Wednesday, February 3, 2016

RAW on 'Scandinavian socialism'


As John Higgs points out in the introduction to the new "Cosmic Trigger," American libertarians and British socialists both like this guy

On Facebook, Olga Struthio asks,

"Wondering what Bob would think of Bernie Sanders: an old interview gives a clue . . .
DARE
Are there any existing political systems you admire?
WILSON
Scandinavian socialism. I found the Scandinavians to be about the most admirable people in Europe. clean streets, a low crime rate, a general air of high civilization - luxuries for all and a total absence of slums, poverty, and ugliness. They seem very happy and productive, with one of the most way out futurist movements in the world. They're the California of Europe.
I hate to sound like a Marxist, which I'm not, but the reason you haven't heard about Scandinavian Socialism is because the media of this country is controlled by rich people who are scared shitless of socialism. They want Americans to think there's only one type of socialism, Soviet Communism, which is the kind of place where dissident scientists get thrown in lunatic asylums, all of which is true. Americans are paranoid about Russians but Scandinavians regard them with amusement; they're those backwards people who think that you can only have socialism by putting all the poets and painters in jail. The Scandinavians reward their poets and they don't put anyone in jail for dissident political opinions."

This ties in nicely with Michael Johnson's observation, in a comment to Monday's post, "RAW did emphasize individualist anarchists and Crowley and individualist ideas in general, but I suspect he'd - were he alive today - see the 2008 bankster-driven collapse and growing inequality as a reason to emphasize social well-being as complementary to our personal projects." (Read all of Michael's comments, and all of the other comments. There's some pretty good discussion.)

Leftists tend naturally to emphasize RAW's "left" side while libertarians tend to play up the "libertarian" ideas. (Conservatives don't have much in RAW's work they can point to for inspiration.) It seems to me that RAW was better at posing questions than coming up with ways to successfully reconcile his conflicting impulses. I personally want a strong safety net with maximum individual liberty, which is why I tend to gravitate to policy proposals such as the basic income guarantee.


11 comments:

michael said...

Nice catch from Olga!

In _Chaos and Beyond: The Best of Trajectories_, RAW cites 1990 newspaper articles about the poor technological training in the US vs. Western Europe and Japan, and if it kept up, it looked dire. Citing "The Conference on the Skills of the American Workforce" RAW notes "the study also showed that 90% of American employers did not consider low skill levels a problem and that the vast majority showed more concern about an applicant's 'social behavior' and conformity to norms."

On the same page, in a box labeled "Editorial Comment":

"Can't help but noting the nations listed as having better educated workers than the US - West Germany, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, and Singapore - also have multi-party political systems, offering a wide spectrum from right to left. Could our system of only two political parties, both right-wing, survive if we invested in creating an educated working class?" - p.167

I wonder if the Sanders success (so far) has less to do with an educated working class and more to do with with an educated unemployed or underemployed (barely) working class?

michael said...

We have to beware though: if we miraculously attain Scandinavian socialism, we may be overrun by heavy metal bands, or so influential thinker Richard Florida would have us surmise:

http://www.citylab.com/design/2012/04/where-heavy-metal-bands-are/1714/

Florida doesn't mention that there's also a far-higher-than-you'd expect number of metal bands coming out of Florida (no relation to Richard). Or there was, as of a couple years ago.

How to account for this? Most people reach for geography and cold weather...but Florida?

Sorry to have derailed the topic, but in my odd sense of humor I thought this was funny. Carry on!

Ben Turpin said...

The heavy metal/church burnings connection. The classification "heavy metal" evokes star-formed matter. Heavy metal pollution pushed out of the spotlight. Flying V takes off again. The fear of certain tonality in Europe in history.

I found a mason jar full of mercury at work once, hidden in plain sight on a top shelf, while cleaning a small storage closet.

Sanders has to fight/ endure an unfair 'white privilege' narative building phase. A hall of mirrors reality tunnel. (I can discuss anything but fractals...even American politics. Live free or die. New Hampshire? Freedom and Unity? Vermont?)

Maybe the mercury explains our lot. Did you ever work as a hatter, Michael?

I assumed the mercury was paint at first, like ya would, until it indicated it's tell-tale rolling mass upon handling. My once upon a time best old boss, who was madly genius about funky controls, had it left over from an old custom mercury switch R&D project. Michael, I have alway thought about putting a mercury switch in a guitar. For no reason. What function could it perform?

Mercury in rivers, (in FW?) Salmon of Wisdom? Purple. Hazelnuts? Hydro dam reservoirs?
Heavy metal lyrics.

Song title,
Mad water, maybe? Or should I write a giant essay, that no one will read, to refute?
Burning up the social license of churches of green energy with poetry. And LOUD GUITARS!
It is better than prose,
Good politics. Fun. Informative. I wish Frank Zappa were alive, because I ALWAYS forget he died.

Weird Al is still above the sod, so I am not the worst tod.
Wesley Willis. Should do a Barry Sanders song.

Velo said...

I guess RAW would stand for the less invasive, less authoritarian, less opressive government type, no matter the label. If by socialist we mean where there is no hunger and misery, fine; if by libertarian we mean where there is freedom to individuals respecting the freedom of others (93/93),fine too!

IMHO, libertarian is the more accurate description to summarize RAW's takes on politics, but considering the open and apparently sustainable welfare system of Scandinavian countries, that's a kind of Center position which, if works, alright! Maybe, you know?

Velo said...

I guess RAW would stand for the less invasive, less authoritarian, less opressive government type, no matter the label. If by socialist we mean where there is no hunger and misery, fine; if by libertarian we mean where there is freedom to individuals respecting the freedom of others (93/93),fine too!

IMHO, libertarian is the more accurate description to summarize RAW's takes on politics, but considering the open and apparently sustainable welfare system of Scandinavian countries, that's a kind of Center position which, if works, alright! Maybe, you know?

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