Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 35

Thread: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

  1. #1
    Formerly Wigferth Ironwall Senior Member Philippus Flavius Homovallumus's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Isca
    Posts
    13,225

    Default What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Disclaimer #1: I have had a bit to drink, including a tequila slammer. I also had an unpleasant interaction with a friend of my sister's.

    Disclaimer #2: I have been thinking about this topic for a while and it's worth saying that Furunculus has voiced the sentiments I am about to expound in more... succinct... form.

    The Backroom is a good place to come to debate with other knowledgeable and intelligent people on a given topic. Though debate we can come to a greater appreciation of the opposition's viewpoint and our share humanity. The fact that someone does not agree with your view is not, in itself, a moral failing and this truism is encapsulated in the unofficial motto of the Backroom - "Play the ball, not the man". The point is that if your disagree with someone you should attack their argument and engage in dialogue - not attack them personally and interpret a failure to recognise the perceived merits of your argument as a character fault. All else aside, this view absolves you of any responsibility to convince your interlocutor.

    You are a fallible human being, you can be wrong and you can also be right but present a bad argument - at all times you should be mindful of this.

    Recently, I feel that certain members have been focusing on actually convincing their perceived opponents of their view, or of tripping them up and exposing them to ridicule. Not only should such behaviours be anathema to the Backroom, but it is futile. The average IQ of a Backroom poster is significantly above average and average now is mid-to-late 30's. Nobody here has come to their political or philosophical viewpoint without due consideration.

    At the end of the day, if you're focusing your energy on trying to change people's minds you will disappoint not only yourself but your interlocutors and instead of an intellectually profitable experience participation becomes a trial for all involved.

    Put simply, we should also spend less time trying to wear each other down and more time trying to understand each other an individuals.
    Last edited by Philippus Flavius Homovallumus; 10-27-2019 at 03:50.
    "If it wears trousers generally I don't pay attention."

    Members thankful for this post (2):



  2. #2
    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Fortress of the Mountains
    Posts
    10,759

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Philippus, while I mostly agree with your sentiments, it's important to consider that tempers do flare up when discussing politics. And they flare up quickly. Any hard hitting attacks will be just as forcefully dealt with, be assured of that, but we cannot act as thought police for the Backroom . We're all here to debate, discuss and we get aggrieved sometimes. Correct observation you make, hence why I would like to mention that although a leeway is given, any strong reactions will be taken care of.

    Speak softly and carry a big stick.

    Also, I'm glad it was a fruitful night.
    Ja mata, TosaInu. You will forever be remembered.

    Proud

    Been to: :

    Swords Made of Letters - 1938. The war is looming - and Alexandre Reythier does not have much time left to protect his country.

  3. #3
    Formerly Wigferth Ironwall Senior Member Philippus Flavius Homovallumus's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Isca
    Posts
    13,225

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Quote Originally Posted by edyzmedieval View Post
    Philippus, while I mostly agree with your sentiments, it's important to consider that tempers do flare up when discussing politics. And they flare up quickly. Any hard hitting attacks will be just as forcefully dealt with, be assured of that, but we cannot act as thought police for the Backroom . We're all here to debate, discuss and we get aggrieved sometimes. Correct observation you make, hence why I would like to mention that although a leeway is given, any strong reactions will be taken care of.

    Speak softly and carry a big stick.

    Also, I'm glad it was a fruitful night.

    Ah, it was not a fruitful night - I edited the post.

    I got into a fight with a (male) friend of my sister over something as banal as whether or not people are actually tabula raza - I don't believe they are - but according to him that makes me a closed minded a elitist person simply because I have a belief he doesn't agree with.

    This is something we see increasingly in the backroom from all sides - disagreement is taken to be indicative of a moral fault.
    "If it wears trousers generally I don't pay attention."


  4. #4
    Ni dieu ni maître! Senior Member a completely inoffensive name's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    I live on the org, feeding off of what few thanks are tossed at my posts. It is up to you to make sure I don't starve.
    Posts
    8,414
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Quote Originally Posted by Philippus Flavius Homovallumus View Post
    Nobody here has come to their political or philosophical viewpoint without due consideration.
    That's where you are wrong son. Send me a Vox video and I'll believe it.
    In all these papers we see a love of honest work, an aversion to shams, a caution in the enunciation of conclusions, a distrust of rash generalizations and speculations based on uncertain premises. He was never anxious to add one more guess on doubtful matters in the hope of hitting the truth, or what might pass as such for a time, but was always ready to take infinite pains in the most careful testing of every theory. With these qualities was united a modesty which forbade the pushing of his own claims and desired no reputation except the unsought tribute of competent judges.

    Member thankful for this post:



  5. #5
    Praefectus Fabrum Senior Member Anime BlackJack Champion, Flash Poker Champion, Word Up Champion, Shape Game Champion, Snake Shooter Champion, Fishwater Challenge Champion, Rocket Racer MX Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion, Cub Shoot 2 Champion, My House Is Bigger Than Your House Champion, Funky Pong Champion, Cutie Quake Champion, Fling The Cow Champion, Tiger Punch Champion, Virus Champion, Solitaire Champion, Worm Race Champion, Slack Man Champion, Japanese Baseball Champion, Rope Walker Champion, Penguin Pass Champion, Skate Park Champion, Super Mario Mushroom Champion, Watch Out Champion, Lawn Pac Champion, Weapons Of Mass Destruction Champion, Skate Boarder Champion, Lane Bowling Champion, Bugz Champion, Makai Grand Prix 2 Champion, White Van Man Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, BlackJack Champion, Stans Ski Jumping Champion, Smaugs Treasure Champion, Sofa Longjump Champion Seamus Fermanagh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Latibulm mali regis in muris.
    Posts
    10,990

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Had a colleague who believed in the tabula raza thingee. Never could agree with her, though I am very much a believer in the importance of culture. However, while much of who we are is malleable, there are certain physical dispositions that are encoded in our DNA sequencing that can and do influence how we will develop. Your sister's friend is wrong. If what he really meant is that much/most of how we develop is a culturally influenced combination of factors that is not entirely fixed in advance then he would be correct.

    Monty wears me down sometimes, and Pan about the Brexit. Mostly I enjoy the interplay.
    "The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market. And that's why it's so essential to preserving individual freedom.” -- Milton Friedman

    "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." -- H. L. Mencken

    Member thankful for this post:



  6. #6
    Member Member Gilrandir's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Ukraine
    Posts
    3,804

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Quote Originally Posted by Philippus Flavius Homovallumus View Post
    Disclaimer #1: I have had a bit to drink, including a tequila slammer. I also had an unpleasant interaction with a friend of my sister's.

    Disclaimer #2: I have been thinking about this topic for a while and it's worth saying that Furunculus has voiced the sentiments I am about to expound in more... succinct... form.

    The Backroom is a good place to come to debate with other knowledgeable and intelligent people on a given topic. Though debate we can come to a greater appreciation of the opposition's viewpoint and our share humanity. The fact that someone does not agree with your view is not, in itself, a moral failing and this truism is encapsulated in the unofficial motto of the Backroom - "Play the ball, not the man". The point is that if your disagree with someone you should attack their argument and engage in dialogue - not attack them personally and interpret a failure to recognise the perceived merits of your argument as a character fault. All else aside, this view absolves you of any responsibility to convince your interlocutor.

    You are a fallible human being, you can be wrong and you can also be right but present a bad argument - at all times you should be mindful of this.

    Recently, I feel that certain members have been focusing on actually convincing their perceived opponents of their view, or of tripping them up and exposing them to ridicule. Not only should such behaviours be anathema to the Backroom, but it is futile. The average IQ of a Backroom poster is significantly above average and average now is mid-to-late 30's. Nobody here has come to their political or philosophical viewpoint without due consideration.

    At the end of the day, if you're focusing your energy on trying to change people's minds you will disappoint not only yourself but your interlocutors and instead of an intellectually profitable experience participation becomes a trial for all involved.

    Put simply, we should also spend less time trying to wear each other down and more time trying to understand each other an individuals.
    So basically you claim that all discussions here are just milling the wind. I agree on that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Suraknar View Post
    The article exists for a reason yes, I did not write it...

    Member thankful for this post:



  7. #7

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Quote Originally Posted by Philippus Flavius Homovallumus View Post
    This is something we see increasingly in the backroom from all sides - disagreement is taken to be indicative of a moral fault.
    That's not generally what I'm doing though, and as an aside I hope you recognize that sometimes disagreement can be indicative of a moral fault.

    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus Fermanagh View Post
    Monty wears me down sometimes, and Pan about the Brexit. Mostly I enjoy the interplay.
    I understand the ideal is not to try to "persuade" anyone of anything but leave them to independently come to a similar conclusion indirectly. Call it a limitation. I've never been able to formulate a gentle process to introduce the assertion that available evidence significantly undermines one's assumptions or interpretations. Sorry.
    Vitiate Man.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Member thankful for this post:



  8. #8
    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    7,243

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus Fermanagh View Post
    Had a colleague who believed in the tabula raza thingee. Never could agree with her, though I am very much a believer in the importance of culture. However, while much of who we are is malleable, there are certain physical dispositions that are encoded in our DNA sequencing that can and do influence how we will develop. Your sister's friend is wrong. If what he really meant is that much/most of how we develop is a culturally influenced combination of factors that is not entirely fixed in advance then he would be correct.

    Monty wears me down sometimes, and Pan about the Brexit. Mostly I enjoy the interplay.
    I'm extremely willing to be open and malleable, if the debate is evidence based and the conclusion gradual and reversible. Where this is no longer so, I am not prepared to be malleable. If one's argument is simply that you won and therefore I should suck it up, and you don't care about the consequences, I'm not going to bend and accept your point of view. Brexit is a parallel of the Confederate split from the Union. There was polarisation in that debate, and so there is in Brexit. Same with the eventual break up of the UK resulting from Brexit (see the Scottish debates a few years ago). A super-majority of the UK's population now reckon the Brexit referendum should never have been held in the first place.

  9. #9
    BrownWings: AirViceMarshall Senior Member Furunculus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Forever adrift
    Posts
    5,541

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Good post, PFH.

    My view on this is that in matters of political preference, rarely can a person be said to be right or wrong in moral terms:
    There is an overton window here, and it is pretty wide!

    There is nothing incorrect or immoral in taking a different view to me on contentious issues.
    There is absolutely everything right in taking a nuanced view at the wider argument, although the way debate plays out here in setting traps - and looking to trip people up - it is often deeply unrewarding to 'reveal' and explain that nuance when the easier life of the purist beckons.

    There is of course space outside this 'overton' window, where people move beyond an acceptable moral viewpoint, but too often here we see this attempt to close down debate in seeking to brand someone else's view as beyond the pale. Outside that window of acceptability.

    It is also possible to be factually wrong.
    Both on the details of the evidence, and on its political consequence as something that will be judged by wider society.
    Here there is a perhaps a cultural difference in how we interpret that latter point depending on where we are from.

    And this difference is most easily seen when discussion crosses over the divide between issues and people from adversarial and consensual political systems:
    When weighing the political consequence of something, it is easy for US/UK voices to write off an idea as impossible when in fact that idea is situated in a political system that makes space and legitimises wildly different ideas. e.g. the idea of a 'successful' Corybnite part in most european countries would be normal and of no particular mention.
    When weighing the political consequence of something, it is easy for european voices to accept an idea as normal when in fact that idea is situated in a political system that delegitimises radical ideological niches. e.g. the idea of a 'successful' Corybnite party in the UK is difficult to comprehend, as he polarises opinion in a way that cannot gather widespread support.
    This problem can equally happen within a country too, where someone looks at the other system and wants it here, and then makes domestic judgement in a political framework that doesn't really exist.

    This makes it easy for us to misunderstand each other, particularly when we're more interested in looking for mistakes from the other that we can use to our advantage, than accepting that difference motivations that can lead to different political choices.
    Last edited by Furunculus; 10-27-2019 at 08:41.
    Furunculus Maneuver: Adopt a highly logical position on a controversial subject where you cannot disagree with the merits of the proposal, only disagree with an opinion based on fundamental values. - Beskar

  10. #10
    Member Member Gilrandir's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Ukraine
    Posts
    3,804

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Brits managed to drag their Brexit into the thread on usefulness of backroom debates. Good God! Will you ever stop?
    Quote Originally Posted by Suraknar View Post
    The article exists for a reason yes, I did not write it...

    Members thankful for this post (4):



  11. #11
    BrownWings: AirViceMarshall Senior Member Furunculus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Forever adrift
    Posts
    5,541

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Fixed, by removing two words.
    Furunculus Maneuver: Adopt a highly logical position on a controversial subject where you cannot disagree with the merits of the proposal, only disagree with an opinion based on fundamental values. - Beskar

  12. #12
    Member Member Crandar's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Alpine Subtundra
    Posts
    760

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Aiming to convince is a necessary element of arguing. I don't share the general pessimism about how unrealistic this goal is. As you said, our viewpoints are always fluid and shaped by many factors, one of which is arguing with intelligent interlocutors. It's true that the direct target of your arguments will usually disregard them, but this cannot be said for guests and members who simply observe the discussion, without actively participating in it.

    Backroom has helped me form opinions about subjects I was clueless about and I doubt that I'm a special case. An example I can mention about a heated issue doesn't exactly concern the .org, but the circumstances are pretty similar. I used to believe that the position of North Macedonia in the name dispute was unjustified, simply because every media, intellectual and politician in Greece parrots the same one-sided story and I never bothered to examine the issue in-depth. When Ferrets54, who is actually a very aggressive user and who accidentally makes his best to alienate everyone, explained the other side, in his usual hostile manner, I was easily persuaded by his arguments, despite their excessive toxicity, and was encouraged to study the controversy in more detail. Nowadays, I hold a completely different opinion on the matter and I am grateful to Ferrets54 making me more open-minded.

    tldr: It's not all in vain, there's room for optimism and I am sure that all our regulars can share stories of how fellow .org members convinced them to change their position.

    Member thankful for this post:



  13. #13
    Formerly Wigferth Ironwall Senior Member Philippus Flavius Homovallumus's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Isca
    Posts
    13,225

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    I think it's important to to aim to be convincing but this is slightly different from "aiming to convince". Historically a necessary part of passing a degree in the West was the ability to argue both sides of a given proposition because if you can only successfully argue one side you don't fully understand the proposition in question.

    There are two ways to argue - you can either seek to undermine your interlocutor and destroy their arguments or you can engage with them and seek to understand their argument. If both parties engage in the latter way of arguing then not only is the experience generally more congenial, it is also more humble.

    It's the difference between saying, "You're wrong, because..." and saying, "I'm sorry, I don't believe that because..."

    Put another way, you should be seeking to argue for your position and not against your opponent.
    "If it wears trousers generally I don't pay attention."


  14. #14
    Formerly Wigferth Ironwall Senior Member Philippus Flavius Homovallumus's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Isca
    Posts
    13,225

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Quote Originally Posted by Gilrandir View Post
    Brits managed to drag their Brexit into the thread on usefulness of backroom debates. Good God! Will you ever stop?
    We're all secretly in it together. Brexit is actually a conspiracy to lull Europe into a false sense of complacency about the state of Britain and Her Empire.
    "If it wears trousers generally I don't pay attention."


  15. #15

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Quote Originally Posted by Philippus Flavius Homovallumus View Post
    I think it's important to to aim to be convincing but this is slightly different from "aiming to convince". Historically a necessary part of passing a degree in the West was the ability to argue both sides of a given proposition because if you can only successfully argue one side you don't fully understand the proposition in question.
    I find it very difficult to argue a perspective I don't personally believe unless it is my specific assignment (and this isn't an academic space). Incidentally I am also very bad at lying. Not in the sense that I couldn't tell you "no" if you asked me if I ate the last cookie and I did in fact eat the last cookie; I am basically incapable of inventing a complex untruth (as I see it). If I were ever in a position to lie to your face you would probably be able to detect my mendacity very easily. It can certainly be called a form of stupidity. At the same time my flaw leaves me impatient with anything but the utmost ingenuousness.

    There are two ways to argue - you can either seek to undermine your interlocutor and destroy their arguments or you can engage with them and seek to understand their argument. If both parties engage in the latter way of arguing then not only is the experience generally more congenial, it is also more humble.
    I try to do both at the same time. Consider, for example, that your understanding of the propositions you put forth may not exhaust the content of those propositions.

    It's the difference between saying, "You're wrong, because..." and saying, "I'm sorry, I don't believe that because..."

    Put another way, you should be seeking to argue for your position and not against your opponent.
    Sometimes I may be arguing one thing independent of you. Sometimes you might post something distinct that I think is flawed and needs to be contested. If I say "Vanilla ice cream is the best flavor"* and you say "The moon is made of cheese," there is no obligation for me to continue arguing for the former and never against the latter. So.......... ???

    Don't think that your procedural criticisms of me are simply flying over my head, I'm sure there is a kernel of validity and am always vigilant for one, even if it's just that I make you feel bad too often and you don't like it. But there is a tension, or difficulty, in disentangling the fair criticism that I would admit from a metadiscursive disagreement that is itself substantive.

    You remind me of the robot monster thing that was battling to prevent me from taking the three infants from the drawers even though I was just backtracking to get some other item for my party and needed the infants to open the doors, but the infants were respawned and therefore duplicates to the ones I originally picked up on the first run anyway and my combat actions became unresponsive to input (like they frequently do in my dreams) so I haplessly whacked the monster over the head with a bag and promised to surrender the infants once I had the other item and rebacktracked.


    *In connection with the above, I do not think vanilla is the best ice cream flavor, and I would not be able to construct a casuism for why it is.
    Vitiate Man.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

  16. #16
    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    7,243

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    I find it very difficult to argue a perspective I don't personally believe unless it is my specific assignment (and this isn't an academic space). Incidentally I am also very bad at lying. Not in the sense that I couldn't tell you "no" if you asked me if I ate the last cookie and I did in fact eat the last cookie; I am basically incapable of inventing a complex untruth (as I see it). If I were ever in a position to lie to your face you would probably be able to detect my mendacity very easily. It can certainly be called a form of stupidity. At the same time my flaw leaves me impatient with anything but the utmost ingenuousness.
    Do you believe society should help the vulnerable? Can you offer different arguments as to why? In studying history, and in learning about my immediate society, I learned different routes to the answer Yes. In political terms, I learned the Tory argument, the Social Democratic argument, the Socialist argument, and others. I agree with all of them, as the only thing that matters is Yes, and Why is not important, and How can be worked out. I only disagree with those who say No.

  17. #17

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Quote Originally Posted by Pannonian View Post
    Do you believe society should help the vulnerable? Can you offer different arguments as to why? In studying history, and in learning about my immediate society, I learned different routes to the answer Yes. In political terms, I learned the Tory argument, the Social Democratic argument, the Socialist argument, and others. I agree with all of them, as the only thing that matters is Yes, and Why is not important, and How can be worked out. I only disagree with those who say No.
    Do you find yourself with very few political disagreements? Somehow I doubt it. Everyone says they are for prosperity and for helping the working family. But what is the history of a given perspective, person, or organization, and what evidence can back it up? "Yes" is not an argument one can agree or disagree with. "Why" and "how" (and, for this subject, "who") are always the substance.
    Vitiate Man.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

  18. #18
    Backordered Member CrossLOPER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Brass heart.
    Posts
    2,326

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Quote Originally Posted by Philippus Flavius Homovallumus View Post
    Nobody here has come to their political or philosophical viewpoint without due consideration.
    I am sorry you had a bad time. I mostly agree with what you said. However, I cannot say that arguing with a person in bad faith is totally worth the trouble if the person has no interest in being right, but rather winning the argument.
    Requesting suggestions for new sig.

    -><- GOGOGO GOGOGO WINLAND WINLAND ALL HAIL TECHNOVIKING!SCHUMACHER!
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    WHY AM I NOT BEING PAID FOR THIS???

  19. #19
    Member Member Gilrandir's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Ukraine
    Posts
    3,804

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Quote Originally Posted by Philippus Flavius Homovallumus View Post
    There are two ways to argue - you can either seek to undermine your interlocutor and destroy their arguments or you can engage with them and seek to understand their argument. If both parties engage in the latter way of arguing then not only is the experience generally more congenial, it is also more humble.
    There is a third way - to promote YOUR argument whatever the opponent thinks of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Philippus Flavius Homovallumus View Post
    We're all secretly in it together. Brexit is actually a conspiracy to lull Europe into a false sense of complacency about the state of Britain and Her Empire.
    If we=all EU citizens then you may be right. If we=all forumers then I don't think so. Americans are too occupied with discussing what Trump has already done and anticipating what he might yet do. As for others, they have their own joys and sorrows to pay more than a cursory attention to the bickerings inside a far away prosperous country on an issue that is unlikely to concern them personally.
    Quote Originally Posted by Suraknar View Post
    The article exists for a reason yes, I did not write it...

  20. #20
    Member Member Gilrandir's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Ukraine
    Posts
    3,804

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Double post.
    Quote Originally Posted by Suraknar View Post
    The article exists for a reason yes, I did not write it...

  21. #21
    Formerly Wigferth Ironwall Senior Member Philippus Flavius Homovallumus's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Isca
    Posts
    13,225

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    I find it very difficult to argue a perspective I don't personally believe unless it is my specific assignment (and this isn't an academic space). Incidentally I am also very bad at lying. Not in the sense that I couldn't tell you "no" if you asked me if I ate the last cookie and I did in fact eat the last cookie; I am basically incapable of inventing a complex untruth (as I see it). If I were ever in a position to lie to your face you would probably be able to detect my mendacity very easily. It can certainly be called a form of stupidity. At the same time my flaw leaves me impatient with anything but the utmost ingenuousness.

    I try to do both at the same time. Consider, for example, that your understanding of the propositions you put forth may not exhaust the content of those propositions.

    Sometimes I may be arguing one thing independent of you. Sometimes you might post something distinct that I think is flawed and needs to be contested. If I say "Vanilla ice cream is the best flavor"* and you say "The moon is made of cheese," there is no obligation for me to continue arguing for the former and never against the latter. So.......... ???

    Don't think that your procedural criticisms of me are simply flying over my head, I'm sure there is a kernel of validity and am always vigilant for one, even if it's just that I make you feel bad too often and you don't like it. But there is a tension, or difficulty, in disentangling the fair criticism that I would admit from a metadiscursive disagreement that is itself substantive.

    You remind me of the robot monster thing that was battling to prevent me from taking the three infants from the drawers even though I was just backtracking to get some other item for my party and needed the infants to open the doors, but the infants were respawned and therefore duplicates to the ones I originally picked up on the first run anyway and my combat actions became unresponsive to input (like they frequently do in my dreams) so I haplessly whacked the monster over the head with a bag and promised to surrender the infants once I had the other item and rebacktracked.


    *In connection with the above, I do not think vanilla is the best ice cream flavor, and I would not be able to construct a casuism for why it is.
    Monty, in the nicest possibly way this isn't about you, specifically.

    If you're looking for advice, though, I'd suggest you start by treating this like an "academic space" and treat the members accordingly.

    I'd also suggest you stop using words like "metadiscursive" because you should be unpacking your ideas for others to explore, not packing them up in derived words.
    "If it wears trousers generally I don't pay attention."


  22. #22
    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    7,243

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    Do you find yourself with very few political disagreements? Somehow I doubt it. Everyone says they are for prosperity and for helping the working family. But what is the history of a given perspective, person, or organization, and what evidence can back it up? "Yes" is not an argument one can agree or disagree with. "Why" and "how" (and, for this subject, "who") are always the substance.
    You'd be surprised. The One Nation Tories were always all for Yes. Even Wellington was adamant on Yes via the Tory argument. Thatcherite Tories, the radical right of the UK, answer No to that question. The anti-capitalist far left also answer No to that question (as they're obsessed with an ideology that fixates on reducing the currently powerful). I have a great deal of overlap with people who answer Yes to that question. I despise those who answer No to that question.

  23. #23
    Mr Self Important Senior Member Beskar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Albion
    Posts
    15,824
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Quote Originally Posted by Pannonian View Post
    Do you believe society should help the vulnerable?
    I take the slightly different twist. Society should be valued/measured on how the most vulnerable are treated.
    but that is digressing on the subject...

    Personally, I feel the way I approached the backroom has changed over the years and even recently. There is one time I just used to dump random brainfarts in here and watch PFH go "Wait what.. you want to stick the Capital on the Isle of Mann?!". There were times I approached the Backroom in an angry manner, just unleashing frustration as a place to ventilate. There used to be some of the more old ball characters on here which you would never ever meet the like of again, like the guy who thought EU should become a neo-monarchical Holy Roman Empire, the classic cases of the arch-right wing homophobe taking a break and then returning to discuss relationship troubles with their same-sex partner. You had the fundamentalists, the satirists, the legal beagles, and an actual aristocrat of a noble family. All sorts have walked into these halls.

    There is also the change in culture and in the way the internet was used. Now-a-days, Polarisation is all around us and you only have to say "Marmite" to instantly divide everyone into two camps. Trump and Brexit are recent ones and the impacts it has on civility is evidenced in each of our posts. Similar cultural trends have flowed through these discussion halls, posts are reflections and products of their times.

    What is interesting is actually how civil people are on here. I see other places and the amount of moderation required to get as half as civil as in here is mindboggling, a second job for sure. Though to be fair, we are regulars who know eachother and the wildcards have either left or removed long ago.
    Last edited by Beskar; 10-28-2019 at 21:17.
    "We are living in space-age times but there's too many of us thinking with stone-age minds" - Daryl Davis
    "What makes something right or wrong?" | How to spot a Humanist
    "Men of Quality do not fear Equality." # | "Belief doesn't change facts. Facts, if you are reasonable, should change your beliefs." RG

    Member thankful for this post:



  24. #24

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Quote Originally Posted by Pannonian View Post
    The anti-capitalist far left also answer No to that question (as they're obsessed with an ideology that fixates on reducing the currently powerful).
    I think you're very wrong. See, the Yes/No distinction here is not meaningful so it's really a gloss for your disagreements on How with the far-left. It's fine to be straightforward, though implying that you agree more on "helping the vulnerable" with the likes of Cameron than Corbyn is eyebrow-raising.

    Is this a roundabout way of saying you pine for the legend of Butskellism? They say Theresa May was a Butskellist, in her heart of hearts...

    Quote Originally Posted by Beskar View Post
    an actual aristocrat of a noble family. All sorts have walked into these halls.
    Who was that? We had Otto von Habsburg?

    There is also the change in culture and in the way the internet was used. Now-a-days, Polarisation is all around us and you only have to say "Marmite" to instantly divide everyone into two camps. Trump and Brexit are recent ones and the impacts it has on civility is evidenced in each of our posts. Similar cultural trends have flowed through these discussion halls, posts are reflections and products of their times.
    It's a matter of gravity. 10 years ago open Nazism was funny. Well, to many it wasn't funny even then - it just took others a little more time to figure it out.

    What is interesting is actually how civil people are on here. I see other places and the amount of moderation required to get as half as civil as in here is mindboggling, a second job for sure.
    He's right you know.
    Vitiate Man.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

  25. #25
    BrownWings: AirViceMarshall Senior Member Furunculus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Forever adrift
    Posts
    5,541

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    Who was that? We had Otto von Habsburg?
    BG I believe.
    Furunculus Maneuver: Adopt a highly logical position on a controversial subject where you cannot disagree with the merits of the proposal, only disagree with an opinion based on fundamental values. - Beskar

  26. #26
    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    7,243

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    I think you're very wrong. See, the Yes/No distinction here is not meaningful so it's really a gloss for your disagreements on How with the far-left. It's fine to be straightforward, though implying that you agree more on "helping the vulnerable" with the likes of Cameron than Corbyn is eyebrow-raising.

    Is this a roundabout way of saying you pine for the legend of Butskellism? They say Theresa May was a Butskellist, in her heart of hearts...
    I was thinking of the likes of the SWP and other such groups that Corbyn is pals with, rather than Corbyn himself. I don't agree with Corbyn on much, and Brexit apart, I don't disagree with him on much either. That's because Corbyn himself doesn't have the wit to actively pursue any argument, hence his tendency to disappear from public view. His personal views are derived from approved literature without any thought of how they apply to the real world, or from osmosis with his friends in the far left groups such as the SWP, the various Communist parties, etc. You have an idealistic view of Corbyn that doesn't accord with reality. Have a look at the people in his trusted group. Start with his chief of staff. Have a look at his friends in StW as well, another illustration of his lack of wit. Corbyn isn't truly bad as such. His friends are, but he's not. He's merely stupid, and their puppet. A bit like Boris Johnson, who is lazy (which Corbyn is too, although nowhere near Johnson's level), and the puppet of his handlers.

    And BTW, before you accuse me of McCarthyite smearing his friends with membership of Communist parties, I'm being literal and documentedly accurate with my labelling of them as such. His campaign chief was in one of them for decades, while his chief of staff was expelled from one for being too extremist.

    And BBTW, I used to read literature of these groups in the past, so I'd imagine I'd have a better idea of their history than someone who hasn't. Funnily enough, a number of the current far right's supporters used to be believers in the far left. It's as though their raison d'etre is to strongly oppose, and when they can't get their way by opposing the far left's pet enemies, they switch tack and oppose the far right's pet enemies and have better success, and find contentment.

    Member thankful for this post:



  27. #27
    Formerly Wigferth Ironwall Senior Member Philippus Flavius Homovallumus's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Isca
    Posts
    13,225

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Quote Originally Posted by Beskar View Post
    What is interesting is actually how civil people are on here. I see other places and the amount of moderation required to get as half as civil as in here is mindboggling, a second job for sure. Though to be fair, we are regulars who know eachother and the wildcards have either left or removed long ago.
    You're right, the Backroom has historically been a much more civil place than much of the rest of the Internet, I'd argue is was the result of clearly and swiftly enacted moderation, though. By establishing clear boundaries and swiftly punishing transgressors our forbears created a genteel atmosphere. Standards have slipped somewhat over the last couple of years and I'll remind you I had to shout at pretty much everyone a month or so ago and knock several heads together for the sake of good behaviour.

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    Who was that? We had Otto von Habsburg?
    Banquo's Ghost.

    "If it wears trousers generally I don't pay attention."


  28. #28

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Quote Originally Posted by Pannonian View Post
    I was thinking of the likes of the SWP and other such groups that Corbyn is pals with, rather than Corbyn himself. I don't agree with Corbyn on much, and Brexit apart, I don't disagree with him on much either. That's because Corbyn himself doesn't have the wit to actively pursue any argument, hence his tendency to disappear from public view. His personal views are derived from approved literature without any thought of how they apply to the real world, or from osmosis with his friends in the far left groups such as the SWP, the various Communist parties, etc. You have an idealistic view of Corbyn that doesn't accord with reality. Have a look at the people in his trusted group. Start with his chief of staff. Have a look at his friends in StW as well, another illustration of his lack of wit. Corbyn isn't truly bad as such. His friends are, but he's not. He's merely stupid, and their puppet. A bit like Boris Johnson, who is lazy (which Corbyn is too, although nowhere near Johnson's level), and the puppet of his handlers.

    And BTW, before you accuse me of McCarthyite smearing his friends with membership of Communist parties, I'm being literal and documentedly accurate with my labelling of them as such. His campaign chief was in one of them for decades, while his chief of staff was expelled from one for being too extremist.
    Let's complete discussing what you advanced. You said your key differentiating criterion in politics is based on a Yes/No answer to the question "Do you believe society should help the vulnerable?" This is not a useful differentiating criterion because everyone short of a Randian, will tell you "Yes." Fascists and communists alike agree on this within the limit of the parameters of the question. I shouldn't have to corroborate the fact to any educated person. That everyone agrees is what makes it a useless question to differentiate against! Even Margaret Thatcher said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World (2003)
    There is much to be said for trying to improve some disadvantaged people’s lot.
    More famously Thatcher said

    There’s no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.
    but this thinking wasn't limited to Thatcher. As you know very well, Tony Blair said:

    In 1995 I gave a speech where I argued that duty should be seen again as a core Labour value. Indeed I argued that for too long the Labour Party had been detached from its historic roots, which placed a high value on respect, duty and citizenship.

    My concern reflected the thinking of people like William Morris and Tawney who argued in an earlier time: "What we have been witnessing… both in international affairs and in industry is the breakdown of society on the basis of rights divorced from obligations."

    As GDH Cole said in 1943: "It ought to be so obvious as hardly to need stating that it is an obligation falling upon any decent human society to give all its members a fair chance in life". These opportunities are not a one-off - but opportunities across people's lives in the stages through which all of us pass - from birth to school, school to further or higher education or work, to sustaining our families and ourselves into our old age.
    This just goes to my point that the relevant questions in the context of "helping the vulnerable" are How and Who. How do we go about it and with what tradeoffs; Who matters, who is "deserving."

    Meanwhile you said that Corbyn's Labour would answer "No" to your question. Here is Corbyn speaking when he assumed leadership of the party:

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Sisters and brothers, thank you very much for inviting me here today. I must admit it seems to be a very fast journey we are on at the present time and, to me, it is an enormous honour to be invited to address the TUC. It only seems a very short time ago that your General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, did me the honour of coming to speak at the nominating meeting in my constituency, Islington North, and now she has invited me here to address the TUC. I am very grateful, Frances, for what you did there and I am delighted to be here today because I am, and always will be, an active trade unionist. That is in my body.

    I have been a trade union member all my life. I was an organiser for the National Union of Public Employees before I became a Member of Parliament. I realise this is deeply controversial because they are now part of Unison but you can only be in one union at a time; you know the problem. That taught me a great deal about people, about values, and about the value of trade unions in the everyday lives of ordinary people. School cleaners, they have a hard time, school meals workers being badly treated, school caretakers looking for some security in their jobs, all those issues that are day-to-day work of trade unions and those that attack and criticise trade unions should remember this. There are six million of us in this country. We are the largest voluntary organisation in Britain. Every day we make a difference in looking after people in their ordinary lives as well as a huge contribution in the wider community. Unions are not just about the workplace, they are also about society as a whole, life as a whole, and the right of the working class to have a voice in society as a whole. That is why trade unionism is so important.

    We celebrate the values of solidarity, of compassion, of social justice, fighting for the under-privileged, and of working for people at home and abroad. Whilst we value and protect the rights that we have in this country, the same thing does not apply to trade unionists all over the world. Those people that died in that dreadful fire in China where there was a free market philosophy around the operation of a port, fire-fighters died trying to protect other workers who should have been protected by decent health and safety conditions. All around the world, Colombia and many other places, trade unionists try to survive trying to stand up for their rights.

    Trade unions in Britain have achieved a fantastic amount in protection and in the wider society. We need to stand in solidarity with trade unionists all over the world demanding exactly the same things as we have secured for ourselves and trying to defend for ourselves. Trade unionism is a worldwide movement, not just a national movement and we should never be ashamed to say that.

    There are those that say trade unions are a thing of the past and the idea of solidarity, unity, and community are a thing of the past. Ever since this Labour leadership election was announced—and I have taken part in it— I have spoken at 99 different events all over Britain, 99 events in 99 days. Those events were often very large. They would bring together people that had been estranged from the Labour movement or indeed from the Labour Party and they would bring together young people who had not been involved in that kind of politics before. What brought them together was a sense of optimism and hope. What brought them together was a sense of the way things can be done better in politics in Britain.

    Those values I want restored to the heart of the Labour Party, which was of course itself a creation of the trade unions and socialists in the first place. I have some news to report to you. Ever since last Saturday, large numbers of people have been joining the Labour Party and the last figure I got, that was Saturday afternoon, 30,000 people have become members of the Labour Party. Our membership is now more than a third of a million, and rising. Over half a million people were able to take part in that election.

    But the values that people bring to joining the Party and the Party brings to them have to be things that we fight for every single day. I want the unions and the Labour Party to work together to win people over to the basic values we all accept, to change minds, and change politics, so that we can have a Labour government, we can look in a different direction, we can look away from the policy of growing inequality and look to a society that grows in equality, in confidence, in involvement of everybody, and does not allow the gross levels of poverty and inequality to get worse in Britain. That is what the Tories have in store for us.

    But Labour must become more inclusive and open, and I have had the very interesting task in the last few days of a number of events and a number of challenges. The first thing I did on being elected was to go and speak at a rally in saying Refugees are Welcome Here because they are victims of human rights abuses and other abuses. I thought it was important to give that message out, that we recognise human rights abuses and the victims of it all over the world from wherever they come, they are human beings just like you and me, we hold out our hands and our hearts to them, and we want to work with them for a safer and better world. They are seeking the same things that we are seeking.

    Later, the next day, I also wanted to give a message about how we intend to do things, and the kind of society we want. So, I was very proud to accept an invitation to attend a mental health open day in my constituency, or a nearby constituency, to show that we believe the NHS is vital and valuable as it obviously and absolutely is but there are many people who suffer in silence from mental health conditions, suffer the abuse that often goes with those conditions, and the rest of society passes by on the other side. Mental illness is an illness just like any other, it can be recovered from, but we have to be prepared to spend the time and the resources and end the stigma surrounding mental illness which often comes with stress, workplace stress, poverty, and many other things. There are other messages we have to put and the media has been absolutely full of midnight oil burning sessions in appointments to the new Shadow Cabinet of the Parliamentary Labour Party. After consideration and thought— and lots of discussion— we have assembled and appointed a Shadow Cabinet of a majority of women members for the first time ever in history.

    To show how determined we are on a number of specific areas of policy, there is a specific Shadow Minister, Lucianna Berge, who is dealing with mental health issues. She will be at the table along with everyone else, and there is a specific Minister dealing with housing, and that is because I believe that John Healey will put the case very well. The issue is that we have to address the housing crisis that faces so many people all over this country. The free market is not solving the problem of homelessness. The free market is not allowing people to lead reasonable lives when they are paying excessive rents in the private-rented sector. We have to change our housing policies fundamentally by rapidly increasing a council house building programme to give real security to people’s lives.

    But there are other issues that we have to address, and that is how we make our party and our movement more democratic. The election process that I have just come through was an electorate of 558,000 people, the largest electorate ever for an internal party election. The number of votes that were cast for me were more than twice the total membership of the Tory Party in the whole country. That is something to savour.

    But all those people coming forward to take part in this process came forward, yes, because they were interested, yes, because they were hopeful but, yes, because they wanted to be part of a democratic process where we make policy together. We live in a digital age, we live in an age where communications are much easier and we live in an age where we can put our views to each other in a much quicker and in a much more understandable form. So we don’t need to have policymaking that is top down from an all-seeing, all-knowing leader who decides things. I want everybody to bring their views forward, every union branch, every party branch and every union, so we organically develop the strengths we all have, the ideas we all have, and the imagination we all have.

    When we have all had a say in how we develop, say, the housing policy, or, say, the health policy, say any other particular area of environmental protection or anything else, if everyone has been involved in that policymaking, they own the policy that is there at the end. They are more determined to campaign and fight for it. They are more likely to mobilise many more people around it, so we don’t go through until 2020 with a series of surprises, but we go through to 2020 with a series of certainties, that we are a growing, stronger movement; we are more confident and more determined than ever and, above all, we are going to win in 2020 so we see the end of this Tory government.

    When politicians get out of touch with reality, they sometimes forget where skillsets really lie. I can give you an example: when I was a union organiser, we used to get involved in negotiations about work-study arrangements, the time it took to drive a van from place A to place B, and how long it took to load the van, all those kind of issues. So we would go in there and start negotiations, and I would always go to the branch meeting before hand and say, “Who here is keen on betting?” Every hand went up, of course. “Who’s the best at betting?” One particular hand would be pointed to, and I would say, “Can you come along to the negotiations?” “Why?” Because that member had brilliant skills at mental arithmetic — this was pre-computer days — and he would work out very quickly, and he would say sotto voce to me, “They are lying to you, Jerry. Don’t accept it”, or whatever. Skills at the workplace, skills of ordinary people, knowledge of ordinary people. The elite in our society look with contempt on people with brilliance and ideas just because they don’t speak like them or look like them. Let’s do things differently and do things together.

    Had we had a different approach, we would now have the millstone of private finance initiatives around the necks of so many hospitals and so many schools in this country, or would we; instead, have a more sensible form of public sector borrowing to fund for investment and fund for the future, rather than handing over our public services to hedge funds, which is exactly what this government would like us to do? Be confident, be strong. We have lots of knowledge and lots of power.

    I have worked with unions affiliated to the Labour Party and not affiliated to the Labour Party, and I work with all trade unions because I think that is what the Leader of the Labour Party should do. I think the Leader of the Labour Party, if invited, should always be at the TUC. I see it as an organic link.

    I want to say a special mention to one group of workers who are here. They are doing their best to defend something we all own, know and love. Welcome to those strikers from PCS from the National Gallery for what they are going through at the present time. They look after our national treasures in the National Gallery. They do it well. They love what they do and they love what we have got in our National Gallery. Please, let’s not privatise our galleries and privatise our staff. We welcome and we recognise the skills of those people who work in all those places and so many other places as being a precious national asset, not something to be traded away on the market of privatisation. Well done to you for your campaign.

    Yesterday the Tories put the Second Reading of the Trade Union Bill to Parliament, and, sadly, it achieved its Second Reading and it has now gone into Committee. Basically, they are declaring war on organised labour in this country ever since they won the General Election, albeit with the support of 24% of the electorate. Yesterday, I was proud to sit alongside Angela Eagle on our Front Bench to oppose the Trade Union Bill, and she rightly said, and I quote: “This Bill is a dangerous attack on basic liberties that would not be tolerated by the Conservative Party if they were imposed on any other section of society.” Stephen Doughty gave an excellent reply, and Labour MPs spoke with passion, knowledge, and understanding of the dangers of this Bill. It is quite interesting how the Tories champion deregulation wherever regulation is ever mentioned. How many times have we heard that, Ministers for Deregulation, Departments for Deregulation, Ministers who will tear up all regulations? But one thing they really want to regulate is organised labour and the trade unions in this country. I think that sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, don’t you?

    So we have to oppose it and recognise what they are doing. The burdens they are placing, as one Tory MP admitted, are actually the strategy that was used by General Franco in Spain on his control of the trade unions in Spain. They seem to still think that it is right just to attack trade unions because they exist. I am not going to be lectured to by saying, “If the Labour Party gets too close to unions it puts us all on the back foot.” I am sorry. Trade unions are an essential and valuable part of modern Britain. Six million people voluntarily join trade unions and I am proud to be a trade unionist. That is why we are going to fight this Bill all the way. When we have been elected with a majority in 2020, we are going to repeal this Bill and replace it with a workers’ rights agenda and something decent and proper for the future.

    Every difficulty actually gives you an opportunity, and the difficulty is that this Bill has been placed in front of us, but it gives us the opportunity to defend civil liberties and traditional freedoms and explain to the wider public, beyond trade union members and others, that it is actually a threat to the liberties of all of us. Because by calling into question the right of free association of trade unions they are actually in contravention, in my view, of Article 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights. They are also in contravention, as Stephen pointed out in his reply yesterday, to the International Labour Organisation conventions. So we are going to continue our opposition to this. They are threatening the right of peaceful protest by looking to criminalise picketing. They are even threatening the right to free speech by seeking to limit what a union member can say on social media during a dispute. Are we really going to have teams of civil servants or lawyers or police or somebody trawling through massive numbers of Twitter messages, Facebook messages, to find something somebody said about their employer or about an industrial dispute? What kind of intrusive society are they really trying to bring about? We have got to fight this Bill all the way, because if they get it through it’s a damage to civil liberties and for everybody in our society. They will use it as a platform to make other attacks on other sections of our community. Let’s be strong about this.

    We also have to promote trade unionism and understand that good trade unions, good trade union organisation, yes, it protects people in the workplace, yes, it leads to better pay, better conditions and better salaries and better promotional opportunities as a whole, but it also means there is often better management in those places where unions are very strong. The two things actually go together and are very important. Where unions are weak, job security is weak; conditions get worse and you look at the results of what this Conservative government is doing. They want to raise the threshold on strike ballots, so I would like to ask the Prime Minister this question: if you want trade unions to vote in ballots, why leave unions with the most archaic, expensive, inefficient method of voting you could find? Why not modernise the balloting? Above all, why not go forward and secure workplace balloting ensuring that every member of a trade union can vote securely and secretly at their own workplace? That, surely, is something we all want in this Bill for ourselves.

    But they are also attacking the rights of trade unions to be involved in the wider society. The Tories have always been concerned about the right of trade unions to be involved in political actions in any way. Why shouldn’t workers, organised together in a union, express a political view? Why shouldn’t they use their funds, if they wish, on political or public campaigning? We had the Act in the last Parliament that restricted the participation of unions and charities in public commentary during elections. This is taking it a stage even further. They seem quite relaxed about the involvement of hedge funds and funny money in politics. They seem absolutely obsessed with the cleanest money in politics, which is trade union funds being used for political campaigning. So we are going to oppose this Bill with every opportunity we get. We are going to expose it for what it is, and we are going to try and stop it from passing. As I have said, we will try to replace this Bill with something much better.

    But there are other issues that we have to remind ourselves about what is going on at the present time. The Welfare Reform Bill is anything but welfare reform. It is all about building on the cuts they have already made, making the lives of the most vulnerable and poorest people in our society even worse. The disability benefits cuts that have been made over the past five years and the availability of the work test have had some disastrous — appalling — consequences where people have even committed suicide and taken their own lives out of a sense of desperation. I simply ask the question: what kind of a society are we living in where we deliberately put regulations through knowing what the effects are going to be on very poor and very vulnerable people who end up committing suicide? And we say it is all part of a normal process. No, it is not!

    The reduction in the benefit cap has the effect of socially cleansing many parts of our cities. Owen Smith and I had discussions last night about amendments that we are going to put down to the Welfare Reform Bill. As far as I am concerned, the amendments we are putting forward are to remove the whole idea of the benefit cap altogether. We need to raise wages and regulate rents rather than to have a welfare system that do things, of subsidising high rents and low wages. Surely, we can do things differently and better if we really want to? We will bring down the welfare bill in Britain by controlling rents and boosting wages, not by impoverishing families and the most vulnerable people.

    I have to leave straightaway after I have concluded my remarks here because I want to be back in Parliament to vote against their attempt to cut the tax credits that act as a lifeline to millions of people. Barnados say it will take £1,200 per year away from a lone parent of two working full time on the minimum wage. The government says there is no alternative to this. John McDonnell, our new Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, is setting out what the alternatives are. They call us “deficit deniers”, but then they spend billions in cutting taxes for the richest families and for the most profitable businesses. What they are as is “poverty deniers”. They are ignoring the growing queues at food banks; they are ignoring the housing crisis; they are cutting tax credits when child poverty rose by half-a-million under the last government to over four million. Let’s be clear. Austerity is actually a political choice that this government has taken and they are imposing it on the most vulnerable and poorest in our society.

    It is our job as Labour to set out a vision for a better society and campaign proudly against Britain’s greatest democratic organisation, the trade union Movement. Our shared vision will be delivered by shared campaigning, a Labour Party proud to campaign for the trade unions and a trade union Movement proud to campaign with Labour. We have a job to do, to understand the process that has been going through in politics in Britain, to understand the levels of inequality that are there, to understand the levels of insecurity of people on zero-hours contracts, students with massive debts and understand the stress and tension that so many people have.

    We are actually quite a rich country. We are actually a country that is deeply unequal. Surely, the whole vision of those who founded our unions and founded our political parties was about doing things differently. That generation, those brilliant people brought us the right to vote, got women the right to vote, brought us the National Health Service and brought us so many other things. We build on that in the way we do our policy, we build on that in the way we develop our movement, and we build on that in the way that we inspire people to come together for a better, more decent, more equal, fairer and more just society. These things are not dreams. These things are practical realities that we, together, intend to achieve. Thank you very much

    Say what you will about Corbyn or his party organization, but there is no way to read above and extract a negative response to the question "Do you believe society should help the vulnerable?"

    In summary, don't ask the wrong questions.


    And BBTW, I used to read literature of these groups in the past, so I'd imagine I'd have a better idea of their history than someone who hasn't. Funnily enough, a number of the current far right's supporters used to be believers in the far left. It's as though their raison d'etre is to strongly oppose, and when they can't get their way by opposing the far left's pet enemies, they switch tack and oppose the far right's pet enemies and have better success, and find contentment.
    Such wreckers do exist, who merely hate "the establishment" and "bourgeois values" as the sum total of their identity and ideology. They will associate with whomever they think can best damage their perceived enemies. This is no reason to abandon or water down good socialist principles however. In the words of George Orwell:

    To recoil from Socialism because so many socialists are inferior people is as absurd as refusing to travel by train because you dislike the ticket-collector’s face.
    Last edited by Montmorency; 10-30-2019 at 02:48.
    Vitiate Man.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

  29. #29
    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    7,243

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmorency View Post
    Let's complete discussing what you advanced. You said your key differentiating criterion in politics is based on a Yes/No answer to the question "Do you believe society should help the vulnerable?" This is not a useful differentiating criterion because everyone short of a Randian, will tell you "Yes." Fascists and communists alike agree on this within the limit of the parameters of the question. I shouldn't have to corroborate the fact to any educated person. That everyone agrees is what makes it a useless question to differentiate against! Even Margaret Thatcher said:



    More famously Thatcher said



    but this thinking wasn't limited to Thatcher. As you know very well, Tony Blair said:



    This just goes to my point that the relevant questions in the context of "helping the vulnerable" are How and Who. How do we go about it and with what tradeoffs; Who matters, who is "deserving."

    Meanwhile you said that Corbyn's Labour would answer "No" to your question. Here is Corbyn speaking when he assumed leadership of the party:
    Actually, I didn't say that. I said far left groups. Not Corbyn himself, but groups that he associates with. You quote Orwell later on in the post. Read his accounts of numerous far left groups who are indeed too obsessed with doing down the establishment to answer Yes to my question. By the time I was reading the literature of these groups as current decades later, the obsessions hadn't changed much from Orwell's time.

    I see myself as a socialist in the mould of Orwell; what he would call a patriotic socialist, or someone who sees values in traditional English/British culture that are fundamentally compatible with the ideals of socialism. And I share Orwell's dislike of the far left that's too embedded in its own backside to do anything good (his parable novels are famous, but his accounts and essays are more direct critiques of the English far left). Corbyn's friends are said far left. As I said, read up on his close group.

  30. #30
    Headless Senior Member Pannonian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    7,243

    Default Re: What the Backroom is good for, and what it is not

    BTW, you quote "There’s no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.", as if it were a bad thing. That's the Tory argument. And Wellington applied it to the privileged ruling class, whose slacking scions he despised. The corollary Tory argument that I alluded to earlier is that, if you are born into a life of privilege, you are obliged to justify that life by doing your best for the community.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO