Re: MD junk or politics on this list

From: Wim Nusselder (
Date: Fri Apr 02 2004 - 22:40:41 BST

  • Next message: steve: "Re: MD junk or politics on this list"

    Dear Platt,

    You wrote 30 Mar 2004 09:04:20 -0500:
    'My own opinions happen to coincide with Pirsig's on most issues. My reasons
    are the same as Pirsig's.'

    Also your opinions about philosophy and philosophology? What is your opinion
    about someone who chooses a favourite author and copies/rephrases his ideas
    without adding many news?
    What new ideas can you share with me to convince me of your opinions that
    war is a fitting metaphor for the relation between the social and
    intellectual levels and that the tension between 'liberals' and
    'conservatives' in American politics expresses these levels if Pirsig's
    ideas weren't enough to do so?

    You continued:
    'When you deviate from Pirsig's MOQ it would help if you qualified your
    opinion with something like, "Contrary to what Pirsig says . . ." or some
    such caveat'.

    Will 'the MoQ as I understand it' do? We apparently differ in our opinion to
    what extent it deviates from Pirsig's version of the MoQ.

    You also wrote:
    'I don't agree that 'liberalism" as commonly used in the U.S. represents

    Not necessarily and not in all cases, I agree. It also can and at times does
    represent degeneracy.
    You DO agree that I understand 'conservatism' correctly and that it
    represents sq??
    (I understand it as 'a system of ideas that prefers existing, proven
    patterns of value over new, unproven ones and even wants to defend existing
    patterns against change (conserve them), which is too often degeneration'.)

    I understand 'liberalism' as a system of ideas that wants to liberate people
    from existing, oppressive patterns of value.
    Both in the USA and in Europe 'liberals' and 'conservatives' have narrowed
    down 'existing patterns of value'.
    American 'conservatives' apparently locate the existing patterns that need
    conserving outside the public realm,
    among 'individuals' (and the government, that defines what's 'public' as the
    prime threath).
    American 'liberals' probably want to liberate people from existing,
    oppressive patterns outside the public realm. They may indeed at times use
    government (and enlarging the public realm) as primary tool to do so and
    turn a blind eye on the oppressive patterns associated with governmental
    interference outside its accepted realm.
    European 'liberals' have historically -probably more than American
    'liberals'- concentrated on liberation from existing, oppressive patterns
    associated with monarchism and the state. They stood for democratization and
    took up the cause of the rising bourgeoisie and entrepreneurial class in the
    19th century. When constitutions and elections had severely limited the
    power of monarchs, their anti-monarchistic cause was more or less exhausted.
    They recognized the risk that the state, which they had always viewed with
    suspicion, could be hijacked by socialists, who wanted to use it to further
    the interests of the labouring 'class'. European 'liberals' can't be
    considered 'conservative' normally. They are kind of progressive, wanting to
    change existing patterns, but using market forces rather than the state as a
    In the Netherlands and in most European countries there are no influential
    political parties that pride themselves on being 'conservative'. Everyone
    wants to be seen as progressive, as wanting to change existing patterns. The
    UK Tories are the only exception I know (but I probably oversee a few other
    countries). Traditionally Christian parties are most 'conservative', at
    least with respect to 'morality' in the ordinary sense of the word, but on
    economic issues they are carefull to show what they call a 'social face',
    meaning that they want to protect weak groups in society against
    overexposure to market forces.
    Socialists in Netherlands and in most other European countries have
    explicitly added 'democratic' to their names to make sure that they want the
    state to be effectively controlled by the wishes of the voters. Quite a few
    'liberal' and 'Christian' parties have also added 'democratic' to their
    names. Social democrats nowadays don't want the state to have all power and
    represent more than just labourers interests (e.g. environmental and
    feminist causes). In the Netherlands social democrats even see a lot of
    value in the market mechanism as long as the rules are set and maintained by
    a democratic government.
    No-one in Europe (no influential political party at least) will ever
    associate 'democracy' with 'democratic mob rule', as you do Platt. Maybe
    because democracy is not primarily seen as being defined by majority rule.
    'Democracy' is for Europeans associated more with open discussion and the
    possibility to influence government decisions. Not only majorities can
    influence government decisions, but everyone who can by force of arguments
    win others to his/her cause and thereby erode the majority on which the
    present government rests. 'Democracy' must not be restrained; government is
    being restrained by 'democracy'.
    'Conservate' may not be a popular label in Europe, neither is its opposite.
    No influential political party in Europe pretends to stand for outright
    'liberation' from oppression in whatever form. Europeans have become to wary
    of revolution and resulting violence for that. Evolution, reform and
    progress, gradual change of undesirable patterns, is all that's called for
    by the most change-minded political parties that have a realistic chance of
    getting any power.

    Can you understand from this complicated picture that I don't recognize a
    clear-cut 'war' between supporters of and liberators from social patterns in
    politics? Certainly not in Europe, but not even in the USA. American
    'conservatives' and 'liberals' are far too selective in the social patterns
    they recognize and don't recognize to see them (only) as representing one
    level or the other.

    With friendly greetings,


    MOQ.ORG -
    Mail Archives:
    Aug '98 - Oct '02 -
    Nov '02 Onward -
    MD Queries -

    To unsubscribe from moq_discuss follow the instructions at:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Apr 02 2004 - 22:44:28 BST