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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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