Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."



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Comments

meade

"...a sane relationship with these Islamic societies that will support their struggle to find their way into the modern world."

But that is the rub. Al Qaeda, and the others, are not Islamic; they're Islamist.

It's as if someone, sixty-seven years ago, had said: "What we need is to have a real debate in the U.S and Europe about how to develop a sane economic policy and a sane relationship with these German and Italian societies that will support their struggle to find their way into the modern world," when what should have been said was "National Socialist and Fascist societies."

There can be a policy toward and a relationship with liars, cheaters, and murderers. But it won't be "sane."

amba

Yup.

meade

Just to be clear: Support the struggle of Islamic societies... yes. Support the struggle of Islamist societies... impossible.

Icepick

Yes, it's all about nationalism, not religion, and if we would just get our greedy paws off the Middle East then we wouldn't have a single problem, would we? I mean, it's not like they're going to come here and tell us how to run our countries, is it?

Alan

Two points.

1) Whalen's argument is seductive because it puts all the power in our hands and none in our enemy's. It's a worldview where OUR OWN ACTIONS determine our fate completely. If we want to protect ourselves from terrorism, we need only change our actions towards terrorists. They are merely subsets of our actions and not self-determining peoples. If we change, they'll change. Saddly, it's not nearly that easy. But it's pretty to think so.

2) Whalen's view is actually the oppoistie of the neo-con point-of-view. That is: changing ourselves is pointless, we need to force change on them.

Both views suffer from a tendancy towards over-simplification -- of both the problem and the solution. We can neither avoid real confrontation (like Whalen desires) nor ignore the consequences of our own actions (like Rumsfeld desires).

realpc

We are NOT in Iraq just to grab oil. Oil is probably going to run out, or become hard to get at, within decades, so that would be a very short-sighted goal.

The neocons believe in Western democracy and technology as a cure-all, and they are promoting it. Stupid to promote it by violence, since young generations everywhere usually prefer it over memorizing the Koran and committing suicide.

But the neocons' goal is to save the world by creating an all-powerful Western capitalist empire.

I think the neocons have good intentions, but they are dangerous crazy idealists.

Western capitialism WILL conquer the whole world, as long as we find an alternaitve to oil.

I have many reservations about Western civilization, and I can understand why the depraved Islamists are resisting so desperately.

Leftists who hate religion miss the point. Rightists who love Americanism miss the point.

amba

Alan and real --

Good descriptions. They're both one-eyed. And therefore two-dimensional. What William Blake said (back in the age of Newton!! How'd he know?):

. . . May God us keep.
From Single vision and Newton's sleep!

O18

I work for an oil company (and that it makes me an unquestionable authority). I can’t tell you how ludicrous the reason “we’re there for oil” is. If oil is the reason, then dealing with a dictator who’s willing to sell it to us is the best thing we could possibly hope for; and Saddam was selling it. I’m yet to meet an industry insider who genuinely believes that that’s our reason for going there. I used to laugh at these “conspiracy theorists”, but now they just make me sad. They sincerely don’t care about the reasons, and are much happier with their delusions.
You see, here we are again... (sigh) time for a blue pill.

O18

And no, I cannot provide you with a discount (it's my pension we're talking about).

amba

Aw, drat.

Pastor_Jeff

Good comments, all -- especially Icepick.

...a sane relationship with these Islamic societies that will support their struggle to find their way into the modern world.

I imagine that's possible, but there are a few problems beyond the ones already mentioned above:

1) Islamists (and Islamic states) have been committed to the destruction of Israel since before I was born. We could have a kind of peace, I suppose, if we abandoned our ally and pulled out of the Middle East. But even if we did such a foolish and immoral thing, what next? Will the Islamists really be content when they have killed every last Israeli? And why would we let such a thing happen?

2) At least since Khomeni the Islamists have been the real powers in Islamic societies. It doesn't matter so much what Islamic leaders want. They are barely in control of angry mobs created by the Islamist propaganda of hatred, paranoia, and envy. The problem of anti-western propaganda has to be addressed here and abroad.

3) The Islamists are clearly not looking for sane relationships or a way into the modern world. They are fueled by a violent puritanical Muslim vision. They want want to turn back the clock for all of us, and they are willing to murder to do so. How do you have detente with that kind of radical religious fanaticism?

Americans doesn't care if everybody doesn't look like us, as long as they're not powerful and committed to our destruction. We'd be happy to let the rest of the world mind its own business and leave us alone.

But that's not true for the Islamists. They really do hate our "immorality" and the freedom on which it's based. And they want not just control, but conversion. If allowed, they will gladly use the freedoms they hate to destroy us from within and recreate us in their backwards image.

meade

A well developed comment, Pastor Jeff.

My only question would be on "a violent puritanical Muslim vision."

Puritanical as in "moralistic?"

I ask because the more I think about it, the more it seems that the Terror War on the West truly is a religious/ideological war for dominance. (I know - big duh.)

But I wonder if the point of coming together which people of such profoundly conflicting faiths and theologies - Islam, Judaism, Christianity - might be over morality and rationality. You know, by reason and common sense, don't lie, don't steal, don't murder. Respect your neighbor as you yourself would like to be respected. Be peaceful and honest.

It's simply reasonable and right and in everyone's best interests. Shouldn't all three major religions (of peace) be able to agree on those points of morality and, if so, couldn't it then be a way of marginalizing and minimizing the fanatical puritanical ideological false religious strains of Khomeni, al Qaeda and the others?

realpc

I don't think the 3 western religions ever really advocated peace, although it has been added more recently. (In eastern religions, as far as I know, the only way to be peaceful was to become a monk and avoid society.) The commandment not to murder doesn't necessarily mean be peaceful towards outsiders.

Judaism originated with a conquering nation of tribes, led by their god Yahweh. Islam was started by a prophet/military leader.

I don't see how we can realistically bend the western religions into religions of peace, even thought that's what everyone is calling them now.

Even if they were religions of peace (I doubt any such thing has existed, except the monastic versions), human civilizations co-existing in peace would never be possible.

Nature includes competition and hate, as well as cooperation and love ("a time for love, a time for hate ..."). Competition is necessary -- when there is no competition there is no freedom. Competition inevitably leads to violence at times, because violence is the ultimate form of competition. It is a last resort of an individual or group trying to assert its rights and/or to survive.

Our species has over-crowded the planet so that we depend on our technology to survive. Competition has therefore intensified.

The ONLY reason we dread and despise violence is because of the advanced weapons our civilization has developed. We do not know how to control these weapons. THAT is what the Iraq war is about, and what the cold war was about, and THAT is behind almost everything going on in international politics today.

NO ONE HAS ANY ANSWERS TO THIS PROBLEM. Hardly anyone even notices or mentions it. The goal of the Bush administration has been to prevent our enemies from having nuclear weapons. Why should we have them if they can't? That's what Iran is probably thinking.

I doubt any Democrats are thinking about this. They have so much confidence in their superior and subtle intellects. They will just TALK everyone into being peaceful.

dangerblond

You have got to be kidding if you think the US can go around the world preaching peace and love. Put down that Bible and open a history book. Since WWII, we have been the most violent and militaristic society on earth. Now, open your Bible back up and look at the book of Revelation. Don't be fooled about which side our country is on. The meek have not inherited the earth.

Pastor_Jeff

Meade,

Thanks. Puritanical as in moralistic, yes, but also as in driven by the need to purify what doesn't fit the vision.

Puritanism took hold in England for a period, but its excesses turned off the larger public. In America, the Puritans were most successful in New England as a closed society, but even they weren't as violent and angry as the Islamist puritans variety we see today.

I think there is something of a common moral expression among the 3 monotheistic faiths, but if I may disagree with realpc, the values underlying the morals are different.

Islam's supreme value is submission -- submission to God, to religious leaders, to stronger parties when necessary (until you can become the stronger party). And in the Islamist world, that means forcible submission to Islam by outsiders using any means necessary.

I'm not trying to score points for "my side" with this, but Christianity's supreme value is love. That has not always been the reality, Christians continue to fall short of that goal, but it's clearly the supreme value. Again, to disagree with realpc, love means violence should be limited, but is not out of bounds, because love may demand that I use force to protect innocents from evildoers.

So I think there is common morality between the "three faiths" which could be the basis of cooperation with Islamic societies, the fundamental value and goals of the Islamists are too radically different.

Pastor_Jeff

Meade,

Thanks. Puritanical as in moralistic, yes, but also as in driven by the need to purify what doesn't fit the vision.

Puritanism took hold in England for a period, but its excesses turned off the larger public. In America, the Puritans were most successful in New England as a closed society, but even they weren't as violent and angry as the Islamist puritans variety we see today.

I think there is something of a common moral expression among the 3 monotheistic faiths, but if I may disagree with realpc, the values underlying the morals are different.

Islam's supreme value is submission -- submission to God, to religious leaders, to stronger parties when necessary (until you can become the stronger party). And in the Islamist world, that means forcible submission to Islam by outsiders using any means necessary.

I'm not trying to score points for "my side" with this, but Christianity's supreme value is love. That has not always been the reality, Christians continue to fall short of that goal, but it's clearly the supreme value. Again, to disagree with realpc, love means violence should be limited, but is not out of bounds, because love may demand that I use force to protect innocents from evildoers.

So I think there is common morality between the "three faiths" which could be the basis of cooperation with Islamic societies, the fundamental value and goals of the Islamists are too radically different.

Pastor_Jeff

Sorry for the double post. I got a word verification thing for the first time, and only clicked it once...?

Pastor_Jeff

Dangerblond,

I don't know if your comments are directed at me, but I think you misunderstand the discussion.

I don't believe the US is preaching "peace and love." I don't think the US is a Christian nation. I don't know how old you are, but I'd recommend a closer reading of history. The dominant expansionist empire of the late 20th century wasn't headquartered in Washington, but Moscow. We didn't go into Korea and Vietnam, or support counter-insurgencies in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America to build our empire, but to try to stop the expansion of a brutal totalitarian regime.

And I'm not sure how the Bible got dragged into this since nobody's quoting it. What does Revelation have to do with anything? And exactly whom do you think "the meek" are in Jesus' statement from Matthew 5, given the grammatical-historical context of his speech?

But ultimately, if you think America is the greatest force of evil in the world today, I doubt we're going to have a very productive discussion.

realpc

"Christianity's supreme value is love."

Oh, everyone's supreme value is love, by definition. The word "love" just refers to whatever we value most. It's a big mistake to promote Christianity as superior just because it perceives itself as valuing love. That statement is dangerous, even though it doesn't really mean anything.


"love may demand that I use force to protect innocents from evildoers."

Yeah, that's the trouble with love. We classify anyone as "evildoer" who does not share our defininitions of love, or who threatens the things we value.

Love is the parent of hate and violence.

The words "love" and "freedom" are creating hurricanes of confusion in America today.

Pastor_Jeff

Realpc,

Is everything okay? You seem to be reading a lot into what I've written.

We classify anyone as "evildoer" who does not share our defininitions of love, or who threatens the things we value.

Where did I define evildoers as people who disagree with me? How have I ever given that impression? For the Christian, Jesus defines and models true love. We don't get to invent our own definition.

Are you saying there is no real threat to what we value most -- our culture, our way of life? Are there no real evildoers? Is the use of force never justified to protect innocent life? Should the Israelis lay down their weapons and let their enemies destroy them? That didn't work out too well in Europe a few decades ago.

Hate and love are related, because if I love my child I hate what threatens or perverts him. That doesn't mean I go on a jihad to destroy it, however. So how is that wrong?

Just because we all have the capacity for selfishness and aggression doesn't mean you have to be so cynical about flawed people's attempts to do good and yet fall short. And what are you proposing -- not caring about anything? Surrender?

There is a real difference between a religion whose highest value is self-sacrificial love and another whose highest value is submission (and whose expansion has always come about by violence). And it's based on different views of the nature of God.

Based on the stated vision, values, and goals of each religion, would you rather live in an Islamic society or a Christian one? Why or why not?

realpc

Pastor,

It's you who are reading into. I'm just saying our perspective is not necessarily better than someone else's, from a god's-eye perspective. From our own perspective, of course our's is better. We love what we love and hate what we hate. That goes without saying.

But you are caught in your own preferred values, your own love. For a Muslim, it might look radically different.

realpc

And Pastor Jeff, you cannot deny that much of the expansion of Christianity also came about by violence. Remember the Roman Empire??

It's useless to compare ancient traditions and decide which is more violent. All religions were violent when combined with political power. That's one reason we separated religion and politics. Not that it made international politics any less violent.

Pastor_Jeff

our perspective is not necessarily better than someone else's ... you are caught in your own preferred values, your own love. For a Muslim, it might look radically different.

Are you serious? There are no moral absolutes? No standards against which we can judge ourselves and others? Then what the Islamists (or the Nazis or the Stalinsts) are/were doing isn't "wrong," it's just different -- and justifiable because they think it's right.

That's morally repugnant, and I refuse to buy into it. You're saying that we are no better than the people who ran Dachau or sent people like Amba's husband to mine coal with his bare hands. Why were the Germans terrified at the thought of surrendering to the Russians and eager to surrender to the Americans?


Remember the Roman Empire??

You mean the one that butchered and tortured Christians by the thousands?

I do not deny that Christians have perverted the gospel of Christ. Violent expansion, forced conversions, and offensive religious wars are all clearly against the letter and the spirit of the New Testament.

So Christians haven't lived up to the standard of love set in the Bible. How does that make Christianity morally equivalent to suicide bombings and lopping people's heads off on video? Or to subjugating women and treating them like dogs?

Pastor_Jeff

And I'd still like to hear your answers to my questions.

Do you really believe there's no difference between Christianity and Islam? You'd be perfectly willing to live as a woman in an Islamic society?


The goal of the Bush administration has been to prevent our enemies from having nuclear weapons. Why should we have them if they can't? That's what Iran is probably thinking.

Yes, and thank goodness. We had nukes for about 3 years when no one else did. If we're so selifsh and evil, why didn't we blow up or conquer the USSR when we easily could?

Do you really think Iran wouldn't use whatever weapons it can against Israel and the US? Are you aware of all the hate-filled propaganda spewed by the leaders of Iran? The slanders against Jews and America? The threats to destroy us at the first opportunity they get? What is there comparable in Christianity, Israel, or America?

Israel has had nukes for years. Why haven't they blown up their much larger and more numerous enemies who wish them dead and encourage terrorists and suicide bombers?

What is your proposed solution?

realpc

I never said I think one thing is no better than another, and I never said I don't think Stalin or Hitler, etc., were bad. You are just adding in whatever repugnant statements you want, none of which were in my posts.

My point is that you don't seem to try seeing another culture's perspective. You are completely wrong in claiming Christianity is a better religion overall than Islam. Anyone who knows both religions would tell you that. It's impossible to compare them objectively anyway.

And there is nothing in the bible about using nuclear weapons or not, or conquering your enemies or not. Jesus didn't happen to be a military leader, so he did not talk about it, for or against.

Jesus was Jewish and believed in the Old Testamanet, and the Old Testament DOES NOT teach anything resembling pacisfism. Therefore, Jesus WAS NOT a pacifist, and his teachings are in no way relevant to our current nuclear weapons problems.

"What is your proposed solution?"

Are you kidding? I have to come up with a quick and easy solution just because I don't agree with yours? I'm trying to explain why there are no quick and easy solutions. Seeing the problem as good vs. evil is sure to make everything worse. G.W Bush is creating chaos because he sees it as good vs. evil, plain and simple.

realpc

And by the way, what made Hitler, Stalin, etc., truly evil was their perception of evil. Hitler saw evil in the Jews, Catholics, etc., rather than as something that exists in every group and every individual. By ridding Germany of Jews, etc., he could cleanse it of all evil. Stalin did the same with opponents of his version of communism -- they were evil because they opposed him, and his intentions were (in his opinion) absolutely good.

You are doing the same thing: We Christians have the right values, we believe in love, while Muslims have the wrong values. We are right (good) and they are wrong (evil).

Our war on terror is becoming a nightmare because of good-vs-evil thinking and scapegoating.

Pastor_Jeff

I didn't say Muslims are evil. You are putting words in my mouth. And I've never said this is a war of Christianity versus Islam.

But there are in fact murderous barbarians driven by a version of Islam supported and encouraged by many Muslims. They don't want to discuss our differences. They want to either force you to submit to Islam or kill you, and they are willing to die and/or kill innocent bystanders intentionally -- as part of their strategy -- to acheive their goals.

I submit that is not what I, Christians, or Americans are like or are doing or are advocating.


what made Hitler, Stalin, etc., truly evil was their perception of evil.

... which you've said above is just a matter of personal preference. And we are manifestly NOT doing the same things as Hitler and Stalin. If you really believe otherwise, then I really don't see what basis we can have for further discussion.


Our war on terror is becoming a nightmare because of good-vs-evil thinking and scapegoating.

No, if the war on terror is a nightmare, it's because we're fighting intolerant, murderous, religious zealots who danced in the street when the Twin Towers collapsed, saw people's heads off on video, threaten to kill you if you don't submit to Allah, and want to destroy western civilization and drag us back to the middle ages. And the problem isn't "scapegoating" -- it's people who want to see a moral equivalence between fighting for survival against terrorism and terrorism itself.

And yet even though I diagree with you and find your views wrong-headed, I still do not think you are evil, and I have no desire or plan to force you to submit to my views or kill you -- which would seem to disprove your argument about a moral equivalence between me and the people we're fighting.

I think the Islamist terrorists are evil because they want to destroy me, my country, my culture, my religion, and my allies. They think I'm evil because I won't bow the knee to Allah and put my wife in a burkha. They want to expand Islam by violence, while I want them to have the freedom to be backwards if they'll just leave me alone and quit killing Americans.

I don't understand how that makes us the same, but apparently it does.

realpc

I am NOT on the side of Muslim terrorists, and I never said i was. I never said I think terrorist acts are ok.

I think you have inserted my statements into the context of some arguments you've had with America -haters and terrorist-sympathizers. Because you are only aware of two opposing sides.

eusto

I must confess to never having checked back on my last comments w/ real -- it's on my list -- so I'm not sure if I've been "denounced" by her and/or amba (for being rude to real, for instance) for my "nefarious" deeds but here's some potentially useful advice to adjudicate the conversation between real and pastor jeff.

DEFENSE of the principle of non-contradiction. (This is revelant, really.) First, off it is a misperception to assert that insisting on non-contradiction is to deny people the ability to be nuanced and "contain multitudes." The problem with contradiction is that if a contradicition is permitted, then one can prove anything at all, say 0=3. All things become equally true and false in your logical system. (This is an easily provable fact about logic.)

If there is a contradiction, a tension, in one's views all one has to do is to further refine the view to remove the contradiction. Instead of asserting p and not-p, you instead asssert p under x, y, and z conditions and not-p under t, u, and w conditions, thus eliminating the contradiction. (You just specify those cases where p is true and those cases where p is false.)

IOW, the principle of non-contradiction is a call TO nuance, not an elimination of it.
(Besides, there is such a thing as fuzzy logic which allows for intermediate values of truth, one thing being more true than another, say.)

***
In our present circumstance, the reason that dialogue has collapsed is because the parties are not being sufficiently precise.

More specifically, this is the problem with "post-modernist" talk in general. The thing is, you need to have clarity to resolve disputes. And since a post-modernist just wants to talk differing perspectives, you don't get clarity.

But let us note the offending remark namely: I'm just saying our perspective is not necessarily better than someone else's, from a god's-eye perspective. From our own perspective, of course our's is better. We love what we love and hate what we hate. That goes without saying.

Which directly leads to Pastor Jeff's claim that real is an out-and-out relativist. That's the problem with trying to be squishy, and not letting yourself get pinned down, dialogue is destroyed. But I do note that she used "necessarily" but the rest of the quote does indeed lead one to believe that she is a relativist.

This is what I think the two parties agree on: jihadist violence is categorically bad (but I'm not sure if real would endorse that, but if she doesn't endorse it, isn't she endorsing the terrorists? I dunno.) Maybe she wants to say that while jihadist violence is categorically bad, she understands why they engage in violence. (see, more precision can resolve a dispute.)

And while I do agree with real that Pastor Jeff is wrong in saying that Christianity is clearly a better religion overall than Islam, averaged across all time, I think it's clear that Christianity today is better, from a god's eye view, than is Islam. Christianity is healthier. I think both would agree with this. You see the healing effect of precision, o ye doubters of logic (not you jeff, but real and amba). But if real doesn't want to make any categorical statesments but doesn't want to be very precise either, well, she could enjoy Taoist bliss but conversation I'm not sure.

Finally, again I think real is trying both to be above the fray as a post-modern Taoist (p. jeff, fyi, real has desribed herself as such elsewhere) but still wants to make strong knowledge claims. For instance, note the use of language such as The ONLY reason we dread and despise violence is because of the advanced weapons our civilization has developed. We do not know how to control these weapons. THAT is what the Iraq war is about, and what the cold war was about, and THAT is behind almost everything going on in international politics today.

NO ONE HAS ANY ANSWERS TO THIS PROBLEM.

Seems categorical to me. My objection to the use of post-modern Taoism in conversation is that it does not allow conversation. It permits the pmT to just squish out any time they are caught contradicting themselves. Save the pmT for the mediation room.

***

Also note the following language from realPC:

But you are caught in your own preferred values, your own love.

Also, Because you are only aware of two opposing sides.

Now to my way of thinking, that is just very rude and condescending, for it implies that real has a god's eye view of the situation while pastor jeff does not. Finally, statements like I doubt any Democrats are thinking about this. They have so much confidence in their superior and subtle intellects. They will just TALK everyone into being peaceful. are just gratuitously rude and one-sided.

Imagine if I wrote: I doubt any Reps are thinking about this. They have so much confidence that God is on their side that they figure Jesus will take care of everything.. I don't see the need for a false and unfair caricature of those with whom one disagrees. Besides, many of the above comments seem to indicate that real herself believes that she is in possession of a "superior and subtle intellect" given her confident analyses of many subjects.

****

And amba, if you bother to read this, and you think I have made some good points concerning discourse, please say so, because I know that your opinion carries more weight with real than mine does. OTOH, if you think I'm full of it, let me know that too.

And BTW, real, you may think my comments indicate that I that I believe that I am in possession of a superior and subtle intellect and that I'm being condescending towards you. Well, as for the first assertion, it's likely true that I'm smarter than the average bear so why deny what's likely true ;) I always assume that my conversational partners are about at my level until shown otherwise, either they put me to shame or otherwise.
The thing with you is that you try to embrace humility but don't seem it. With me, whoever said I claimed to be humble? ;)

And I don't mean to be condescending but since you didn't seem convinced of prior remarks I made, I wanted to make my case in detail. I'm just trying to improve the discourse, and since pastor jeff runs into the same problems with you that I have, I assume your conversational style causes problems of miscommunication more generally. Women don't understand the real world. LOL. Now there's a real zinger that could have used some clarification up front. I'm trying to be helpful here, really.

eusto

One thing that floated in my mind. I am well aware that one of suggested paraphrases, namely, while "jihadist violence is categorically bad, I understand their reasons" does not fully capture real's views. Perhaps one could say, "While violence is not always bad, in this case it is, and I understand but do not condone their reasons." In any case, only real can provide an elaborated and non-contradictory picture of her views. My basic point is that you're guaranteed to be misunderstood if you don't specify precisely what you mean. Where there is vagueness there is the opportunity for confusion. And it is especially important to be ultra-clear when you're advocating positions that are uncommon to most, so as to not have views be mistaken for views which resemble them.

I guess I just don't buy the line that violence is ever a good-in-itself which real seems to be arguing. In my view, competition can be healthy in itself, violence no, at least in human societies. For human societies, it should be reduced, and hopefully will be reduced as Islamism fades from the scene, for most nations understand that they benefit more from trade with other nations than with their subjugation. I'm not sure if real agrees with all this. She does think that capitalism will eventually take over the globe, though. I never really seem to understand what she's saying though because she seems to contradict herself and doesn't seem interested in clarifying them. Again, if you allow a stark contradiction to stand you are both affirming and denying all propositions, as a matter of logic. (Consult an elementary logic text for the proof.) Oh well, enough rambling.

amba

Eusto, I do appreciate your point about clarity of expression. I hear frustration on both sides of the argument/dialogue with real.

I think the problem may be (let's try for some clarity of expression!) that real is talking about how things are while you're talking about how things should be. Too much focus on how things are can lead to passive fatalism, but too much focus on how things should be becomes naïve idealism that blunders into hellish unintended consequences because it does not take enough account of how things are, in human nature and nature generally.

There is human progress. Whenever something is gained something else is lost, but that doesn't mean we'd really want to trade places with Stone Age hunter-gatherers. However, an excess of idealism fell prey to some of the worst excesses of totalitarianism in the 20th century. The paradoxical contrast between the results obtained by our founding fathers, who were extremely wary of human nature, and Karl Marx, who thought power relations corrupted human nature rather than arising from it, is very striking.

There's plenty of idealism to go around, and I think real feels like a voice in the wilderness trying to bring it down to earth. That doesn't mean, however, that we should succumb to the way things are without a fight -- preferably a canny, use-the-enemy's-force-against-him fight, which is what capitalism at its best can do -- think market incentives for reducing pollution, e.g.

realpc

"The paradoxical contrast between the results obtained by our founding fathers, who were extremely wary of human nature, and Karl Marx, who thought power relations corrupted human nature rather than arising from it, is very striking."

Oh yes, thank you for saying it for me.

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