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I thought the 'Daily Politics' presenter treated Danny Lambert with supercilious disdain. And the woman sat next to her was glowering at him as if he'd just crawled out of a swamp. Very difficult to present our point of view in those circumstances. She put him on the back foot from the beginning and he coped very well.SocialistPunk wrote:Hi rodshaw,I already have that one in the bag, so to speak. What I was looking for, and it may not be available, was some sort of actual historical, anthropology based explanation or addition.There is a danger that this thread may end up tangled with the one on socialism, morality and logic, and I'd rather it not as my enquiry was specifically about the religious view that morality, ethics, values etc came from a creator. Simply telling them that their belief is based on their cultural, political system is generally not enough explanation of itself, so any evidence based info would be beneficial. Whether that exists is another matter and is the reason for my post.
Sorry to see you've had no direct replies to your question. I'd have been quite interested myself.I suppose the kind of evidence you need depends on who your target religious person is. Some of them may be won over quite easily by pointing out some no-brainer condradictions inherent in belief in a creator (e.g. If God made man to love and worship him, why did it take so long for humans to appear?; are the people who died before Christianity saved?; are Vikings still in Valhalla or did they move to heaven? at what stage of evolution did the soul appear?..etc.). Some will stick to their beliefs whatever evidence of an alternative source of morality you have, and some (I suppose the ones you have in mind) will be up for a right good philosophical debate, and may or may not be open to persuasion.But in my mind is the fact that whatever evidence you have, you can’t prove a negative, at least not here, i.e. that morality doesn’t come from a creator. All you can do is present some evidence that it may not be so. Which leads us back to science (using the word in its broad sense of knowledge) – i.e. what do we know (the science bit) and what is speculation or wishful thinking (the religious bit)?
I would tell them that they have the cart before the horse. Their religion is a product of their cultural and political system. It is man-made. Their belief system is just that – a belief that can't be substantiated. Any moral dimension, whatever that means, therefore comes from society, not a god. And if this means there is no moral dimension at all, then we can do without it. As socialists we evaluate things differently.alanjjohnstone wrote:Some more UK statsThe 2013 British Social Attitudes Survey reported that 48% of respondents claimed they did not belong to a religion. The proportion of people who described themselves as belonging to the Church of England was just 20%, down from 40% in 1983. Church of England's own figures, 800,000 people would have attended a service on a typical Sunday in 2012. This is approximately half the number that attended in 1968. In 2011 there were 51,880 weddings, 139,751 baptisms and 162,526 funerals conducted by Church of England clergy. In 2011, about one third of England's 20,000 state-funded schools were faith schools, of which 68% were affiliated to the Church of England schools and 30% were Roman Catholic. In a 2006 Ipsos MORI poll, "religious groups and leaders" topped the list of domestic groups that people said had too much influence over ministers. A 2013 Lancaster University study of British Catholics suggested they were wildly at odds with their spiritual leaders on matters of personal morality. According to the survey, only 9% would feel guilty using contraception and just 19% would support a ban on abortion. More favoured allowing same-sex marriage than were opposed. The 2011 census suggested there were 14.1 million people of no religion compared with 7.7 million a decade previously. This represented a rise from 15% to 25% of the population. It also showed an increase in the number of Muslims, with the proportion of the population in 2011 standing at 4.8%, or 2.7 million, up 2% or 1.5 million in 2001. The Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Sikh faiths all registered increases. There were 817,000 Hindus in 2011, a rise of 264,000 since 2001. The Jewish faith also rose by 3,000 over the last decade from 260,000 to 263,000.
Ah, the sigh of the oppressed, the soul of a soulless world. It takes many forms.What I'd like to know is, did all the Vikings who went to Valhalla transfer to heaven at some point, or achieve a state of Nirvana? If not, where are they now?
I agree, a good article.I like the comment by MrsBoggitt too – gives the lie to the notion that people aren't prepared to work voluntarily, and makes the comment that some jobs that used to be paid are now done for nothing.If we take Todd's figure of 70% as being more or less correct for people who identify themselves as working class, then we have hope of appealing to a majority even discounting the so-called middle class. I think this may be important, because many of the top 30 percent or so will be too complacent or will see socialism as taking 'everything they've worked for' away, even though they're not in the capitalist class.This is where I sometimes think our frequent comparison of the top 2 or 3 percent with the poorest can be a little flaky. Of course socialism will (hopefully) benefit all but it could well be a lot harder to convince the most well-to-do 'workers' that they'll be better off without their biggish incomes and accumulated savings, and the social status that often goes with them.robbo203 wrote:Exactly. Which brings out another point which i think Ozy is entirely missing: dont judge a book by its cover, Dont be fooled by mere appearance. I dont imagine for one moment that in my line of work (garden landscaping cum ground maintenance ) , for instance, any of my customers have the foggiest idea of my political affiliations and would probably be horrified to discover I was revolutionary socialist. There is one very nice couple I work for – both stalwart Labour Party supporters – who love to engage me in political discussion but I find I have to very often bite my tongue and be circumspect. I dont want to risk antagonising them for obvious reasons so have developed a kind of oblique way of talking politics with them. From their point I probably come across as a relatively non committal, mildly left of centre person. Im sure many in the SPGB must often find themselves in the same boat.
You have to be careful with the people you deal with regularly. Having said which, if you do start talking politics, they are often far too intent on speaking rather than listening. On one notable occasion when I brought up the subject of a moneyless society with my car mechanic, a one-man business, after he'd started grumbling about banks etc., he spent about an hour and a half telling me why it wouldn't work. Benefits scroungers, greed, etc. I could hardly get a word in edgeways and I wished I'd never bothered, I just wanted to get home. He's a reasonably intelligent man and probably thought I was on the side of the idiots.robbo203 wrote:Personally, I think this whole line of argument is fundamentally flawed and smacks not a little of "Great Man" conspiracy theory – the super-intelligent Übermensch that is our master class have cunningly ensured the relentless dumbing down of the proles and their slavish adherence to the status quo. As if. Our masters don't strike me as being any more – or less- intelligent than us and most of them have only got to where they are by virtue of having chosen the right parents I think the fact that the majority of workers continue to basically accept capitalism and all that it entails has got sod all to do with intelligence – or, rather, the lack of it . Dissing your fellow workers as cretinous buffoons, apart from being incredibly insulting, is plainly false. You mention the internet, Ozy. But if you have the cognitive capacity to surf the web or accomplish any of the myriad of other technical tasks that goes with living a life of a modern wage slave then you sure as hell have the raw ability to grasp the simple case for socialism. Unfortunately your use of the term "stupid" implies that they lack that ability. This points to what i have long thought is a basic weakness in the SPGB´s approach – its over emphasis on rationality. The basic assumption is that the case for socialism is pretty much self evident and mere exposure to that case, given our basic rationality, will compel individual workers to accept it. When they fail to accept it, this can seem utterly incomprehensible and at times can lead to a quite opposite response – a complete repudiation of the assumption of rationality to which the individual had previously appealed in putting forward the socialist case. Some would argue that it is a characteristic of black-or-white thinking that you can switch so easily from one extreme to the other. I would suggest it would be helpful to turn our attention elsewhere if we are to discover why it is that workers are not currently coming round in their droves to accept the case for socialism, I'm not a great fan of the French sociologist/anthropologist, Pierre Bourdieu, but I do think something like his key concept of habitus goes quite a long way to explaining why this is the case: There is a succinct explanation of ´"habitus" in Wikipedia as followsBourdieu thus sees habitus as an important factor contributing to social reproduction because it is central to generating and regulating the practices that make up social life. Individuals learn to want what conditions make possible for them, and not to aspire to what is not available to them. The conditions in which the individual lives generate dispositions compatible with these conditions (including tastes in art, literature, food, and music), and in a sense pre-adapted to their demands. The most improbable practices are therefore excluded, as unthinkable, by a kind of immediate submission to order that inclines agents to make a virtue of necessity, that is, to refuse what is categorically denied and to will the inevitable And also here Habitus is one of Bourdieu’s most influential yet ambiguous concepts. It refers to the physical embodiment of cultural capital, to the deeply ingrained habits, skills, and dispositions that we possess due to our life experiences. Bourdieu often used sports metaphors when talking about the habitus, often referring to it as a “feel for the game.” Just like a skilled baseball player “just knows” when to swing at a 95-miles-per-hour fastball without consciously thinking about it, each of us has an embodied type of “feel” for the social situations or “games” we regularly find ourselves in. In the right situations, our habitus allows us to successfully navigate social environments. For example, if you grew up in a rough, crime ridden neighborhood in Baltimore, you would likely have the type of street smarts needed to successfully survive or steer clear of violent confrontations, “hustle” for jobs and money in a neighborhood with extremely low employment, and avoid police surveillance or harassment. However, if you were one of the lucky few in your neighborhood to make it to college, you would probably find that this same set of skills and dispositions was not useful—and maybe even detrimental—to your success in your new social scenario.http://routledgesoc.com/category/profile-tags/habitus This chimes quite a lot with how I see things. Workers don't reject socialism because they are "stupid", they reject it because they cannot see the immediate relevance of socialism to their lives and the structures of everyday living. If we can break through that particular impasse we stand a chance of gaining ground and social influence. Habitus reminds me a little of the ideas of George Walford and his Systematic Ideology (Walford, for people, who may not have heard of him, was a trenchant and long standing critic of the SPGB). Accept that Bourdieu´s concept of habitus is not a static one – like Walford´s hierarchy of ideological types – but dynamic. I would like to think that as the socialist movement grows it will reach a critical threshold where factors that once worked against us – including habitus – will start to work in our favour Looking at the question of socialist consciousness from the perspective of "habitus", seems to me to be a much more rewarding approach than simply appealing to workers´ rationality – or indeed discounting the ability of workers to think rationally for themselves as you seemingly do, Ozy. In fact I would go so far as to say that part of the reason why workers fail to be drawn to socialism is because of attitudes such as you express here. If you have such low expectations of workers then to be quite blunt you can hardly expect them to join you, can you? All you are doing is reproducing or reinforcing a ruling class ideology that keeps them in their place
I think there's a lot to be said for this way of looking at it. This idea of 'habitus' is reinforced by the fact that people mostly just want to get their heads down and get through the next working day. Any idea which is too wacky, doesn't conform to their normal view of life or is in some way seen as threatening is quickly pushed aside. At the same time it's part of the reason why those with a super-high IQ or all the leisure time in the world to think about things don't automatically arrive at a socialist view – it's not rocket science but it's a million miles from what they know of the world and how they think it should work.
If only being intelligent turned people into socialists. You can have an IQ of 170, be well-read, cultured, and still not get the point.
So there's no mileage in us using it as an educational video then?
And, of course, schools will be increasingly 'sponsored' by business, something else we're already starting to see. Names like 'The Tesco Academy of Commerce' will become commonplace for secondary schools and students won't think twice about having company logos featured prominently on their uniforms.All good conditioning for the life to follow.
I doubt it's one we'll be singing come the revolution.
A bit quaint for today's tastes but it certainly gets the message across.I think it would sound good done in the style of, say, The Fall. That way you wouldn't really need music, just a rhythm and beat
I think there's another element as well – despite what we say about us all being in the same boat, there are a significant number of people who are 'comfortable' and who don't want radical change.alanjjohnstone wrote:On another thread i mentioned in passing that we should be conducting opinion polls to determine our political approach and effectiveness. But of course capitalism carries out its own research to determine prevailing opinions. The latest Guardian poll makes interesting and surprising findings.Most people who don't vote do so out of anger at the political system and not because of apathy. Disappointingly though for ourselves just a quarter of the electorate believe the two major politcal parties are so similar that voting is pointless. We have always strived to highlight the fact that it is Hobson's Choice of tweedledum and tweedledumber…apparently not enough people believe that as a reason not to vote. And again only a quarter cite the fact that the political parties do not represent their views as a reason to not vote. It seems for the vast majority , the existing political parties do reflect their views and opinions, something we have acknowledged…people get what they vote for! It is more about trust that spurs on voters to choose whether to be political, hence how UKIP who are untested on carrying out election promises so far can more easily tap into the discontent and although some of its politicians have been found wanting in the ethic/honesty stakes they have so far not been too high profile as the rest of mainstream corrupt politicians have. I leave members to reach their own conclusions on how in future the Party utilise our resources and direct our own propaganda in light of the above facts. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/dec/26/fury-mps-not-voting-poll
I think it's the case that the existing parties are still idealised by some of the electorate – Labour the working man's party, Conservative the party for business, Green the party for the environment, etc. Anyone looking at past performance with any degree of seriousness must see there's little difference. Whatever people's reasons for voting or not voting, our big problem is the same – to get them to look through the glass ceiling at the bleedin' obvious. Unfortunately the vast majority of people still have the mentality that things just need tinkering with. Anything else cuts into their daily lives too much.alanjjohnstone wrote:Lennon and leaders in his own wordshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoC83orA4ysLennon on revolution in his own words and endorsing peacefully if possible , violently if necessary ideahttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRq1mp4VArA
As far as socialists are concerned, these clips are a garbled mishmash of all sorts, e.g. 'If you want to change the world, do it subtly by…bed-ins'. Yeah, right. I think Russell Brand has more idea.Holding 'Imagine' up as a socialistic song is fair enough as far as it goes (it doesn't mention anything about taking political action to get rid of the ruling class, for example, and nor does 'Working Class Hero') but we should distance ourselves from 'Lennonism'.