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vivico1
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Re: Join Us in January for a Timely Discussion/ beyond 15 and this month?

Is it time for any threads past chapter 15 yet? Is this a one month course or will it be an ongoing one. I hope to join newly starting ones each month if there are some of interest to me. The ongoing ones I have peeked in on so far, everyone is at a different spot and lots of spoilers happening. Either way,just wondering when the next chapters and discussion questions might appear :smileyhappy:
Vivian
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Re: Democracies (off topic)

[ Edited ]

Message Edited by Choisya on 01-22-200706:35 PM

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Re: Democracies (off topic)/ where is everyone?

Yes, I saw both graphs and both listings. Either way,look at the countries listed and which have the most social ills and economic ills. Then think about which countries are in the red trying to help them economically survive or with humanitarian aid. I have finished the book, but am not going to discuss it as a whole, till I know there are threads for that. Or for others to show they have caught up too OR its the end of the month,lol, which ever comes first. I may go back into it now and post some SPOILERS for my thoughts on a few chapters at a time, starting with those after 15 now. Maybe that will pick up some people who have read further or all of it,but making sure I put the spoiler headings for those who havent.

BTW, I just happened to look at Fanuzzir's profile, and it lists his posts. Ever read through those? WOW,he is handling this class,Moby Dick AND one The American Classics course. No wonder we have not had much interaction with our moderator, but then, that may not be the role of moderator. I am just very used to the every day or two interaction and thoughts of the old Instructors, who were often experts on the particular topic or book you were reading, and it was more of the kind of interaction you got in a high school/college course, was pretty cool actually.

But for a few other posts recently (and those of you who have, THANK YOU AND KEEP THEM COMING!), this is almost becoming a dialogue between you and I Choisya.
Vivian
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Re: Democracies and Aid

[ Edited ]

Message Edited by Choisya on 01-22-200706:33 PM

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Re: Democracies and Aid/ and?

I do not say this is a total argument for democracy. I say it is a part of it but more so, I say, rather than all the rhetoric with no bite that you feel democracy is, that seems to be the way of total socialism. If such a creature exist. It is an interesting map and does point to something happening there that makes the difference. If democracy is all rhetoric to keep the rich rich, and the poor-poor, to keep the upper crust so, well then, rather than talk about a Utopia to come and tell me there is no heaven to come. Show me as you say,independant graphs of the countries run on a completely socialist idea or politic frame and how they are doing? There is no Utopia to come for mankind on this earth, anymore than a heaven can exit on this earth. Why? Because, both speak to perfection in society when societies are made up of imperfect beings.

Can we be better? YES, is there room for improvement in the democratic process? YES and will be as long as man exist and new inventions, but also new ills of any kind, come along. To caste out democracy as some "beast" that only gnaws away all mankind who does not become privy to its upper echelon brings to mind the saying... dont throw out the baby with the water!



Choisya wrote:
I think this is too simplistic an approach to the democracy argument Vivico - there are often historical reasons why countries have social and economic ills, not least that they have been woefully exploited by their former imperial masters, like the British. What economic and humanitarian aid we are giving is a drop in the ocean to what we have taken out of these countries over centuries and even that aid tends to be used as another form of exploitatiion - as with Nestle promoting formula milk for African infants, for instance or with GM seeds being foisted upon African peasants. There have been benevolent autocracies but the real problem with autocracy is that autocrats do not necessarily have benevolent sons/daughters and so benevolent rule does not continue. This, to my mind, is the main advantage of democracy - that we can get rid of inefficient and/or autocratic rulers. I tend to rate a full belly, decent housing and education etc as higher in the human scale of things than that much vaunted word 'freedom' which so often just means, as Sinclair pointed out, the freedom to exploit others - wherever they are in the world.




vivico1 wrote:
Yes, I saw both graphs and both listings. Either way,look at the countries listed and which have the most social ills and economic ills. Then think about which countries are in the red trying to help them economically survive or with humanitarian aid.


Vivian
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Re: Democracies and Aid/ and?

[ Edited ]

Message Edited by Choisya on 01-22-200706:32 PM

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Re: Democracies and Aid/ and?/ solution?

Casting out the baby with the bathwater, in this instance, means, casting out democracy because the water is dirty, i.e. getting rid of a good thing because of the impurities around it. It may not be a phrase you are familiar with.

As for lower voting and voting vs socialism, lets take lower voting first. I do not know how its going there in England, but here, especially right now, watch what is happening and tell me the people are not speaking. I am a registered democrat. Some see them as the liberals who care about the people more and republicans as more about big business and in theory this is true I think. BUT, we do not have to vote a straight ticket. Nor are we forced to vote one way or the other, tho in some rural southern areas, I am aware of our woes. This is very different than the time Sinclair is talking about, we have advanced even in this. Also if you worry so much about the problems we had with the "chads" voting,look at the light it shed on needs for better WAYS to vote. And there are checks and balances to see that one does not vote over and over as Jurgis saw and did.

Am I naive about what happens here? No. What I am saying is, no one system is perfect and will never be, we are not a static world. Ideals are perfect, men are not. I am proud of my privilage and duty to vote. I know you dont like the idea of it being a privilege but when we say it, we mean, there are people in the world who can not, who have no voice, so we do not take it lightly to say its a privilage, an earned one yes, but a privilage considering the world at large.

Lower voting...just this November, we had local and national elections. Local officials and also for the Senate and Congress. It is today known world wide what has happened. The people, unsatisfied with what is happening now are voting and have spoken loudly!. Also, when there is a war we do not appear to be winning, be it a justified fight or not,it becomes, and always has been, the unpopular problem of the party in office at the time!

This year, more than many of the past, I studied the local issues, looked up everything I could on the candidates, and not what they say,but their record on what they have done or propose. I did not vote a straight democratic ticket, which you can do, but instead, I voted the Oklahoma state issues, one at a time and the congressional and senate seats according to what I found out in my research. Watch next year at the nation voting and the numbers that will turn out and what will come of it.

I have a say, we all have a say in this, which is the beauty of democracy.But if people are apathetic to it all, or think their one vote doesnt matter, then it doesnt work to the best it can or was formed for. That is why no system, democratic or socialist or any other, will work along the perfect structure of its Ideals. Because of one freedom...free will. The right to do something or nothing and many will chose the later.Even Jurgis saw this within socialism to his dismay. There are several versions of a great quote:

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. - Edmund Burke (1729­1797), Irish philosopher, statesman.

Victor Frankel, “Evil happens when good people do nothing.”

As for our social ills, health,wages...by the way the minimum wage, what the minimum wage in America can be, trying to keep things like what Jurgis went through from happening, is either up for vote now (the amount of the increase, not the law, that we have now of course) or was approved just this last month.

We can address the issues of the socialist concerns within our system, the framework is there. America is not devoid of socialist or what socialist think are "their" ideas.

As for the article from your post... BENEVOLENT DICTATOR? Sounds like an oxymoron to me! And if this is the model of the American dream,let me out.
"There is a $5000 reward for mothers who agree to be sterilized after their second child. Sterilized parents get top priority for public housing, and their children get into desirable schools." TOP PRIORITY?? no questions on that?
"Singaporeans now accept that two is the right number of children."
"Singapore requires all workers to save 25% of their salaries. "

Heaven help us all. And while you are at it, in this new Utopian Singapore,bring back our little girls who have been abducted and taken there for the sexual amusement of all the Capitalist of the world who visit it, have the money and the predaliction for children.

Choisya wrote:
I have not at any time suggested casting out any babies with any bathwater. My preference would be for socialism via the ballot box...
Vivian
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Re: Democracies/solution? (OFF TOPIC)

[ Edited ]

vivico1 wrote:
Casting out the baby with the bathwater, in this instance, means, casting out democracy because the water is dirty, i.e. getting rid of a good thing because of the impurities around it. It may not be a phrase you are familiar with.

As for lower voting and voting vs socialism, lets take lower voting first. I do not know how its going there in England, but here, especially right now, watch what is happening and tell me the people are not speaking. I am a registered democrat. Some see them as the liberals who care about the people more and republicans as more about big business and in theory this is true I think. BUT, we do not have to vote a straight ticket. Nor are we forced to vote one way or the other, tho in some rural southern areas, I am aware of our woes. This is very different than the time Sinclair is talking about, we have advanced even in this. Also if you worry so much about the problems we had with the "chads" voting,look at the light it shed on needs for better WAYS to vote. And there are checks and balances to see that one does not vote over and over as Jurgis saw and did.

Am I naive about what happens here? No. What I am saying is, no one system is perfect and will never be, we are not a static world. Ideals are perfect, men are not. I am proud of my privilage and duty to vote. I know you dont like the idea of it being a privilege but when we say it, we mean, there are people in the world who can not, who have no voice, so we do not take it lightly to say its a privilage, an earned one yes, but a privilage considering the world at large.

Lower voting...just this November, we had local and national elections. Local officials and also for the Senate and Congress. It is today known world wide what has happened. The people, unsatisfied with what is happening now are voting and have spoken loudly!. Also, when there is a war we do not appear to be winning, be it a justified fight or not,it becomes, and always has been, the unpopular problem of the party in office at the time!

This year, more than many of the past, I studied the local issues, looked up everything I could on the candidates, and not what they say,but their record on what they have done or propose. I did not vote a straight democratic ticket, which you can do, but instead, I voted the Oklahoma state issues, one at a time and the congressional and senate seats according to what I found out in my research. Watch next year at the nation voting and the numbers that will turn out and what will come of it.

I have a say, we all have a say in this, which is the beauty of democracy.But if people are apathetic to it all, or think their one vote doesnt matter, then it doesnt work to the best it can or was formed for. That is why no system, democratic or socialist or any other, will work along the perfect structure of its Ideals. Because of one freedom...free will. The right to do something or nothing and many will chose the later.Even Jurgis saw this within socialism to his dismay. There are several versions of a great quote:

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. - Edmund Burke (1729­1797), Irish philosopher, statesman.

Victor Frankel, “Evil happens when good people do nothing.”

As for our social ills, health,wages...by the way the minimum wage, what the minimum wage in America can be, trying to keep things like what Jurgis went through from happening, is either up for vote now (the amount of the increase, not the law, that we have now of course) or was approved just this last month.

We can address the issues of the socialist concerns within our system, the framework is there. America is not devoid of socialist or what socialist think are "their" ideas.

As for the article from your post... BENEVOLENT DICTATOR? Sounds like an oxymoron to me! And if this is the model of the American dream,let me out.
"There is a $5000 reward for mothers who agree to be sterilized after their second child. Sterilized parents get top priority for public housing, and their children get into desirable schools." TOP PRIORITY?? no questions on that?
"Singaporeans now accept that two is the right number of children."
"Singapore requires all workers to save 25% of their salaries. "

Heaven help us all. And while you are at it, in this new Utopian Singapore,bring back our little girls who have been abducted and taken there for the sexual amusement of all the Capitalist of the world who visit it, have the money and the predaliction for children.

Choisya wrote:
I have not at any time suggested casting out any babies with any bathwater. My preference would be for socialism via the ballot box...

Message Edited by Choisya on 01-22-200706:31 PM

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Re: Democracies/solution? (OFF TOPIC)on target

Choisya,
I am just saying, you are the one who held out this article of how wonderful socialism can be. Its not just the babies,we have a huge problem here with too many young women becoming pregnant and winding up on welfare and having more. The article also spoke to what everyone MUST save, how this must be, how that must be. You pointed out we give incentives and educations for things, this being one, well ok then, where is the socialist idea of equality tho in this practice of Singapore? Sounds more capitalistic that socialist and incentives do create inequalites in some ways and this has got to be one for sure.

My biggest problem with the babies issue is this,NO country should have the right to legislate or dictate how many children, if any, a family should have. There is an inane dehumanizing quality in it that you can just feel. IF they want to offer their incentive to those smaller families, FINE but dont dictate what a family should be.

As for Bush and more troops, (Fanuzzir surely will get onto us soon for our politics, as again we have left the book for this debate), I wished the first Bush would have kept us there till the job was done and then we wouldnt be back there now. I am behind Bush sending more troups, we got to make one more try and those who are trying to get a government there going, dont want us to give up yet either. This comes after at least talking through this again on both sides and understanding that the strategy must change. But Choisya, he cant do much if congress wont allow the funds to do it and they are still debating that now, so its not like till the next election we are stuck with a dictator.

I am sooo tired of this political debate, and on a Sunday too, that I have had enough of it today. It rings too often of "anti-american" as much as anti democracy. No, I think my friend born and bred in England that I talk to frequently on here and I have more in common. I will go read something else, or address the book again but yeah there are things I definately have to say about it that is political, but i will save that till the end. There are a lot of chapters between 15 and when he meets his "new messiah"!

BTW,did Fanuzzir say he thought Democracy was coming to an end or post a question of is it and if so then what? I will have to go back and check.
Vivian
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Re:

[ Edited ]

Message Edited by Choisya on 01-22-200706:30 PM

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Re: Democracies & Taxation

[ Edited ]

vivico1 wrote:
Choisya,
I am just saying, you are the one who held out this article of how wonderful socialism can be. Its not just the babies,we have a huge problem here with too many young women becoming pregnant and winding up on welfare and having more. The article also spoke to what everyone MUST save, how this must be, how that must be. You pointed out we give incentives and educations for things, this being one, well ok then, where is the socialist idea of equality tho in this practice of Singapore? Sounds more capitalistic that socialist and incentives do create inequalites in some ways and this has got to be one for sure.

My biggest problem with the babies issue is this,NO country should have the right to legislate or dictate how many children, if any, a family should have. There is an inane dehumanizing quality in it that you can just feel. IF they want to offer their incentive to those smaller families, FINE but dont dictate what a family should be.

As for Bush and more troops, (Fanuzzir surely will get onto us soon for our politics, as again we have left the book for this debate), I wished the first Bush would have kept us there till the job was done and then we wouldnt be back there now. I am behind Bush sending more troups, we got to make one more try and those who are trying to get a government there going, dont want us to give up yet either. This comes after at least talking through this again on both sides and understanding that the strategy must change. But Choisya, he cant do much if congress wont allow the funds to do it and they are still debating that now, so its not like till the next election we are stuck with a dictator.

I am sooo tired of this political debate, and on a Sunday too, that I have had enough of it today. It rings too often of "anti-american" as much as anti democracy. No, I think my friend born and bred in England that I talk to frequently on here and I have more in common. I will go read something else, or address the book again but yeah there are things I definately have to say about it that is political, but i will save that till the end. There are a lot of chapters between 15 and when he meets his "new messiah"!

BTW,did Fanuzzir say he thought Democracy was coming to an end or post a question of is it and if so then what? I will have to go back and check.

Message Edited by Choisya on 01-14-200703:12 PM

Message Edited by Choisya on 01-22-200706:29 PM

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Re: Democracies & Taxation (OFF TOPIC) lets get off the topic

enough
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Re: Democracies & Taxation (OFF TOPIC) lets get off the topic

OK.



vivico1 wrote:
enough


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Re: Join Us in January for a Timely Discussion/ beyond 15 and this month?



vivico1 wrote:
Is it time for any threads past chapter 15 yet? Is this a one month course or will it be an ongoing one. I hope to join newly starting ones each month if there are some of interest to me. The ongoing ones I have peeked in on so far, everyone is at a different spot and lots of spoilers happening. Either way,just wondering when the next chapters and discussion questions might appear :smileyhappy:




The threads on this board are open to everyone, which means that if you have moved on in your reading, you jump to the corresponding thread. I am having trouble keeping up, so I will post a next grouping of chapters in a thread.
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Re: Democracies (off topic)/ where is everyone?



vivico1 wrote:
.

BTW, I just happened to look at Fanuzzir's profile, and it lists his posts. Ever read through those? WOW,he is handling this class,Moby Dick AND one The American Classics course. No wonder we have not had much interaction with our moderator, but then, that may not be the role of moderator. I am just very used to the every day or two interaction and thoughts of the old Instructors, who were often experts on the particular topic or book you were reading, and it was more of the kind of interaction you got in a high school/college course, was pretty cool actually.

But for a few other posts recently (and those of you who have, THANK YOU AND KEEP THEM COMING!), this is almost becoming a dialogue between you and I Choisya.


Thank you for considering my workload. I am currently running three boards, and continuing to meet the demands of a university professor.
The Jungle does not fall under my research speciality, but I have taught it several times and am scholar of political movements and political theory in many historical and national contexts.
Rest assured that I have been following this thread and am very much impressed by your fortitude. One of the changes that BNU went through when it became a book club was that the job of the moderator was changed so as conduct discussion, not to give answers. That will occur, however, when participants are factually incorrect or unable to pursue the discussion on their own without clarification. So far neither of those things has happened.
As for myself, I am concentrating on reading the novel and working through the family issues, so you can find me in chapter threads.
Bob
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Re: Democracies/solution? (OFF TOPIC)on target



vivico1 wrote:
Choisya,
BTW,did Fanuzzir say he thought Democracy was coming to an end or post a question of is it and if so then what? I will have to go back and check.




I'm sorry to just have to pick and choose what to respond to, but I just wanted to clarify: yes, I said that we were living in a post-democratic world by Thoreau's definition in "Civil Disobedience" (another thread, another board, another time). He, and I meant to describe the absence of informed majorities at work in the electoral system, and the degredation of voting to "sort of gaming," as he calls it. He also makes a critique of majorities themselves as both creations and creatures of a nation; his resistance is not to any political system but to this thing called nationalism

My comment, and Thoreau's critique, address the conditions for democracy in the population, not the relative virtues of the particular political system. So I wasn't really discussing the merits of democracy as a political system but more as a form of society.
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Re: Democracies/solution?

[ Edited ]

fanuzzir wrote:


vivico1 wrote:
Choisya,
BTW,did Fanuzzir say he thought Democracy was coming to an end or post a question of is it and if so then what? I will have to go back and check.




I'm sorry to just have to pick and choose what to respond to, but I just wanted to clarify: yes, I said that we were living in a post-democratic world by Thoreau's definition in "Civil Disobedience" (another thread, another board, another time). He, and I meant to describe the absence of informed majorities at work in the electoral system, and the degredation of voting to "sort of gaming," as he calls it. He also makes a critique of majorities themselves as both creations and creatures of a nation; his resistance is not to any political system but to this thing called nationalism

My comment, and Thoreau's critique, address the conditions for democracy in the population, not the relative virtues of the particular political system. So I wasn't really discussing the merits of democracy as a political system but more as a form of society.

Message Edited by Choisya on 01-15-200703:40 AM

Message Edited by Choisya on 01-22-200706:27 PM

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Re: Democracies/solution? (OFF TOPIC) Tyranny of majorities.

My favorite American commentator! I'm writing a book on him right now! Some day we will read Democracy in America together. For now, yes, Thoreau's anti-majoritarian point of view would jive well with Tocqueville's argument. Both of these writers, by the way, wanted to make a kind of poltical commentary that stretched beyond the categorization of the state to the ways that people actually lived and thought--the word they used was "manners," in a broad sense. What I find disheartening about the way people live in this novel is that there are no habits or customs that are conducive to democracy; they are only conducive to drunkenness, prostitution, free lunches, binges, lock-ups. I know Sinclair would say that the capitalist system has taken all the "manners" away from democracy, but I am also a little suspicious that nothing "native," so to speak, can be found in the America of The Jungle that is conducive to democracy, that we need a trans-national organization (that may or may not be democratic) to give us the tools we need to be democratic in a self-determined way. Is it because Jurgis is himself not American born or is there nothing left in America? (Even Thoreau thought there was material for a new kind of democracy)
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Re: Democracies/solution? (OFF TOPIC) Tyranny of majorities.

Thanks - I very much look forward to reading your book!

In choosing to portray immigrants in Chicago before they had 'integrated' Sinclair did cut out ordinary Americans, although they were portrayed as kindly, helpful and living decent lives when he went hoboing. And the socialists/politicos towards the end of the book are decent Americans too, reaching out towards democratic socialism. Dr Schliemann is a Swede, which I think is significant, but the others are ordinary hardworking Americans who helped to rehabilitate Jurgis. And immediately following on from this period you had Roosevelt's New Deal culled from Maynard Keynes and European socialist thinking which Sinclair (and many other Americans) had tuned into. The New Deal was perhaps the nearest America got to socialism in government but you did get there and it was perhaps what Sinclair was prophecying in his spelling out of the ideas of Jurgis' socialist friends. A 'New Jerusalem'.





fanuzzir wrote:
My favorite American commentator! I'm writing a book on him right now! Some day we will read Democracy in America together. For now, yes, Thoreau's anti-majoritarian point of view would jive well with Tocqueville's argument. Both of these writers, by the way, wanted to make a kind of poltical commentary that stretched beyond the categorization of the state to the ways that people actually lived and thought--the word they used was "manners," in a broad sense. What I find disheartening about the way people live in this novel is that there are no habits or customs that are conducive to democracy; they are only conducive to drunkenness, prostitution, free lunches, binges, lock-ups. I know Sinclair would say that the capitalist system has taken all the "manners" away from democracy, but I am also a little suspicious that nothing "native," so to speak, can be found in the America of The Jungle that is conducive to democracy, that we need a trans-national organization (that may or may not be democratic) to give us the tools we need to be democratic in a self-determined way. Is it because Jurgis is himself not American born or is there nothing left in America? (Even Thoreau thought there was material for a new kind of democracy)


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Re: Democracies/solution? (OFF TOPIC) Tyranny of majorities.

You can definitely see the ideas of The New Deal gestating here. I also think it's important that the European immigrants of the late nineteenth century are the ones tending the fires of American democracy with (foreign) ideas of collectivism and economic justice. . . . Many people have said that such ideas helped to save capitalism, which, unregulated, was pretty much driving itself out of business.
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