Agnostic.com

16 12

I am not a Conservative (at least not in the American meaning of this word), but I have to acknowledge that this political "tribe" has understood something about politics in general that their opponents and critics seem to have forgotten: that in politics (maybe even in life in general, if we subscribe to the philosophy of Schopenhauer or Nietzsche, as I do) at the end of the day everything boils down to power : Who is powerful and who is not (the "who" need not be a person, in most cases it is a group with a person as head, but the real power is in the hands of the group, not the 'head'..)

Trump, Putin, Boris Johnson, Bolsonaro, Matteo Slavini ... and their enablers and supporters know that power is not a tool in order to realize lofty ideals and moral values, but that it is the other way round: values and ideals are tools to gain and to maintain power. That is the most profound insight of Nietzsche when he wrote about the Christian "morality of slaves": the weak invented certain values and ideals in order to undermine the position of those in power and to get themselves into a position of power; in the case of Christianty it worked very well : the former slaves became masters, and one of their most important tools in this struggle was their specific sort of morality. And of course: once the former slaves have turned into masters they conveniently ditched the ideals and became ruthless crafsmen of power struggles.

That is the crucial thing that most partisans of the left have forgotten: that all their values and ideals are ultimately nothing but means to gain as much support as possible to finally grab political power, in order to serve their (economic and cultural) interests (their personal interests and those of their supporters).

This Machiavellian worldview may shock the starry-eyed who still believe in values and ideas as ends in themselves, not as tools in an eternal power struggle, but when they aspire to translate their ideas and values into reality they should learn that only those in power are able to change the course of the world (or only a tiny fraction of the world, their personal environment)..
Values and ideals without the Machiavellian / Nietzschean will to power, and a certain amount of ruthlessness associated with it, are junk and completely worthless, they are nothing but fictions.

Matias 8 May 24
Share

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account

16 comments

Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.

2

Unfortunately, this seems to be the way of the world and is a part of our 'basic' animal instincts. We see this in play in places as Israel where the once oppressed have now become the oppressors. This tells me we need to force a system of checks and balances and a cooperative teamwork. Of course the basic instinct is still there and, again as we are experiencing, a need to overthrow the existing system and go to the more 'natural' one.
To me and what I have learned with 28+ years of study and being active, this planet has limited resources and we humans have extracted more than can be provided. Today I read China and the US are vying for dominance in space especially with setting up bases on the moon and maybe Mars in order to extract resources there. When people start doing without competition starts which turns int inter-tribal warfare. This is exactly what we are experiencing today. Technology only helps us squeeze more out of existing resources and, in the end, will make things worse. Our cornucopian economic method is doomed to failure when the basket of goodies run out so we need to focus on employing a new economic model and limit our numbers. Until then we are doomed to extinction. We either work with what nature gives us or she will exact her power of limiting life forms that go out of bounds she has set.

5

This is the most interesting thread I've read in a while.

Agreed.

detested people sometimes originate interesting threads with controversial posts?

1

I fail to see the connection between one being a conservative and one conservative politician/political party having an absolute political power. They are separate things to me.

Ryo1 Level 8 May 24, 2022

You misunderstand what I wrote. There is no connection, but conservatives in general appreciate realpolitik, policies not fuelled by some lofty ideals but by the desire to pursue one's interests.

@Matias
That you consider conservatives are the only ones rhat follow "real politic"...
... and rhat you favor the individual over society is yet another indication that you lean conservative.

@Matias, @TheMiddleWay Simply put, we are conservative in the sense that we want to conserve the stuff that is working well for us all, and we are liberal in the sense that we are open to changes if they are good changes for us all. Labelling anything based on superficial, description of it doesn't mean much to me, I'm afraid.

@Ryo1
Agreed. Labels should be the start of the discussion, not the end.

3

By what measure do you consider yourself not a Conservative in the American sense?

skado Level 9 May 24, 2022

When I think of American conservatives, I think of bigotted evangelicals, Trump fans, free-market fundamentalists. Here in Germany, there are still some old-school , decent conservatives, some of them voted even in favor of gay marriage...
As an American citizen, I wouldn't dream of voting GOP. As a German, I wouldn't dream of voting for the Left Party or the Greens.

@Matias
The news doesn't reflect reality - only what newspeople think is news-worthy. There are plenty of conservatives here who are actually conservative instead of lunatic fascist. Sounds like your position would probably be pretty harmonious with traditional American conservatism.

@skado How many "traditional conservatives" in the US are pro-choice, atheist, in favor of strict anti-gun laws, tax-the rich! , and believe that the fight against climate change is our biggest challenge?? 🙂

@skado Someone in America once told me that what we call 'conservatism' in the UK is what they call 'classicla liberalism' in America, which could be described as socially liberal, fiscally conservative, and possibly in many other terms. Labelling, generalisation, stereotyping, etc., generated largely by the media, as you say, is meaningless.

@Ryo1
I feel Matias views would fit right in with the American Libertarian conservative movement

@TheMiddleWay Way off the mark. Call me a disillusioned social democrat.

@Matias
Clearly if your view of American conservatism is " I think of bigotted evangelicals, Trump fans, free-market fundamentalists. " then you are off the mark.

But as our view of American conservatism includes bringing into question gender identity, calling transgenders a ruse, holding that individual rights hold precedence over societal/tribal rights, then to americans those views would paint you as a conservative here.

Think about it: if you have to pretext your posts with "i'm not a conservative" or posttext it with "I am pro-choice" it's because you know your posts will be mistaken for a conservative, pro-life view.

I'm being cynical with my next comment so don't take it too much to heart, but most people that offer up "I'm not XYZ" unasked usually are XYZ and are just trying to convince you or themselves that they aren't.....the stereotypical "I'm not racist but I heard this great spic joke!"

6

Your post here is the definition of how we are always and forever trying to understand the world around us. The problem is that in the pursuit of understanding, we tend to narrow down the viewpoint to the smallest amount of understanding, box it all up, tied with a red ribbon, and proclaim "this is truth!" We know from history there are many, many truths out there.

Power comes into the mix when someone uses their box of truth to shape/mold/influence/control others, and in doing so forces their truth onto others. People accept something as a truth for all sorts of reasons, but once they accept it as their own truth, then they also accept the person/power behind this truth, and that just leads to more controlability (is this a word?....it is now, lol) by that power, and it doesn't even have to be an acceptance by that many for it to affect the masses. However acceptance by many certainly aides in the ability to control.

The question is once power and control is attained, how does one hang onto it, especially when over time, people begin to question the truth that started it all? You throw fear into the mix. Fear, more than anything, keeps people under control, even after they realize how flawed the truth is.

Technology and the Internet brought the masses to a realization of the flaws behind so many truths that existed in the world. What we are seeing now with so many of those in power is this quest to retain the power in light of this realization. I feel fear is the number one resource being used in this bid to retain power as has been the case throughout history. Fear spread by the media. The Internet initially brought us so much enlightenment, yet is now being used to spread so much fear.

And, of course, behind all of this is the concept that truth (which starts the ball rolling) is relative and not absolute.

Whether it is our own evolving truth or a packaged, adopted thought system, fear plays a role because of personal identity WITH IT.

To question the system of thought/belief, has some to a lot of anxiety potential.

In the former at least, one knows most of the whys, hows and whens reasoned about acquisitions and can therefore explain and defend their bases.

With the latter, adopted systems, formation of ideas and reasoning behind them are the properties of packagers/franchisers and adherents depend on those purveyors for talking points, scriptures, etc. to explain and defend. It is much more fearful and less secure to the proxy, as dependency therefore triggers more fear, even panic.

It reminds me of restaurantvwork. The server explains and sells only with brief information on ingrediets and prep. For some specific details not included in his/her 'pitch', it takes a trip to the kitchen to ask the chef. If the chef was in the server's place, no delays would occur because the chef is author of the entire process. To be secure in our own life recipes, we must also be our own 'chefs'.

@Silver1wun I'm finding the same in academia. Actual expertise isn't necessarily what is sought, but rather the cheapest. Then a spin/image/soundbite is added to make people believe they are getting the expertise they are paying for.

"To be secure in our own life recipes, we must also be our own 'chefs'." So true, and what should define us even more than being a part of a tribe.

4

That is a very dark (and in certain instances, accurate) view of idealism and values. Before I say more I would make a tiny modification to the thesis "values and ideals are tools to gain and to maintain power." In place of the word "tools," I would use the term "stepping stones." I make this modification because those who use ideals and values only to propel themselves upward into positions of power tread upon those values, sully them with their muddy feet, bastardize them, and pervert them. Power corrupts not only the powerful, but also everyone and everything it touches. I'm sure that George Washington appreciated this when he voluntarily relinquished power even though many of his admirers wished he would not. And in so doing, our first president vested power back in the ideals and values that birthed a nation. Washington led by example, and made it possible for a vast, interesting, and worthy experiment to be carried out, with no fixed end date. All we have to do to end the experiment is allow shallow, venal, self-interested, misanthropic, and mediocre people to distract us with fear and loathing of our fellows while they seize power for themselves. Or we can keep the experiment going by using the power of our values and ideals, and the institutions we have created to preserve them, to fight rot and corruption, and hold criminals accountable. It only takes a little faith. Well, maybe a lot. But it's not like we haven't been here before.

It could very well be the case that the endpoint of this experiment is exactly where we are, where we reach a steady state of hyperpolarization with no resolution in sight.
Taking this thought a step further, one could argue that in all systems that are based on British common law are suffering from this endpoint.
And if this is the case and our extent systems of checks and balances can no longer hold civilization together, it may very well be time for another political Paradigm shift, another revolution.

@TheMiddleWay Of course there are no guarantees, but my money is on the USA. I think it will be touch-and-go, but I also think that we will prevail over the criminal element. Not saying it won't get messy.

We have yet to see the Select Committee's public hearings. I think they're going to be big. I think they will sway people who are currently sitting on fences. I think a lot of Trump-endorsed candidates who sailed through their primaries are going to have trouble in the general. I think we'll squeak by. And then there may be hell to pay. The white nationalist genie is out of the bottle, and will resist going back in. That's alright. We'll sort them out. 🎳

@Flyingsaucesir
From your lips to politicians ears. 🤗

@TheMiddleWay From my lips to the voters' ears!

2

Of course, Matias. Whatever it’s called, antisocial personality disorder or something else, it won’t go away.

Instead of power’s being a tool for realizing lofty ideals and moral values, it’s a tool I can use to persuade others that I seek lofty ideals and moral values.

I too enjoy science. Spanish is pleasant, but spoken French is at war with written French.

The happiest may be those who don’t care if they die, even as they pursue power. They may get bridges named for them.

10

The left hasn't forgotten how to use power. It's just that the left uses power differently than the right.

The left values society over the individual and thus will use its power in the furtherance of society while the right values the individual over society and thus will use its power in the furtherance of the individual.

The left has not forgotten how to use the power by any stretch of the imagination. It's not it's just not used for the same designs as the right.

That your thesis is the left has forgotten a standard that is championed by the right is further proof that you hold conservative/right views yourself.

It would be nice to have a universal consensus - the party of Lincoln was called republican, the ideals being, the government does have a role to play in leveling the playing field - which is more inline with todays democrats.
American labeling can be confusing.

@silverotter11
No doubt!
Add to that the Trumpism is not the same as conservatisim and that all liberals are not necessarily all progressives and yeah, the age of relying on established labels for accurate identification is seemingly coming to an abrupt halt! 🤣

Add to that the rebellion on both sides when we DO want to introduce new labels and all hell breaks loose!!! 🤣

@TheMiddleWay People are actually going to have to think. YIKES! What a concept.😏🤣

7

I am not a Conservative (at least not in the American meaning of this word),

You say similar things to what conservatives in America say. A perfect example is your conclusion:

Values and ideals without the Machiavellian / Nietzschean will to power, and a certain amount of ruthlessness associated with it, are junk and completely worthless, they are nothing but fictions.

Therefore your posts paint you as a conservative in the American meaning of this word.

How many conservatives in the US are pro-choice, atheist, in favor of strict anti-gun laws, tax-the rich! , and believe that the fight against climate change is our biggest challenge?? 🙂

@Matias
It's all about what you present to the world.
To my recollection, these are not topics that you commonly posted on. And when you posted a post recently on abortion, you had to end it by explicitly stating that you were pro-choice because you knew that what you were saying was painting you as pro-life

Yet your last posts question the utility of gender identity, put forth a seemingly "might make right" mentality, attacked progressives, called transsexuality a ruse, and made a post about white gratitude (a point that white nationalist literally make all the time)

In the US, these are strongly associated with conservatives, likely of the libertarian variety. No of course bear in mind that no single label can adequately convey our myriad and unique positions. But given that you seemingly do hold conservative viewpoints, it is inaccurate to claim that you have no conservatism in you.

@TheMiddleWay geez man.... You obviously think in stereotypes, and you are completely confused because I don't fit into any of your pigeonholes.
I am a free thinker and I form my own opinion on every topic instead of buying my world view in a package (which would mean that I must be in favor of gender self-ID just because I am in favor of gay marriage).
Other example: I am indeed 100% pro-choice, but not out of ideological thinking, like most people, but out of purely pragmatic considerations - which apparently confuses you, since you see everything through the ideological lens of tribal thinking

@Matias
Brother, I'm not the one attaching any labels to you.
I'm merely pointing out that you can't deny certain labels apply to you.

In saying you are not a conservative, you are claiming you don't hold any conservative ideals, which clearly you do.

I've never called you a liberal. So your thesis that "you don't fit A thus you must be B" doesn't apply to me or my analysis of your positions.

I've said in several of my responses to you that labels are a norm and a start to the conversation, not the end all describer of the complex set of positions and individual has. So your thesis that I'm beholden to stereotypes also doesn't hold.

@TheMiddleWay If you call me elsewhere a "libertarian in the American conservative tradition" (I'm quoting from memory), this is not a label? Of course you are constantly trying to pigeonhole me.
I mention in a post the fact (!) that democracy, liberalism, rule of law and other goodies were invented by Europeans - you accuse me of white supremacy . . and so on...
I really wonder what have I done to deserve your hate. - - I'm off

@Matias
I never called you a libertarian.
On the internet, you don't need memory as we can reference the actual statement, quote:

I feel Matias views would fit right in with the American Libertarian conservative movement

I said your views would fit in with that movement, NOT that you were part of that movement.
That many of your views align with many of the libertarian views but not that that alignment "makes you" a libertarian.


I never accused you of white supremacy.
Again, referencing what I actually said, quote:

[...] and made a post about white gratitude (a point that white nationalist literally make all the time)
In the US, these are strongly associated with conservatives, likely of the libertarian variety.

I said the views you expressed in the post, in the USA, are strongly associated with conservatives.
I never said you were a white supremacist (never USED the word supremacy); merely that that particular view is also shared by many white nationalist groups.


I really wonder what have I done to deserve your hate.

Why do you view my critique as hate?
It's not and to be explicitly clear, I don't hate you.
I don't hold the slightest ill will or rancor towards you whatsoever.
I haven't the slightest clue why you would think I hate you.
You are one of my favorite people to debate and discuss on this board; why would I hate that?

6

As we travel through life we find it is not anything with Democrats or Republicans. It all has to do with the haves or the have nots. This is it.

Yup, it's not so much left and right, but up and down. As the Occupy movement said so eloquently, the 99% and the 1%, the opposing sides in the class war.

7

The left certainly do make a big mistake. They see the threat to people from uncontrolled capitalist institutions, and think that the solution lies with the state, but that forgets that the state is also an institution, which can just as easily be manipulated to create wealth and privilege for a spoiled few, as any private company. And the state is not always under even as much democratic control as a private company, a company has ultimately to sell its product to gain wealth, where the state can, and does usually enforce the sale of its products, whether wanted or not. (And to some degree the left are blind to the problems of the state, because they indulge in the same tribal cognitive dissonance that religious people do. That "people like us" who believe in good things like us, can not do any harm. )

However a large degree of power always exists with the greater number of the people, because they can and do, at least in a mixed economy, decide where they obtain their products, employment and services, by voting with their feet. If used thoughtfully ( A big ask. ) that can be used to enforce democracy, in ways that extend far beyond the ballot box, manipulating the institutions one against the other for the peoples gain. Which is I think, is the one value the religion always offered, by being a third institutional block to give another device for the population to manipulate and obtain a voice through. However the optimist in me, thinks that secular charities can fill that gap, and certainly there are many political and human rights charities that seem to be stepping up to do the job as religion fades, in fact perhaps even better, since they do not have complex additional issues to muddy the waters. Which may be one of the many reasons why social health improves as religion fades.

The one real threat which creates the greatest wealth and power divisions and social injustice, is disinformation and deceit. Which usually results from everybody, singing from the same song sheet, so that therefore whoever can write something in to the song sheet gets their way. Human diversity is not just useful because it is kind to the minorities, but because it creates debate and fuels questioning, which makes it much more difficult for a corrupt few power brokers to manipulate public opinion. Someone on this site recently asked why European culture became so dominant in the world by the nineteenth century, and I suspect that it did so because Europe was such a divided continent, with many different competing factions and states, and could not therefore become so trapped and immobilized by totalitarianism as the great empires did. ( However cynical and criminal the motivation, there is still a large grain of truth in Harry Lime's cuckoo clock argument. )

2

Stupid sick shit.

5

That is very true to a degree, but the reverse also applies. Of what use is power if you have nothing to do with it ?

( Certainly not hedonism, since that is easy to obtain with only moderate power, and the effort required to obtain power and hold it, only wastes time if you only want hedonism, while too much hedonism will only make you miserable anyway. )

Ultimately we are all under the control of our ideals, even the powerful have no freedom from their own thinking, and therefore, if the collective ideas are good the powerful will always be moderated.

You need power to defend, promote, further, secure your interests (or those of the group you identify with). Those interests are the only hard currency I accept.
Police investigations about corruption or organized crime should try to "follow the money" - I always try to look for hidden interests.
Cui bono?

@Matias Yes that happens by default. The trick is to insure that the group people in power identify with, is the widest possible group, which is not that hard since logically we are all in the same boat aboard a very small planet.

@Fernapple The widest possible group is also the most abstract group: humanity. But in our everyday life and thinking this abstract entity has no meaning. There may be some rare athletes of ethics who naturally identify with "humanity", but most people, me included, identify with smaller boats.

4

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely….not a new observation, I believe the original is attributed to William Pitt the Elder…British Prime Minister (1766-78) when he stated in U.K. Parliament - “Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it”.

Your summary is the best.

Except Marje, absolute power doesn’t exist because the powerful must share their power with the people who protect them.

@yvilletom I would question that because using that logic would mean that despots and dictators do not wield ultimate power when it’s patently obvious that they do. Certainly if we take Stalin as an example - he trusted no one and those he deemed too close to him or were at risk of sharing as much power, he had bumped off. I think Kim Jong-un has had removed a couple of close relatives too…paranoia runs hand in hand with ultimate dictatorship or absolute power. Those who protect them are the only ones close enough to kill them, but they know it would be instant death if they made an attempt on the leader’s life, and only in few cases have despots been assassinated by their own security staff, and they certainly never share any power with them in the first place.

@Marionville Marje, despots do share power, at least with those who lead their security staff.

@Marionville @yvilletom "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears! I come not to praise Cesar, but to bury him." So said Mark Antony, one of the senators who wetted their blades with the emperor's blood.

Everybody needs somebody sometime.

@yvilletom That is not the same thing as actually making the laws themselves…the head of security doesn’t do that…he only has the power to follow and carry out orders of the leader. He can be removed at any time from his position.

@Marionville He can be removed, if he doesn’t first remove the leader.

@yvilletom I already said that…but it almost never happens in actuality…I already said that too!

@Marionville Yeah yeah, the powerful have power. That's obvious. But they often pay a price. Many get away with murder until they are old and feeble. Mubarak, Mugave, Pinochet,...

Others are less well-known because their nasty and brutish reigns were short and their lives ended suddenly, with a short, sharp shove.

@Flyingsaucesir nobody’s denying that….

0

RAW Power. I figured that out already. But thanks Matias.

twill Level 7 May 24, 2022

No, not necessarily 'raw'... Most power struggles are quite subtle and hidden. People like Trump or Putin are the exception

3

Generally speaking, I'm not comfortable with extremes of any sort. With that said, I surely get your point.

Write Comment
You can include a link to this post in your posts and comments by including the text q:667955
Agnostic does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content. Read full disclaimer.