Why I think Populism fails in the modern world-Knowledgeable Elite institutions are irreplaceable

Apr 2018
814
Upland, Sweden
Part II:
There are people who like some fashions, and others that wish to do their own thing, but all people will indicate their membership of the larger group, sooner or later, at some point or other.
Why are you supposing that "a larger group" is something that has to exist by necessity? You do not seem to be reading my arguments. In many parts of the world (large parts of the Middle East come to mind) there is not much of a "larger group" to feel part of. The western nation state anno 2019 is not a God-given situation that evry person on earth finds his or herself in.
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
32,481
T'Republic of Yorkshire
I do wish people would make their points in a clear and concise manner instead of rambling.

Being verbose and throwing in a lot of grandiose terms without fully understanding their meaning doesn't help to make an argument.
 
Likes: sailorsam
Sep 2015
1,673
England
I literally do not understand how to interpret this post. You seem to be making some general point against what you call post-modernism. Why? Are you insinuating that I am what you call a post-modernist? Is that why you are calling me "defensive" for no reason (I was beginning my previous post with a self-deprecating joke, this is me being defensive)?

Did you actually read what I wrote?
You reckon you're pretty smart, maybe with a university degree to prove it, but all of sudden after pages and pages of historum posts miraculously, you somehow fail to understand my reasonably short, and fairly lucid post(s). Why don't you have a guess as to how you might be being defensive? Get back to me with your best come-back, i dare you! I'm prepared for your version of the pepsi challenge

Moreover, perhaps you don't understand my post, because you don't like it? Let's examine the possibilities, as to why not? You talked about objectivity being unlikely that we are "not naturally inclined", whereas I replied, talking about how the intellectual school of thought - post modernsm - that thinks objectivity is spurious is just wrong. And I gave some meaningful evidence for the same, not difficult to comprehend...

So what's up bud? Where's your Tibetan monk debating style gone !?
 
Sep 2015
1,673
England
Why are you supposing that "a larger group" is something that has to exist by necessity? You do not seem to be reading my arguments. In many parts of the world (large parts of the Middle East come to mind) there is not much of a "larger group" to feel part of. The western nation state anno 2019 is not a God-given situation that evry person on earth finds his or herself in.
Everyone has an identity. They identify with something. Their people, a nation. A religion, however loosely. A sect within a religion, a region, such as Europe. A musical genre, lifestyle groupings, horsey people, gun people (USA or o/w), football supporters!
 
Apr 2018
814
Upland, Sweden
You reckon you're pretty smart, maybe with a university degree to prove it, but all of sudden after pages and pages of historum posts miraculously, you somehow fail to understand my reasonably short, and fairly lucid post(s). Why don't you have a guess as to how you might be being defensive? Get back to me with your best come-back, i dare you! I'm prepared for your version of the pepsi challenge

Moreover, perhaps you don't understand my post, because you don't like it? Let's examine the possibilities, as to why not? You talked about objectivity being unlikely that we are "not naturally inclined", whereas I replied, talking about how the intellectual school of thought - post modernsm - that thinks objectivity is spurious is just wrong. And I gave some meaningful evidence for the same, not difficult to comprehend...

So what's up bud? Where's your Tibetan monk debating style gone !?
Allright, challenge accepted, haha.

I understood the content of what you wrote perfectly, I just didn't get what you were trying to prove until it dawned on me that you actually think I am a "post modernist".

You haven't given any evidence at all, and therefore you have't proved anything. I've referred to two studies from experimental psychology to back me up. If you want to read guys who will give you more information about how we process information and (fail to) deal with events in the real world instead of how we do it in this imaginary context you've created, I can recommend Danny Kahneman's Thinking fast and slow as well as Nassim Taleb's... well, anything really. Start with Black Swan. These guys are as "un-post-modernist" as they come. Neither they nor I, nor the studies I linked to in my post make the case that "there is no objective reality and that there is no point in searching for the truth". That is not whay I'm saying. What I am saying is actually the opposite, that sometimes we can be more in tune with the truth through our behaviour and through seemingly "irrational" traditions than we are through the various forms of rationalist frameworks we like to try to create (like this idea of "Human Rights" for example). When it comes to politics philosophy can be interesting, but ultimately I care more about what has proven to survive in the real world then what some comparatively very modern philosopher says.

The power of autistic 18th century nerds and their spiritual descendents over the political process should be limited, for the same reason no one elects academic philosophers to be prime ministers or rarely make heads of technical design CEOs in large companies. This constant bullshit talk about "values" and "principles" with no real grounding in either actual human behaviour (which is what you'd like if you are a secular, materialist, post-enlightenment guy) nor in some higher form of legitimacy that makes your values meaningful (which is what you want if you are a philosophical idealist or religious) does the exact opposite, and encourages leaders to pretend to live in some kind of false reality where the entire political arena is a pale imitation of Plato's academy. What then happens, because the internal logic of politics is different from that of philosophy and can't deal with ambiguity very well is that these "principles" and "values" that everybody thinks they should draw on for inspiration inevitably become stifling of free thought, as politicians (espeically leftist politicians, in which I include modern Liberals) start looking upon these principles as religious, because that kind of belief marries well with needs and nature of politics.

This becomes especially true when our leaders have no other grounds for their values, which our politicians increasingly do not, because this Enlightenment and its various more modern children that you like so much has done a great job undermining everything considered "irrational" or "antiquated". This approach is great in physics, it is not great in human affairs, and will end up hurting everyone in the long run - as it already has. Politics has a certain logic to it. Philosophy has a certain logic to it. Just like it is difficult to teach birds how to swim or fish how to fly these two fields do not naturally fit together.

If you say you brought evidence then you should bring evidence. What you brought were a series of formally correct and very rational logical deductions, but based on incomplete premises, unfounded assertions and on selective terminology. Not everything can be fit into this model "post-modernism" / "truth". Your conceptual framework seems lacking and a bit limited there, "bud".
 
Last edited:
Apr 2018
814
Upland, Sweden
With the quick sequence of posts I was a bit lost and since this is a political debate I took some time to answer, I am answering to the issues that I considered more relevant, so here it goes:

Yes, I thought that you were using the term more in the anthological/sociological meaning, and I in a more philosophical, if I can say so.
No problem, I got caught up in the other discussion (which I thought would be quick and hope elucidate something here too). Right, I think I see what you mean.

And, yes, I think I understood yours. In my perspective a certain degree of homogenization is necessary, but around a set of values/ideals, basically the democratic values that I have been expressing here. Let me give you an example:

And let me be populist now, I don’t want a Muslim terrorist living in my country or being given Portuguese or EU citizenship.

And let me be less populist now, I prefer that the Portuguese or EU citizenship will be given to a Muslim that respects democratic values and wants to be integrated on the Portuguese society and with respect of the Portuguese laws than to a white supremacist coming from the USA or Australia or from… other place.

So again, in my perspective, the homogenization is more relevant around values.
And here I would say that any kind of homogenization of values is contrary to the goals of philosophy, science and the search for truth. I agree that a homogenization of values is necessary, but as soon as one admits that and takes that step then you are also entering a different universe (that of religion) I would say.

This is why I prefer the idea to have this free, democratic political system "superimposed" on another kind of more organic community, that is more tolerant of differences of opinion. To take an example: I do not like communists very much, and think their values are harmful to any free society and too democracy as well (as I agree that your examples are). Take Gudrun Schyman, the former leader of the "Left Party" here in Sweden. I think we agree on very little politically - but is she therefore "unswedish"? Or is it me that is "unswedish"? Clearly our values can't both be right, as they are mutually exclusive, ergo - one of has has have "unswedish" values, no?

Philosophical principles, guiding principles, ethic principles are the guiding tool. Are the first brick of the construction of a democracy. The principles that influence the constitution and under which the constitution is written (or not written, like in the UK). I am not stating that it is possible to found countries and political systems mainly on philosophy. And those principles can shock with some communities that aren’t used to them, but I am quite sure that they don’t shock with the cultural continuity of Sweden or Portugal, or most of the Western European Countries. I may have some doubts about Poland and Hungary and other regions previously in the Warsaw Pact.
Ethical rules of behaviour, norms, call them principles in the descriptive sense if you want - are very important - maybe the most important thing in a society. I personally like philosophy and is much influenced by many philosophers in my view of the world, but I do not think that philosophy is a natural grounding for society though. Most people are not natural philosophers, and as I wrote in my post to @dreuxeng - I think the internal logic of politics (it needs unquestioned truths that it can use for certain ends) and that of philosophy (it needs absolute truths that it can only arrive at through questioning) are in conflict.

I would instead liken philosophy to a search-light that can be used to shed light on politics and on society from unexpected directions, or that can be used to formulate truths about the nature of politics as can be observed. These two purposes seem to me to be contrary to using philosophy instrumentally to inform politics.

But I agree with what you wrote otherwise.

But there isn’t the question of “Who's definition of Liberty will you choose?” Because there aren’t that many. Even if we can find the one that I posted with and outdated language, the basic principle is there, the one that I previously mentioned with my words. Like you I also am not sure about the “natural rights”, that is mostly a 18th century thing, but that doesn’t change the concept that my freedom stops when yours begin, since we all have to live in society.

As for agreeing or disagreeing, in a democracy all have the right to have their opinion, and to express it. Those are basic liberties. And as all liberties, those liberties aren’t infinite. If a citizen takes action against the democratic state to destroy it, then the democratic state as the obligation to defend against such actions.
Well, there are a few different interpretations of liberty though. For example, in France and Germany it is, from as far as I know, illegal to deny that the Holocaust happened. In the US this is legal. This is a pretty big deal in principle. The differences are understandable in a historical context (given that France and Germany were much closer to the Holocaust), but it still leads to two quite different interpretations of freedom of speech. Similarly, there is a philosophical contradiction between "positive and negative rights" - all positive rights in some ways infringe on someone else's freedoms, i.e. they "don't stop when my freedoms begin".

Of course you may be skeptical in the concept of "positive rights", and if so I agree with you. Generally, I find the spirit of 50%-2/3rds of what you are are saying to be very good (and I am glad you are also skeptical towards natural rights), if you were made dictator I am sure you would set up quite sensible rules and interpret these rules quite sensibly. What I fear is the slippery slope, and what happens at the social level... everything degenerates over time. Is this model you are describing more or less prone to degeneration then the model I am describing? Can it self-heal and adapt when it degenerates?


That all the citizens are equal before the law. This means, that all have the same rights and same obligations. There is not an aristocracy with special rights. And yes, by principle, I am a republican. And this also means that even a top politician can be persecuted by the legal arm of the state. In Portugal we have currently, among others, an ex-Prime Minister being persecuted for corruption during his time at office.

And I didn’t state that this principle felt from the sky with the French Revolution. As it all it had precedents. But it was a blow for some inequalities of the Ancient Regime.
Right. I agree that all citizens should be equal before the law. However, I also think that it is possible to disperse power so much in so little quantities that the rulers are no longer part of the people they are supposed to rule, let alone respect the people they are supposed to rule. This is my fear with many modern representative democracies. Aristocracy and monarchy is at least more honest about the rules of the game...

And who decides who are the good citizens and who are the bad citizens that are “students in their 20s up too late at night to write things on obscure forums”? The criteria must be the citizenship. Not because is a good criteria, but because, like the democracy, there isn’t a better available.
I was referring to myself as that student in my 20s. :p

Agreed that citizenship ought to be the criteria, but all countries - even the most liberal Democracies - condition citizenship at least somewhat in practice. In no country that I know of can people under 18 vote, to take an obvious example. In some countries prisoners can't vote, and usually immigrants can't either. I think that if everyone is a citizen then everyone must have the interests and the responsibilities of a citizen. You are right, this is difficult to do without infringing democracy. This is why I suggested military service, as I thought that was the most egalitarian criteria I could think of. Of course it is not without problems though...
 
Sep 2015
1,673
England
Allright, challenge accepted, haha.

I understood the content of what you wrote perfectly, I just didn't get what you were trying to prove until it dawned on me that you actually think I am a "post modernist".

You haven't given any evidence at all, and therefore you have't proved anything. I've referred to two studies from experimental psychology to back me up. If you want to read guys who will give you more information about how we process information and (fail to) deal with events in the real world instead of how we do it in this imaginary context you've created, I can recommend Danny Kahneman's Thinking fast and slow as well as Nassim Taleb's... well, anything really. Start with Black Swan. These guys are as "un-post-modernist" as they come. Neither they nor I, nor the studies I linked to in my post make the case that "there is no objective reality and that there is no point in searching for the truth". That is not whay I'm saying. What I am saying is actually the opposite, that sometimes we can be more in tune with the truth through our behaviour and through seemingly "irrational" traditions than we are through the various forms of rationalist frameworks we like to try to create (like this idea of "Human Rights" for example). When it comes to politics philosophy can be interesting, but ultimately I care more about what has proven to survive in the real world then what some comparatively very modern philosopher says.

The power of autistic 18th century nerds and their spiritual descendents over the political process should be limited, for the same reason no one elects academic philosophers to be prime ministers or rarely make heads of technical design CEOs in large companies. This constant bullshit talk about "values" and "principles" with no real grounding in either actual human behaviour (which is what you'd like if you are a secular, materialist, post-enlightenment guy) nor in some higher form of legitimacy that makes your values meaningful (which is what you want if you are a philosophical idealist or religious) does the exact opposite, and encourages leaders to pretend to live in some kind of false reality where the entire political arena is a pale imitation of Plato's academy. What then happens, because the internal logic of politics is different from that of philosophy and can't deal with ambiguity very well is that these "principles" and "values" that everybody thinks they should draw on for inspiration inevitably become stifling of free thought, as politicians (espeically leftist politicians, in which I include modern Liberals) start looking upon these principles as religious, because that kind of belief marries well with needs and nature of politics.

This becomes especially true when our leaders have no other grounds for their values, which our politicians increasingly do not, because this Enlightenment and its various more modern children that you like so much has done a great job undermining everything considered "irrational" or "antiquated". This approach is great in physics, it is not great in human affairs, and will end up hurting everyone in the long run - as it already has. Politics has a certain logic to it. Philosophy has a certain logic to it. Just like it is difficult to teach birds how to swim or fish how to fly these two fields do not naturally fit together.

If you say you brought evidence then you should bring evidence. What you brought were a series of formally correct and very rational logical deductions, but based on incomplete premises, unfounded assertions and on selective terminology. Not everything can be fit into this model "post-modernism" / "truth". Your conceptual framework seems lacking and a bit limited there, "bud".
To quote from your post the: 'principles and values that everybody thinks they should draw on for inspiration inevitably become stifling of free thought...' So what about if the values (thought of by some as religion) IS, free thought, etc. That will change things. And what about if those values which you disparage so confidently, are such values as Liberty, Freedom, Democracy, & the Rule of Law.

You also refer to the Enlightenment that "i like so much"; but i clearly and simply do not like/respect post modernism, b/c its silly. And i do like Liberty, Freedom, Democracy, & the Rule of Law. I think they are groove.

Further, to say that the Enlightenment 'will end up hurting everyone...[and] it already has.' is clearly not remotely the case. Whatever you have been reading, wheresoever you have received such an idea from, is, alas, pure misinformation, disinformation, and profoundly in error. So how so?

Well, with reference to the Anglosphere: 'The Enlightenment brought political modernization to the West, by introducing democratic values and institutions...', 'There is a mighty Light which spreads its self over the world especially in those two free nations of England and Holland; on whom the affairs of Europe now turn" (Ashley-Cooper 1706). 'Enlightenment had come early to England and had succeeded so that the culture had accepted political liberalism, philosophical empiricism, and religious toleration of the sort that intellectuals on the continent had to fight for against powerful odds [during the c.18th]. Thereafter leading thinkers were relatively conservative in England, and where the improvement of individuals was the main goal of enlightenment'.

'For Locke, the law of nature is grounded on mutual security or the idea that one cannot infringe on another's natural rights, as every man is equal and has the same inalienable rights....the right to preserve life and property'. Locke's theory of natural rights influenced many political documents, including the US Constitution & the French Assembly's Declaration of the rights of the citizen.

These things are not exactly delivering catastrophe to the doorsteps of England, Europe, North America, Australasia or wherever. What they are doing is promoting a rather sensible concept: being against absolutism, in short. This is but rational, sensible you might think, and not therefore wrong or very likely to be wrong, in the face of what it argued against. Moreover, religious tolerance of the c.18th was freedom from persecution, and not the pluralism of the current New Left.
 
Sep 2015
1,673
England
This constant bullshit talk about "values" and "principles" with no real grounding in either actual human behaviour (which is what you'd like if you are a secular, materialist, post-enlightenment guy) nor in some higher form of legitimacy that makes your values meaningful (which is what you want if you are a philosophical idealist or religious) does the exact opposite...
Last i heard we are supposed to engage in some sort of intelligent discussion. Calling someone's point of view, "BULLSHIT" clearly isn't! It is the language of a dim yobo, with nothing meaningful to say. Robust discussion manifests differently to daft arrogant swear words. Fair enough?
 
Sep 2015
1,673
England
If you say you brought evidence then you should bring evidence. What you brought were a series of formally correct and very rational logical deductions, but based on incomplete premises, unfounded assertions and on selective terminology. Not everything can be fit into this model "post-modernism" / "truth". Your conceptual framework seems lacking and a bit limited there, "bud".
So what in Gods name is "selective terminology". I used the wrong words eh? Okay. I could have been using all the right words however; it's just that they might not have been in the same order, as they might have been - according to you?

Aha!
Gotcha !!!

:p:zany::lol::nerd::party:
 

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