RE: MF wheat from chaff

From: David Buchanan (
Date: Mon Jul 19 2004 - 00:47:03 BST

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    Amilcar and all MOQers:

    Amilcar Kabral
    I don't think that Reagan-era Republicanism (Thatcherism included) was in
    anyway close to Victorian ideals. The PBS series Command Economy documented
    how Reagan and Thatcher put into international politics the policies and
    practices of capitalism, an inherently dynamic system as compared to
    Keynsian gov't regulated economics.

    dmb says:
    But, but, but the Victorians were capitalist in the exteme. You know,
    Rockefeller, JP Morgan and Henry Ford were all Victorian capitalists.
    Further, Pirsig puts capitalism, traditional values, traditional religion
    and many other features shated by Victorians and Republicans are all on the
    social level. Both are dominated by social values and capitalism is chief
    among them.
    Pirsig says, "Social quality measurements....are such things as conformity
    to social custom, popularity, ego satisfaction, and 'reputation'." [MOQ
    Textbook] and "Fame and fortune are huge Dynamic parameters that give
    society its shape
    and meaning." [Lila, Ch.20] and in [Chapter 17] "The conservatives [i.e.
    read capitalists] who keep trumpeting about the virtues of free enterprise
    are normally just supporting their own self-interest. They are just doing
    the usual cover-up for the rich in their age-old exploitation of the poor."
    and "From a static point of view socialism is more moral than capitalism.
    Its a
    higher form of evolution. It is an intellectually guided society, not just a
    society based on mindless traditions." And (Pirsig's emphasis) "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."

    Of course my 27 year old mind doesn't know much about Victorian era
    anything, but the rigid social values that seem to be implied anytime
    anybody uses that phrase or word seems to be linked, at least in my mind,
    more with New-Deal era changes than the dismantling that went on during the
    early and mid-eighties under Thatcher and Reagan (and now with Dubya's
    privatization push). I'd even go so far as to say that the transformations
    that REagan and Bush made undergirded the unprecedented prosperity that
    America expereinced during Clinton's run as president, and even the dynamism

    in the economy that padded and obviated the recession we should be in had
    the economy not been dynamic.

    dmb says:
    Rigid social values are linked to the New Deal!? Quite the opposite. Here's
    Pirsig from chapter 22...
    "...Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, nevertheless, became the center of
    a lesser storm between social and intellectual forces. The New Deal was many
    things, but at the center of it all was the belief that intellectual
    planning by the government was necessary for society to regain its health.
    The New Deal was described as a program for farmers, laborers and poor
    people everywhere, but it was also a new deal for the intellectuals of
    American. Suddenly, for the first time, they were at the center of the
    planning process - ...Now intellectuals were in a position to give orders to
    America's finest and oldest and wealthiest social groups. 'That Man,' as the
    old aristocrats sometime called Roosevelt, was turning the whole USA over to
    foriegn radicals, 'eggheads', 'Commies', and the like. He was a traitor to
    his class. Suddenly, before the old Victorian eyes, a whole new socal caste,
    a caste of intellectual Brahmins, was being created ABOVE their own military
    and economic castes. These new Brahmins felt they could look down on them
    and, through political control of the Democratic party, push them around.
    Social snobbery was being replaced with intellectual snobbery."

    The rigid morals running rampant in Republicanism alstwhile dismantling
    social-support such as welfare (individual) and perhaps social-security is
    counter-balanced with advances in individual wealth building and saving,
    i.e. 401ks, IRA's, stock-options and so forth. These allow individuals to be

    more responsible and have more say in the quality of the products they buy
    when they're retired. To me that seems to be on a higher MOQ level
    (individual) than social-security(duh-social).

    dmb says:
    The Victorians were horrified by the New Deal and so it only makes sense
    that the neo-Victorian Republicans would wish to dismantle it. They have
    that in common as well as their emphasis on "morals". I understand that this
    deconstruction idea was framed and sold to people as a moral issue, but I
    don't buy it. Its just another throwback to Victorianism. And in terms of
    levels, Pirsig makes it pretty clear in the quotes I've provided, programs
    like social security are part of the New Deal's intellectual planning and
    that those who oppose it are usually doing so because of social values.

    So i'd like to ask on a sideline what SPECIFICALLY has people equating
    Reagan-era politics and policies with Victorianism?

    dmb quotes Pirsig [chapter 24] again:
    "Until WW1 the Victorian social codes dominated. From WW1 untiil WW2 the
    intellectuals dominated unchallenged. (The New Deal) From WW2 until the 70s
    the intellectuals continued to dominate, but with increasing challenge -
    call it the Hippie revolution - which failed. And from the early 70s on
    there has been a slow confused mindless drift back to a kind of
    pseudo-Victorian moral posture accomanied by an unprecedented and
    unexplained growth in crime."

    dmb concludes:
    In this quote we see the term "pseudo-Victorian" and the same chapter he
    complains that advocacy of social conformity would only get us more
    "Victorians, in the form of the reactionary right". And in the "rustbelt"
    quote that started our discussion Pirsig describes a whole society that "is
    slowly trying to slip back to Victorianism. If Pirsig is talking about
    somthing other than the rise of conservatism, the moral majority, the
    religious right, and the constant attack on all things liberal and
    intellectual, then I can't imgaine what he is talking about. I mean, his
    descriptions match recent history exactly, as I understand it.

    To be SPECIFIC, Pirsig's descriptions and timeframe have me equating
    Reaganism with Victorianism. And I hope this gets at the question of the
    month. I mean, it seems that we're having trouble getting a handle on what
    it means to get rusty and reactionary. I'm feeling kinda lonely on this one.
    Doesn't anyone read metaphysics AND follow politics? Help!


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