1. IcedBlackCoffee

    IcedBlackCoffee
    Banned Member

    I mean it IS both, but more and more it's leaning on turnout being the bigger factor, especially in the current age of hyper partisanship.
     
  2. Kirblar

    Kirblar
    Member

    Yes and its the factor the parties have the least direct control over.
     
  3. Ogre

    Ogre
    Member

    Okay, I'll expand a bit:

    1.) The voters that put Trump into power are not a singular bloc.
    2.) The conservative base shifts allegiances and stances regardless of who the candidate is, according to, essentially, Fox News and Right Wing media.
    3.) The GOP was in the midst of an identity crisis in 2016, making it easier for a relatively weak candidate like Trump to stand out in a field of incredibly weak candidates.
    4.) Trump gained an extremely important ally in Steve Bannon, who is an integral part of establishing the Right Wing narrative, especially for the core base.

    Republicans are gearing up for a potential slaughter during the midterms, and Trump is being blamed as the main factor.
    Portraying yourself as just anti-establishment enough is something that plenty of non-incumbents aim for. That's not new to Trump. Bush II sold himself on being an "outsider."
    Regardless, I'm not saying that this next candidate would be less extremist. I'm saying the opposite.
    Trump is a dipshit without any sort of conviction beside siding with whoever he thinks is strong and/or kissing his ass. I don't know if you are familiar with Christian Dominionism or Reconstructionism, but I'm picturing a rampant, dog-whistling, just appealing enough to get the undecideds, monster that actually believes gay people should be put to death, and we should use the Bible as the basis for our justice system. This doesn't preclude the occasional Trump-esque jab, but it will be smarter.

    Basically, I'm picturing competent Trump. This scenario shouldn't be a surprise given that Steve Bannon has heavy ties to this sect of the Christian Right, that planted some deep roots in the Trump Campaign.
     
  4. Rran

    Rran
    Member

    Why all the vitriol from you fine, fantastic people? Bernie seems genuine; he has good intentions--I just don't understand the ire after reading this article.

    And as someone who voted for Hillary in the primaries, I'd happily give Sanders my vote in 2020 ;D
     
  5. IcedBlackCoffee

    IcedBlackCoffee
    Banned Member

    I think that the things that MOST affect turnout are the kinds of things that are outside the campaign's control usually, but that doesn't mean there aren't things a campaign/candidate can do to positively affect the turnout of their own voters.
     
  6. Qvoth

    Qvoth
    Member

    would be funny if hillary also run again
    hillary vs berny part 2
     
  7. lastflowers

    lastflowers
    User requested permanent ban Member

    Yes, I'm keenly aware of history Kirblar.

    My father grew up in rural Oklahoma, and Missouri, and his father's first congregation was an all-black church in rural Oklahoma. He was in a graduating class of 60. His Father sent home checks to his family during WW2 during the Works Progress Administration, and his father's father helped run an abolitionist movement in rural virginia.
    I'm keenly aware of the historical Political issues that continue to face rural areas in this country. I've studied american literature and political literature, economic history going back over two hundred years. Because you've read some new yorker/politico media pieces that talk about voters in the 90s doesn't mean you have anything related to 'receipts'. This is just conjecture yet again, Kirblar in an attempt to appeal to shitty political authorities of the current day.

    But nothing can get in the narrative of 'urban democrat to save rural america' narrative.
     
  8. y2dvd

    y2dvd
    Member

    Ah, it makes the claim that Bernie isn't a socialist even more confusing then.

    What's Biden's track record like? Seems like a few people would vote for him.
     
  9. SeeingeyeDug

    SeeingeyeDug
    Member

    That's a bit unrealistic. Speaking as someone born in 1974. I still don't feel mature enough to be president. Of course the new normal of "mature enough to be president" has definitely changed.
     
  10. MusclesAreGirly

    MusclesAreGirly
    Banned Member

    I just want a Socialist or anyone reasonably close to being a Socialist to win. Even just someone reasonably economically Leftist would be a huge improvement over the way the Democratic Party is currently.

    I'm getting tired of "We're Capitalists and that's just the way it is" style Democrats.

    I want candidates whose sole reason for running is working class solidarity.
     
  11. sphagnum

    sphagnum
    Member

    How so? He doesn't subscribe to the one belief shared by all socialists, that the means of production should be socialized. Unless he does secretly (he is, after all, a fan of Eugene Debs). But he's said before he supports private industry and that his idea of "democratic socialism" is essentially taxing the rich to create a more fair life for everyone else, which is just social democracy.
     
  12. Ogre

    Ogre
    Member

    It depends on what you value.

    Here's the wiki on his general political positions.

    Here's collected statements and his voting record.



    I happen to think he's fucking awful.
     
  13. Midnight Jon

    Midnight Jon
    Member

    love seeing transnational comparisons of where political parties stand on The Spectrum as if institutional inertia isn't practically the only reason most of Europe's center-left can still be called a "center-left"

    there's a reason this says "transnational comparisons" and not "comparative-politics-based comparisons" and it's because the idea that the Democrats would be center-right while European center-left parties are still center-left flies in the face of literally every governing party's record since at least 1998
     
  14. Aaron

    Aaron
    Member

    I say all this as someone who did vote for Bernie in the primaries. I was extremely enthusiastic when he first announced his run and grew less so over time. I was on the cusp of switching my vote right before the caucus.

    Basically I think Bernie's views and what he initially brought to the table were awesome and we needed more of that in the Democratic Party. What I didn't like was his campaign and fan base (and at times, the man himself) putting him on a pedestal as America's only true savior, claiming his record and platform were unimpeachable and pure, and completely blinding themselves to his chances of winning the primary. Any impartial observer could tell he didn't start out with much of a chance and it diminished over time, but certain supporters kept doubling down on dumbass talking points ("He can still win New York! He can still win California! The superdelegates haven't voted yet!") and it made unity significantly harder to obtain.

    Since the election, you see a lot of people claiming we need new leadership, fresh faces, etc. But then stan for fucking ancient ass Bernie Sanders. And like, I still like him for the most part. But we can do better. Same goes for Biden, incidentally. I have no problem with them going out there and stumping for Democratic candidates, especially Biden who seems to have the magic touch (many of his preferred candidates have won - Bernie from what I can tell doesn't quite have a winning track record thus far). But there are plenty of younger members of the Democratic Party - Booker, Harris, Gillibrand are the first three that come to mind, but there are others. And I'm not saying they're perfect or that I necessarily support any of them (in the primary, obviously whoever the Democratic nominee is has my vote in the general election), but we can have that debate once the primaries are legitimately underway.

    Also don't like how many on the left seem to make "did you support Bernie in 2016" the one litmus test about whether someone is good enough to support, as if that means shit towards their ideology. Case in point: Collin Peterson is the most conservative Democrat in the House and he endorsed Bernie Sanders. When people hold up Nina Turner or Tulsi Gabbard as realistic national candidates I just have to roll my eyes. You're being had.
     
  15. Red Cadet 015

    Red Cadet 015
    Banned Member

    I'm glad Bernie's doing this. I feel like we as black people need greater exposure to socialism so that we can understand it better and have more motivation to vote beyond "not the racist party."
     
  16. So, I'm not American and don't really have a horse in the Bernie Sanders status debate, but I wonder where your view on this is coming from. It seems to me like it's based more on a media narrative than his actual statements and platform. Sanders in 1991 talking about criminal justice reform: "Let's stop locking up poor people and disproportionately punishing blacks". In 2016: "What we have to do is end over-policing in African- American neighborhoods. The African-American community and the white community do marijuana at about equal rates. The reality is four times as many blacks get arrested for marijuana." In 2018: "Now is the time to remove the ridiculous federal prohibition on marijuana. I'm proud to co-sponsor the Marijuana Justice Act." (The act expunges convictions, allows convicted people to sue states and withholds funds from states that criminalise marijuana and have disproportionate incarceration rates for minorities.)
     
  17. Midnight Jon

    Midnight Jon
    Member

    to be clear, this is the same Marijuana Justice Act introduced by noted neoliberal shill Cory Booker
     
  18. Helio

    Helio
    Member

    It's simple:

    Socialists don't want capitalism.

    Bernie likes capitalism.
     
  19. As I'm not sure whether or not you're using neoliberal shill earnestly or sarcastically and don't know much about Booker, I'll simply note that the topic is one where you'd expect to see considerable overlap between liberals and leftists (and even libertarians).
     
  20. sphagnum

    sphagnum
    Member

    Well, yeah, the "labor" and "socialist" parties of Europe are shit lately too.

    At least Corbyn is pulling Labour back to the left a bit.
     
  21. Kirblar

    Kirblar
    Member

    You may misunderstand. I dont want to save rural America. I want to beat white rural America to a pulp at the ballot box and stop them from destroying this country. The southern strategy has gone national. It is the dark racist, xenophobic heart of the GOP.
     
  22. Xiaomi

    Xiaomi
    Member

    I like the guy and don't care how old he is, but I'd rather see him as a VP candidate or not on the ticket at all so that a socialist without so much baggage can take a crack at it.
     
  23. sphagnum

    sphagnum
    Member

    There aren't any other self-declared socialists on the national stage yet.
     
  24. Kirblar

    Kirblar
    Member

    And if we're lucky it'll never happen again! :)
     
  25. sphagnum

    sphagnum
    Member

    You're fighting against a rising tide, dude. I don't think we're gonna be seizing the means any time soon but now that the word is destigmatized and DSA is getting people on the local stage, it's only going to grow. If/when Bernie loses in the 2020 primaries that will be a setback, but it's nothing the next inevitable capitalist implosion won't correct!

    The USSR isn't around to derail the movement within the US anymore and nobody seriously thinks of China as socialist. We finally have blue skies to agitate how we want.
     
  26. Xiaomi

    Xiaomi
    Member

    Yeah. That's sad. Bernie's democratic socialism wasn't making me euphoric or anything, but it was a start. Now it seems that, barring a huge rising star surfacing in the next six months or so, we're going to be seeing a corporatist running on the democratic ticket again. I'd vote for Bernie, but I fear there's too much bad blood from other members of the party to allow him to advance past the primary.
     
  27. Hierophant

    Hierophant
    Member

    lmao young people love socialism, maybe cause they see where the world is headed if we continue down the path we currently are? Capitalism is not looking good for us otherwise. (Anecdotally, everyone my age that I know professes some amount of socialist belief, probably helps we all come from working class backgrounds in a "low income" area).
    If socialism is still a dirty word to you, maybe it's you who has to move on with the times.
     
  28. sphagnum

    sphagnum
    Member

    I'm still skeptical as to what percentage of Millennials and Gen Z think socialism means "tax the rich" vs. "collectivize MoP" whenever I see those polls saying the kids love socialism. But the higher the percentage, the more likely a good number of them are using the term correctly.

    (But they're still probably mostly socdems)
     
  29. Hierophant

    Hierophant
    Member

    That's why I made the distinction of "some amount", overwhelmingly, most people aren't going to be bothered to actually figure out where they stand ideologically, they want to see real solutions that actually benefit them and the ones they care for (And that is completely fine to me at least). In this extremely broad category, I have personally found that people tend to edge towards "socialist" policy that is probably more accurately described as socially democratic (Free medicare, Free University). Also for context I'm from Australia where it's not as bad as America I guess????
     
  30. Ogre

    Ogre
    Member

    Bernie is fairly cagey about his actual economics, but I don't see a reason why he wouldn't tend to go for politically achievable policies for broadened appeal.

    Regardless, this perception that the US isn't actually the heavily mixed economy that it is is unsurprising. That Millenials respond favorably to socialism doesn't surprise me either, given that the Republican party is generally seen (and markets themselves) as the capitalist representatives, and going through a major recession colors that as well, among other things.

    Of course, in practice, the modern Republican party is about as far away from capitalism as Trump is from a coherent political philosophy, so...
     
  31. Kirblar

    Kirblar
    Member

    It's not a dirty word, Socialism's just bad and ignores all history and data about how people actively behave in the real world. (note: Do not confuse w Social Democracy, which is perfectly fine. Its capitalist!)

    Capitalism works because people are self interested. Because its impossible for any one person to know what every person wants and needs at any time. Because you need a system that rewards you for providing things to other people that they desire. Because you need a system that rewards innovation and punishes stagnation. Because people are usually good at only a few things and you want them to be able to specialize. Because on the flip side, most people are trash at many, many things and you want to keep them out of decisionmaking in areas they know nothing about.

    It's not that capitalism is perfect, you absolutely need to regulate it and provide social benefits via taxation. But you dont need "Socialism" for that.
     
  32. Tangent: Anyone who said "no" to Hillary but are salavating at the idea of Joe fucking Biden running are absolutely fucking idiots of the highest order and might as well be republicans.

    On-Topic: Bernie should have campaigned in the south in 2016, him failing to appear at all and letting Hillary go it alone and be IN the communities all throughout the south is why he failed. Sadly like clockwork way too many people dropped their facade and let their true colors show with dog whistles about black folks being too poor to understand, not knowing what's best for themselves just like republicans and other nonsense.

    I would say it was an eye opening moment, but that'd be a lie, it was to be expected. It happens literally all the time.

    Personally I don't want Bernie running, like he can support a candidate and that's fine but I don't want him running. I'd rather see someone new but Democrats don't know what they're doing most of the time. They're still trying to appeal to centrists and still believe in the idea of compromise. So whatever.
     
  33. Powdered Egg

    Powdered Egg
    Member

    Lol yeah, true.
     
  34. I got triggered just reading that thread title. The primaries was the worst era on GAF if not the Internet in general lol, man's still got PTSD.
     
  35. dusteatingbug

    dusteatingbug
    Member

    heyo

    I really hope you don't mean this in an Urban Archipelago way

    Kirblar no offence but I have never seen a take from you that wasn't 100% in line with the whole low level NoVa internet lanyard class who imo are the people who got us here in the first place
     
  36. Helio

    Helio
    Member

    I want to believe that the Bernie stuff is just a fight over the direction of the Democratic Party. They gotta stop chasing the center and being concerned with decorum.
     
  37. Inuhanyou

    Inuhanyou
    Member

    Good. that's what he should be doing if he's going to run again. The perception of a "black problem" comes from not actually being well known in the black community, allowing FUD to take hold. If your going to nip that in the bud, actually going down to the "firewall" in the southern states and actually having people get to know your views personally is essential. He visited red states and managed to actually get a decent amount of people thinking. We need more people going around the country and actively educating the people on the issues.
     
  38. Kirblar

    Kirblar
    Member

    No, in a "The GOP is a unholy alliance between racist white people and mustache twirlin' high polutin' big business caricatures" way. The racist white people are where they get their votes. They are the base that supports the otherwise unpopular GOP shit. To take out the tripod, take out the legs.

    I'm sorry that people in my area have desk jobs where they use their brain for a living offends you? Where on earth is "here" that we got us to. Modern America is service-economy based. It's why the gulf between large cities and small ones has been growing and growing.
     
  39. Hierophant

    Hierophant
    Member

    If human nature were really so fickle, we never would have made it out of the stone age. If human nature were as self serving as you say, nobody would form human relationships for anything other than their own personal benefit.

    Capitalism is set to destroy the Earth and yet you keep trying to defend it, though, it's not like you'll receive the brunt of the damage from climate change like people my age will. We're growing into an increasingly grim future and I honestly can't say whether or not you even understand that.
     
  40. dusteatingbug

    dusteatingbug
    Member

    Well, sure. But racist white people aren't congruous with "rural America."

    I'm not talking about office workers in general. I'm talking about the current vanguard (such as it is) of extremely online process-oriented West Wing loving Democrats.
     
  41. lastflowers

    lastflowers
    User requested permanent ban Member

    And this is why you are what will destroy the democrats.A complete lack of attempt at understanding the problem.
     
  42. Kirblar

    Kirblar
    Member

    People wanting to do things for their kids and such is self-interest. But people are tribalistic. It's doing things for people they don't know that becomes the problem.

    Yes, it's on a bad path and needs to be corrected. That won't be fixed by keeping/away capitalism- the problem there is people's short term greed and human nature. Which you can fix with regulation, provided you can get the populace to elect people capable of changing it. (Or eliminating democracy, like China's done.) But there are two outcomes. a) We fix it, b) We don't, and the earth dies early. I do not believe we're ever getting off this rock- I don't believe Space Travel will ever happen. Everything will eventually burn. So we should enjoy it while we can while trying to make it last as long as possible.
    When Trump's winning those areas 80/20...they kinda are.

    And if the fillbuster isn't nuked the next time we have a trifecta I'm going to have one hell of a voicemail to leave Chuck Schumer. It was obvious during '09 that it needed to die and that Dems needed to play hardball w/ process stuff (Make PR/DC states, kill the 1929 reapportionment act, etc.)
    And what problem is that.
     
  43. lastflowers

    lastflowers
    User requested permanent ban Member

    As if being 1984 weren't enough, it's also the 25th anniversary this year of C. P. Snow's famous Rede Lecture, ''The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution,'' notable for its warning that intellectual life in the West was becoming increasingly polarized into ''literary'' and ''scientific'' factions, each doomed not to understand or appreciate the other. The lecture was originally meant to address such matters as curriculum reform in the age of Sputnik and the role of technology in the development of what would soon be known as the third world. But it was the two-culture formulation that got people's attention. In fact it kicked up an amazing row in its day. To some already simplified points, further reductions were made, provoking certain remarks, name-calling, even intemperate rejoinders, giving the whole affair, though attenuated by the mists of time, a distinctly cranky look.

    Today nobody could get away with making such a distinction. Since 1959, we have come to live among flows of data more vast than anything the world has seen. Demystification is the order of our day, all the cats are jumping out of all the bags and even beginning to mingle. We immediately suspect ego insecurity in people who may still try to hide behind the jargon of a specialty or pretend to some data base forever ''beyond'' the reach of a layman. Anybody with the time, literacy and access fee these days can get together with just about any piece of specialized knowledge s/he may need. So, to that extent, the two-cultures quarrel can no longer be sustained. As a visit to any local library or magazine rack will easily confirm, there are now so many more than two cultures that the problem has really become how to find the time to read anything outside one's own specialty.

    What has persisted, after a long quarter century, is the element of human character. C. P. Snow, with the reflexes of a novelist after all, sought to identify not only two kinds of education but also two kinds of personality. Fragmentary echoes of old disputes, of unforgotten offense taken in the course of long-ago high- table chitchat, may have helped form the subtext for Snow's immoderate, and thus celebrated, assertion, ''If we forget the scientific culture, then the rest of intellectuals have never tried, wanted, or been able to understand the Industrial Revolution.'' Such ''intellectuals,'' for the most part ''literary,'' were supposed, by Lord Snow, to be ''natural Luddites.''

    Except maybe for Brainy Smurf, it's hard to imagine anybody these days wanting to be called a literary intellectual, though it doesn't sound so bad if you broaden the labeling to, say, ''people who read and think.'' Being called a Luddite is another matter. It brings up questions such as, Is there something about reading and thinking that would cause or predispose a person to turn Luddite? Is it O.K. to be a Luddite? And come to think of it, what is a Luddite, anyway?



    HISTORICALLY, Luddites flourished in Britain from about 1811 to 1816. They were bands of men, organized, masked, anonymous, whose object was to destroy machinery used mostly in the textile industry. They swore allegiance not to any British king but to their own King Ludd. It isn't clear whether they called themselves Luddites, although they were so termed by both friends and enemies. C. P. Snow's use of the word was clearly polemical, wishing to imply an irrational fear and hatred of science and technology. Luddites had, in this view, come to be imagined as the counterrevolutionaries of that ''Industrial Revolution'' which their modern versions have ''never tried, wanted, or been able to understand.''

    But the Industrial Revolution was not, like the American and French Revolutions of about the same period, a violent struggle with a beginning, middle and end. It was smoother, less conclusive, more like an accelerated passage in a long evolution. The phrase was first popularized a hundred years ago by the historian Arnold Toynbee, and has had its share of revisionist attention, lately in the July 1984 Scientific American. Here, in ''Medieval Roots of the Industrial Revolution,'' Terry S. Reynolds suggests that the early role of the steam engine (1765) may have been overdramatized. Far from being revolutionary, much of the machinery that steam was coming to drive had already long been in place, having in fact been driven by water power since the Middle Ages. Nevertheless, the idea of a technosocial ''revolution,'' in which the same people came out on top as in France and America, has proven of use to many over the years, not least to those who, like C. P. Snow, have thought that in ''Luddite'' they have discovered a way to call those with whom they disagree both politically reactionary and anti-capitalist at the same time.

    But the Oxford English Dictionary has an interesting tale to tell. In 1779, in a village somewhere in Leicestershire, one Ned Lud broke into a house and ''in a fit of insane rage'' destroyed two machines used for knitting hosiery. Word got around. Soon, whenever a stocking- frame was found sabotaged - this had been going on, sez the Encyclopedia Britannica, since about 1710 - folks would respond with the catch phrase ''Lud must have been here.'' By the time his name was taken up by the frame-breakers of 1812, historical Ned Lud was well absorbed into the more or less sarcastic nickname ''King (or Captain) Ludd,'' and was now all mystery, resonance and dark fun: a more-than-human presence, out in the night, roaming the hosiery districts of England, possessed by a single comic shtick - every time he spots a stocking-frame he goes crazy and proceeds to trash it.

    But it's important to remember that the target even of the original assault of 1779, like many machines of the Industrial Revolution, was not a new piece of technology. The stocking-frame had been around since 1589, when, according to the folklore, it was invented by the Rev. William Lee, out of pure meanness. Seems that Lee was in love with a young woman who was more interested in her knitting than in him. He'd show up at her place. ''Sorry, Rev, got some knitting.'' ''What, again?'' After a while, unable to deal with this kind of rejection, Lee, not, like Ned Lud, in any fit of insane rage, but let's imagine logically and coolly, vowed to in vent a machine that would make the hand-knitting of hosiery obsolete. And he did. According to the encyclopedia, the jilted cleric's frame ''was so perfect in its conception that it continued to be the only mechanical means of knitting for hundreds of years.''

    Now, given that kind of time span, it's just not easy to think of Ned Lud as a technophobic crazy. No doubt what people admired and mythologized him for was the vigor and single-mindedness of his assault. But the words ''fit of insane rage'' are third-hand and at least 68 years after the event. And Ned Lud's anger was not directed at the machines, not exactly. I like to think of it more as the controlled, martial-arts type anger of the dedicated Badass.

    There is a long folk history of this figure, the Badass. He is usually male, and while sometimes earning the quizzical tolerance of women, is almost universally admired by men for two basic virtues: he is Bad, and he is Big. Bad meaning not morally evil, necessarily, more like able to work mischief on a large scale. What is important here is the amplifying of scale, the multiplication of effect.

    The knitting machines which provoked the first Luddite disturbances had been putting people out of work for well over two centuries. Everybody saw this happening - it became part of daily life. They also saw the machines coming more and more to be the property of men who did not work, only owned and hired. It took no German philosopher, then or later, to point out what this did, had been doing, to wages and jobs. Public feeling about the machines could never have been simple unreasoning horror, but likely something more complex: the love/hate that grows up between humans and machinery - especially when it's been around for a while - not to mention serious resentment toward at least two multiplications of effect that were seen as unfair and threatening. One was the concentration of capital that each machine represented, and the other was the ability of each machine to put a certain number of humans out of work - to be ''worth'' that many human souls. What gave King Ludd his special Bad charisma, took him from local hero to nationwide public enemy, was that he went up against these amplified, multiplied, more than human opponents and prevailed. When times are hard, and we feel at the mercy of forces many times more powerful, don't we, in seeking some equalizer, turn, if only in imagination, in wish, to the Badass - the djinn, the golem, the hulk, the superhero - who will resist what otherwise would overwhelm us? Of course, the real or secular frame-bashing was still being done by everyday folks, trade unionists ahead of their time, using the night, and their own solidarity and discipline, to achieve their multiplications of effect.

    It was open-eyed class war. The movement had its Parliamentary allies, among them Lord Byron, whose maiden speech in the House of Lords in 1812 compassionately argued against a bill proposing, among other repressive measures, to make frame-breaking punishable by death. ''Are you not near the Luddites?'' he wrote from Venice to Thomas Moore. ''By the Lord! if there's a row, but I'll be among ye! How go on the weavers - the breakers of frames - the Lutherans of politics - the reformers?'' He includes an ''amiable chanson, '' which proves to be a Luddite hymn so inflammatory that it wasn't published till after the poet's death. The letter is dated December 1816: Byron had spent the summer previous in Switzerland, cooped up for a while in the Villa Diodati with the Shelleys, watching the rain come down, while they all told each other ghost stories. By that December, as it happened, Mary Shelley was working on Chapter Four of her novel ''Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus.''

    If there were such a genre as the Luddite novel, this one, warning of what can happen when technology, and those who practice it, get out of hand, would be the first and among the best. Victor Frankenstein's creature also, surely, qualifies as a major literary Badass. ''I resolved . . .,'' Victor tells us, ''to make the being of a gigantic stature, that is to say, about eight feet in height, and proportionably large,'' which takes care of Big. The story of how he got to be so Bad is the heart of the novel, sheltered innermost: told to Victor in the first person by the creature himself, then nested inside of Victor's own narrative, which is nested in its turn in the letters of the arctic explorer Robert Walton. However much of ''Frankenstein's'' longevity is owing to the undersung genius James Whale, who translated it to film, it remains today more than well worth reading, for all the reasons we read novels, as well as for the much more limited question of its Luddite value: that is, for its attempt, through literary means which are nocturnal and deal in disguise, to deny the machine.

    Look, for example, at Victor's account of how he assembles and animates his creature. He must, of course, be a little vague about the details, but we're left with a procedure that seems to include surgery, electricity (though nothing like Whale's galvanic extravaganzas), chemistry, even, from dark hints about Paracelsus and Albertus Magnus, the still recently discredited form of magic known as alchemy. What is clear, though, despite the commonly depicted Bolt Through the Neck, is that neither the method nor the creature that results is mechanical.

    This is one of several interesting similarities between ''Frankenstein'' and an earlier tale of the Bad and Big, ''The Castle of Otranto'' (1765), by Horace Walpole, usually regarded as the first Gothic novel. For one thing, both authors, in presenting their books to the public, used voices not their own. Mary Shelley's preface was written by her husband, Percy, who was pretending to be her. Not till 15 years later did she write an introduction to ''Frankenstein'' in her own voice. Walpole, on the other hand, gave his book an entire made-up publishing history, claiming it was a translation from medieval Italian. Only in his preface to the second edition did he admit authorship.



    THE novels are also of strikingly similar nocturnal origin: both resulted from episodes of lucid dreaming. Mary Shelley, that ghost-story summer in Geneva, trying to get to sleep one midnight, suddenly beheld the creature being brought to life, the images arising in her mind ''with a vividness far beyond the usual bounds of reverie.'' Walpole had awakened from a dream, ''of which, all I could remember was, that I had thought myself in an ancient castle . . . and that on the uppermost bannister of a great staircase I saw a gigantic hand in armour.''

    In Walpole's novel, this hand shows up as the hand of Alfonso the Good, former Prince of Otranto and, despite his epithet, the castle's resident Badass. Alfonso, like Frankenstein's creature, is assembled from pieces - sable-plumed helmet, foot, leg, sword, all of them, like the hand, quite oversized - which fall from the sky or just materialize here and there about the castle grounds, relentless as Freud's slow return of the repressed. The activating agencies, again like those in ''Frankenstein,'' are non-mechanical. The final assembly of ''the form of Alfonso, dilated to an immense magnitude,'' is achieved through supernatural means: a family curse, and the intercession of Otranto's patron saint.

    The craze for Gothic fiction after ''The Castle of Otranto'' was grounded, I suspect, in deep and religious yearnings for that earlier mythical time which had come to be known as the Age of Miracles. In ways more and less literal, folks in the 18th century believed that once upon a time all kinds of things had been possible which were no longer so. Giants, dragons, spells. The laws of nature had not been so strictly formulated back then. What had once been true working magic had, by the Age of Reason, degenerated into mere machinery. Blake's dark Satanic mills represented an old magic that, like Satan, had fallen from grace. As religion was being more and more secularized into Deism and nonbelief, the abiding human hunger for evidence of God and afterlife, for salvation - bodily resurrection, if possible - remained. The Methodist movement and the American Great Awakening were only two sectors on a broad front of resistance to the Age of Reason, a front which included Radicalism and Freemasonry as well as Luddites and the Gothic novel. Each in its way expressed the same profound unwillingness to give up elements of faith, however ''irrational,'' to an emerging technopolitical order that might or might not know what it was doing. ''Gothic'' became code for ''medieval,'' and that has remained code for ''miraculous,'' on through Pre-Raphaelites, turn-of-the-century tarot cards, space opera in the pulps and the comics, down to ''Star Wars'' and contemporary tales of sword and sorcery.



    TO insist on the miraculous is to deny to the machine at least some of its claims on us, to assert the limited wish that living things, earthly and otherwise, may on occasion become Bad and Big enough to take part in transcendent doings. By this theory, for example, King Kong (?-1933) becomes your classic Luddite saint. The final dialogue in the movie, you recall, goes: ''Well, the airplanes got him.'' ''No . . . it was Beauty killed the Beast.'' In which again we encounter the same Snovian Disjunction, only different, between the human and the technological.

    But if we do insist upon fictional violations of the laws of nature - of space, time, thermodynamics, and the big one, mortality itself - then we risk being judged by the literary mainstream as Insufficiently Serious. Being serious about these matters is one way that adults have traditionally defined themselves against the confidently immortal children they must deal with. Looking back on ''Frankenstein,'' which she wrote when she was 19, Mary Shelley said, ''I have an affection for it, for it was the offspring of happy days, when death and grief were but words which found no true echo in my heart.'' The Gothic attitude in general, because it used images of death and ghostly survival toward no more responsible end than special effects and cheap thrills, was judged not Serious enough and confined to its own part of town. It is not the only neighborhood in the great City of Literature so, let us say, closely defined. In westerns, the good people always win. In romance novels, love conquers all. In whodunitsses we know better. We say, ''But the world isn't like that.'' These genres, by insisting on what is contrary to fact, fail to be Serious enough, and so they get redlined under the label ''escapist fare.''

    This is especially unfortunate in the case of science fiction, in which the decade after Hiroshima saw one of the most remarkable flowerings of literary talent and, quite often, genius, in our history. It was just as important as the Beat movement going on at the same time, certainly more important than mainstream fiction, which with only a few exceptions had been paralyzed by the political climate of the cold war and McCarthy years. Besides being a nearly ideal synthesis of the Two Cultures, science fiction also happens to have been one of the principal refuges, in our time, for those of Luddite persuasion.

    By 1945, the factory system - which, more than any piece of machinery, was the real and major result of the Industrial Revolution - had been extended to include the Manhattan Project, the German long-range rocket program and the death camps, such as Auschwitz. It has taken no major gift of prophecy to see how these three curves of development might plausibly converge, and before too long. Since Hiroshima, we have watched nuclear weapons multiply out of control, and delivery systems acquire, for global purposes, unlimited range and accuracy. An unblinking acceptance of a holocaust running to seven- and eight-figure body counts has become - among those who, particularly since 1980, have been guiding our military policies - conventional wisdom.

    To people who were writing science fiction in the 50's, none of this was much of a surprise, though modern Luddite imaginations have yet to come up with any countercritter Bad and Big enough, even in the most irresponsible of fictions, to begin to compare with what would happen in a nuclear war. So, in the science fiction of the Atomic Age and the cold war, we see the Luddite impulse to deny the machine taking a different direction. The hardware angle got de-emphasized in favor of more humanistic concerns - exotic cultural evolutions and social scenarios, paradoxes and games with space/ time, wild philosophical questions - most of it sharing, as the critical literature has amply discussed, a definition of ''human'' as particularly distinguished from ''machine.'' Like their earlier counterparts, 20th-century Luddites looked back yearningly to another age - curiously, the same Age of Reason which had forced the first Luddites into nostalgia for the Age of Miracles.

    But we now live, we are told, in the Computer Age. What is the outlook for Luddite sensibility? Will mainframes attract the same hostile attention as knitting frames once did? I really doubt it. Writers of all descriptions are stampeding to buy word processors. Machines have already become so user-friendly that even the most unreconstructed of Luddites can be charmed into laying down the old sledgehammer and stroking a few keys instead. Beyond this seems to be a growing consensus that knowledge really is power, that there is a pretty straightforward conversion between money and information, and that somehow, if the logistics can be worked out, miracles may yet be possible. If this is so, Luddites may at last have come to stand on common ground with their Snovian adversaries, the cheerful army of technocrats who were supposed to have the ''future in their bones.'' It may be only a new form of the perennial Luddite ambivalence about machines, or it may be that the deepest Luddite hope of miracle has now come to reside in the computer's ability to get the right data to those whom the data will do the most good. With the proper deployment of budget and computer time, we will cure cancer, save ourselves from nuclear extinction, grow food for everybody, detoxify the results of industrial greed gone berserk - realize all the wistful pipe dreams of our days.

    THE word ''Luddite'' continues to be applied with contempt to anyone with doubts about technology, especially the nuclear kind. Luddites today are no longer faced with human factory owners and vulnerable machines. As well-known President and unintentional Luddite D. D. Eisenhower prophesied when he left office, there is now a permanent power establishment of admirals, generals and corporate CEO's, up against whom us average poor bastards are completely outclassed, although Ike didn't put it quite that way. We are all supposed to keep tranquil and allow it to go on, even though, because of the data revolution, it becomes every day less possible to fool any of the people any of the time. If our world survives, the next great challenge to watch out for will come - you heard it here first - when the curves of research and development in artificial intelligence, molecular biology and robotics all converge. Oboy. It will be amazing and unpredictable, and even the biggest of brass, let us devoutly hope, are going to be caught flat-footed. It is certainly something for all good Luddites to look forward to if, God willing, we should live so long. Meantime, as Americans, we can take comfort, however minimal and cold, from Lord Byron's mischievously improvised song, in which he, like other observers of the time, saw clear identification between the first Luddites and our own revolutionary origins. It begins:

    As the Liberty lads o'er the sea
    Bought their freedom, and cheaply, with blood,
    So we, boys, we
    Will die fighting, or live free,
    And down with all kings but King Ludd!








    Talk to me again about historical context, Kirblar. You don't know historical context if it bit you in the ass and fed it to a donkey.
     
  44. Caz

    Caz
    Community Resettler Member

    This is the kind of garbage i'd expect to hear a high school student belch in opposition to socialism or socialist policies.
     
  45. DoItForJohnny5Alive

    DoItForJohnny5Alive
    Banned Member

    capitalism would work just fine if we didn't have corrupt politicians. We've never seen true capitalism. That's why it's so odd people hate it since they don't actually hate IT, but the symptoms of a broken capitalistic system.
     
  46. dusteatingbug

    dusteatingbug
    Member

    I wish more libs were this honest.

    Also I love the "people are tribal and want to take care of their kids" followed up by "fuck it, the world is ending anyway, don't try to change the road we're on, consumerist capitalism is actually pretty legit for me personally."

    with what turnout

    Remember that time you were talking about how Single Payer was bad and someone disagreed and you replied with copypasta from Hillary's website
     
  47. Kirblar

    Kirblar
    Member

    It's not garbage. It's the foundation of why the system works. Netflix killing Blockbuster is an example of the "reward Innovation, punish Stagnation" thing.
     
  48. Caz

    Caz
    Community Resettler Member

    Your healthcare system would like a word.
     
  49. dusteatingbug

    dusteatingbug
    Member

    • User Banned (5 Days): Misrepresenting and complaining about moderation. History of similar behaviour. Accumulated infractions.
    Fun fact: One time in PoliERA, back when kirblar was a mod, he said that Russia's standard of living took a sharp upturn once Communism ended. I replied with citations and charts showing how wrong that was, and he temp-banned me.
     
  50. Kirblar

    Kirblar
    Member

    The (terrible) US healthcare system emerged out of WWII wage regulation (wages were capped, benefits were not, Health insurance became a norm as a result as firms competed for workers and maintained itself even after the WWII wage caps were lifted), was a complete accident, and is pretty universally agreed upon by virtually any economist/healthcare professional to be in need of massive reform. We almost had near-universal coverage under Nixon w/ a similar setup to the ACA, Kennedy scutttled the deal, and we then paid for it for 3 decades because of Carter's incompetence and because the Dems at the time didn't see the rising, angry white tide coming/ And so we only got the ACA step done in '09, and even then it was incomplete and missing the Public Option because they didn't nuke the filibuster.

    The problem really isn't capitalism. It's bad policy decisions that led to a bad system that's difficult to change because the electorate is bad and throws people out of office who try to fix it.