The future of Rabble/Babble, and the future of the left

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Boze
The future of Rabble/Babble, and the future of the left

This place loses members faster than it gains members. No community can exist forever under such conditions.

Increasingly I find myself simply unable to discuss things here, or on many leftist communities. I'm an NDP member and have been for my entire adult life, through 10 federal and provincial elections. I think I'm further to the left than anybody else I know - so why am I always accused of being a right-winger, or worse? Because I don't respect the left, I don't respect authority, and I have absolutely no reverence for taboos. Whatever my group's sacred cows are, I want to kick them in the face, and I have absolutely no use for leaders or managers of any kind.

All the things I was sure would happen twenty years ago have come to pass - our inability to confront opposing arguments head-on has resulted in a resurgent right that we seem unable to understand. For those who disagree, I want to know - how can we frame the rise of phenomena like Donald Trump, like the alt-right, like Rebel Media, in a manner that gives us a way forward? My thinking is that you can only proceed by adopting responsibility. It has to be our fault. Any explanation that doesn't locate us at the centre of the problem leaves us powerless to proceed forward. It's easy to blame external forces, but it doesn't give us a way forward.

We have to champion the individual above all else. You are the centre of your visible universe. Individuals make decisions. Individuals, not groups, are moral agents.

Admittedly, some of this is my peculariar personality. I am not a consensus person, by nature. I prefer disunity. My feeling is that if we all agree on something, we are probably at least partly wrong about it, so I will explore the opposite position. I am not a fan of certainty, either. I want to foment doubt. If we are 100% sure about something, then we are probably at least partly wrong about it. And this goes without saying: whatever you cannot say, must be said loudly. All orthodoxies must be challenged, even if it's offensive to do so, because that's the only way we'll find out for sure if our beliefs were correct in the first place.

I want to be part of a strong, coherent, vibrant, intellectual left movement that can champion individual rights against corporate and government power and against any kind of hierarchy. The old knock on attempts to unite the left is that the left always eats itself. Isn't that kind of what has happened to Babble? What's going to happen to us in the next 20 years? As individuals?

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Part of your problem is that you're attempting to shoehorn right wing philosophy (rights of the individual trumps the rights of the group) into left wing membership/orientation where the basis is that the group outweighs the individual. You may hold an NDP membership, but that doesn't make your thinking left wing. And if you have an issue with leftist and socialist thought, what are you even doing here?

Another part of your problem is your inability to examine your own biases while demanding everyone else examine theirs. Or capitulate them entirely because they don't suit YOU. This has been expressed in a serious of long-winded and utterly clueless, dickish posts.

The key to getting along here is pretty much my philosphy of life: Don't be an asshole. I don't always succeed, but I do try. You might want to give it a go sometime.

MegB

He's just pissed because I won't let him post in the feminist forum and because I refuse to engage with him (such a waste of time). It must be so frustrating, not being allowed to bully others on babble.

Boze

Quote:
Part of your problem is that you're attempting to shoehorn right wing philosophy (rights of the individual trumps the rights of the group) into left wing membership/orientation where the basis is that the group outweighs the individual. You may hold an NDP membership, but that doesn't make your thinking left wing. And if you have an issue with leftist and socialist thought, what are you even doing here?

I don't agree AT ALL with this characterization. What you are describing is individualism vs. collectivism, not left vs. right. If being on the left meant rejecting individualism, then I would immediately dissociate myself from the left. However, I don't think it does, fortunately. A commitment to equality, to challenging any authority, to peace, to challenging those who despoil the environment, to workers' rights, and to promoting personal freedom, most definitely falls within the bounds of left-wing politics.

But I don't want to be a part of any group or organization that cannot abide its deepest and most cherished beliefs and principles being challenged or even attacked. So maybe I don't belong here after all. But I think that's sad, and I think that we are all diminished by such attitudes.

Quote:
Another part of your problem is your inability to examine your own biases while demanding everyone else examine theirs. Or capitulate them entirely because they don't suit YOU. This has been expressed in a serious of long-winded and utterly clueless, dickish posts.

You assume that because I take a strong position or write a long-winded rant, that I am incapable of examining my own biases. My thinking is that it is as much your job to point out the flaws in my argument as it is mine. I proceed the only way I know how: by presenting the argument in the strongest form I can, in the hopes that somebody can refute it and convince me otherwise. Believe me, I do want to be convinced, and am open to it. Just because I don't write out my entire thought process doesn't mean I haven't thought through innumerable counter-arguments and counter-counter-arguments. Believe it or not, the long-winded posts I write could easily be twenty times longer.

Maybe I just expect too much.

Who cares if I am an asshole? That is a petty, childish concern. I am not interested in making friends. I am interested in determining what is true.

Boze

MegB wrote:
He's just pissed because I won't let him post in the feminist forum and because I refuse to engage with him (such a waste of time). It must be so frustrating, not being allowed to bully others on babble.

A small answer from a small person.

Bully? Oh please. 

Mobo2000

Boze:   A lot of what you say above matches my own experience.

"All the things I was sure would happen twenty years ago have come to pass - our inability to confront opposing arguments head-on has resulted in a resurgent right that we seem unable to understand. For those who disagree, I want to know - how can we frame the rise of phenomena like Donald Trump, like the alt-right, like Rebel Media, in a manner that gives us a way forward? My thinking is that you can only proceed by adopting responsibility. It has to be our fault."

I like this framing, very much.    When the left has the better arguments, the better positions, and the better facts, then we need the patience and the care to argue them.    And if we don't have the better argument, then losing will help improve them.  

If anything, I think Trump should have shown us that shaming and ridiculing don't work.   Rob Ford should have taught that to the Canadian left as well.   

 

Boze

Maybe someone can help me out here.

What's the correct way to respond when somebody demands you stop replying to their messages? Shouldn't we challenge such authoritarian demands as a matter of course? It seems axiomatic to me that anything that I am told to do that doesn't feel legitimate should be refused on principle. If somebody told me "you need to stop wearing red shirts to our meetings because it makes us look like communists," I think I'd have to wear the red shirt just on principle, whether I wanted to or not.

Is it moral to demand that somebody stop replying to your messages, and it is immoral to refuse such a request (i.e. "I will reply to everything you send me, if you want this conversation to end then you should stop replying")? This is a 100% genuine question.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Dude, "left" doesn't mean "next to Ayn Rand's left elbow". And if you're interested in equality, then you have to understand that your "rights" (which is actually privilege) are going to be questioned and limited in some ways.

My assessment of your behaviour on this board is that you're all for equality as long as you get to stomp on other people as much as you like. That's not how it works. And just because you SAY you're in support of equality and peace and all these other things doesn't mean you actually are - people are going to go by the totality of what you say and how you behave here to a greater extent than they will just take your statement at face value. Frankly, so far, you've shown little to no actual support for your claims of believing in racial or sexual equality. You resist any kind of intellectual rigor in argument and can't seem to get your head around some key concepts in both antiracism and feminism. You're not ally, you're just an asshole. 

The rules here are in place for a reason. If you don't like rules on message boards, go find reddit. 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Boze wrote:

 

A small answer from a small person.

Bully? Oh please. 

Ooh! Are we playing "Poke the moderator"? That always ends well.

Intellectual, my ass.

Boze

Quote:
Dude, "left" doesn't mean "next to Ayn Rand's left elbow". And if you're interested in equality, then you have to understand that your "rights" (which is actually privilege) are going to be questioned and limited in some ways.

I've read Ayn Rand, and she's no challenger of authority and hierarchy. I admit, I have always had a strong libertarian streak, but I always felt that should be at home on the left, especially in the party that has fought for gay rights, for women's rights, for drug legalization, against the military and carceral state. People do have rights. Abortion is about a woman's right to her body. It is a fundamentally individualist notion. Gay rights are about individuals' rights to not be persecuted. But this isn't about "my right to speak." It's about whether we are searching for the truth, or presuming we know what the truth is and heading in that direction.

Quote:
My assessment of your behaviour on this board is that you're all for equality as long as you get to stomp on other people as much as you like. That's not how it works. And just because you SAY you're in support of equality and peace and all these other things doesn't mean you actually are - people are going to go by the totality of what you say and how you behave here to a greater extent than they will just take your statement at face value. Frankly, so far, you've shown little to no actual support for your claims of believing in racial or sexual equality. You resist any kind of intellectual rigor in argument and can't seem to get your head around some key concepts in both antiracism and feminism. You're not ally, you're just an asshole.

Key concepts such as "know your place" and "don't take up space"? I admit, I have never been very good at that. My place is competing in the battleground of ideas. Yes, it is a competition. Space is up for grabs and if I believe I have something to say, you had best believe I will compete aggressively for space. You could call this "male privilege," but really, shouldn't the ideal be to extend this privilege to everyone?

Quote:
The rules here are in place for a reason. If you don't like rules on message boards, go find reddit.

I may well have to, but we also have a place on this board called "rabble reactions" for a reason, don't we?

Boze

Timebandit wrote:

Boze wrote:

 

A small answer from a small person.

Bully? Oh please. 

Ooh! Are we playing "Poke the moderator"? That always ends well.

Intellectual, my ass.

The way you test somebody's ability to be trusted with authority is by poking and provoking them.

I admit, I don't like cops, I talked back to my parents, I talk back to teachers, and the only bosses I can handle are the ones that leave me alone. But I always figured these were virtues.

A bully is one who implicitly threatens with consequences for not going along. I have no power here. Saying that I am "bullying" because I am brusque and impertinent and treat others no differently than I expect to be treated is a joke.

MegB

Boze wrote:

Maybe someone can help me out here.

What's the correct way to respond when somebody demands you stop replying to their messages? Shouldn't we challenge such authoritarian demands as a matter of course?

Since you bring it up, I asked you to stop messaging me. You ignored that request. I had to threaten to ban you to get you to stop harassing me. The only reason you're still here is because you serve as an object lesson. How to Keep Being an Asshole 101. 

Boze

edit: double post

Boze

MegB wrote:

Boze wrote:

Maybe someone can help me out here.

What's the correct way to respond when somebody demands you stop replying to their messages? Shouldn't we challenge such authoritarian demands as a matter of course?

Since you bring it up, I asked you to stop messaging me. You ignored that request. I had to threaten to ban you to get you to stop harassing me. The only reason you're still here is because you serve as an object lesson. How to Keep Being an Asshole 101. 

It is not my intention to harass you, but where I come from, "stop messaging me" should be responded to with "you stop messaging me first" or something like that.

I'm not trying to be an asshole and if I'm actually testing your patience, I thank you for your patience.

Mobo2000

Boze:  

I have the contrarian impulse as well, of course one can take it too far.   Big part of the dynamic that grew Trump supporters, yes?

Regarding messages -- if you are debating publically/in a public forum and their last message contains arguments, then you can and should respond even if they ask not to.

If you are messaging privately, then "if you want this conversation to end then you should stop replying" is fine in my book.

ETA -- posted before the 2 prior comments above.  I was not aware of the context.

 

MegB

Aaaand, he messages me again. Buh bye Boze.

Mobo2000

Timebandit and Meg:

Why are you both incapable of disagreeing without calling people names?    It's such a bummer to read.   Not every disagreement or difference in outlook or worldview needs to be a fight to the death or a referendum on someone's character.

I was away on vaction for the past 4 weeks, took a large break from the internet and then Charlottesville happened and I dove back in.   Had an internal bet with myself over how many babblers would be calling other babblers Nazis and how many people would be banned before I came back here.    Was pleasantly surprised there was only one babbler calling one other babbler Nazis, and nobody banned.   Progress!   I thought, then noticed WWWTT posted in the Charlotsville thread after being warned by the mod and has not posted since.  

Meg:   Has WWWTT been banned?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Well, that was a short round on today's edition of "Poke the Moderator"!

(Thanks, Meg.)

Mobo2000

Man, you have to post fast to keep up with all the goings on here.   Nothing brings up the post counts like a couple of good old fashioned bannings. 

Boze:   I appreciated, enjoyed and thought about many of your long winded rants.   I will miss your presence here.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Mobo2000 wrote:

Timebandit and Meg:

Why are you both incapable of disagreeing without calling people names?    It's such a bummer to read.   Not every disagreement or difference in outlook or worldview needs to be a fight to the death or a referendum on someone's character.

I was away on vaction for the past 4 weeks, took a large break from the internet and then Charlottesville happened and I dove back in.   Had an internal bet with myself over how many babblers would be calling other babblers Nazis and how many people would be banned before I came back here.    Was pleasantly surprised there was only one babbler calling one other babbler Nazis, and nobody banned.   Progress!   I thought, then noticed WWWTT posted in the Charlotsville thread after being warned by the mod and has not posted since.  

Mobo, if you would like to see an extended period of me politely disagreeing with Boze and Paladin, please go review the "Talking about race with white people" thread. I spent days trying to get an understanding of white male privilege into their heads with a maximum of patience. Everyone has their limits, and sometimes frustration overcomes courtesy. Ultimately, those two are invested in preserving that privilege regardless of their protestations to the contrary and I resent your suggestion that I can't disagree with someone without calling names. It's an unfair assessment.

JKR

Boze wrote:

We have to champion the individual above all else. You are the centre of your visible universe. Individuals make decisions. Individuals, not groups, are moral agents.

I think this is exactly the ideology of a liberal. The primary objective of a liberal is increasing liberty for the individual. Social democracy on the other hand supports equality between classes of people. At times liberalism and democratic socialism might support the same policy but this coincidence is derived from different perspectives. For example increasing the minimum wage is often supported by socialists and liberals but this support is based on different perspectives. This explains why the Ontario Liberal government and the Alberta and BC NDP governments all support establishing the $15 minimum wage.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

To repurpose The Firesign Theatre:

I Think Theres NO Bozes On This Bus.

"You've been a great audience, I'll be here all week, try the Swiss steak..."

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I think this is exactly the ideology of a liberal. The primary objective of a liberal is increasing liberty for the individual.

OK, but I can't really disagree that the "lowest common denominator" of social or political capital is the individual.

If it helps, this is why some individuals choose to NOT support the leftmost candidate or party "because they've let ME down in this or that way!".  When we accept that, are we accepting the actions of a large group, or the actions of an individual?  Can't they just see that this isn't about individuals, and get with the program??

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Good point, JKR, but in my opinion Boze was equating libertarianism with liberalism. He was more concerned with the preservation of rights than taking into account how those unfettered rights may have a negative impact on others. My understanding of liberalism is not as stridently focused on the privileges of the individual. And make no mistake, Boze was vociferous in defense of his privilege.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

He was equating "the individual" with "the heckler" 

Or possibly, in MegB's case, with "the stalker".

And the mask slipped in the second paragraph of the post he started this thread with, when he used the phrase "I don't respect the Left".

JKR

Timebandit wrote:

Good point, JKR, but in my opinion Boze was equating libertarianism with liberalism. He was more concerned with the preservation of rights than taking into account how those unfettered rights may have a negative impact on others. My understanding of liberalism is not as stridently focused on the privileges of the individual. And make no mistake, Boze was vociferous in defense of his privilege.

Boze mentioned that they have been a member of the NDP for a long time so I assumed that Boze is not a libertarian since libertarians support the idea that the role of government should be kept to a minimum. I find it hard to believe that a libertarian could be a long-time NDP'er but who knows. It seems to me that libertarians in Canada generally support the Conservatives, especially Conservatives like Maxime Bernier and Kevin  O'Leary. If we had PR in Canada the Conservatives would probably break into at least two parties.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Or he was bullshitting us about the NDP membership. Also a possibility.