Re: MD In Defense Of Socialism?

From: Marco (
Date: Wed May 30 2001 - 23:58:11 BST

Hi Platt

Thanks for your questions. You ask me about the Italian situation, and I really
don't know how many are interested. Maybe me, you, and Andrea...... so I try to
keep myself on a MOQish and "international" viewpoint, with few references to
our dear new prime minister.

> Would you agree that Pirsig would be pleased
> (based on the MOQ) of the election in your
> country of Silvio Berlusconi and his center-right
> coalition?

I don't know; I will ask directly RMP the next time I'll meet him.

> Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Berlusconi,
> reputedly Italy's richest man, promise to pare
> back Italy's overlarge, officious state apparatus?
> In other words, reduce some of the nation's static
> quality to let in some Dynamic freedom?

[Berlusconi is not Italy's richest man, I think... maybe second, however]

Well, this and other promises have been made by both coalitions. But this is not
the main point. I think you are asking if the MOQ supports or not the
privatization of the state apparatus. After reading the famous Pirsig's 17th
chapter, you hold that PUBLIC=Static, PRIVATE=Dynamic. Let me say that, in a
modern social-democracy, this is a quite raw simplification.

[Pirsig's quotations are from Lila, chapter 17].

«People, like everything else, work better in parallel than they do in series».

IMO RMP is just saying: MONOPOLY=Static, COMPETITION=Dynamic, don't you agree?
If we want to have a good social dynamism, we have to apply this basic, simple
intellectual pattern: "Competition is more dynamic than monopoly". This is (one)
necessary intellectual static pattern that allows a virtuous social dynamism;
where virtue is

« the whole thing: to obtain static and Dynamic simultaneously »

I think you agree that a capitalistic monopoly is as static as a public monopoly
(IMO it's even worst, but it is not the point). It is well known that sometimes
(often?) an unruled market tends to monopoly, that's why there are antitrust
laws [actually a great problem here is that we have not good antitrust laws].
Thus, I think it's a nonsense, in a MOQ, to state that NO intellectual pattern
should control society. As said, an antitrust law is an example of a good
intellectual pattern leading social dynamism.

Once we agree that monopoly is our common enemy, you seem to hold that socialism
is the intellectual pattern which tends to have the control of social dynamism
by means of monopoly. I don't think so. A public monopoly is NOT per se an
intellectual pattern controlling society. A monopoly (public or private it's the
same) is a social pattern which has taken the whole environment, and is going to
causes a probable static death of the system. Actually, the soviet intellectual
pattern, which originated the public monopoly of everything, and then the death
of the system, was the idea that "In order to have equality, private property is

Here is the central point. The idea of equality is not wrong per se; the BIG
mistake was the mean they used in Eastern Europe to reach that result. The
abolition of the private property represents the fundamentalism of the noble
socialist idea of equality.
I'm pretty sure Pirsig was talking about Eastern Europe when he wrote:

«You go to any socialist city and it's always a dull place because there's
little Dynamic Quality».

It suddenly recalls the image of the differences between West and East Berlin up
to the eighties. But, tell me. Was the Paris of Mitterand (reputedly a
socialist) a dull place? Another example; last year in Rome, during the Holy
Catholic Jubilee, Gays organizations arranged the Gay Pride. It has been
possible (and not easily) just thanks to the simple fact that there was a
center-left government in Italy, and a center-left municipal government in Rome.
If Mr Berlusconi was the prime minister, be sure that it would have been
impossible to organize that event, there. You can think what you want about the
Gay Pride, but surely Rome, especially during those days, was all but a dull

As always repeated by ALL those you say are leaning "on the left of the
political spectrum", no one here is supporting that kind of socialism RMP talks
about. In chapter 17 there is the picture of a fundamentalist application of
socialism. But it is not the only possibility. Socialism is not antithetic to
competition. Perhaps you will be surprised knowing that the past center-left
coalition, here in Italy, has launched and initiated the biggest program of
privatizations in Europe. [A program that hopefully will be completed by our new
government]. Anyway, the role of a modern socialist party, within a democracy,
is to demonstrate that a public intervention can be better than the private, in
some occasions.

What does it mean *better*? This is the point. If the only parameter is money,
of course there's no match. But is profit the only parameter? Do you measure the
Quality of a school by its profits? Is it profit the parameter to decide how
many immigrants we should accept from Africa? Where is written that a public
school can't try to compete, in terms of Quality, with private schools?

«On the other hand the conservatives who keep trumpeting about the virtues of
free enterprises are normally just supporting their own self-interests. They are
just doing the usual cover-up for the rich in their age-gold exploitation of the
poor. Some of them seem to sense there is also something mysteriously virtuous
in a free enterprise system and you can see them struggling to put it into words
but they don't have the metaphysical vocabulary for it anymore than the
socialists do»

«It is not that Victorian social economic patterns are more moral than socialist
intellectual economic patterns. Quite the opposite. They are less moral as
static patterns go. What makes the free-enterprise system superior is that the
socialists, reasoning intelligently and objectively, have inadvertently closed
the door to Dynamic Quality in the buying and selling of things. They closed
it because the metaphysical structure of their objectivity never told them
Dynamic Quality exists »

Read well.
a) The free market is Victorian. According to all what RMP uses to say about
Victorians, maybe it could be possible to find something better......
b) The Victorian capitalists are mainly following self-interests, and sort of
luckily have found "something mysteriously virtuous in a free enterprise
c) Socialism is more moral, "as static patterns go", but....
d) ....the mistake of Socialism is that the "metaphysical structure of their
objectivity never told them Dynamic Quality exists".

Isn't here RMP asking for something new.... a world in which someone *tells
them* that DQ exists? Who? It's simple to say: the individual. An entity that
those dull communists have deleted in the name of a fundamentalist equality.

I've recently written a paper for a magazine (it's in Italian, sorry), just on
this theme. The question was "Service or Profit?" My thesis, explained by means
also of quotations from the 17th chapter of Lila, is that excellence does not
come out neither from the profit nor from the measurement of the quality of the
services (things like customer satisfaction et similia). Excellence arises from
care. If we want an excellent service, we just have to claim care. All of us. We
must claim that the teacher, the policeman, the journalist, the politician
become aRTists. Excellence, beauty and quality are rights! This is the very
innovative MOQish solution to have a society (be it socialist or capitalist, at
that point it doesn't matter) at the service of the citizen rather than
viceversa. IMO this will be the definitive triumph of the intellectual era, the
4th era in the MOQ evolution we just have begun to see over the horizon.

Attention now. According to the classic hierarchy of static levels, social
patterns are blind to intellectual values. A school (just for example)
completely focused on the profit is unable to even understand my claim for
Quality (learning). At the contrary, an organization focused ALSO on
intellectual values, will be probably able to understand my claims. How can we
focus a social pattern on our individual/intellectual claims? Choosing.
Changing. Forcing the competition between those social patterns. That's why a
people need a great individual culture to tame the beast!

Far from my intention to delete the profits. Far from my intention to abolish
the free market. Far from my intention to execute the capitalist on the electric
chair. I'm just asking that, on the other hand, the public is not completely
deleted, as I just have the sensation that maybe a public non profit
organization can more easily accept to perform the artistic effort to calm my
natural individual intellectual hunger for excellence. That's why I think so
many artists are on the left wing: more than other persons, they are ready to
have a feeling with those who are asking for quality. That's why in our
democratic nations, organizations like Greenpeace and Amnesty International are
usually supported more by liberal people. Isn't it, Platt?

Well, now I go back to your questions, and will answer briefly.

> Would you agree that Pirsig would be pleased
> (based on the MOQ) of the election in your
> country of Silvio Berlusconi and his center-right
> coalition?

> Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Berlusconi,
> reputedly Italy's richest man, promise to pare
> back Italy's overlarge, officious state apparatus?
> In other words, reduce some of the nation's static
> quality to let in some Dynamic freedom?

Berlusconi is the owner of the main three private TV channels in Italy (and
newspapers, magazines....) He started by one, then, in absence of a good
antitrust law, he bought two other channels. The public television is the only
*voice* he does not control. He has always rejected the idea to sell his
televisions. Now that also the three public channels are virtually in his hand,
he has the control of the 95% of the TV audience. The MOQ is against monopoly.
Especially in a strategic field like information, IMO it is not moral for him to
be our leader.

For those about privatizations of state apparatus, as said, the most has been
made by the precedent government.

> It seems to me that you and others on the left of the political spectrum
> are ignoring the MOQ. Pirisg makes clear in Chap. 17 of Lila that the
> MOQ favors free markets over socialist, central controlled economies.
> The actual quotes have been repeated or referred to several times in
> posts by Bo, Roger and myself. But again, for the record, Pirsig says:
> "What makes the free-enterprise system superior is that the socialists,
> reasoning intelligently and objectively, have inadvertently closed the
> door to Dynamic Quality in the buying and selling of things."
> Please note the word, "superior."

[I really don't know why Bo is in the list. I read he appreciates the typical
Norwegian social-democracy, not very inclined to capitalism, for what I know].

I think I've already answered. The socialism Pirsig is talking about is not the
socialism I'm talking about. Or, if he was talking of the France of Mitterand
(just for example), well, he was completely mad. Actually IMO Pirsig is claiming
a new form of intellectual control (more soft than the soviet socialism) over
society, where the individual has the upper hand.

> Similarly, you and others seem to be surprised that the MOQ is
> suspicious of intellectual control of society. The reason is very simple.
> Besides ignoring Dynamic Quality, subject-object intellect makes no
> provision for morals. If you'll re-read Chapters 22 and 24 in Lila you will
> be reminded of why Pirsig has real doubts about intellectual control of
> society. He sums it up this way:

> "In the time that Phaedrus grew up, intellect was dominant over society,
> but the results of the new social looseness weren't turning out as
> predicted. Something was wrong. The world was not doubt in better
> shape intellectually and technologically but despite that, somehow, the
> "quality" of it was not good. There was no way you could say why this
> quality was no good. You just felt it."

> The race riots here and England give me that feeling.

I don't agree. Race riots are biological. Pirsig says that biology can't be
controlled by intellect and a soldier is the right way. And anyway, if the
Subject/Object thinking does not make provisions for morals, I think the MOQ
does. IMO the MOQ is intellectual, as well. If you want to agree with Bo that
the MOQ is the 5th level, and Subject/Object Logic is the only possible
intellect... well, sorry, even you are not an orthodox MOQer....

> Now we could argue about plusses and minuses of the various social,
> economic and political systems in various countries past and present
> forever. But, this forum is dedicated to discussing the MOQ. Don't you
> agree we ought to acknowledge the MOQ viewpoint and at least try to
> keep the discussion focused on that, even if it's more fun to rant and
> rave about ugly America?

I did, this time. Oh, if you want I can talk of this ugly Italy. It's not a
problem. I'm very hard to Italians, as well.

> No one dies on the street here with no help.
> The penniless are often better cared for than
> the working poor. So divest yourself of that belief.

It just can make me glad. I've told you that here in Europe it is "common
thought". I think you have to blame an English (Communist? maybe Horse knows
him!) for that. Ken Loach, a movie director (you will not find him at Hollywood
Oscar's night, I guess). I've found great his last movie "Bread and Roses".

> After all, that's like me believing all Italians belong to the
> Mafia.

Oh, but we have exported our best Mafiosi there to America .....all but one :-)
Jokes aside, I was not blaming single Americans, but the system. It's quite
different. I appreciate a lot your attachment to your system, just it seems to
me that, from this different viewpoint, all this morality of an unruled
capitalism is not very clear.


by the way. The very funny thing in all this thread is that I AM NOT A
SOCIALIST! Me, and my family, my history has always been the history of a
convinced anti-communist. Just, as said, I live in a region ruled by
socialists, and the anti-socialist rhetoric does not work with me. I've always
known that communists don't eat children!

I've always been a supporter of the individual freedom against ANY social
constriction. Now that the Berlin wall has tumbled down and our electoral system
has changed I feel that in Italy (and in Europe, too) the left wing is a little
better focused on this principle.

Few examples?
Abortion, Legalization of drugs, Euthanasia. In Europe, these three hot issues
have a triple absolute "NO" from the right wing. While there's some "YES" from
the left wing. IMO the MOQ answers a triple YES. (Of course I love children, and
I even don't smoke cigarettes, but I think that the drug prohibition is against
the individual, and, that's worst, it's a weapon in the hands of Mafia)

Mail Archive -
MD Queries -

To unsubscribe from moq_discuss follow the instructions at:

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat Aug 17 2002 - 16:01:18 BST