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Hugo Chavez and the Cult of Personality

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Image and video hosting by TinyPicSome have taken me to task for being too eager to announce Hugo Chavez’ membership in the Junior Dictators Club. After all, he’s just trying to help the people of Venezuela and if he’s taken away free speech, judicial independence, rendered the legislature meaningless, shut down or intimidated the press and turned the schools into indoctrination centers, it’s all been done with the best intentions. He may have complete autocratic power, a growing military and designs on his neighbors, but at least he hasn’t tried to raise himself up like a larger than life figure and create a cult of personality. That’s one of the things which really set dictators like Mussolini, Hitler, Lennin and Mao apart from more reasonable autocrats.

Oh wait, I spoke too soon. Apparently Chavez’ cult of personality is well developed and even extends beyond the borders of Venezuela. We’ve seen some of his posturing and demagoguery here in the US when he’s addressed the UN and made special deals to provide cheap heating oil to the poor of the northeastern states to demonstrate his largesse. He’s a man of big gestures and big words and like Lenin and Stalin and Hitler before him he’s not averse to appearing in the occasional really large poster with a flashy uniform and a raised fist.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicIn a practice unpleasantly reminiscent of what I saw way too much of when I lived in Soviet Russia, Chavez has become disturbingly fond of decorating the walls and roadsides of Venezuela with his giant inflated head, often accompanied by nationalistic slogans. He certainly already has his fanatical followers around the world in whose eyes he can do no wrong, and self-promotion like this is designed to instill that same sort of fanaticism in his country’s population. The goal is to make the people look to him as father, mother and symbol of nationalism, and come to believe that only through his largesse will they be safe and provided for.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe promotion of a cult of personality is peculiarly characteristic of the egoism which is at the core of those who believe that they can decide better for others how to live their lives than they can for themselves. It suggests a monumental arrogance and overweening pride, the kind which can promise to rule over a thousand year reich or convert the whole world to a monolithic ideology. It’s either used to cynically manipulate the people, or becomes a symbol of the mental illness which grows from believing your own press releases.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicImage and video hosting by TinyPicIt’s a disease, and there’s no question that Chavez is thoroughly infected. Just look at the accompanying images taken from roadside signs, banners at speeches and walls all over Venezuela. Anyone who likes to see their head in profile 30 feet high has a serious ego problem. His physical presence doesn’t even seem to be adequate for his needs. Whenever he speaks he likes to have a giant banner with his inflated image posing behind him.

Chavez has even begun exporting his cult around the world. Posters of Chavez with arabic slogans have become quite popular in Iran and in Southern Lebanon and other areas controlled by Iranian-backed Hezbollah, whose bizarre mixture of socialism and Islam seems strangely compatible with Chavez’ messianic cult of aboriginal socialism. It’s a tribute to the strange solidarity of socialist autocracy and terrorist zealotry.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe middle east isn’t the only place you’ll find giant images of Chavez. Anywhere socialism thrives on the backs of the oppressed people you’ll find his giant inflated head gazing down on you or a picture of him in uniform with his arm around the local despot. Given all that Castro owes Chavez for underwriting his tottering regime, it’s not surprising that the streets of Havana are heavily papered with Chavez posters. And Chavez does have an imposing visage, with much of the same monolithic grandeur which Mussolini presented to his adoring fans.

If all of this isn’t enough, we know that Chavez has truly become larger than life, at least in his own imagination, because in Venezuela they’re selling Hugo Chavez action figures in the street markets, including versions in several different uniforms, with jointed limbs so that he can assume the same dynamically macho poses seen in his posters, raised clenched fist and all. If you’ve got an action figure you really have arrived as a figure of cult-like adoration. Chavez is famous for deriding American pop culture icons like Superman, yet he seems more than eager to join their ranks as an action figure. He claims Venezuela doesn’t need Superman, presumably because they have Chavez to be their superhero instead.

Many would suggest that the need to see yourself depicted as a giant means you are compensating for some personal feeling of inadequacy, but it’s just as likely that the whole drive to become an autocrat originates in some deep personal insecurity. Napoleon was short. Hitler had doubts about his virilit. Mussolini may have been molested as a child. In each case something drove them on to their success over the trampled rights and bodies of others. Chavez clearly shares the personality type. The evidence of it is plastered all over the walls of Caracas and on billboards along the bumpy highways of Venezuela.

The signs are all there. What more will it take for people to admit what Chavez is?

About Dave Nalle

  • brian

    Clavos: ‘Near as I can tell, there really isn’t anything good about America, is there, brian?’

    the not-so-well-known history of the US shows its pretensions to being an enlightened nation and a beacon for humanity to be fraudulent….

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Dave – as Franco says: if you’re a capitalist and not maximizing profits then you will go out of business…private ownership is not the sole defining characteristic of capitalism – the capitalist is defined by his actions

    I hate to disagree with Franco, if he really did say that, but the business which cuts its profit margin will be able to reduce the price of its product and thereby undersell the competition, and increase market share. So in fact, as demonstrated ably by WalMart, cutting the profit margin in fact leads to enormous success and beating the competition into the ground.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    “the not-so-well-known history of the US shows its pretensions to being an enlightened nation and a beacon for humanity to be fraudulent….”

    “Enlightened???” Are you kidding?? The Americans built their “democracy” on the backs of slaves and illegal immigrants!!!

    “Beacon for what humanity???” Who in their right mind would consider this cesspool a “Beacon???”

    Can no one rid us of this noxious place???

  • bliffle

    Well, that proves Bundchen is smarter than a lot of people. probably smarter than George Bush, but then, who isn’t? Let’s see, Putin fooled Bush into trusting him; Sadaam fooled Bush into thinking he had WMD; Curveball fooled Bush; Musharaf totally euchred Bush. OBL still makes Bush look stupid and impotent. Even Hugo Chavez made Bush look stupid.

    Those “no WMD” guys like Hans Blix and Scott Ritter are getting the last laugh: they were right and Bush was wrong.

    Even old Fidel Castro is getting some laughs on Bush. Castro and that other commie, Hugo Chavez, apparently give the horse laugh to GWB.

    Maybe it’s easier to find someone who is dumber than Bush, someone who’s been fooled by him. Well, there’s a lot of US citizens Bush fooled, and he’s made a bunch of republicans look pretty dumb. And he keeps on fooling the democrats, much like Saddam Hussein fooled the gullible into believing he had WMD. Bush fooled a lot of Political editors and their chorus of cheerleaders at BC, but that’s too easy, anyone can do that.

    Why is it that all the people who are smarter than Bush are foreigners and all the people who are dumber are USA folk? Has that famous “dumbing down” of America been all to successful?

    Oh, wait a minute. I found a foreigner that Bush outsmarted: Tony Blair. A proud moment for Dear Old England.

  • Clavos

    “Why is it that all the people who are smarter than Bush are foreigners and all the people who are dumber are USA folk? Has that famous “dumbing down” of America been all to successful?”

    Easy. Americans are stupidest people on earth.

  • brian

    Bliffle writes some piffle:

    ‘Even old Fidel Castro is getting some laughs on Bush. Castro and that other commie, Hugo Chavez, apparently give the horse laugh to GWB.’

    President chavez is not a communist, as he has said many times. He is more a Gailbraithian…

    Youre use of the word ‘commmie’ shows you to be a bit of a neanderthal.

  • Franco

    Clavos, he hasn’t been around the block yet.

  • Clavos

    You’re right, Franco.

    Can’t resist having some fun, though.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Holy dictatorial demagogues, Batman! Is this thread still going?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Well, those towering intellects Gisele Bundchen and Naomi Campbell are on Brian’s side. Clearly we’ve been fools to argue with him.

    Dave

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Why drag Giselle Bundchen into it? Or are you just mad at her because she wants to be paid in Euros rather than dollars?

  • Silver Surfer

    Geez, Brian, do you reckon Giselle might be asking for euros ’cause she spends so much of her time in Europe? Back to me, though. They can pay me anything but peanuts, which is what I get now. I’ll take US dollars, euros, Aussies, GBP, whatever – even rupees or ThaiBaht if they stump up enough of them.

    As long as I can get me a nice new $8000 Indian-built Royal Enfield motorbike and a new barbecue I’ll be happy. I promise I’ll plant a couple of palm trees in exchange because I do care for the planet even when I’m eating it.

    Doesn’t take much to please us down this way.

  • Silver Surfer

    How did that well-know social activist and voice of world conscience Naomi Campbell end up on this thread being touted by Brian as some bizarre evidence that Hugo Chavez is instituting hugely impressive social programs for his people?

    Chavez might well be handing over apartment blocks to the poor and the downtrodden, but dragging La Campbell along for the ride is a bit rich, don’t ya reckon?

    Naomi’s idea of social change in the past has involved leaving one party full of the rich and famous for another because it doesn’t have the right people or the right mood-altering substances.

    Perhaps she’s turned over a new leaf.

  • troll

    Dave – #605: note the conflated concepts: ‘profit margin’ and ‘profit’ – misdirection is futile

    Clavos and Franco – your kind words are embarrassing and problematic as I’ll have to find a way to mask them from the rest of my commie revolutionary reeducation committee neighborhood watch

    I’m sorry if my writing comes across as code – I’ll try to make my few points clear:

    1 – suffering (human – animal – plant – mother earth) is aesthetically displeasing to anyone with eyes to see (and a heart to feel)…and is enemy #1

    2 – capitalism (‘complex’ modern capitalism included) while improving the lot of the few has been unable to see to the needs of the many…(where do you think the wealth that makes the ‘first world’ possible comes from – ?)…exploitation – poverty – theft are built in features of this system of production

    3 – socialism is no better…all ‘government’ should be problem oriented and ad hoc

    4 – there is no force of historical material necessity nor any invisible hand leading us to a better world – it’s going to have to be intensionally ‘made by man’…and for that we need a radical rebirth of wonder

    5 – nothing never changes – even human nature – so be nice

  • troll

    oh and I forgot to add: POM For Ever

  • Lapdog

    And NED for never.

  • Martin Lav

    Mexican weekly Etcétera, under the byline Gilberto Guevara Niebla–no relation to Che himself, yet a figure of great importance in the revolutionary history of the 1960s. Gilberto Guevara Niebla was arguably the single most important student leader of the Mexican student uprising of 1968–the uprising that was finally put down in a massacre by the Mexican army in October 1968.

    He wrote, “Che offered his life to the cause of the disinherited, but he did it by offering a political method that, in the long run, had disastrous effects on whoever tried to uphold it. Guerrilla war imposed a militarist logic and closed the space for democracy. What Latin America lived since Che launched his slogans was a bloodbath and a wave of destruction and terror. … The myth of Che has been a wall impeding the observation of those fatal historical results.” Who was Che? A man who “wanted to change the world through the means–always sordid–of killing other men.”

  • moonraven

    Just to clear up two fuzzy points:

    1. NO, THERE IS NOTHING GOOD ABOUT THE USA!

    I cannot even get a decent piece of pie there anymore.

    2. Ten Richest Countries (based on 2004 GNP per capita in US$)

    Luxembourg … $56,380
    Norway … $51,810
    Switzerland … $49,600
    United States … $41,440
    Denmark … $40,750
    Iceland … $37,920
    Japan … $37,050
    Sweden … $35,840
    Ireland … $34,310
    United Kingdom … $33,630

    Four of those countries have socialist governments/economies. The UK is a mix.

    Seems to work for the richest countries!

  • Clavos

    “Four of those countries have socialist governments/economies. The UK is a mix.”

    And, unlike Venezuela and Cuba, none are dictatorships.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Um, none of those countries operate under pure socialism. Every one of them allows entrepreneurial businesses and is generally capitalist economically. They are only socialist in that they provide a great deal of government service at a high tax rate. Aside from that they pretty much leave people alone as far as how they earn money, with the exception of two that I believe have wage controls on selected industries. None of them have a completely centrally directed economy.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Geez, Brian, do you reckon Giselle might be asking for euros ’cause she spends so much of her time in Europe? Back to me, though. They can pay me anything but peanuts, which is what I get now. I’ll take US dollars, euros, Aussies, GBP, whatever – even rupees or ThaiBaht if they stump up enough of them.

    What amuses me about the Giselle story – which is getting a LOT of press coverage – is that she doesn’t seem to understand that it makes no difference what currency she gets paid in. When she renegotiates her contracts to switch from dollars to Euros they’re still going to be for an equivalent amount of money. They’re not going to take a $2 million contract and make it a 2 million Euro contract. I get the feeling she doesn’t quite grasp that concept. Plus I sincerely doubt she’s getting paid in cash anyway.

    Dave

  • moonraven

    Nalle, NO COUNTRY on the planet operates under PURE socialism. It doesn’t exist, and never has. [Gratuitous vulgarity deleted by Comments Editor]

    Clavos, the US is a capitalist dictatorship–and it doesn’t work except for the very wealthy. Of which you are not a part.

    But, more to the point, I was merely calling you on your [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor] laughable claim that the US is the wealthiest country in history.

    [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • http://www.buyingone.com Christopher Rose

    Dave, firstly, you were the one to add the qualifier pure to socialism, so your objection is pointless and secondly, I wasn’t aware that it is a requirement of socialism to have a centrally directed economy. I thought that was the goal of the early communists.

    Finally, socialism and capitalism are not opposites or in any way mutually incompatible. Just a small heads up from the 21st Century…

  • Martin Lav

    MR:
    Funny how you “crow” on and on about Latin and South America and yet I don’t see any of them on the list.

  • http://www.marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    1. NO, THERE IS NOTHING GOOD ABOUT THE USA!

    oh, c’mon….

    miniature golf?

  • moonraven

    [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

    There seems to be a very basic lack of understanding and correct usage of the English language operating on this site.

    [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

    I only refuted Clavos’ jingoistic claim that the US was the wealthiest country on the planet!

    I did not make any claim regarding wealth for Latin America–which has, in fact, the most unequal distribution of wealth on the planet.

    [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • Martin Lav

    Que? No comprende ingles.

  • Clavos

    “Clavos, the US is a capitalist dictatorship–and it doesn’t work except for the very wealthy. Of which you are not a part.”

    You’re right, mr, I’m not very (or even slightly) wealthy, so how come I’m not oppressed? How is it that I’m free to say anything I want short of slander or libel, including criticize the president, his cabinet, the congress and even the clerks at the post office, to my heart’s content? For a dictatorship, that’s a lot of freedom. You try criticizing Calderón, gringa.

    “I only refuted Clavos’ jingoistic claim that the US was the wealthiest country on the planet!”

    No, actually you didn’t, gringa. You only showed that there are a few much smaller countries which on a per capita basis are “wealthier” than the US. None of them are as wealthy as the US is in the aggregate.

  • Franco

    Which county leads the world in donor and humanitarian aid.

    Um…………U……….Umm…………….S………….mmm…………….A?

    Correct Answer, 10 points.

    World’s largest single country donor of foreign aid. U.S. official development assistance of $22.7 billion (estimated) in 2006 is the second highest annual level ever provided by any donor country. (The U.S. provided $27.6 billion in 2005).

  • troll

    nothing good about America – ?

    this one special for ‘moonraven’

  • Martin Lav

    Trust me, the US got a whole lot better when she left.

  • Clavos

    troll,

    Loved it! The confederate flag is the crowning touch! :>)

    And all the way from bonnie Scotland no less!!

    Hee Hee.

  • troll

    …the capitalist and socialist countries on that list of wealth and their lackey banker states should wear their positions as badges of shame and get to work healing the world

  • brian

    silver surfer: ‘How did that well-know social activist and voice of world conscience Naomi Campbell end up on this thread being touted by Brian as some bizarre evidence that Hugo Chavez is instituting hugely impressive social programs for his people?’

    Me: Yes she seems to be…as she with Nelson Mandela foundation. Go read the article i posted…again

    SS: ‘Chavez might well be handing over apartment blocks to the poor and the downtrodden, but dragging La Campbell along for the ride is a bit rich, don’t ya reckon?’

    Me: Not at all…her enthusiasm for what Chavez and his govt has achieved is obvious.

    SS: ‘Naomi’s idea of social change in the past has involved leaving one party full of the rich and famous for another because it doesn’t have the right people or the right mood-altering substances.’

    Me: ‘People do change….you may not.

  • brian

    So many misconceptions and so little time.

    Dave: ‘First off, most corporations in the US encourage workers to invest in stock in those corporations under very beneficial terms, making them at least in part owners in the company, and certainly letting them share in the profits.’

    Me: so you urge workers to become investors. All this does is makes those who can afford it complicit in the profiteering imperitive…that is they too would vote to offshore jobs….

    Dave: ‘Second, when jobs are sent ‘offshore’ the net result is an increase in management positions in the home company with the workers whose jobs were exported often moved into higher paying supervisory jobs. On the whole, when a job is sent overseas it creates at least two new, higher paying jobs at home.’

    Me: this one is laughable…theres usually more indians than chiefs….the indians lose their jobs…while the chiefs dont…that WILL create more friction between the classes.
    Youve not proven your absurd claim, but it reminds me of Bessemers wheel….
    In the end youll be a a nation of managers with nothing to manage!

    Dave: ‘You might want to try looking at modern, capitalist businesses as they ARE rather than as the unrealistic boogeymen you’ve been told they are.’

    Me: this is how they are dave…crude profit making machines but not for the peoplewho do the work…just the investor class

  • brian

    dave: ‘Well, those towering intellects Gisele Bundchen and Naomi Campbell are on Brian’s side. Clearly we’ve been fools to argue with him.’

    Me: notice how those towering intellects the neocons have launched wars that have killed > 1 million people. They can do with a little of Campbell’s caring spirit.

    Another towering intellect: ‘Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

    Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.

    –60 Minutes (5/12/96)’

    The nazis were had towering intellects among them…

    You area fool, Dave…a clever fool, but a fool nonetheless…glad you recognise it. Fooled by Bush, fooled by capitalism etc

  • brian

    clavos: ‘And, unlike Venezuela and Cuba, none are dictatorships.’

    neither are dictatorships….just thought i’d help you along…Now in the US, we’d have a dictatorship if the democrats showed more spine…as it is Bushs executive orders, dictatorial as they are, are not quite necessary as there is no opposition.

  • Franco

    #623 — Christopher Rose

    Dave, firstly, you were the one to add the qualifier pure to socialism, so your objection is pointless and secondly, I wasn’t aware that it is a requirement of socialism to have a centrally directed economy. I thought that was the goal of the early communists.

    Christopher, help me understand your point to Dave, because is seems to be absent in regard for what Dave, myself and many others are making in regards to Chavez, and I don’t see Dave’s point out of context as it appears you see it from your statement.

    Because Cuba would quality as a centrally directed economy as pure socilism. No?

    And seeing Chavez as taking and making the very same steps Castor did, Chavez is taking them more slowly or cunningly because of riding into power on votes not guns, but the steps are the same and go against the very pillars of democracy, or what you call 21st Century socialism.

    The steps by Chavez have so fare, and are continuing to, set the stage for complete control of everything and everyone all at the hands of military enforcement.

    Wouldn’t you agree? So help me understand your point to Dave.

    Finally, socialism and capitalism are not opposites or in any way mutually incompatible. Just a small heads up from the 21st Century…

    In less of course the social authorities sent you a letter to inform you.

    Dear Mr. Rose

    We are sure you are watchful of the energy and resources belonging to the social community at large. Our assessments for required energy and resources in meeting the ever-growing community budgets are at the very heart of the social community

    Your services as comments editor at BC have been professional and appreciated, but are no longer required by the community as to the certainty that the debate over socialism and capitalism has ended deserving to there total mutually. We feel that further waist of the community’s energies and resources are not in harmony with the overall social justice of the community.

    We therefore request you suspend your professional serves at BC forthwith and review our kind offer for positively effecting the community on a larger scale in the further stay of these wasteful resources concerning these needless debates that have been increasing in intensity on other indecisive internet blogs.

    Kinky present the attached request form to your local director general at the Center for Social Justice and Resource Management in your community.

    Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

    Regards,

    Federal Center for Social Justice and Community Resource Management Authorities.
    (FCSJ-CRMA)

  • http://www.buyingone.com Christopher Rose

    Franco, you’re confused. Dave’s remarks were in response to comment #618, which had nothing to do with Cuba.

    I think we’re talking somewhat at cross purposes. Please note that eight of the “Top 10″ countries in that list are in Europe, where we seem to have a different set of priorities and concerns than you Americans.

    I don’t understand how anybody could have an objection to capitalism, although it obviously needs a proper structure within which to function.

    Similarly, I don’t see how anybody except the most rigidly dogmatic could object to some social considerations being relevant to the management of contemporary existence.

    As to Dave, I have difficulty in perceiving his political philosophy beyond that he seems to see things in very simplistic terms wherein “freedom” is good and “management” is bad.

    He will possibly take it as some kind of dis when I say that I find his approach and concerns both dated and naive, but I don’t mean to insult, merely to place things in a contemporary perspective from this distant shore.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle


    As to Dave, I have difficulty in perceiving his political philosophy beyond that he seems to see things in very simplistic terms wherein “freedom” is good and “management” is bad.

    You do indeed have perceptual difficulties. Of course I think freedom is good. I think it is probably the greatest good. But where did I ever oppose ‘management’? That’s what we have government for, to manage the things we don’t want to or can’t manage ourselves. Even capitalism needs to be managed in certain areas. What I’m opposed to is oppression, which is a whole different kettle of fish. I don’t like the idea of governments which arbitrarily take freedoms, or sacrifice the freedoms of their citizens to advance their own power or the power of an oligarchy or bureaucratic class.

    He will possibly take it as some kind of dis when I say that I find his approach and concerns both dated and naive, but I don’t mean to insult, merely to place things in a contemporary perspective from this distant shore.

    No, it’s fine, Christopher. It’s abundantly clear that at some point you got an impression of me and my beliefs which is peculiar and skewed and you’ve been operating off of that initial impression ever since.

    As for the socialism vs. capitalism thing, you’re attempting to disagree with me, yet you’re stating almost exactly the same thing I said in #620. I think that gets to the heart of why we butt heads – you just like to.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Me: so you urge workers to become investors. All this does is makes those who can afford it complicit in the profiteering imperitive…that is they too would vote to offshore jobs….

    What you don’t seem to get is that having workers profiting from a company is NOT a bad thing.

    Me: this one is laughable…theres usually more indians than chiefs….the indians lose their jobs…while the chiefs dont…that WILL create more friction between the classes.

    What classes? I thought we’d already laid that silly misconception to rest.

    As for sending jobs overseas, each US job outsourced creates on average 11 jobs overseas and 1 management job here in the US.

    In the end youll be a a nation of managers with nothing to manage!

    Except, of course, the rest of the world.

    Dave

  • Franco

    #639 — Christopher Rose

    Franco, you’re confused. Dave’s remarks were in response to comment #618, which had nothing to do with Cuba.

    Thank you for pointing out mistaken cross purposes. But I think that was Dave point when accounting for the spesifici discussion/debate on the newest member to the socialist club now in Latin America.

    Please note that eight of the “Top 10″ countries in that list are in Europe, where we seem to have a different set of priorities and concerns than you Americans.

    I don’t understand how anybody could have an objection to capitalism, although it obviously needs a proper structure within which to function.

    I agree, and the text in bold concerning the details of “proper structure” is the very heart of the debate. Could you elaborate a bit.

    Similarly, I don’t see how anybody except the most rigidly dogmatic could object to some social considerations being relevant to the management of contemporary existence.

    I agree, and similarly the text in bold is at the heart of the same discussion/debate. Could you elaborate a bit.

    As to Dave, I have difficulty in perceiving his political philosophy beyond that he seems to see things in very simplistic terms wherein “freedom” is good and “management” is bad.

    Could you then shed some political philosophy in less simplistic terms wherein you see “freedom” is bad and “management” is good.

    He will possibly take it as some kind of dis when I say that I find his approach and concerns both dated and naive, but I don’t mean to insult, merely to place things in a contemporary perspective from this distant shore.

    Can you be more specific on how your European contemporary perspective sees the pluses and minuses when comparing our basic cultural differences in that, Americans tending to be more into individualism and self sufficiency, and Europeans being into more cared for by the state.

  • http://www.buyingone.com Christopher Rose

    I don’t think freedom, at least in absolute terms, is the greatest good and I’m sure you, if you took a moment to think rather than didact, would agree.

    The problem is that you have this fixed mindset that worries too much about government control.

    You may not have specifically lashed out against the concept of management but surely someone so committed to freedom as you bridles at the very notion. It’s certainly the impression you give.

    The fact of the matter is that as society grows larger and more complex, government and regulation must grow with it. The only alternative I am aware of is if people and their constructs took a more holistic rather than individualistic view of things. The prospects for that seem as bright as those for you updating your mindset.

    As for me being the one that like to butt heads, that is classic pot/kettle stuff. You’re the one that is incapable of either refraining from arguing with people or actually departing from your quaint views. Get over yourself.

  • troll

    *The only alternative I am aware of is if people and their constructs took a more holistic rather than individualistic view of things.*

    the whole hologram ‘exists’ in each individual piece…read your Bentov

  • http://www.buyingone.com Christopher Rose

    Franco, sorry to be brief but I’m going to watch Manchester United play Kiev in a minute.

    I don’t really have detailed responses to your first two questions. Maybe if Dave could let go of his dogma, he could riff on these themes, he’s the policy wonk after all!

    In terms of freedom being bad and management good, it all depends on specific circumstances. Obviously people should have as much freedom as possible, but equally obviously not freedom to indulge their every impulse.

    As to the US/self-sufficient vs European/dependent, as far as I know that’s a complete myth. There’s certainly far more law and possibly more state intrusion in the USA than anywhere I know of in Western Europe.

    Sorry for being brief, but football is more important than politics!

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I don’t think freedom, at least in absolute terms, is the greatest good and I’m sure you, if you took a moment to think rather than didact, would agree.

    What would you propose as more important than freedom? What quality of life is meaningful if we aren’t free to enjoy it? What pleasure is worth having if we sacrifice our freedom to have it?

    The problem is that you have this fixed mindset that worries too much about government control.

    I think that’s the product of moving from the US at the height of the free spiritedness of the 1960s to the Soviet Union at the height of the post-Stalin grimness of the 1970s. The contrast left an indelible impression on me. It taught me immediate lessons which I think that others struggle to come to grips with. Not having had that experience you don’t understand how important freedom is and how easily it can be taken away.

    You may not have specifically lashed out against the concept of management but surely someone so committed to freedom as you bridles at the very notion. It’s certainly the impression you give.

    If what you’re really talking about is the same concept of management I expect from government, then I really don’t have a problem with it. Government regulation of things like public safety and infrastructure is reasonable and necessary.

    The fact of the matter is that as society grows larger and more complex, government and regulation must grow with it.

    Here is where I disagree. As government grows larger and more complex, the answer is to tear government down to its basics and start over again.

    The only alternative I am aware of is if people and their constructs took a more holistic rather than individualistic view of things. The prospects for that seem as bright as those for you updating your mindset.

    Sounds like a vague and ineffective answer to the problem to me. Moving away from individual responsibility just means moving towards giving that responsibility to government and making it grow even larger.

    IMO the only real ‘holistic’ solution is to tear down government, reassign responsibility to individuals as much as possible and try to rebuild society organically. Failing that radical solution we just have to keep an eye on government and not let it get too powerful.

    Dave

  • troll

    …actually Chris – Dave usually bitches about stupid government management rather than government management per say…despite his protestations he’s a good socialist soldier

  • troll

    (‘per se’ of course)

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    There’s certainly far more law and possibly more state intrusion in the USA than anywhere I know of in Western Europe.

    Goofy statements like this are why we’re at loggerheads, Christopher. I agree that the US in practice is much less free than we like to think we are, but in Western Europe you’re also less free than you think you are.

    The reason you think that the US has more restriction on freedom than we think that it does, is likely because you define different things as essential to freedom than we do. If we don’t even think of freedom in the same terms all of our other disagreements might flow from that.

    My quick guess is that from the European viewpoint, freedom is seen mainly as freedom from certain things, while Americans see freedom more as freedom to do certain things. It’s the difference between freedom from hunger and the freedom to own a gun and hunt for food.

    Does that make any sense?

    Dave

  • Don Helmut

    If America is so bad why do they give more in aid than countries that practice paternal socialism? Shouldn’t countries so concerned with equality be on the forefront of philanthropy without “stupid” America having to bail them out all the time.

    The main misconception that socialism struggles under is they constantly make promises they can’t keep. Pure social will may get a man on the moon but it can’t bankroll massive unaffordable social programs.