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Musings about the Internet as a medium, and the quality of the messages.

Twitter is starting to take up quite a bit of my time. Actually, I think it is the best addition to the internet since e-mail. It, and maybe youtube, are the ultimate news and information service.

It is a pretty good facilitator of discussion, but does not replace e-mail. Good old e-mail; it keeps evolving, giving the finger to the endless claims to have something to replace it. These somethings are usually very proprietary, based on trying to sell advertising and people's personal information. None of them catch on, which is no doubt very frustrating to would be capitalists who keep trying to come up with a better mousetrap than e-mail.

Twiitter is still very commercial and full of junk and advertising, because it depends on a hub which costs money to run. Someone needs to figure out how people can follow each others web sites without going through the hub. E-mail does not quite do that, it has a few flaws; it does not allow for control of long windedness and allow search for interlocutors, or for good ways to manage their messages. When solutions for these problems are found, the internet will be pretty much perfect.

The basic problem of course, is that "entrepreneurs" keep looking for ways to try to make people use the net the way they want, instead of how people would really like to use it, how the net could be used to best advantage.

A problem with this is that people are scattered and using so many different systems. There are not good ways of finding the people or the information you really want. It leads to a fragmentation of the internetisphere which can only be solved by the perfection of the technology.

But it is not the media that matters so much as the quality of the message. The net has not made people smarter. You still get swamped with dreck from people who have nothing else to do with their time and nothing much between the ears. Also, with people riding ideological hobby horses.

The worst thing are people who are mentally incapacitated by what is called "liberal education". When I did university, I had the advantage of being older and exposed to other ideas and to real life, so I could critically analyze it. That is also why I rarely got good marks.

But an example of the destructive effects of miseducation are all the people who want to cite authorities to prove their points. This is the problem with most university education, it takes an approach variously described as educationalism, appeal to authority, synthesis as opposed to analysis, as scholasticism. The latter is usually ascribed to the medieval scholar Duns Scotus, the inspiration for our word "dunce".

Below is a response I made to one particular Dunce Scotus type seeking to use the old "liberal" canon to base a defense of the libertarian view of Basic Income. I had to do it by the old method of typing it out, JPGing it, and posting it as a graphic because I lost the original text.

Locke said this but also said that. Adam Smith said this and also that. Marx did not really say that but meant this. The new testament refutes almost everything in the old testament.

Here is the problem with engaging in philosophical debates by citing dead white men. Also with the whole academic citation mania. You can select whatever you want. Which is why it is much more useful to argue from observation and logical extension, than from authority. Or at least, understand the authors way of thinking, the basic principles he or she uses. Marx and the post modernists like Boudreau and Baudrillard are good examples of this.

If you are going to cite, cite the whole authority, or at least one work, not one paragraph.

At any rate, Locke is not very useful for modern understanding. He lived in pre-industrial times. I am surprised these libertarian types do not try to selectively cite the ancient greeks. Locke was trying to construct a justification for private property at a time when the existence of great estates was in question. To say that property owners have an obligation to keep alive the people he haas displaced and subjugated is simply restating the feudal system.

Private property needs to be challenged. I mean property as in "productive or convertible assets", not as in "personal possessions". Personal freedom means a rough equality among people. That means restriction on the ownership or exclusive accessing of assets.

Libertarians are not going to want to hear that. They will call it socialism. Libertarian will ultimately never fly with the mass of people. Socialism will.

I am not totally down on dead white men. Human knowledge and human culture really is a dialectic process, built up over immemorial generations. It is good to know where ideas came from so as to be better able to discard bad ideas. Some people do not have that capacity; they can't let go of a bad trope.

But my political thinking starts with Hobbes, which may sound strange to leftish people. But yes, I like civilization and living within a well organized society that assures the basics of life to even the lowest classes. Well, most of the time.

I cannot forget Machiavelli, the most misunderstood and misquoted of dead whiteys; even more so than Adam Smith. That is because everybody reads "The Prince" without also reading his other stuff. The circumstances of Machiavelli's life show that he was an ardent advocate of democracy; rule by and for the people.

Machiavelli was the first theorist of revolution, or at least the first to survive. What he was really writing was not a handbook for tyrants but a handbook for overthrowing tyrants. He understood from hard won experience that creating a more enlightened system within a state requires first of all, the ability to defend oneself, often physically, against those who like things the way they are. It requires the "armed prophet".

My next dead white man is Marx. I do not need to explain too much here. There is a class system. There is class warfare. History is the story of ruling elites of psychopaths. All this needs to be overthrown. Always within Marx is a nod to Hegel, who explained how human knowledge, self awareness, recognition of rights, all develop over ages.

So we get to Gramsci, who seems to put these together very well. It is very hard to find what he was really saying, partly because he had to write much of it on toilet paper while in prison. But also because his ideas do not fit with the schema of orthodox Marxists, who by the way do not understand old Karl very well either.

Now, as for living white men, Bourdieu, Bataille, Graeber, etc Foucault, well, he s dead now. I have found these folks a lot more useful. They take the line of thinking begun by Marx to a conclusion. We are now at the stage Marx talked of, when the productive powers of technology have been perfected.

Yet these people have noticed that the basic economic problems have never been about scarcity, but about how to dispose of surplus. It has been about keeping people busy, even at pointless jobs, in order to keep them under control. It is about overcoming the thought control process, the acculturation and education that makes people incapable of resistance.

This is the real task of the armed prophet, though he/she still has to be able to defeat the physical suppression the police, to be able to work on deprogramming the population from the liberalism cult.

So, what we need in the world at this time are some armed prophets. Hugo Chavez is probably the best example right now, and you do need a leader; that is just how human society works. But our armed prophet needs a movement behind him, like the Kurdish Peshmerga militia and worker's parties.

By "movement" I do not mean a majority or even a large minority, but a sufficient core of people who can get off their asses, who are not totally confused and immobilized by their education and acculturation, by "reasonableness". I am very sure the various "Marxist" groups around, the self styled revolutionary so and sos, are not going to provide any leadership. They are Marx's bastards, what he called the "Lumpenproletariat". They are just impediments to any real revolution.

We are not going to get one in Canada, where the people are as thought controlled as anywhere in the world. Like every other advance in the human condition, the big battle will happen elsewhere and catch on in Canada a generation later.

But it is still useful to keep pushing people in a logically correct direction and against all the ideological confusion. Yes, dearies, there is a correct way to think, a correct understanding of things. To say there are different ways to think is to say there is no way to think.

As I said, I have been lucky enough to escape the lobotomy by education and "acculturation". I think it is quite an advantage. I think I have something valuable to say. See you in the netisphere.