it figured out and people are really happy. I'm very jealous. You are from Finland, right? Do you have any insights into how you guys ended up in such a great place?


message 30: by Kristenelle (new)

Kristenelle | 326 comments Oleksandr wrote: "Propaganda trauma

Each year the first lesson in all schools after summer break was "the peace lesson", where teachers tell about how happy we should be that we live in the USSR, how people suffer ..."


Thanks so much for sharing! It is fascinating to hear the perspective of someone who actually lived as part of the USSR as opposed to hearing it from anti-communist propaganda. I worked at a resort one summer with some young women from Ukraine who told me that Ukrainians don't feel like they won the war (I believe they were referencing WWII). And following their social media leads me to believe they are Trump supporters. Do you feel that is pretty typical of Ukrainian sentiment...kind of a reaction against the USSR and communism?


message 31: by Antti (last edited Aug 04, 2020 12:53PM) (new)

Antti Värtö (andekn) | 818 comments Mod
Kristen wrote: "You are from Finland, right? Do you have any insights into how you guys ended up in such a great place?"

There were many reasons: one of them was the fear of the Soviet-style revolution. Both the right and the moderate left were both worried that communist ideas could spread among the working class if poverty became too common, especially considering that the Soviet Union right next door was actively promoting communism and funding communist movements.

Therefore they had a political incentive to redistribute wealth to the lower classes. Even the greediest capitalist can see that paying higher taxes is preferable to a revolution or a civil war.

(Well, at least in the 50's and the 60's they could).

Sweden was the first to experiment with welfare state, and since the results seemed so positive, other Nordic countries emboldened to try similar policies. Although these experiments weren't restricted to Scandinavia: in the 60's and 70's the idea of welfare state was really common in the Western world. IIRC even the Nixon administration seriously considered implementing universal basic income!

I'm actually not quite sure why the Nordic-style welfare state didn't spread further, but I'd expect the explanation to be some combination of differences in political systems, institutions, societal power balances and socio-cultural mores.


message 32: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new)

Art | 2546 comments Mod
Ideologies and politics aside, there's a lot to say about the upbringing and social norms. Cultural differences between neighboring countries, let alone those located on different continents, may be subtle yet strong enough to define trends, lifestyles, ambitions and even everyday life.

Some cultures reward psychopaths for stepping over dead bodies on the way to their cushy CEO positions. Some behaviors are strongly embedded in the psyche from an early age. There are also major differences in how children are treated in different cultures, the lengths adults go to explain and instruct a child during its upbringing.


message 33: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3841 comments Mod
Kristen wrote: "I worked at a resort one summer with some young women from Ukraine who told me that Ukrainians don't feel like they won the war (I believe they were referencing WWII). And following their social media leads me to believe they are Trump supporters. Do you feel that is pretty typical of Ukrainian sentiment...kind of a reaction against the USSR and communism?."

re: not winning the WW2 qite likely she refers to Ukrainian underground in Poland before 1939, which disagreed with polonization. A lot of Poles dreamt about resurrecting the great Poland from the sea to the sea - meaning Baltic and Black seas and in 1920-1939 they controlled several Ukrainians and Belarus populated territories, which Stalin formally "reunited" with Belarus and Ukraine, when he divided Poland with Hitler. The Soviet army was initially welcomed by a large share of population (part propaganda success, part not well-thought policies of Poles on these territories). However, with Soviets came repressions, and a lot of initial supporters decided they were wrong (just an example - on these territories was an underground Ukrainian communist party - instead of getting positions under new regime they were almost all killed by the Soviets). Thus when Nazi came in 1941 they were initially also welcomed as liberators (this is overstressed by Russian propaganda now as 'proof' that Ukrainians are Nazi). Among supporters were Ukrainian nationalists. Nazi weren't interested is Ukraine as an independent (even if closely allied) state, so in terms of weeks nationalists were either imprisoned or returned to the underground. the later part started a guerrilla war against Nazi and when in 1944 Soviets came - against them as well (up to 1950). So there is no victory, there is one occupation exchanged for another.

re:Trump. I don't know any definite supporter of Trump here, but this can be my bias, plus (surprise!) Trump is not a hot topic in most my local communications. Political elite of Ukraine strongly supported Hillary during the elections, e.g. it was from our prosecutors the US got data that Paul Manafort (Chairman of Donald Trump's 2016 campaign) was accused. Therefore, after the win it was actually quite embarrassing because Trump didn't want to meet with our president. At the same time, if we look only at results, the accusation that Trump has ties with Russia and personally Putin, allowed for two-party anti-Russian majority in congress, which is helping Ukraine.


message 34: by Plamen (new)

Plamen Nenchev (vmro) | 95 comments Oleksandr wrote: "Ok, let's go back to the discussion

Plamen wrote: "I am not saying female authors are marxist, male are not. I say U.S. female authors are marxist, male one are absent. Do you see any white males ..."


C.L. Polk is a queer black woman, not a white male. Miller is a gay man and fits the minority criterion. The only one who doesn't is Gannon. I don't see anyone else who has been shortlisted. So I am basically correct, with one exception.

The confusion stems from the meaning you and I impart to "nominate" - I mean shortlist, you mean longlist.


message 35: by Plamen (new)

Plamen Nenchev (vmro) | 95 comments Art wrote: "Plamen wrote: "The most recent studies I've come across is that 97% of all tenured positions in American universities are staffed by people with left convictions,."

Just to clarify, 97% are regist..."


Thank you for the exact figures, Art. The ones I quoted are from Douglas Murray, who is unlikely to be making anything up, but since I do not have an original source, let's stick with yours, they are close enough anyway. Also, I think it is highly unlikely for anyone conservative to be teaching feminist studies, gender studies or critical race theory, so the 100% figure should be correct.


message 36: by Plamen (new)

Plamen Nenchev (vmro) | 95 comments Kristen wrote: "I can't find it for the life of me now, but I remember reading a comment from Eva (I believe) saying that Bernie Sanders would be a right wing politician in Germany. Did I read that correctly? Beca..."

Let me answer that. From a European point of view, at the moment, the USA has a really warped political system that leans ultra-right economically and way too left in many other aspects.

I am not sure if Sanders will be far-right in Germany, I doubt it, but he can certainly be a Christian Democrat (Merkel's party). In fact, he is one of a very American politicians, who would overall be electable in Europe.

- I don't believe any Republican can ever be elected in any country in Europe. They will not even be able to pass the electoral threshold. Advocating lack of universal health or pension insurance or lack of gun control is inconceivable.

- The same applies to AOC and the radicals in the Democratic party. Running on an open immigration policy is inconceivable.

- Most American social/racial justice rhetoric will be frowned upon/dismissed outright.

- Even far-right/far-left parties in Europe might look centrist in the USA, apart from the question of immigration where even Trump's policy (policy, not rhetoric) will be considered mild.


message 37: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3841 comments Mod
Plamen wrote: "C.L. Polk is a queer black woman, not a white male. Miller is a gay man and fits the minority criterion. The only one who doesn't is Gannon. I don't see anyone else who has been shortlisted. So I am basically correct, with one exception."

About Polk I was wrong (I've read her debut novel, where the protagonist is a white gay, so I assumed it is an identity of the author). I rarely if ever check who is an author. And Miller is still a white male but ok, I see your point.

However, do you think that in say 2002, where Nebula was 4 men to 2 women (2019 - 5 women to 1 man) is was just unequal, but from another side?


message 38: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3841 comments Mod
To add to Plamen's answer about US/Europe differences: to a large extent the outcome depends on election system. In most of EU states there is a proportional system, so that a party with just 5% can enter the parliament. This allows for much greater spectre - say in Germany there are neo-Nazi in Bundestag (ALTERNATIVE FÜR DEUTSCHLAND) and far left (totalitarian communist style, I forgot the name)

Another difference is that two major topics of dissent in the US, free higher education and free healthcare are more norm that exception in most of the EU. At the same time, as Plamen noted immigration issue is different - after all the US in self-proclaimed country built by immigrants, while in the EU there are nation states


message 39: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3841 comments Mod
Re: Nordic welfare state. I was interested in the topic and recently read Economic History of Sweden and what is striking (and different from usual suggestions of the left) that in most cases there were agreements between employers and employees, which were reached outside the state and not following any state-issued regulations


message 40: by Kristenelle (new)

Kristenelle | 326 comments This is all very interesting. I think there might be a misunderstanding of US immigration policy though. We may be a nation of immigrants, yes, but there has always been a history of hatred towards immigrants. Every new immigrant group has been discriminated against until they get established and achieve a place of relative power. Right now there is vehement hatred towards Mexican and other brown immigrants. Some of it is rhetoric, yes, like Trump calling Mexicans rapists and criminals. But what is actually, literally happening is people coming here and seeking asylum are being held in concentration camps and separated from their children. And then those children are being "lost" and many haven't been able to be reunited with their parents. Just recently I saw a headline where parents who had babies here are having to choose whether to bring their children with them when they are deported or leave them behind. And ICE has been on steroids and doing tons of surprise raids and such. Remember the Syrian refugees? The US didn't want any. I don't know how many we ended up taking, but I know Germany, for instance, took in way more. So it doesn't make sense to me that US immigration policy is considered too lax to the average European nation. Maybe someone can clarify that for me?


message 41: by Kristenelle (new)

Kristenelle | 326 comments Art wrote: "Ideologies and politics aside, there's a lot to say about the upbringing and social norms. Cultural differences between neighboring countries, let alone those located on different continents, may b..."

Yes, I think you are right. These things all have an invisible, yet significant impact. I do consider the way I'm raising my children to be revolutionary. In the US it is pretty common to treat children like they don't matter and are merely property. Children are raised with punishments and shame. So most people start off their adulthood with a load of trauma. I assumed it was the same everywhere, but I can imagine there would be a substantial cultural difference if it were different.


message 42: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (last edited Aug 05, 2020 08:45AM) (new)

Art | 2546 comments Mod
Kristen wrote: "So it doesn't make sense to me that US immigration policy is considered too lax to the average European nation. Maybe someone can clarify that for me?..."

I agree Kristen, it doesn't make any sense.

This does need to include a caveat or two and a whole lot of explanation. The only reason the US is among the leaders in immigration is solely because of the Mexican border and is historically very active illegal migration through it. Since Trump became the president that trend has changed (not because of his policies, just because nobody wants to live in a country who elected a (alledged) psychopath).

Here are some fun facts:

Compared with other countries receiving immigrants, the share of the U.S. population that is foreign born is modest. About one-in-seven people living in the United States (14%) were born in other countries, a near-historic record. By way of comparison, about one-in-five people in Canada (22%) are foreign born. In Australia, it’s nearly three-in-ten people (28%). And in some Persian Gulf countries such as Qatar (75%) and United Arab Emirates (88%), the great majority of their resident populations are immigrants, many who have been actively recruited as foreign labor.

And:

The U.S. immigrant population is not as diverse in origin as those of other countries. Even though the U.S. has immigrants from nearly every country of the world, it doesn’t have the most diverse pool of immigrants. The U.S. has a score of 91 on a 1-to-100 diversity index. By comparison, Denmark and the UK have some of the highest immigrant diversity scores (both 97), followed by Canada at 96. Roughly one-in-four (26%) immigrants in the U.S. come from just one country, Mexico. In several other destination countries (mainly in Europe), immigrants are not as concentrated from a single country or handful of them.

Not to mention the hostility every immigrant is treated with. The scrutiny they undergo even when doing everything by the book. In the EU if you do everything legally it is as way as walking into an office and waiting in a queue. In the US they still have dated laws which would include cavity search if they could get away with.

Not to mention the constant institutionalized discrimination, the effects of which can be seen in the COVID stimulus check scandal.


message 43: by Kaa (new)

Kaa I think another important aspect of US politics is how closely right-wing economic ideology is often connected with evangelical Christian ideology. There is a weird fusion of prosperity doctrine with Protestant work ethic and an association between suffering and moral cleansing that leads to a strict economic morality system (and also connects to Kristen's point about how children are treated):
1. People who are wealthy are wealthy because they are good and therefore are automatically deserving of that wealth
2. People who are not wealthy can earn wealth by being good - i.e. by working hard - and then they will get the wealth they deserve
3. People who are not wealthy and don't get wealthy must by definition be bad, which means they are probably lazy
4. Taking money from people who are wealthy and giving it to people who are not wealthy is always unfair to everyone, because wealthy people deserve all of their money and not-wealthy people deserve the opportunity to work hard so they can become good
This is a bit exaggerated and obviously not what everyone on the right believes, but it is common. Unfortunately, it gets in the way of both government social programs and of more equitable relationships between companies and workers - companies are inherently good, but workers have to earn goodness by working, so workers must be grateful to companies for jobs but companies do not have to be grateful to workers for their labor or for purchasing their products.

Religious fundamentalism also ties into the question of political affiliation in academics. Scientists are more conservative than humanities profs in a lot of ways, but they are not likely to be affiliated with a party that questions evolution and thinks it's possible that the earth is only a few thousand years old.


message 44: by Necot (new)

Necot I don't know in detail the situation of immigration in the USA, but I would not say that the current immigration policies in Western Europe (in the EU to be more exact) are stricter. But the situation is quite complex and every country has different regulations.

The mindset of the population is generally oriented toward an open-border-policy, which includes also illegal immigration. With so much consent from the general population, such policies have been (partially) adopted by many mainstream parties and have led to an uncontrolled influx of extra-european migrants and all related issues.
Border controls have become much stricter after the immigration surge of 2015 related to the Syrian civil war, since by then it was clear that no country in the EU was able to manage such a large number of extra-european immigrants. All the problems that arose from such a large inflow of people, and the inability of the governments to address the issue, have led to a sharp growth of consent for righ-wing anti-immigration parties, which in turn have led the mainstream parties to adopt more rigid border control.
Nevertheless, the arrivals of illegal immigrants (especially from the coasts of north Africa to Italy) still number in the thousands every week.

One also has to mention the hypocrisy of many left-leaning parties, which still call for open borders for virtue signalling while at the same time they have enforced stronger border control within the Schengen area, expelling illegal immigrants to the bordering countries.

Perplexing enough, coming legally in the EU as a high-educated immigrant from an extra-european country is not so easy as one would expect and takes quite some time and money.


message 45: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3841 comments Mod
What you Kaa are describing is actually views based on extremely influential work by Max Weber The Protestant Ethic & the spirit of capitalism. In short it states that the Reformation profoundly affected the view of work, dignifying even the most mundane professions as adding to the common good and thus blessed by God, as much as any "sacred" calling. A common illustration is that of a cobbler, hunched over his work, who devotes his entire effort to the praise of God.

Protestants said: there is no middle man between you and the God, therefore no one can say this is God-blessed and that isn't. But people still need to know, therefore any work were you have success (e.g. growth of your wealth) is blessed. So, according to this concept, wealthy are such because god wills it, Deus Velt :)


message 46: by Kaa (new)

Kaa Thanks, Oleksandr! I had no idea about the background of several of these ideas that I see as being so ascendant in current US economic politics. Do you have any idea why these religious ideas have been so persistent and extreme in the US when they seem to have been moderated in northern European Protestant countries?


message 47: by Kaa (last edited Aug 05, 2020 09:25AM) (new)

Kaa Necot wrote: "One also has to mention the hypocrisy of many left-leaning parties..."

This is definitely something one has to account for in the US as well - AOC and others on the left end of the Democratic party may be calling for open borders, but this is miles and miles away from the actual policy of the party. Trump exaggerates this (and ignores the major qualitative differences) to defend his policies, but it is true that Obama's administration deported over two million people.


message 48: by Kristenelle (new)

Kristenelle | 326 comments Kaa wrote: "I think another important aspect of US politics is how closely right-wing economic ideology is often connected with evangelical Christian ideology. There is a weird fusion of prosperity doctrine wi..."

Yes, very well said.

Kaa and Z: This philosophy got its start in the US from the Puritans and the "Puritan work ethic." But, whew, the evangelicals have really run with it. And I think that the average US American doesn't actually think this out loud as it were, but it is a subconscious belief.


message 49: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3841 comments Mod
Necot wrote: "Border controls have become much stricter after the immigration surge of 2015 related to the Syrian civil war, since by then it was clear that no country in the EU was able to manage such a large number of extra-european immigrants. All the problems that arose from such a large inflow of people"

Some time ago I made calculations, and the whole EU (300mn people) took 0.5mn of Syrians, while the lone Turkey with lower GDP etc, took IIRC 3mn!


message 50: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3841 comments Mod
Kaa wrote: "Do you have any idea why these religious ideas have been so persistent and extreme in the US when they seem to have been moderated in northern European Protestant countries?

This is only my guess but I think that initial "religious freedom" (in quotes because it chiefly concerned the Christianity, not all religions) led to migration of passionaries to the colonies, why people with less ardent faith stayed. Plus right now the share of people who say they are atheists in the Northern Europe is quite high, notable higher than in the US. I guess there has been no POTUS who said that he is an atheist, right?


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