Why are everyone's politics so binary?

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Karl_
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PostRe: Why are everyone's politics so binary?
by Karl_ » Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:33 pm

Dual wrote:Would like to know more about Karl's Medieval Burgers.

In 1694, Baron McDonald founded the very first burger restaurant and single-handedly invented capitalism.

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PostRe: Why are everyone's politics so binary?
by Rightey » Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:24 am

Karl_ wrote:For real. Lex-Man, if you ever call me Cal again you're banned, not even kidding :lol: :dread:

For what it's worth I didn't say "hard work only dates to the start of capitalism", that would be a silly thing to say(!). Of course mediaeval and ancient people had to work hard sometimes. What I said was that the linkage between the length and intensity of work you do and your moral character - the idea of "work ethic" - dates back only to the Reformation at the earliest. The Catholic doctrine of "good works" was reinterpreted to mean that work is in and of itself a virtue by Luther, a theological advance which was emphasised by Calvin, and the new "moral" was cemented in our culture by early capitalists like Benjamin Franklin who took the idea directly from Puritan teachings. While people certainly did have professional reputations before capitalism, and there would have been periods of hard work, the particularly skewed work-life balance we are used to - as a result of the culture, norms, and expectations surrounding work - is an invention of the bourgeoisie for their own benefit.


Ah yes, of course, the well known Bourgeoisie, Aesop...

One bright day in late autumn a family of Ants were bustling about in the warm sunshine, drying out the grain they had stored up during the summer, when a starving Grasshopper, his fiddle under his arm, came up and humbly begged for a bite to eat.

"What!" cried the Ants in surprise, "haven't you stored anything away for the winter? What in the world were you doing all last summer?"

"I didn't have time to store up any food," whined the Grasshopper; "I was so busy making music that before I knew it the summer was gone."

The Ants shrugged their shoulders in disgust.

"Making music, were you?" they cried. "Very well; now dance!" And they turned their backs on the Grasshopper and went on with their work.


Not to be outdone by the capitalist Marcus Aurilius:

At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: 'I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I'm going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?'

— But it's nicer in here ...

So you were born to feel 'nice'? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don't you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you're not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren't you running to do what your nature demands?


Now I'm not really big on ancient fables, but I'll bet anything that they had similar stories in Ancient China, or other places that built great civilizations.

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PostRe: Why are everyone's politics so binary?
by Corazon de Leon » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:03 am

Yeah I see what you’re saying Karl and I agree with you in principle. But I can’t go all the way with you there and agree that the idea of hard work as a moral act has only been around since the end of the medieval period or the reformation. While it’s definitely correct that the Martin Luthers and John Calvins of the world emphasised hard work and deference to, at the time, God, I don’t think this was a new thing. The idea of tithes and paying your way into heaven was very old even by that point, and was part of the reason why the reformation happened after all.

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PostRe: Why are everyone's politics so binary?
by Karl_ » Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:29 am

The Aesop tale in particular demonstrates the cultural difference quite succinctly: it's a warning against avoiding necessary work, not doing enough; not for working as hard as possible. I don't have to make up a modern version of a similar "moral" to demonstrate the contrast, because here it is:

Benjamin Franklin wrote:Remember, that time is money. He that can earn ten shillings a day by his labor, and goes abroad, or sits idle, one half of that day, though he spends but sixpence during his diversion or idleness, ought not to reckon that the only expense; he has really spent, or rather thrown away, five shillings besides.

Remember, that money is the prolific, generating nature. Money can beget money, and its offspring can beget more, and so on. Five shillings turned is six, turned again is seven and threepence, and so on, till it becomes a hundred pounds. The more there is of it, the more it produces every turning, so that the profits rise quicker and quicker. He that kills a breeding sow, destroys all her offspring to the thousandth generation. He that murders a crown, destroys all that it might have produced, even scores of pounds.

A mediaeval peasant worked half-days (8 hours in summer) and had four or five months of holiday a year. In the height of the industrial revolution, which was also the peak of puritanical religious influence, factory workers were expected to toil for fifteen hours a day, six days a week. It should be clear from that alone that the meaning of "work" and its sociocultural value would have changed both as a driver of and as a consequence of that change in norms.

It was the former cultural context in which Chaucer wrote, "Do some good deeds, so that the Devil, which is our enemy, won't find you unoccupied." But in a 19th century description of a Puritan town the phrase was being used like this: "The boys are not permitted to idle away their time in the streets, [but are] employed in some light and useful labor [...]; for the inhabitants firmly believe that 'the devil finds work for idle hands to do'". Consider also how the meaning of "sloth" as a sin has changed from "self-pity" to "laziness".

The argument isn't that ancient peoples never had anything to say on the subject of working hard, it's that cultural norms surrounding work shifted as the bourgeoisie emerged in a way that serviced the construction of capitalism.

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PostRe: Why are everyone's politics so binary?
by Karl_ » Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:37 am

For what it's worth I feel like I could have a detailed and nuanced chat with you about this, Cora, but I don't think Rightey (an alt-right "libertarian") is engaging in good faith so I am going to leave that subject there, otherwise the argument will just wreck this thread.

I will read other replies with interest though. I'm certainly not a historian but fwiw this isn't original research, the broad picture is quite well accepted in left circles.

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PostRe: Why are everyone's politics so binary?
by Balladeer » Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:52 am

Maybe because I’m a fundamentally lazy person, but I also don’t equate hard work and dessert. In fact, I’d love to see a world where unemployment isn’t sneered upon, but creativity is lauded instead. I reckon there’ll come a time where maybe 70% or more of jobs today are rendered obsolete by automation, and that the country/world would be better off as a whole if the people currently doing those jobs are encouraged to pursue what they actually want to do rather than scrabble around amongst the decreasing pool of available jobs. That would require a change in attitudes and a much-advanced welfare state though.

Anyway, I think there’s both a social bubble effect, whereby if you think one of those things in the OP passionately you’ll mix more with people who agree and think all those things passionately; and a mindset effect, whereby the same people who acknowledge that the gender spectrum is a thing are likely to be open to the idea that they’re (we’re) doing the climate thing wrong. If our forefathers and religions were wrong about one aspect, they might be wrong about others. That kind of thing.

Incidentally I’m well over to the ‘generic left’ of most of those issues but am more divided on abortion, which I do believe to be taking a life. On the other hand, as a bloke I feel I should let the women in my life take the lead on that one.

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PostRe: Why are everyone's politics so binary?
by OrangeRKN » Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:00 am

Karl_ wrote:A mediaeval peasant worked half-days (8 hours in summer) and had four or five months of holiday a year.


While still very relevant I think some note and adjustment for the changing definition and abstraction of work is required. As we do not classify cooking dinner or cleaning the house as "work", neither are you including such things in the peasant's hours of work, but then there are similar activities that once done by the person in their free time are now contracted out by paying people to do them for you - in a sense, that "non-work work" has been shifted into "work work", as the money you get paid is going towards those things.

For an easy example, if I order a takeaway tonight then that time I would have spent preparing food at home (what I'm calling non-work work and is counted in your peasant's "leisure" time) I have instead spent at work earning the money to pay someone else to do that for me. It's just more abstracted away in our more specialised and integrated society, as opposed to the life of a subsistence farmer. So while it won't account for all of the increase in work hours, I think that shift will account for some.

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PostRe: Why are everyone's politics so binary?
by Preezy » Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:57 pm

Karl_ wrote:communist propaganda

yeah but what about the proper wrong'ns that have a corner sofa, 3 mopeds and a pitbull?

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PostRe: Why are everyone's politics so binary?
by Moggy » Mon Oct 07, 2019 1:00 pm

Preezy wrote:
Karl_ wrote:communist propaganda

yeah but what about the proper wrong'ns that have a corner sofa, 3 mopeds and a pitbull?


Don’t forget the flat screen TV.

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PostRe: Why are everyone's politics so binary?
by Cuttooth » Mon Oct 07, 2019 1:05 pm

It always amuses me when 'flat-screen TV' is always branded as some kind of luxury item, as if flat screens haven't been the standard for the last ten years at least.

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PostRe: Why are everyone's politics so binary?
by Moggy » Mon Oct 07, 2019 1:14 pm

Cuttooth wrote:It always amuses me when 'flat-screen TV' is always branded as some kind of luxury item, as if flat screens haven't been the standard for the last ten years at least.


Some people have realised that but have just moved onto the size of the TV now.

“Feckless workshy underclasses with their 52inch TVs!”

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PostRe: Why are everyone's politics so binary?
by Preezy » Mon Oct 07, 2019 1:22 pm

Cuttooth wrote:It always amuses me when 'flat-screen TV' is always branded as some kind of luxury item, as if flat screens haven't been the standard for the last ten years at least.

I read an editorial in a magazine fairly recently (maybe The Economist? I dunno) about how people shouldn't be sneered at for having a flat-screen TV, but rather that it's a fantastic investment for families that can't afford to go travelling or experience the high arts, and that the weekly cost over the lifetime of the product is miniscule. Was quite an uplifting defence. No mention of corner sofas though :slol:

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PostRe: Why are everyone's politics so binary?
by Lex-Man » Mon Oct 07, 2019 1:41 pm

Preezy wrote:
Cuttooth wrote:It always amuses me when 'flat-screen TV' is always branded as some kind of luxury item, as if flat screens haven't been the standard for the last ten years at least.

I read an editorial in a magazine fairly recently (maybe The Economist? I dunno) about how people shouldn't be sneered at for having a flat-screen TV, but rather that it's a fantastic investment for families that can't afford to go travelling or experience the high arts, and that the weekly cost over the lifetime of the product is miniscule. Was quite an uplifting defence. No mention of corner sofas though :slol:


We need to get Tracey Emin to design corner sofa's then the same argument can be applied.

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PostRe: Why are everyone's politics so binary?
by Verti-Forma (tape edit) » Mon Oct 07, 2019 2:57 pm

Qikz wrote:My politics are binary because I refuse to move closer to the center. I'm left wing and I believe all right wing policies are inherently evil, there's always some hidden point to strawberry floating over either the poor, the disabled, minorities or the young. I'm not going to sit there and compromise to the right, because I know someone will be strawberry floated over because of it.


thing about identarian politics is that the warm feeling of "my beliefs are righteous and unchanging" fails to grasp the nature of power and primacy of material reality. i agree with you, but i've also done very little in my life to help anyone else.

child of thatcher, i guess

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PostRe: Why are everyone's politics so binary?
by Albear » Mon Oct 07, 2019 3:11 pm

Shouldn't it be "Why is everyone's Politics so binary?"

Why are everyone's politics doesn't read right to me.

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PostRe: Why are everyone's politics so binary?
by OrangeRKN » Mon Oct 07, 2019 3:42 pm

Why our everyones politic's so binary?

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PostRe: Why are everyone's politics so binary?
by Knoyleo » Mon Oct 07, 2019 3:54 pm

Why arrrr everyone's politics so briney?

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PostRe: Why are everyone's politics so binary?
by OrangeRKN » Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:02 pm

Knoyleo wrote:Why arrrr everyone's politics so briney?


Because people like to parrot other's opinions?

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PostRe: Why are everyone's politics so binary?
by Meep » Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:14 pm

I am a socialist because I think my generation and generations after me deserve a better future than working until we are in our seventies and then watching the planet die after we retire, just so a small elite can continue to consume a vastly disproportionate amount of wealth and resources. I know we deserve better than that and I will not 'compromise' with the commercial interests that have driven us to this current crisis. Poverty is a political choice that those on the right chose to make, accepting the cost in human life and happiness, in order than others can retain excessive wealth. The climate crisis tolerated because those on right believe oppose anything that threatens private profit.

I also like to think my views are rather consistent. For example, while I disagree with the right wing idea of absolute property rights, I do believe in more basic fundamental rights such the right to life and bodily autonomy. This is in contrast with many on the right who support to right to accumulate unlimited amounts of property and wealth but then oppose guaranteeing life (which denying people food, shelter and healthcare basically amounts to) and rejecting their bodily autonomy (opposing reproductive rights).

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PostRe: Why are everyone's politics so binary?
by Green Gecko » Mon Oct 07, 2019 5:00 pm

jiggles wrote:3. The vast majority of people don't like to think about difficult issues. They might see someone state 4 out of 6 views they definitely agree with and then just adopt the other 2 because it's easier than having to form an opinion and safer to avoid defending said opinion.

Basically this. People are lazy and generally nowhere near as smart as they think. Actually I'd say the people that think they are stupid are on balance more intelligent given the confidence and room to actually think the way they do.

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