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Old 03-14-2017, 09:36 AM   #101
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

I read Chomsky On Anarchism before this thread and it was very good. I will get around to more of the earlier prominent and explicitly Anarchist authors if I can get past Proudhon and Bacunin wanting to kill all the Jews. But there are a ton of writers in the anarchist spectrum like Tolstoy, Rousseau, Thoreau, Emerson, Wilde, Godwin, Camu, Shelley...

ACism is the antithesis of most of Anarchism. Proudhon said "all property is theft" and ACist say everything is property.

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Old 03-14-2017, 10:45 AM   #102
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

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Not aware enough of relevant in jokes
Nielsio was famous for rhetorically asking if 'X was why I can't free?' where X could be anything from gold to the War in Iraq to Santa Claus to school lunches or whatever. I assume if you look around on YouTube there's a video of him doing a 45 minute poetry slam of all the reasons why he can't be free.
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Old 03-15-2017, 02:49 AM   #103
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

Candide - Voltaire

I made this note about 2/3rd the way through:

"Somewhat clever and entertaining satire, but just somewhat. It's like slightly subpar Dave Barry. I wonder what people will think of him in 250 years."

At the end I warmed up to it a bit as it wrapped things up pretty well. I upgrade it to fully par Dave Barry.

I supposed if Candide were written a hundred years earlier Voltaire would have been burned at the stake for lampooning monarchs and religion. I'm not sure how bold it was in 1759, but it was pretty biting and maybe Mark Twain is a better comparison than Dave Barry, though even some of the sillier Twain takes some care for character while Candide really doesn't.

This is a good book if you want to look like you're reading something serious, but really want something fairly light.

There's room in there for some utopian socialist anti-capitalist interpretation, but I wouldn't get too carried away with it.

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Old 03-15-2017, 08:23 AM   #104
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

I Am Alive and You Are Dead: A Journey into the Mind of Philip K. Dick, by Emmanuel Carrere.

I got this as an introduction to Carrere, but it revived an old interest in scifi. I hadn't realized how much scifi (Matrix, etc.) was influenced by Dick's fixation on the sense of self and its struggle to remain distinct from the environment.

I hadn't read Dick as an adolescent, it was all Harry Harrison, Asimov, and Dune. But it turns out Dick had debilitating paranoid delusions. Carrere makes a strong case that Dick really believed he was receiving messages from God about how to launch a new age, although he could also use that delusion as a literary source by critiquing it from the skeptical side of his brain that remained.

The style is fictionalized biography. Carrere researched deeply to establish a scene, but then invented a lot of inner thoughts that he believed must have been going on. The effect is very convincing. I trusted that he was creating a reasonable facsimile, consistent with verifiable evidence.

One chapter I glossed through because it became too lit crit -- taking the ideas way too seriously. Dick is compelling as an extraordinary, autodidact pulp writer, not as a philosopher. But I really enjoyed the rest of the book, especially how a tortured psyche was integral to the stories that swirled out. You may be interested to know he only dropped acid once. Didn't need it. There's also plenty of titillating debauchery and his painfully pathetic personal life.

Now that I read the bio, I'm less bored with Amazon's Man in the High Castle.

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Old 03-15-2017, 01:19 PM   #105
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

Re: Coates. I'd recommend the book 'Racecraft' too which talks a lot about how racism as a social construct leads to race. The book is a slog to read, however.
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Old 03-15-2017, 02:25 PM   #106
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

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His description of Cortez defeating the Aztecs is hackneyed: Aliens riding strange beasts could "produce lightning and thunder out of shiny metal sticks." Bah. Cortez won by allying with the Aztec's many enemies and because Tenochtitlan was weakened by disease. Harari does mention the devastation of epidemics, but mistakenly places it after conquest instead of before.
Wow that's bad. I did hear the mythical God theory about how Cortez beat the Aztecs when I was in junior high so it surprised me, on first reading, that several expeditions to Mexico got easily slaughtered even with advanced 'mythical technology' that was supposed to awe the Aztecs before Cortez showed up. But yea that Cortez won because of the Aztec awe at Spanish technology falls apart at even a basic reading of what happened.
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Old 03-15-2017, 07:44 PM   #107
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

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Walden - Thoreau
If you want more of the political side of Thoreau, I highly recommend his short essay on "Civil Disobedience," which was very influential on both Gandhi and MLK.
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Old 03-16-2017, 01:12 AM   #108
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

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If you want more of the political side of Thoreau, I highly recommend his short essay on "Civil Disobedience," which was very influential on both Gandhi and MLK.
Thanks. Just yesterday I noticed that we have a copy in our house. I have 3 library books to read first though.

I just finished the audiobook of the Communist Manifesto. I think I'll either listen again or grab the book next time I'm in the library just to make some notes for a review. After the book I'm reading now, there will be a shift away from the radical and more towards liberal mainstream/enlightenment at least for a couple books. Not that anyone cares, but I've been on a streak of radical stuff and I don't want y'all to think I've gone over the bend and I guess mentioning The Communist Manifesto seems a little like a taboo.
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Old 03-24-2017, 09:06 PM   #109
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

A couple mini reviews. These are books I listened to from librivox. I didn't take any notes or prepare for this at all.

God and State - Mikhail Bakunin 1882

If you're an atheist this is probably a lot of preaching to the choir. There's a lot of stuff about the how the state supported religion and vice versa and how Christianity in particular changed dramatically about 3 centuries in to essentially become state friendly. I guess the book wasn't quite finished and it shows a bit.

I don't think it's essential or anything, but it was interesting.

Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution Peter Kropotkin 1902

The version I listened to was terrible. The guy had a very strong accent (French I think), was very monotone and he read all the footnotes wherever they hit, even if they were just citations and said "open footnote blah blah open bracket blah p. 242-244 blah close bracket blah close footnote" and there were a lot of footnotes. So, don't listen to the librivox version here.

But the book was really good and interesting so I persisted. The early part of the book is about social behavior among animals and much of it is interesting and based on field observation which wasn't always the rule at the time. There is a lot of romanticization of animals and more intelligence is ascribed to animals with small brains than is right, but Kropotkin is not without nuance in any of this. He would of course have benefited from modern studies, but on the whole and as a reaction to the exaggerated notion of tooth and claw that prevailed at that time and for a long time afterward I would say that he was quite insightful.

I also found his descriptions of European village life, the guilds, medieval cities and the history of common people and the tendency towards cooperation to be very interesting and well supported in a relatively scientific way despite it being quite a broad overview. It is probably over-romantic at times, but again, against the back drop of ideologies of ruthless individualism it was I guess reactionary, but an understandable reaction. At some point I want to read something just on the history of the guilds. That part was particularly interesting and got me wondering specifically about whether the freemason/anti-freemason conflict was part of a larger power struggle over centralization of power. Or maybe not, but the guilds at one point seemed to wield a fair amount of power.

I missed a lot from this book because of the reading, so I have to somewhat temper my recommendation, but I still recommend it and at some point I will check out the print version and read it.
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Old 03-27-2017, 01:05 PM   #110
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg

I'd give this book 3 1/2 stars. It's an interesting but not too particularly surprising look at class politics, specifically the intra white class politics where the poor have always been looked down upon. The book starts in chronological order starting with the first colonists in America but I find it useful to go in reverse chronological order. The grand narrative is found in the epilogue.

It states simply that America never has been a meritocracy, people never have, holistically, been able to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, and elites have forever needed to explain that discrepancy. The did/do it by substituting heredity and blame on the poor themselves. You see echos of this in the jokes during 2012 election when people joked that Romney and Huntsman's kids should intermarry to produce beautiful, smart, wealthy children. You see it in liberals talking about smart elitist types wanting to marry other smart highly educated elitist types, while blaming the poor electoral decisions on the poor who vote against their own interests ( their interests usually being how to reduce the problems of their woeful existence). You see it in Conservatives' angst that the poor are marrying other poor whose genes will only produce more dumb stupid children so implicitly only the rich and wealthy "who can afford kids" should breed.

You can trace those modern examples through eugenics that compared breeding people to breeding horses. (One example during the eugenics craze was that women would sign a pledge to only marry a man after she had seen his genealogical pedigree) to the original aristocratic idea that there are some amount of surplus people that simply have no use and must be 'disposed of' in some way, that being that conscripted into armies, or sent to do dangerous labor, etc.

The book also talks about the cultural aspect of 'white trash'. How through the 60's, 70's, and 80's, as the 'New South' rose in economic power, a kind of 'white trash chic' appeared. These new 'chic white trash' didn't conform to middle class standards but were also admired for their forthrightness. You can see examples in Dolly Parton and Elvis (the son of a sharecropper). This new 'white trash chic' didn't transfer approval to all poor whites though. The poorest of white trash was still an object of scorn a la Honey Boo Boo. The book does make a defense of Sarah Palin's 'country-ness' and points out how liberals used the white trash stereotype to push against Palin. The book also talks about Jimmy Carter, who ran as a 'Bubba' but who also denied having any part of the stereotype of a redneck. He ran on being smart, truthful, intelligent and not flamboyant while the media and nation, seeking a confirmation of the stereotype, found one in Jimmy Carter's brother, Billy Carter. Also included is Bill Clinton, who was a 'Bubba' but whose Rhodes Scholarship insulated him a bit from the charge of being a complete redneck.

Interestingly the book sets up the Republicans as being the high class snobs looking down at the two 'white trash' liberal Presidents we had. Nancy Reagan had the White House stripped and complained that the Carters had made the White House a 'pigsty' while Republicans blasted Clinton as no good white trash who double dealed, lied, and cheated (all white trash attributes) and tarnished the high class Hollywoodism Reagan brought to the office. The book traces this dynamic back to the scalawags, people who were supposed to be white trash but who usurped their rightful place in the order of things by claiming that blacks deserved the same rights as whites and/or that poor whites deserved more than what the upper classes handed down.

The most interesting parts of the book are the first parts. The book starts out with the idea that American revisionism has cast the original settlers as intrepid entrepreneurs or, perhaps, religious exiles seeking a better life, when in reality, America was very much imagined as Australia once was, a refuse bin with which to throw the useless white trash of Britain out. Some 60% of the settlers came here for 'economic reasons' mainly being in debt or sent to America to avoid debt. Even in the original colonies, America wasn't envisioned as some egalitarian land, but very much had a landed aristocracy who tried to replicate much of British aristocracy. In the same way that America as a whole was thought of as a way to get rid of white trash, westward expansion was seen as a way to get rid of the 'white trash' in America as well. Let them settle the hinterlands, while the slave owning aristocrats had thousands of good acres. Benjamin Franklin started off poor, but through having patrons became extremely rich. This didn't stop him from blaming the poor for their own problems. (He once complained that the poor moved aimlessly without a purpose forgetting that his move to Philadelphia was simply to get away from trouble). The book also gives an account of Jefferson and Madison and their political ideas all revolved around the same aristocratic idea of what to do with the landed gentry vs the poor white trash living in hovels and the nature of the work that each did.

That fulcrum of how society should be ordered continued through to the Civil War. If people thought the Civil War was merely fought over tariffs, this expanded out the cultural war to be two ways of viewing the civilizational order pitted against each other. The South continued the old British aristocratic idea, that there were a subset of people that bore civilization and there were those beneath them, be they slaves or white trash whose purpose was either to support the rich (and who in turn would be paternalistically loved by the rich), or die. The North on the other hand believed that slavery ruined not only the slaves (who were a bit of a secondary concern) but also the poor white trash who had no work because the free labor provided by the slaves and also made slaveholders slothful. The South, in turn, believed the North to be pure white trash, full of Irish and German immigrants who were dumb and slow who were taken advantage of by the wealth industrialists. The North also used psych-ops during the war, purposefully burning and looting the wealthy while leaving the poor alone to get the point across that the wealthy were the problem. The South were always afraid of the poor whites rising against the slave owners, and, in fact, desertions because the poor were 'fighting a rich man's war' were more common in the South than in the North.

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Old 04-02-2017, 07:01 PM   #111
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

My grandma got "The New Road to Serfdom: A Letter of Warning to America" for Christmas, my wife asked if I wanted to keep it today so I decided to start reading it.

I tapped out after the first sentence. 0 out of 4 stars, as expected.
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Old 04-02-2017, 10:11 PM   #112
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

I'm listening to Wealth of Nations and generally can't review things I'm listening to as well as some of those I've read where I've taken notes. I just finished Book 1. Although Adam Smith is popularly viewed as something like the father of capitalism most people know that he was well to the left of the current Republican party. He was though fairly in line with Milton Friedman I think in regards to a free market if it were to actually exist. But in regards to reality he recognized that the capitalists (he didn't use the term) conspire to prevent the market from being free as a rule and have the support of the state while the working class is violently suppressed when they try to collaborate with each other.

This is how book 1 ends

Quote:
The interest of the dealers, however*, in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public. To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers. To widen the market may frequently be agreeable enough to the interest of the public; but to narrow the competition must always be against it, and can serve only to enable the dealers, by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens. The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order, ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.
*the "however" is in contrast to wage workers and landlords whose interests he contends are generally in line with those of society as a whole.

In general I think reading the whole work is kind of foolish though I intend to persist. Most of it is what will seem incredibly obvious and the examples are often tedious. The discussions about money are fairly interesting and the measures of wealth of nations with labor, productivity and the chief article of sustenance (corn, but in other places and times could be rice or wheat) and the discussion on their costs relative to other items and precious metals, but it is probably all better read in a modern summary of the book.

I don't know how valid this is, but he talks about the absolute wealth and standard of living of the general workers in a society as being related to the rate of growth of a society, but not the absolute wealth. Class lines are blurrier now than they were in 1773 and perhaps there's an effect there that was more clear then than it is now. But, insofar as it's applicable it's scary how often he's talking about conditions where wage workers will work for an absolute minimum subsistence.
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Old 04-03-2017, 12:07 AM   #113
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

I want to add that Adam Smith's anthropology is of course horrible. He assumes that in prehistory humans lived relatively solitary lives and produced everything that they needed individually.
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Old 04-03-2017, 12:19 AM   #114
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

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If you want more of the political side of Thoreau, I highly recommend his short essay on "Civil Disobedience," which was very influential on both Gandhi and MLK.
+1, Thoreau was the OG civil disobedience guy, doesn't get nearly enough love.
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Old 04-07-2017, 02:14 PM   #115
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

I read Listen, Liberal by Thomas Frank.

It's a pretty good indictment of the Democrat party as having sold out the interests of working people through Clinton era "triangulation" policies that basically continued through Obama. He is softer on Obama than B Clinton but is especially critical of his treatment of the banks/financial industry in the wake of the bailout and his failure to pursue any antitrust cases throughout his presidency, as well as his general capitulation to the professional class and reverence for "innovation" even as inequality soared.

His premise is essentially that these Dems (WJC/BHO) represented an earnest belief in well-educated elites and their institutions as the best vehicle for governance, in part because they themselves had risen from poverty to the national stage through said institutions. This belief led to a movement away from policies that helped working people to ones that typically benefited professionals. I was struck by how many times this concept had actually come out on these boards between 2014-2016 in discussions where we tried to figure out just who the Democratic base had become. It turns out you can't build a sustainable coalition rejecting working people for highly educated professionals, particularly when you are not the party of capital.

I would have liked to see more devoted to an alternative vision of what the modern left party should like and ideas about how to make that happen politically. He is a fan of FDR and New Deal style legislation, which he mentions a few times, but doesn't discuss much of a vision for how to move forward beyond some sweeping platitudes towards the end. Maybe this is asking too much, particularly since the book was written pre Nov 8 and often has a tone of resignation to the fact that we are (were) about to embark on another 4-8 years of Clintonism.

Overall I think it was well written, insightful, and required reading for any progressive person in understanding how we got here and what not to do going forward.

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Old 04-09-2017, 04:54 PM   #116
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

Prague Cemetary - Umberto Eco 2011

Timely as this is about fake news. Although the main character is invented (or perhaps a speculation?) all the other characters minus a few totally minor figures were real people and basically if it seems like an event or quote might have been historical, it was. The events take place in the mid to late 19th century in Italy and France. Revolutions, revolutionaries, Bonapartists, Republicans, Masons, the Catholic Church, Jesuits, Satanists, spies, forgeries, antisemitism, etc....a lot is involved. I wanted to read something by Eco because of Einbert's many posts about Ur-Fascism and picked this one out because it cross referenced with the Paris Commune, which I was interested in learning more about. Turns out that didn't take up a lot of space here, but was there like many of the political events of Europe of the period.

It was really good and interesting and you should read it. This may be an indication of shallowness, but lacking really sympathetic characters or romance it wasn't exactly a page turner. In a way comparing it to a book like Anna Karenina it makes me feel on reflexion that the drama of AK was a bit trivial, but that's what made me anxious to get back to the story every day.
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Old 04-09-2017, 08:19 PM   #117
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

Eco is never an easy read, but I always find him worth the effort.
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Old 05-14-2017, 01:52 PM   #118
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

I should give reading boring books a little break at least. I'm doing something that I pretty much never do and giving up on a couple.

I'm about 75% the way through Wealth of Nations. That's most of the way through book IV. But, I can't seem to get back into it. I will say that like the Hayek and Friedman that I've read somewhat recently I think this book is misused quite a bit by the right. Smith is more or less a free market purist, but the direction of his attack, when he does attack, is against the merchant class and aristocracy. He characterizes it as inherently difficult and generally unsuccessful for labor to collude in any way while the capitalist (he doesn't use that word) class colludes openly and covertly and intentionally and reflexively.

The basis of the wealth of nations in his eyes is simply the labor and very basic goods like corn. I think he would see the concentration on finance in an economy as a drain on it. He talked about how the wealth of a nation isn't necessarily correlated with the well being of most of the people. In a poorer but growing economy like North America (relative to Britain at the time), wages are high and the standard of living of workers is high. Britain was wealthier, but growing at much slower pace and wages were lower. Very stagnant countries like China (at the time) had a great deal of wealth, but labor was in a very poor condition. I don't think at the time there was much to be concerned with the limits of growth (assuming you're fine with displacing native people), but those are worrying observations in a world that is both capitalistic and bounded.

The Wealth of Nations is super tiresome though. It's hard to even estimate how many times Smith said something like "such and such is obviously clear and needs no further demonstration, but I'm going to explain it anyway". There's an awful lot of 17 sentences where one would do. Some of that is due to much of it just being what we see now as common sense/knowledge. That's not to say that everything he says is true, but it's the air we breathe.


Similarly, I got about half way through Mill, which is a collection of The Spirit of the Age, On Liberty, and The Subjugation of Women by John Stuart Mill. Again, this is the air we breathe as enlightened liberal westerners. Perhaps unsurprisingly the liberalism is unapologetically elitist and patronizing. Liberal values and freedoms are required for sufficiently civilized and educated people, but there's no rush for anyone else. And it's pretty boring and uninspiring.

The next book I have in this series is Recollections by Alexis de Tocqueville. I'm returning that one to the library unread. Maybe another time.

I've been pretty busy and thus tired the last several weeks and it was probably not a good time to have such serious stuff to read.
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Old 05-20-2017, 08:57 PM   #119
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

Civil Disobedience - Thoreau

I didn't enjoy this as much as Walden, though it was quite good. The thing that Thoreau gets at that really resonates with me is personal responsibility for one's role in society. The tax collector, Governor or citizen is first a human being. Participation or acquiescence to any organization brings a responsibility for the actions of the organization. At the time Thoreau was discussing the involvement of the US government, the state of Massachusetts and all citizens in slavery and in the US invasion of Mexico. In a notable scene he goes to a meeting he thinks to discuss slavery and people are upset about whether or not there will be slavery in Nebraska while the state of Massachusetts was returning fugitives. I'll close my review with this only tangentially related film clip I like a lot that does something to capture the essence of what Thoreau thinks of the contrast between humans vs laws and governments.



(ignoring slavery in the civil war in the film irony noted, but it's a great movie anyway)

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Old 05-23-2017, 03:40 PM   #120
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

Another Thoreau essay.

Slavery in Massachusetts

Like civil disobedience it's another very well written anti-slavery essay. In elementary school or whatever it might seem that things like the Missouri compromise had principled supporters preventing the spread of slavery, but there were some people in 1850 who said "**** that ****". There are things which are wrong regardless of
what the law, the constitution, or the popular vote say.
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Old 05-23-2017, 03:55 PM   #121
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

I would like to talk about the books ive been reading but have trouble A. actually finishing books and b. remembering what's in them besides the things i got out of it.
I read white trash: a 400 year history by nancy isenberg and thought it was really good. one thing i remember from the book that wasnt covered in the other guys review was that georgia was originally conceived as a non slave state but the colonist who conceived of it this way was kicked out of power by the slave traders and then it became one of the biggest slave states ever.

ill try to take notes too.
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Old 05-27-2017, 07:10 PM   #122
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

This is a documentary, not a book, but this still seems like the best thread for this.

Hypernormalization (2016) BBC doc by Adam Curtis

No spoilers review is that it is moderately interesting and has some info which you may find new and may or may not find credible. Its general thesis isn't incredibly strong though, or at least the presentation of it isn't really very tight.

Spoilers review to follow

I may ruminate on the thesis about the blurring of fact and fantasy and the impact of science fiction, cyberspace and social media on the world order, but what will probably stick with me are some of the more concrete historical details. Apparently Assad Sr went imported Iranian revolutionaries at the inception of Hezbollah and the Beirut boming in 1983 was an event that brought suicide bombing into modern practice among Islamic militants. Hezbollah's contact with Hamas brought suicide bombing into Israel. The idea spread among Sunni groups and it came back to bite Syria.

Coincidentally I quite recently saw Stalker (1979 - Tarkovsky) in the theater. Clips were used a few times in Hypernormalization in relation to the creation of a world where reality is not stable. I'm trying to figure out now how to make the connection between the ideas of blurring reality and the end of politics and the actual events profiled, mostly in the Middle East. It's not easy and it's really not clear in the documentary. There's a connection with the manipulation of media and political groups and Putin and Trump and social media and such, but to talk about how the real world events are somehow the result of the end of the power of politics or something I guess I'd need to see how the world operated before when everyone had some truth they agreed on and traditional political power directed events.

I'm not that convinced that any of that is really new or interesting, but perhaps it'd be interesting to have focused on one aspect that may have been somewhat original. And if it's not original, then still perhaps looking at influences would have been interesting. That would be more of a focus on the theater of it and Vladislav Surkov. I think if it had stuck to things more directly related to that and left out everything about the ME the documentary and this review would be less disjointed.
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Old 05-28-2017, 04:20 PM   #123
Paul McSwizzle
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by microbet View Post
This is a documentary, not a book, but this still seems like the best thread for this.

Hypernormalization (2016) BBC doc by Adam Curtis

No spoilers review is that it is moderately interesting and has some info which you may find new and may or may not find credible. Its general thesis isn't incredibly strong though, or at least the presentation of it isn't really very tight.

Spoilers review to follow

I may ruminate on the thesis about the blurring of fact and fantasy and the impact of science fiction, cyberspace and social media on the world order, but what will probably stick with me are some of the more concrete historical details. Apparently Assad Sr went imported Iranian revolutionaries at the inception of Hezbollah and the Beirut boming in 1983 was an event that brought suicide bombing into modern practice among Islamic militants. Hezbollah's contact with Hamas brought suicide bombing into Israel. The idea spread among Sunni groups and it came back to bite Syria.

Coincidentally I quite recently saw Stalker (1979 - Tarkovsky) in the theater. Clips were used a few times in Hypernormalization in relation to the creation of a world where reality is not stable. I'm trying to figure out now how to make the connection between the ideas of blurring reality and the end of politics and the actual events profiled, mostly in the Middle East. It's not easy and it's really not clear in the documentary. There's a connection with the manipulation of media and political groups and Putin and Trump and social media and such, but to talk about how the real world events are somehow the result of the end of the power of politics or something I guess I'd need to see how the world operated before when everyone had some truth they agreed on and traditional political power directed events.

I'm not that convinced that any of that is really new or interesting, but perhaps it'd be interesting to have focused on one aspect that may have been somewhat original. And if it's not original, then still perhaps looking at influences would have been interesting. That would be more of a focus on the theater of it and Vladislav Surkov. I think if it had stuck to things more directly related to that and left out everything about the ME the documentary and this review would be less disjointed.
If you're interested in more from Adam Curtis, he was a guest on Chapo Trap House:

https://soundcloud.com/chapo-trap-ho...-curtis-121216
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Old 05-28-2017, 04:39 PM   #124
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

I gave up on Hypernormalization after about 15 minutes, but for Stalker references.
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Old 05-29-2017, 10:55 PM   #125
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Re: Politics Book Review Thread

Walking - Thoreau

These are from "Walden Civil Disobedience and Other Writings" Norton Critical Edition. It's very well footnoted in general; not too much and not too little. At least that's true for me.

This is a pretty great essay and going walking, on a walkabout, roaming the world like Caine from Kung Fu is something that has always attracted me a lot. The writing as usually is moderately flowery, but not too much for my taste and I take it almost entirely as much poetry as prose.

Zikzak, I have been keeping in mind your thoughts about a hint of fascism and this is the first work where I can barely sorta see what you mean. There's a connection to the kind of thinking that Nietzsche and perhaps Ayn Rand had where enlightened souls are worthy and others are not. It's just a hint though imo. Perhaps it's more fair to suggest that Thoreau's worship of nature is an abdication of responsibility towards others. That's certainly not reflective of his personal feelings against militarism and slavery though.
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