The Global Slide Towards Fascism

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GE Morton
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Re: The Global Slide Towards Fascism

Post by GE Morton » November 8th, 2019, 12:45 pm

Greta wrote:
November 7th, 2019, 9:52 pm
Alas GE, "collections of atoms" tend to aggregate, to clump.
Yes, they do; they form compounds, most of which are "meta-stable" --- they persist until some new atom enters the environment and reacts with them, breaking them up.
For human "atoms" this is the formation of power blocs - be they companies, religions or industry groups.
Oh, there are many more blocs than those, and many factions within those blocs.
With dominance comes governance.
That's true. The trick is to devise a structure for government that constrains it's scope and powers, regardless of who dominates.
I would say that societies are more like simple organisms. They have now effectively evolved "nerve nets" and perhaps a very weak and small central brain. That would make human societies more like plants, sponges or cnidarians than brained animals.
That a system has some of the features of an organism doesn't make it an organism. Societies are complex adaptive systems, not organisms. The definitive property of an organism is that it adheres to a design. Both CAS's and organisms have multiple interacting parts, but in an organism the parts are designed for specific tasks and are locked into their relationships with the other parts. A liver cell in an animal cannot decide it is bored with its role and decide to become a nerve cell. A kidney cannot rearrange itself into a lung. A human heart cell cannot decide it would be happier in a walrus. Their roles, properties, and relationships are fixed, per the design specified in their DNA. The elements of CAS's, in contrast, are generalists --- they can play many roles, and their tasks and relationships are dynamic --- variable, transitory, and unpredictable. While they exhibit a definite pattern at any given moment, that pattern is not dictated by any pre-existing design, and is unpredictable except in the very short term.

And of course, the "organic"-"atomistic" analogy is just an analogy, and like most analogies, can't be pressed too far.

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Felix
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Re: The Global Slide Towards Fascism

Post by Felix » November 8th, 2019, 5:39 pm

Human nature has not changed, it's just that with increased population and cultural diversity, human commerce becomes more complicated and difficult to regulate. Psycho-babble about "a society of strangers" is irrelevant to the issue.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Greta
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Re: The Global Slide Towards Fascism

Post by Greta » November 9th, 2019, 12:03 am

GE Morton wrote:
November 8th, 2019, 12:45 pm

That a system has some of the features of an organism doesn't make it an organism. Societies are complex adaptive systems, not organisms. The definitive property of an organism is that it adheres to a design. Both CAS's and organisms have multiple interacting parts, but in an organism the parts are designed for specific tasks and are locked into their relationships with the other parts. A liver cell in an animal cannot decide it is bored with its role and decide to become a nerve cell. A kidney cannot rearrange itself into a lung. A human heart cell cannot decide it would be happier in a walrus. Their roles, properties, and relationships are fixed, per the design specified in their DNA. The elements of CAS's, in contrast, are generalists --- they can play many roles, and their tasks and relationships are dynamic --- variable, transitory, and unpredictable. While they exhibit a definite pattern at any given moment, that pattern is not dictated by any pre-existing design, and is unpredictable except in the very short term.

And of course, the "organic"-"atomistic" analogy is just an analogy, and like most analogies, can't be pressed too far.
"That a system has some of the features of an organism doesn't make it an organism."

"And of course, the "organic"-"atomistic" analogy is just an analogy, and like most analogies, can't be pressed too far."

In the end, you replied to your own initial criticism.

What we are looking at is the dance of order and chaos.

The fact is that, at present societies are tending towards the illiberal, towards imposing order rather than fostering progress. More controls are wanted by ever more people - walls, border concentration camps, more harsh punishments, more laws controlling youth, control of reproduction, removal of rights rights for queer and religious minorities, sidelining of evidence-based material capable of exposing lies, control of media ...

People must be living in fear to want such things. The media, of course, works hard to stoke fears and, thus, demand for fear-easing products but such movements preceded mass media. People are electing governments, seeing it as a last roll of the dice. In time, the world will organise between the patient, who were prepared to "play the long game", grafting through the hard strategic work of society-building and the impatient, who make snap decisions based on impulse gratification without much considering long term consequences.

GE Morton
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Re: The Global Slide Towards Fascism

Post by GE Morton » November 9th, 2019, 12:50 pm

Greta wrote:
November 9th, 2019, 12:03 am

What we are looking at is the dance of order and chaos.

The fact is that, at present societies are tending towards the illiberal, towards imposing order rather than fostering progress.
Well, the authoritarians would claim their policies constitute "progress," that more order is progress, and more freedom means more chaos.
More controls are wanted by ever more people - walls, border concentration camps, more harsh punishments, more laws controlling youth, control of reproduction, removal of rights rights for queer and religious minorities, sidelining of evidence-based material capable of exposing lies, control of media ...
I agree. Government is force. Whoever holds its reins will use it to impose controls over as many aspects of life as they can in pursuit of their various agendas, the various Utopias they envision. The Left and Right differ in their Utopias, but not in their methods.
People must be living in fear to want such things. The media, of course, works hard to stoke fears and, thus, demand for fear-easing products but such movements preceded mass media.
That reminds me of a Mencken quote: "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

Another toothy one: "If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner."

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Greta
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Re: The Global Slide Towards Fascism

Post by Greta » November 9th, 2019, 8:04 pm

Thing is, though, the old truism is, well, true - that power abhors a vacuum.

If you don't have a formal government that at least pretends to serve the people you end up with fragmented informal corporate controllers that take on governmental functions that they once lobbied, and without any need to even pretend that that are serving the many.

Neither option, as has been the case throughout all of history, is ideal. Further, the trouble with "ideal" forms of governance is that all systems are ultimately replaced. So you might imagine what you feel is a terrific way of governing now, but the cracks will appear and that ideal will be swept aside by new movements.

Also, it depends on the region. If you have enough people, authoritarian controls are seemingly essential to minimise what is a huge tendency towards chaos. So, with population continuing to rise unchecked, it's hard to see any trends towards liberalisation in any area but corporate regulations. As I have heard said, these days America's poor are operating under capitalism while billionaires (especially fossil fuel and media billionaires) are enjoying the benefits of socialism, with huge tax relief (often to the point of negation) and also handouts and bailouts.

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Re: The Global Slide Towards Fascism

Post by gad-fly » December 21st, 2019, 4:19 pm

With due respect, i have to deny that the globe is sliding towards fascism, unless you mix it up with fundamentalism and so on. The world is always in a state of flux, more or less. Not only is this alright. It is healthy, with up and down liveliness. We should worry if it is not. We often yearn for the good old days, but the good old days is no more than a myth. Indeed, I think the world is better off now than any time beginning with the last century. Let me say; the sky is not falling. Nor will it fall soon.

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Greta
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Re: The Global Slide Towards Fascism

Post by Greta » December 21st, 2019, 10:57 pm

Gad-Fly, the sky is not actually solid and cannot fall.

A slide towards fascism is real and obvious to anyone watching one after another plank of democracy fall away.

GE Morton
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Re: The Global Slide Towards Fascism

Post by GE Morton » December 21st, 2019, 11:56 pm

Greta wrote:
December 21st, 2019, 10:57 pm

A slide towards fascism is real and obvious to anyone watching one after another plank of democracy fall away.
You persist in equating fascism with authoritarianism, and assuming that democracy is its antithesis. Fascism is certainly authoritarian, but so are communism, socialism, theocracy, etc. There is actually little momentum in the West toward fascism, but there is considerable momentum toward those other varieties of authoritarianism. And, of course, democracy --- i.e., majoritarian populism --- can be as authoritarian as fascism.

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Greta
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Re: The Global Slide Towards Fascism

Post by Greta » December 22nd, 2019, 1:04 am

No, you persist in equating "towards" with "into".

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Re: The Global Slide Towards Fascism

Post by gad-fly » December 31st, 2019, 5:24 pm

On Greta's 21st post.
True, the sky can be falling, but why bother when the likelihood is so low. I suggest to sail through life by means of wager. Don't care if the odds are negligible. Let it be. Lay your money down, and have fun. Daydream only if it brings joy like winning the jackpot. Happy sailing, Greta, and cheers.

On Morton's 21st post.
Socialism, and so on, becoming authoritarian? Of course they can. Nothing in life is guaranteed. The crucial point: it is a matter of degree, depending on the check and balance in hand to keep track. Falter and adjust, by hook or by crook. Fine. It is the outcome that counts.

GE Morton
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Re: The Global Slide Towards Fascism

Post by GE Morton » December 31st, 2019, 6:43 pm

gad-fly wrote:
December 31st, 2019, 5:24 pm

Socialism, and so on, becoming authoritarian? Of course they can.
Not a matter of "can." They are necessarily, intrinsically, authoritarian
It is the outcome that counts.
That is equivalent to "the ends justify the means." In politics the ends sought rarely justify the means employed.

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Papus79
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Re: The Global Slide Towards Fascism

Post by Papus79 » December 31st, 2019, 6:54 pm

GE Morton wrote:
December 31st, 2019, 6:43 pm
That is equivalent to "the ends justify the means." In politics the ends sought rarely justify the means employed.
I'd say it's worse than the means not justifying the ends when the ends, as a given, become death camps and gulags. If history has told us much of anything it's that illiberal uprisings generally don't have positive outcomes and anyone at the helm who wants a liberal outcome after a certain purge typically gets assassinated by someone who wants said illiberal conditions to stay for their own benefit.
People aren't fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, we're fundamentally trying to survive. It's the environment and culture which tells us what that's going to be.

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Re: The Global Slide Towards Fascism

Post by Sculptor1 » December 31st, 2019, 8:52 pm

Papus79 wrote:
December 31st, 2019, 6:54 pm
GE Morton wrote:
December 31st, 2019, 6:43 pm
That is equivalent to "the ends justify the means." In politics the ends sought rarely justify the means employed.
I'd say it's worse than the means not justifying the ends when the ends, as a given, become death camps and gulags. If history has told us much of anything it's that illiberal uprisings generally don't have positive outcomes and anyone at the helm who wants a liberal outcome after a certain purge typically gets assassinated by someone who wants said illiberal conditions to stay for their own benefit.
uprisings and revolutions all have the potential to improve the outcomes for people.
Often these are unintended consequences, such as emancipation after the US civil war; others fully intended, the bolstering of parliamentary democracy after English civil war; even the Russian revolution led to a better way of life to the peasants. The French revolution obviously soon turned to tyrrany, but things were better for French people after some time had passed.

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Re: The Global Slide Towards Fascism

Post by Papus79 » January 1st, 2020, 3:00 am

Sculptor1 wrote:
December 31st, 2019, 8:52 pm
uprisings and revolutions all have the potential to improve the outcomes for people.
Often these are unintended consequences, such as emancipation after the US civil war; others fully intended, the bolstering of parliamentary democracy after English civil war; even the Russian revolution led to a better way of life to the peasants. The French revolution obviously soon turned to tyrrany, but things were better for French people after some time had passed.
There may be something that those which have good outcomes have in common that those which aren't don't share with them. My guess would be that the survival of institutions is a large part of what stops something like a civil war from becoming anarchy and that once it just boils down to one person's decisions, with everything up in the air and little stable grounding or structure left, that's where the power grabs and consequent outcomes can get quite ugly.
People aren't fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, we're fundamentally trying to survive. It's the environment and culture which tells us what that's going to be.

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Re: The Global Slide Towards Fascism

Post by gad-fly » January 1st, 2020, 6:34 pm

"It is the outcome that counts" should not be identified with "The end justifies the means". Take the French Revolution. The permeating outcome for generations afterwards counts much more than those under the guillotine.

Let us not stray too far from the subject: The Global Slide towards Fascism.

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