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From What Stems Our Strife?

 
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Crotchfire



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 10:06 pm    Post subject: From What Stems Our Strife? Reply with quote

I was having a conversation with a coworker of mine, and he said something to me which made me think for a moment.

He claimed that violence, especially organized crime-related violence, gangs, and the like are primarily the result of economics. Poverty, he claimed, was the biggest contributor to violence.

There's some truth to that, I think, but what I disliked about what he said was the rhetoric and his claim that those problems would be solved by a shift in the direction of socialist communism.

My own belief is that the only real solution wouldn't be a fundamental shift on the part of government policy, but a cultural shift away from consumerism.

The impressions that I have of the world lead me to believe that worldwide, the shining example of success to which society gives its members to aspire is a wealthy man. In American culture, at least, successful and wealthy are almost synonymous. Affluence should never be mistaken for happiness, I believe, and further, the only measure for a successful life should be how happy, serene, content was the person. I firmly believe that while creature comforts and things might make happiness easier to obtain, the key ingredient to happiness is one's own ability to perceive the world and appreciate all that is right with it and to learn not to be bothered by all that is wrong with it.

It is, of course, the discontent and dissatisfaction in creative and capable people that lead to changes in the world, but this discontent, when motivated by a desire for wealth, also leads toward terrible violence.

I tend to think that if there were some way to change the fundamental consumerist values of the world so that people were motivated to work toward something other than wealth/power (perhaps knowledge?), the world might be a better place.

...and those are my idealistic and impractical ramblings of the day.
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Telveryon



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 2:21 am    Post subject: Re: From What Stems Our Strife? Reply with quote

Crotchfire wrote:
He claimed that violence, especially organized crime-related violence, gangs, and the like are primarily the result of economics. Poverty, he claimed, was the biggest contributor to violence.

There's some truth to that, I think, but what I disliked about what he said was the rhetoric and his claim that those problems would be solved by a shift in the direction of socialist communism.

About the first part, there is indeed some truth to that. About the second part, he's so called solurion, just give him an old fashion fist to the face for me. If you realy don't want to go that far, just tell him hi doesn't know shit about communism. Hell, even I don't and I live in a former communist nation. What I know comes from what my parents told me, it sounded like shit. Communism isn't the redistribution of wealth but the concentration of all the wealth in the hands of the very few!

Crotchfire wrote:
My own belief is that the only real solution wouldn't be a fundamental shift on the part of government policy, but a cultural shift away from consumerism.


To what? Religious fundamentalism?
If it's going to change it will have to be something new and it will be in the far future

Crotchfire wrote:
I tend to think that if there were some way to change the fundamental consumerist values of the world so that people were motivated to work toward something other than wealth/power (perhaps knowledge?), the world might be a better place.

Knowlage=power=wealth, you're back where you started from.
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Munan
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 3:01 am    Post subject: Re: From What Stems Our Strife? Reply with quote

Crotchfire wrote:
He claimed that violence, especially organized crime-related violence, gangs, and the like are primarily the result of economics. Poverty, he claimed, was the biggest contributor to violence.


That cannot be true. Gangs etc are related to the social exclusion that comes with poverty.

But think about white collar crime. Think about high school shootings, which are mostly done by white middle class kids.

Crime is economic in the sense that everything is economic: it is done for gain (financial, status or whatever). But it is certainly not economic in that some classes of society are more liable (and therefore have an excuse?) to commit crimes. Statistics proves your friend wrong.

Quote:
those problems would be solved by a shift in the direction of socialist communism.

As Telveryon said, a shift towards communism never helps, not because communism in itself is a bad idea, but (1) because communism has shown to not work in practice when it is put in effect by government and (2) because communism is based on Marxism, most notably the idea of class-strugle and that idea has been empirically proven to be wrong. That's right kids, the class struggle does not exist. It is a fairy tale. I could give you the name of the book in which this is proven if your interested to slap your friend's face with arguments instead of - as Telveryon suggested - fists.

It would be solved by a shift towards what we in Europe call social democracy or social liberalism, where procedures like social exclusion are regarded as tendencies that the government should do something about. That might include a shift away from consumerism. I think I agree with you that consumerism or new capitalism as it is called in Great Britain is at the root of the problem.
The book Analysing Discourse by Norman Fairclough might interest you here. He shows how new capitalism uses an all pervasive language that dominates our entire lifes and thought and turns society and social life into a string of bussiness arangements with financial gain as the only goal.
Being forced to always think like that might very well influence an increase in crime, as well as make it impossible for governments to do anything effectively about crime: in such an ideology crime is bad for financial gain, but taking away the social processes that lead to crime will not result in obvious financial gain. So what you get is governments coming down hard on crime (zero tolerance) without doing anything to really solve the problem.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 3:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tend to attribute (some of) the types of problems Crotch was describing to lack of parenting. People who shouldn't have kids have too many kids. They don't raise them properly. The kids end up with all sorts of problems. The cycle perpetuates. Of course poverty and lack of education contribute here.

But if I start talking about parenting licenses or mandatory sterilization for repeat offenders, then all of a sudden I'm Hitler or something. Rolling Eyes
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Complex_Number_States
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is my belief, although since there is no way to test it, it is really just a bunch of bullshit, that if I could play major league baseball, I would be content to make a relatively small income. Small relative to other major league players of course, extremely large relative to the median income. But still, just getting to play baseball, I wouldn't need millions upon millions of dollars in addition to that.

So why is it that all these major leaguers have to get such huge salaries? It is due to the fact that salaries express how good they are in comparison to everyone else.

(I know, Simon_Says, you hate salary.)

If I get the largest salary, I am the the best.

If I get one of the three largest salaries, I am one of the three best.

Ego, and competition, not economic pressure, are what drive the need/greed of these enormously lucky men who get to play a game for a living.



Which leads me to...

Blaster wrote:
I tend to attribute (some of) the types of problems Crotch was describing to lack of parenting. People who shouldn't have kids have too many kids. They don't raise them properly. The kids end up with all sorts of problems. The cycle perpetuates. Of course poverty and lack of education contribute here.

...parenting licenses...

Oh me oh my.

There is nothing that the vast majority of people can do that has a larger impact on society, on the economy, on the environment, than bring a child into the world. Even a child raised very well has an enormous impact.

And most people SUCK at raising children.

There are many reasons for this, reasons that I don't feel like going into right now. That is not the point. The point is that most people do a lousy job of raising their children.

Yet the most ignorant members of society are more likely to have children than the best educated. And these children of the ignorant are more likely to end up as gang-bangers or some other type of criminals. But, as Blaster said, if you try to limit the ability of these people to reproduce, somehow you are the menace to society.

Until every child is conceived on purpose, and raised in a wholesome and positive way, our society is going to be hopelessly full of crime and pain.
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Munan
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2006 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

complexnumbers wrote:
But, as Blaster said, if you try to limit the ability of these people to reproduce, somehow you are the menace to society.


Yeah, well, although I tend to agree (my mother is a social worker in the child and families department of my hometown and the stories she can tell...oh boy, where are my scissors...) this is a fascist method (which, however, was also conducted in social-democrat Sweden in the 30s).

The problem is, that if you pass a law regulating "parenting licenses or mandatory sterilization for repeat offenders", you may enable a future government to say: well, obviously someone who is muslim/jewish/atheist, or communist, or a consumer of meat, or whatever can not be a good parent judged by our own moral standards and therefore does not qualify for a parenting license.

So yeah, despite all problems I'd say it's better for government not to interfere with laws. It is possible for the authorities, however, to try and influence these things. In Holland, for instance, judges can appoint social workers with the child and family department of cities in Holland as co-parents, which enables them to threaten parents: be a good parent, or otherwise, as the child's legal co-parent I can order the child to be placed out of the family without any legal, time-consuming procedure. And it works.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2006 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Munan wrote:
The problem is, that if you pass a law regulating "parenting licenses or mandatory sterilization for repeat offenders", you may enable a future government to say: well, obviously someone who is muslim/jewish/atheist, or communist, or a consumer of meat, or whatever can not be a good parent judged by our own moral standards and therefore does not qualify for a parenting license.


I have to disagree with the slippery slope fallacy here. Yes, in theory any government policy is vulnerable to abuse, but there is nothing inherent in this notion that guarantees its perversion.

The criteria would have nothing to do with race, religion, etc. They would be more utilitarian than that. It really comes down to simply things like: are you a cracked-out drug adict? Are you kids running around, causing trouble and committing crimes? Do I have to pay for your family to eat because you keep having more kids than you can pay for?

I don't see why some people see excessive breeding as some sacred right. These things do no occur in a vacuum; actions such as those can have a large (exponential, even) impact on society in general. The government has no problem regulating everything else, but not that. Oh no, we can't possibly stop some meth-addicted wellfare parents from having another kid!

Just think of how many of Crotchfire's mentioned problems would clear up if children were only born to those who wanted them and were prepared to raise them.

Munan wrote:
So yeah, despite all problems I'd say it's better for government not to interfere with laws. It is possible for the authorities, however, to try and influence these things. In Holland, for instance, judges can appoint social workers with the child and family department of cities in Holland as co-parents, which enables them to threaten parents: be a good parent, or otherwise, as the child's legal co-parent I can order the child to be placed out of the family without any legal, time-consuming procedure. And it works.


Maybe that works with some people, but you are making the mistake that everyone is rational (i. e., acts in his own best interest).

[/diatribe]
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2006 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My sister and brother-in-law adopted a girl who, at 7 years old, had spent more than half her life in foster homes. She has a half-brother and half-sister who have also been adopted.

When her birth mother became pregnant for the fourth time, the child welfare people were in the delivery room, and the mother never even got to see the child.

However, the woman remained fertile. I would be very very surprised if she hasn't reproduced at least one more time.

The three children that I know about have very caring and loving homes, and will be raised very well. The fourth child is probably also very well cared for. White infants are in great demand, and therefore go to extremely well-screened homes.

But the case of this woman and her children is the exception. Far far more children who need to be placed with other parents are left to grow wild and ignorant and dangerous.

Especially children with darker skin. Even those who are part of the child welfare system often spend their entire childhood in one form of foster care or another.

After which they usually produce many children.

It is an ouroboros for which I see no practical solution.
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