Thursday, February 15, 2018

Chris Hedges - The Deadly Rule of the Oligarchs

Chris Hedges say how the oligarchs don't care about society as they are not really part of it. Educated in the top schools and universities because their parents can buy them in, so they don't care about anyone else's education.  They have their own private doctors and the best health insurance, so they  see no need why society should provide health care for anyone else. They never use public transport. They have their own acres of private grounds, so don't care about public parks. They pretend to be patriots, but keep their families out of the military. They don't care about the environment because if the oceans rise, or it gets too hot, or too cold, or too polluted then they can just move to somewhere else. All the great civilisations failed because of oligarchy rule. KV
Chris Hedges
Oligarchic rule, as Aristotle pointed out, is a deviant form of government. Oligarchs care nothing for competency, intelligence, honesty, rationality, self-sacrifice or the common good. They pervert, deform and dismantle systems of power to serve their immediate interests, squandering the future for short-term personal gain. “The true forms of government, therefore, are those in which the one, or the few, or the many, govern with a view to the common interest; but governments that rule with a view to the private interest, whether of the one, of the few or of the many, are perversions,” Aristotle wrote. The classicist Peter L.P. Simpson calls these perversions the “sophistry of oligarchs,” meaning that once oligarchs take power, rational, prudent and thoughtful responses to social, economic and political problems are ignored to feed insatiable greed. The late stage of every civilization is characterized by the sophistry of oligarchs, who ravage the decaying carcass of the state.
These deviant forms of government are defined by common characteristics, most of which Aristotle understood. Oligarchs use power and ruling structures solely for personal advancement.
Truthdig

50 comments:

Matt Franko said...

“once oligarchs take power, rational, prudent and thoughtful responses to social, economic and political problems are ignored to feed insatiable greed.”

That same argument is used by the debt doomsday people.... so obviously this form of argument is of NO VALUE....

A technocratic investigation is always superior to any philosophical investigation.....

Hedges isn’t qualified he’s like a trained theologian or something Iirc...

Matt Franko said...

Here:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Hedges

He has an Arts Degree (ie finger painting for 4 years) and Harvard Divinity Degree....

Not qualified...

Kaivey said...

But those that were qualified got it all wrong. The mainstream economists are quacks.

Matt Franko said...

Economists are Art Degree people also...

Economics is an Art degree....

Matt Franko said...

https://econ.washington.edu/bachelor-arts

BIG problem.... we let them off the hook...

Noah Way said...

Matt is not materially qualified to talk about education.

Bob Roddis said...

Hedges's implication that the elite want "laissez faire" and that only government can provide health care and "education" is pathetic and baseless.

Tom Hickey said...

Many physicians, scientists, engineers and other "experts" think that their education and training qualifies them to speak authoritatively about everything under the sun even though they no qualifications in the subject or field.

It's a subset of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Noah Way said...

I would take issue with climate change being the greatest existential crisis to humankind.

Humankind is the greatest threat to humankind.

Otherwise Hedges is, as usual, dead on.

Kaivey said...

Hedges has hit the nail on the head here. You don't have to be an economist to see what's going wrong.

Kaivey said...

The technocrats say finance is so complicated now that governments should leave it to them. They will take care of it, they say. That's like leaving the foxes in charge of the hens.

John said...

Matt, suppose Hedges gained a host of degrees in engineering, science and mathematics and STILL made the same arguments, would that then make him right? No, I don't suppose it would. You'd have some other reason to doubt him. You're temperamentally against what he says or what the left says, no matter what overwhelming evidence there is, specifically on evolution. It seems to me that the reason you fixate on people being "materially qualified" is so as to dismiss them because you or any other rightwinger can't make an intellectual argument against their arguments. It's the worst straw man there is. I was under the impression that the argument was the important thing, not the certificates on the wall.

In real sciences, on the whole, they don't ask what your degrees are in or what university you attended. If you have a devastating argument, then that's pretty much it and the textbooks have to be rewritten. In the humanities, and especially in economics, it doesn't matter how good the argument is. What counts is all the irrelevancies about your rank, whether its journals, universities and whatnot. As soon as someone puts forth an argument you personally dislike, you bring up their qualifications. If their argument is well made and to all intents and purposes watertight, why should I care if they studied dentistry, botany or divinity? Why not go one step further and dismiss anyone who didn't attend one of the top twenty universities? Or just the top one? Because Tom would win every argument by default?

Let's take evolution as an example. Given that almost EVERY biologist (or just plain life scientist), geologist and palaeontologist in the world subscribes to evolution, why don't you? They're far more materially qualified and competent in this matter, yet apparently they don't really understand anything. Why? Because they're not engineers? Why do you dismiss evolution? Why do you deliberately muddy the waters by mixing current evolutionary thinking with some of Darwin's unfortunate jottings, who, like everybody, was a person of their time, was susceptible to some of the more unfortunate cultural thinking of his time and was not omniscient? Are we to dismiss Newton because he spent most of his time researching the occult and alchemy?

Tom Hickey said...

Are we to dismiss Newton because he spent most of his time researching the occult and alchemy?

Why did Newton, being a scientist apparently committed to naturalism, investigate the so-called occult?

Probably because it understand that naturalism is a methodological assumption that is useful in some contexts but limiting overall. See Rupret Sheldrake, The Science Delusion, for example. Here is an interview summarizing it. Sheldrakes views dovetail with Paul Feyerabend's philosophy of science, e.g., Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge, pitting free enquiry (anarchism) against convention (dogmatism).

All human thinking, including methods, is based on assumptions, many of which remain hidden. Some are based on naiveté, some on ideology, and some on cognitive bias. A significant aspect of philosophy, going back to Socrates, is making explicit that which is tacitly presumed and critiquing it.

When the oracle at Delphi was asked about who was the smartest person, the answer came back, "Socrates." Socrates reported that he was puzzled by this answer until he figured out that the oracle was saying he was smartest since he realized that he didn't know anything, that is, recognized his limitations.

It appears not to be possible to identify all hidden assumptions because of unknown unknowns. And what would serve as the criterion of completeness?

Moreover, mind is not a mirror of reality as naively assumed. The structure and functioning of the mind affects the construction of reality through both nature and nurture. In addition, this doesn't occur only individually. Human knowledge is social. For example, language learning is socially embedded. Learning how to use a language in occurs in a social context that determines meaning.

Matt Franko said...

Maybe he studied the occult and eventually concluded there wasn’t anything to it?

Matt Franko said...

“that the argument was the important thing, not the certificates on the wall. “

It is ... the certificates don’t matter it is the TRAINING one endures to earn one that matters... iow if you were to TRAIN the same and never receive a degree from some academic institution you would still be just as qualified...

Matt Franko said...

“EVERY biologist (or just plain life scientist), geologist and palaeontologist in the world subscribes to evolution, why don't you? ”

It’s a rationalist (reason) science I’m trained in empiricism (materialism) ...

Get somebody to “evolve” an eye in the back of their head and I’ll take a look at Evolution...

Matt Franko said...

The Wizard of Oz where the scarecrow only needs a degree to be smart is a fairy tale... you have to TRAIN....

Six said...

People who constantly misrepresent their opponents arguments don’t trust the merits of their own arguments. It’s a sign of mental weakness.

Matt Franko said...

Somebody tell shit for brains Hedges that we are under a Denocracy administered by the incompetent/unqualified and Aristotle was talking about an ACTUAL Oligarchy not an imaginary one...

Noah Way said...

@ Six

People who misrepresent their opponents arguments don't have the training or material competence necessary to refute the arguments let alone pose any thoughtful challenge to them.

As Matt has so kindly demonstrated.

Matt Franko said...

All Hedges is doing is creating a false view of society because the majority of voters didn’t vote his way.... it’s childish at best... I’m sure there is a term for it in psychology...

I voted for Trump and am often pleased with the Trump policies... iow I believed some material outcomes would be improved under a Trump admin vs Hillary so I am getting what I voted for how is that “Oligarchy” ? It’s Democracy...

My vote counts just as much as Hedges vote....

So when Obama won in 2008 did I go all around saying the whole thing was an “Oligarchy!”or some fantasy shit? No... he got his turn and people could see how that turned out and could decide to go in another direction in 2016 and did...

Kaivey said...

The oligarchs own the media and control the narrative. It's propaganda. People voted for Trump and got more of the same, the neocon war machine.

Noah Way said...

Matt, your vote counts as much as Hedges - not at all. The influence of voters on US legislation and others actions is near zero. On the other hand, if you have a few billion to dole out to select political representatives you can get pretty much whatever you want. When money=speech those with the most have the loudest voices.

Matt Franko said...

"Matt, your vote counts as much as Hedges - not at all."

Yes it does I am getting to a great extent EXACTLY what I voted for... didnt in 2008 but that's living in a Democracy... it doesnt ALWAYS go your way...

There is nothing wrong with our system of government we have a BIG technical problem...

The "Harvard Divinity" graduate oatmeal brained Hedges has absolutely no business getting involved in...

Ask Hedges about which wife Abraham knocked up first he will probably be right on it...

John said...

Tom, I was making the point about cultural hindsight bias being such a pitiful way of looking at things. There were, as you say, extremely good reasons for Newton's studies in what we now look at as unfathomable and embarrassing eccentricities. It's not like the man was a fool. He did happen to be the greatest scientist there's ever been.

Matt, evolution of the eye has been proven time and time again, for any creature you care to mention. Why don't we have eyes in the back of our heads? You may as well ask, why can't we run faster than a car, or at least any possible predator in the world? Or swim faster than a speedboat? Or even fly by flapping our arms really fast? Because evolution is not about what would be nice to have as a luxury but what is necessary for survival. Humans have never needed for their very existential survival eyes in the back of their heads. Every book on evolution points this out. You could also just Google: Humans Eyes Back Of Head. Anyway, I'm quite sure that even if there was an answer to the point you're making, or at least one to your exacting satisfaction, you'd have another one because it's the theory itself that you don't like: all life can be traced back to unicellular organisms in the oceans about ten billion years ago, and humans and all the other primates descended from a common ancestor.

But why don't you ask a simpler question. Why does 99.9999% of every life scientist, or indeed any scientist, in the world believe in evolution? They're all empiricists, or are you going to claim that all the life sciences are not empirical? Why have they been taken in by such obvious nonsense? Or do you have a different standard of empiricism that they do not? If nothing else, evolution is about empiricism; it's not a fancy theory that is untestable. It's been tested innumerable times. What do you think life scientists do all day? And what there is a gigantic conspiracy amongst all the world's life scientists about evolution but once inside the magic circle they continue to propound a huge hoax?

You're dodging the issue about certification. I'm talking about someone who has no academic qualifications whatsoever. Suppose such a person makes superb arguments, what then? Are they to be dismissed until they attend a university and attain certification? Why wait, why waste time? They seem to know what they're talking about. They may have read all the books as well as all the current and historical journal articles in his spare time and found it all to be terribly simple. What then? And don't go away thinking this is an absurd hypothetical. It's actually happened. No one who has any sense asks "What is your certification, you damn upstart!" No, they listen to the question or what is being put forward, and then they answer it as reasonably as they can.

We here at MNE do it all the time, yet expect to be shown a degree of politeness when questioning economists. Do they have a right to ask what our certifications are? "Oh," they'll snigger, "engineers, philosophers and heaven knows what else, how very interesting. When you have certificates in ECONOMICS, you damn fools, then you may raise your voices." Shocked, we reply, "Isn't the argument the important thing, not the certification? That your models don't work, and ours work much better?" Works both ways, you see?

Tom Hickey said...

Reminds me of a conversation between a German nuclear engineer and an "unqualified" American. The American was explaining how he had invented something he was confident would sell well and was starting company. The German engineer asked incredulously, "But what are your qualifications?"

Another from a US AID worker in Bangladesh. People would come to him with ideas and ask him if he thought they should go ahead with it. He would say yes even though he had absolutely nothing to do with the project and they would go do it. They just needed validation, which no one else there would do.

Noah Way said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Noah Way said...

@ Matt, you completely avoided the issue of voter influence on political action. Tom addressed the matter quite succinctly here:

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.

Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens
Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=2761684730989137546&postID=1771977036587493875


As you are not materially competent (i.e. "trained") in politics or social affairs you have absolutely no business commenting on them.

jrbarch said...

Man got to the moon because of the people who said it was possible; not because of the people who said it was not - or the moon was a god and you cannot land on a god.

Then they brought back a few rocks and had a confetti parade and a few drinks; beat the Russkies ha ha ha.

You can be efficient but not effective; effective but not efficient; or fail at both.

So, training is one part of the solution.

Should I choose a Buddhist monk to fly my A383 airbus from NY to Lhasa, or a fully trained Captain with a few thousand hours of experience?

When western scientists wanted to attach sensors to the brains of meditating monks, they all fell around on the floor laughing (putting an incapable instrument on a highly capable instrument).

Then there is genius in creativity of some kind.

Is it possible that a human being is a synthesis of all of this. Why should different aspects of the one nature be at war. How can they work together?

For me, evolution is an evolution of consciousness: - one consciousness commands and utilises them all.

jrbarch said...

.... in harmony, harmlessly.

Noah Way said...

Information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom.

Training (like everything else) varies in quality. Among a multitude of possibilities:

One can be poorly trained.
One can be well-trained by idiots.
One can be well trained in theory without any training in application.
One can be well-trained but lacking in intelligence.
One can be well-trained in appearing intelligent.
...

Itemizing all such possible conditions will make a very long list ...

In my experience, experience is the best training.

Tom Hickey said...

Let's take an example.

Alan Greenspan meets all the above including experience as the Fed chair. He is still not only clueless but dangerous.

Mattis, Kelly, McMaster, etc. still haven't figured out why the US military has been a consistent loser in spite of overwhelming material advantage.

jrbarch said...

There is a quote somewhere - Einstein: “The only source of knowledge is experience”. Wonder who trained Greenspan, or what he was 'experiencing'.

So, back to consciousness (quality) again ....

Matt Franko said...

“But why don't you ask a simpler question. Why does 99.9999% of every life scientist, or indeed any scientist, in the world believe in evolution? “

Why do 99.999% of economists believe we are “out of money”? idk.... the academe is f-ed up in some ways it seems...

Matt Franko said...

“Why have they been taken in by such obvious nonsense? ”

It’s not obvious nonsense it’s a complicated issue... I don’t believe in intelligent design (non-scriptural phrase) either...

It is well recognized from a philosophy of science perspective that evolution is not an empirical theory it is a rationalist theory... many evolutionary scientists even understand this...

I value empiricism over reason....

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rationalism-empiricism/

I don’t see how anybody who believes MMT can believe in evolution at the same time... it’s very unprincipled and hypocritical... you should be a Monetarist if you believe in evolution...



Matt Franko said...

“materially competent (i.e. "trained") in politics or social affairs you have absolutely no business commenting on them.”

And I don’t I stick to material matters here...

Toms reference is more rationalist BS same with Hedges..... stick to the material results there are many of us very pleased with the Trump win and we voted for him... it’s called Democracy...

Matt Franko said...

Toms whole thing is that the munnie comes in and people are duped it’s absurd...

Hillary could spend a bazillion gajillion I would NEVER vote for her...

Matt Franko said...

And another thing is that probably most MMT people also believe in evolution AND they haven’t got anywhere in 20 years...

Coincidence? No way...

John said...

Matt, what on earth are you talking about by maintaining this line that evolution has not been empirically tested? It is tested thousands, maybe even millions, of times a day in laboratories world wide. Just the gargantuan amount of laboratory tests on fruit flies and bacteria are proof positive of evolution. The genetic tests that trace all living creatures to common ancestors expunges all doubt. Yet all this is not empirical! Apparently these tests are not real experiments...in real laboratories...by real scientists...testing evolutionary processes! The only thing complicated about evolution is the exact mechanisms, not that it happened. We know the galaxies formed, but we do not know for certain that they formed in the way we believe. Our theories on galactic formation could be better, but we know that the galaxies formed in a certain way. Similarly, we know all life formed in a certain way, but we are not yet sure how all the different mechanisms played out. That's the only difficulty, not that evolution in fact happened. Leaving aside all the mountains of evidence that show evolutionary processes, just from a logical point of view if the process wasn't evolution, what was it that caused all the diversity of life? That it all just suddenly appeared from nowhere? That aliens put the whole circus together? That an intelligent creator (God) did it and then left us all confused with weird stories from desert peoples or those from animal/stone/ancestor worshippers? What other arguments are there?

Your argument about economists also believing that we're out of money as equivalent to almost all life scientist believing in evolution is horribly wrong. On the whole, economists do not care about real world data and incorporate such data into their research. Scientists do exactly that. Scientists can't go on propounding theories that are demonstrably wrong, unlike economists. Once theories have been proven wrong, or at least not right, and another theory does explain the phenomena being investigated, the old theory is replaced with the new theory. Find me one instance in all scientific history in which scientists knowingly kept to a discredited theory when an empirically confirmed theory had been developed. There is no such compulsion in economics because it is devoted to indoctrination, not empirical study. Economists can and do talk absolute nonsense every day. Their terrible forecasting history is never an issue. That's the difference, and it's a crucial and defining difference. Claiming that evolution is NOT an empirical theory is equivalent to saying we're out of money.

Most, perhaps all, MMT economists also believe in the atomic structure of matter, elementary particle physics, stellar structure, gravitational waves, cosmological microwave background radiation, chemical bonds, DNA and genetics. Perhaps we should ditch all of modern physics, modern chemistry and modern biology because MMT economists believe in the findings of real scientists in real labs?

Matt Franko said...

“Alan Greenspan meets all the above”

Get the wax out of your ears he was trained as a f-ing clarinet player...

Matt Franko said...

Jared Bernstein chief advisor to VP of US: Oboe...

Matt Franko said...

Ted Nugent: Guitar....

Tom Hickey said...

Greenspan holds a BA, MA, and Phd in economics. And he did play clarinet and sax, attended Julliard, and started out as a musician. He changed his mind along the way.

Tom Hickey said...

Bernstein holds an MSW, an MA in philosophy, and a PhD in social work.

Tom Hickey said...

Ted Nugent has a high school diploma. He has been a life-long musician, a media personality, an actor and an author.

Anonymous said...

Matt, your condescension towards people without a science background reeks of the same high priest attitude you deride those who have a religious, philosophical, or arts background. While I get a great deal out of your (and Mike's) insights on commodity pricing, e.g. currencies, you strike me as very close minded like many on both the right and left sides of the political divide.

Your, I understand science and therefore I'm smart versus someone else who understands art and therefore is not smart is not a good argument. I have many college level courses in calculus, physics, chemistry (organic and physical), et al but have a BA in business. Over the years, my own arrogance on a materialistic (Democritus) view as the best way to understand the universe have softened and I now look at an idealistic (Kant, Plato's "theory of ideas") view as just as important, if not more so to our understanding of the universe.

Systems logic or systems thinking has opened my eyes to many operations that are non-zero sum. Newtonian versus quantum physics introduces new ideas that an object's reality can be changed based on whether that object is viewed or not, e.g. the double-slit experiment using light photons. All of that is science not art or philosophy.

As you say, it is complicated and there are many variables and boundary conditions that have to be considered before drawing conclusions about a problem. However, from where I sit, it is the artists who have the imagination to articulate ideas and dreams and the scientists who follow those ideas to make them material. Both artists and scientists (maybe combined like Da Vinci) are needed and an open mind is the best and balanced approach to solving a problem.

rsp,

jrbarch said...

I would say the path through most people's lives is an evolution - the only difference being the speed we choose to travel.

Matt Franko said...

Sapient you are then probably more qualified in these matters than the people who have been put into the top positions...

Iow I would rather see you there than them probably...

gseo a2 said...

While the relationship of stocks to the dollar has not always been

"down dollar = up stocks" it has been this year. And in this

market, that which gets rewarded gets repeated until someone's

throat gets ripped out.
At times it has been that a strong dollar meant a strong America

and a strong economy. All rules of logic are gone due to the

oligarchs running the government.
http://www.screencast.com/

gseo a2 said...

While the relationship of stocks to the dollar has not always been

"down dollar = up stocks" it has been this year. And in this

market, that which gets rewarded gets repeated until someone's

throat gets ripped out.
At times it has been that a strong dollar meant a strong America

and a strong economy. All rules of logic are gone due to the

oligarchs running the government.
http://www.screencast.com/