BFP Podcast Roundtable: Episode 1

BFP Team Tackles Political Labels

On this edition of the BFP roundtable the BoilingFrogsPost.com crew tackle the issue of political labels. Liberal. Conservative. Progressive. Libertarian. What do these labels really mean, and how useful are they in coming to an understanding about our world? Join Sibel Edmonds, Peter B. Collins, Guillermo Jimenez and James Corbett for an in-depth examination of this important topic.

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  1. During your talk you touched on something that I feel is really important for people to realize. The whole issue of the government, and their compliant media, the Lame Stream Media, encouraging division among people by any means necessary. I feel that everything from race, color, religion, social class even down to favored sports teams are all used to divide the people and keep them from coming together with shared goals. The more I thought about it the more I came to realize how insidious their methods are. Thanks for covering this topic, I totally agree with the issue based political stance.

  2. metrobusman says:

    Haven’t listened yet but thx for making this a podcast instead of a video. Even as stunningly attractive as you four are, it downloads faster and eats up less space on the hard drive.

  3. CuChulainn says:

    timely reflections on violence and the state here–
    http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/some-confused-musings-about-legitimate.html

    “the ideal anarcho-libertarian society is even more impossible than the ideal Communist society of Marx. I know, that will not convince anybody who believes in the state-less myth, but I would ask them to set aside their own preferences and accept, for argument’s sake, the following three postulates…
    the Saker discusses 3 key problems w. the anarcho-libertarian view, but concedes”You spend enough time in the US will will become anti-state too!”

    he concludes w. Solzhenitsyn’s argument that regimes can all be placed on a conceptual continuum ranging from “regimes whose power is based on authority” to “regimes whose authority is based on power”

  4. Great podcast you four – as usual. I would like to make a suggestion, since this podcast was about labeling ourselves and others. Please reconsider using the terms anti-war, anti-police state, anti-this and anti-that. In so doing, the term itself, for example, anti-war – legitimizes WAR. Why do we have to agree that war is something we accept? Why could you not say you are pro-peace? Would it not be better to use positive terms rather than negative terms? In the course of human affairs, this matters. Just saying . . . (BTW, if someone were to ask me who I am, I would simply call myself an Earth Person. A lot of us, maybe most of us here on this planet, could be honestly known by this label – Earth Person, no matter what differences we might have in other areas. There is a place to start. (No disrespect meant to those others who may be ET’s, rather than EP’s).

  5. Amen, Dennis. I shall here to forth be known as sentient being X, AFAIK.

  6. tonywicher says:

    Let me try to define “progressive”. A progressive is one who views history in terms of the progress of civilization from paleolithic times, when man ‘s brain evolved to the point that distinguishes human beings as an animal of a different order, capable of understanding and controlling its environment. This capacity defines the human species. The progress of civilization begins with scientific progress, with the increase in man’s understanding and control of nature. Advances in scientific understanding in human society considered as a whole are comparable to biological evolution in animals. The existence of scientific progress cannot be sensibly denied, nor the uniqueness of the human mind that makes this possible. But a progressive also has an idea of social progress. In very general terms this idea is that of a world of peace and prosperity, where war and want are things of the past. The progressive observes that man’s marvelous scientific abilities are being used not for peace and prosperity but for war and oppression. He observes that we have come to the point as a species where general war will lead to our extinction. Our scientific progress has outstripped our social progress. A progressive also identifies a “reactionary” force that opposes social progress, a social formation that resists evolution and change. The terms “oligarchy” and “ruling class” are sometimes used. I think of it as a kind of a metabolic waste product of the human evolutionary process that must be eliminated to keep the organism healthy. Oligarchy is a system of inherited wealth that has been the dominant form of human society, since the dawn of civilization. Inherited, perhaps, from our bestial origins, it is what we as a species must conquer, overcome, or evolve beyond to create a fully human society. The alternative is evolutionary failure and extinction. This is my perspective as one who calls himself a progressive.

    .On libertarians and anarchists, I think they confuse the power of oligarchy with the power of the government of a republic. The power of a republican nation state is the only way to contain and control the power of the oligarchy. For example, the United States was formed as a political, military and economic entity to protect its citizens against the power of the British oligarchy. Insofar as it succeeded, the United States became the leader of human progress for the whole world. Unfortunately it has now returned to British colonial status, that is to subservience to oligarchy, but we must try to rescue it. The alternatives are an oligarchy-run imperialist system of world control or a system of sovereign nations able to control their own economies for the benefit of their own people.

  7. james will get it one day when he realizes that people coming together as a society is a centralization of power

    • I agree. I think government is a natural part of all relationships. I also think that the anti-state rhetoric includes dangerous anti-public sentiment.

      Does anyone actually remember growing up with a collectivist conspiracy being propagandized in their public school? I remember the exact opposite, with individualism at the core of all subjects, especially history. Manifest destiny was always expressed as a character trait of individuals who were revered as historically important and was high on the list of what a good student should learn about American Exceptionalism. It has always been about the individual and his boot straps. Any collectivism in society was hidden from view and/or never expressed as such.

      The owners, the real property owners, have always promoted individualism. The whole Cold War rhetoric was anti-collectivist. Tolerating one or two families owning almost all of the property in my city was easier, when we looked up to them as examples of boot strap pulling individualistic destiny manifested heroes.

      What we hear from the current anti-state crowd, at least the ones who exist within the pockets of resistance to tyranny, is very fishy and backwards. Especially the lines about disengaging as a solution. They speak about natural law, but ignore the fact that groups exist in nature. I will continue to look for oligarchy sources for some of their promotions and look forward to more information to this effect. After all, there are no sacred cows when it comes to looking at funding, right?

      With that said, I must always add that working outside the system is required, when the system is corrupt. Just so nobody gets confused about what was said.

      • Larry Gies says:

        I would argue that the natural state of human beings is anarchy; that association with other human beings is voluntary exchange to the advantage of one and disadvantage of the other and vice versa.

        • Yet humans relate and even form groups. Is it natural?

          Our concern for liberty can be expressed at the individual level as well as the group. In fact, don’t individuals receive feedback from the groups they are in? We exist in contexts. We cannot remain isolated. We have a vested interest in the state of our contexts and the relationships which naturally occur within them. If we promote liberty and justice for all, we invest in the context in which our individual experiences them. Aren’t liberty and justice expressed through naturally occurring relationships? Instead of solely attempting to isolate ourselves, in order to experience liberty, we should include a balanced investment in liberty and justice for all, so that we might be able to experience them in our naturally occurring relationships.

          I just wouldn’t be satisfied with telling myself it’s none of my business that my neighbors enslave children, since they don’t infringe on my property rights.

          • Larry Gies says:

            Humans are rational beings.

          • …and?

            Is the natural state of human beings defined only as in isolation?

          • humans are vertebrates.
            humans are bipeds.
            humans have opposable thumbs.
            humans have parents.
            humans have children.
            humans have mates.
            humans have complex features for verbal and non-verbal communication.

  8. Larry Gies says:

    Until moments ago I only heard proponents of Ron Paul that were put off by his foreign non-interventionism.

    Not even one of you seemed to be impressed by Ron Paul’s domestic non-interventionism.

    Without going back to listen to the podcast again, I understood one of you to take exception to Ron Paul’s “corporatism” and “right to life” positions. That remark was revealing of incomprehension.

    Poisonous political labeling – an excellent topic and informative discussion. I miss the video and that opportunity to read your facial expressions.

  9. I think it would be wise to use the billions the government uses to bribe other countries with to fix our looming problems. I recall several years ago, reading about Hillary Clinton giving Pakinstsn 8.5 Billion dollars in aid. This at a time when “we” were mad at Pakastan for some inhumain things they had done. A month or so after that is when they had that earthquake. There was talk about the government giving them a few billion to help out in the aftermath of the quake. I recall thinking, “why can’t they use the 8.5 Billion we just gave them?”. Not that I’m against helping people in need. But obviously the first 8.5 billion went to some one, or some group. No telling where the 5 or so billion in aid went. I’ve doubts that it was used to aid those affected by the quake. As with many things the government has, and continues to do. Foreign aid as a concept needs to be scrapped and totally redone.

    Corruption being rampant, unless we can be assured that money given for a cause actually goes to that cause, I’d rather see that money used to make things in this country better. If we could only assure that that money went where its supposed to! Foreign “aid” used as a tool to force countries to do our bidding strikes me as an inefficient method, not to mention how costly it is to those of us decimated by the banksters .

  10. tonywicher says:

    OK I admit it! I’m a socialist! Man is a social animal. The individual cannot exist apart from society. The individual lives for a moment and dies, but society endures, social institutions endure, scientific progress endures great music endures. .Humanity as a whole is a single, evolving organism. The immortality of the human soul is not an individual immortality. The individual dies but his immortality consists in his contribution to the progress of civilization. That is how Beethoven or Einstein are immortal. They took society to a new level. The soul of an individual who lives only for himself dies with the body. .

    • Amen, tw. BTW, while attempting to convey my criticism about those who always say negative things about collectivism, in another thread, I came across this:

      Triandis, H. C., & Gelfand, M. J. (1998). Converging measurement of horizontal and vertical individualism and collectivism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(1), 118-128. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.74.1.118

      Sample items
      I often “do my own thing.” (HI=Horizontal Individualism)
      The well-being of my co-workers is important to me. (HC=Horizontal Collectivism)
      It annoys me when other people perform better than I do. (VI=Vertical Individualism)
      I would sacrifice an activity that I enjoy very much if my family did not approve of it. (VC=Vertical Collectivism)

      Practical Implications
      It is important to note that none of the four cultural patterns is necessarily better or worse for human functioning. Instead, each of these cultural patterns is probably functional in different situations. Specifically, the HI pattern allows individuals to do their own thing without the restraints provided by in-groups; the VI pattern, with its emphasis on competition, is likely to result in creativity and high effort. By contrast, the HC pattern is likely to lead to much social support and sociability. The VC pattern can allow the in-group to produce more than the sum of its parts. This cultural pattern provides protection and security and reduces the need for personal decisions, which some people find anxiety provoking. In Eric Fromm’s (1941) terms, this somewhat authoritarian pattern allows individuals to “escape from freedom.”

      On the other hand, there are probably costs associated with each pattern. The HI pattern may result in social isolation, in which individuals do their own thing but no one approves of what they do. The VI pattern may result in extreme stress, especially after failures in competition, and thus may reduce the effectiveness of the immune system and increase the probability of both cardiovascular disease and ineffectiveness in battling infections (Triandis et al., 1988). The HC pattern could absorb much of the individual’s energy in social relationships, thus decreasing productivity. The VC pattern could result in authoritarian regimes and ethnic cleansing.

      I really liked the sentiment and logic of saying that we don’t need to pigeon-hole ourselves into any particular pattern, but instead realize that all of these are natural and available patterns to be used in different contexts, each with pros and cons. This compliments the sentiment expressed in the round table.

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