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By gmd (Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 07:11:20 PM EST) Hypocracy, media, terrorism, freedom fighters, Mandela, apartheid (all tags)
 I am sickened at the mainstream media's sycophantic canonisation of Mandela. My facebook feed is full of people posting their unquestioning admiration. It's as though critical thinking skills are a thing of the past.


Regardless of the injustices of apartheid, Mandela sanctioned the cold blooded killing of innocents.  

The ends do not justify the means, and murder is still murder even if you are fighting for a just cause.

Of course history is written by the victors, and I dare say the perpetrators of 9/11 might be similarly canonised by the Islamic media in the event that al quaida ever manage to establish a new caliphate. 

Would we see the same bullshit if it were McGuinness or Adams who died?

The point remains that murder is murder whichever way you look at it.



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On terrorism and freedom fighting. | 22 comments (22 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Oprah is friends with him by StackyMcRacky (4.00 / 3) #1 Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 08:29:37 PM EST
so of course he's a saint.  Sheesh.

The Gents' is by ana (4.00 / 5) #2 Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 08:54:25 PM EST
over here. Do help clean up when you're done sicking up. Ged will lend you a fork. 

I now know what the noise that is usually spelled "lolwhut" sounds like. --Kellnerin

Heh by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #8 Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 09:44:20 AM EST
Fork Patrol!

"...it isn't like I dug up her great-grandmother and fucked her in the eye socket." - clock
[ Parent ]
I think I see your problem by marvin (4.00 / 3) #3 Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:16:18 PM EST
If you didn't use facebook, none of those people would be bothering you. Same goes for the mainstream media.

The internet is a much better place to spend your time, where you can spend your time surrounded by similar views, undisturbed by those inconvenient opinions and thoughts held by those who are not like you.

Yeah, well he was no Rob Ford. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 6) #4 Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 01:21:35 AM EST
That's for sure.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

From your own reference: by notafurry (4.00 / 1) #5 Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 02:38:44 AM EST
"[It's] important to remember, however, that Mandela has been the first to hold his hands up to his shortcomings and mistakes. In books and speeches, he goes to great length to admit his errors. The real tragedy is that too many in the West can’t bring themselves to see what the great man himself has said all along; that he’s just as flawed as the rest of us, and should not be put on a pedestal."

For a politician, that alone is worthy of canonization.

And shouldn't a libertarian be praising his personal acceptance of responsibility for his past?

Knowledge of Mandela by jimgon (4.00 / 3) #6 Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 06:39:03 AM EST
 Most people don't actually know anything about Mandela, just what they've seen on television.  And I will honestly say I'm one of them, so I have no opinion on the matter.




---------------
Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
The ends do not justify the means, by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #7 Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 07:48:34 AM EST
If ends don't justify means, then what does?

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

Well by riceowlguy (2.00 / 0) #9 Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 11:31:28 AM EST
A guy just died.  Most people have the whole "don't speak ill of the dead" thing wired into them one way or another.  There's also the "dead people can't lead anybody anywhere" effect that was discussed by a black civil rights activist in a This American Life story about Harold Washington, the first black mayor of Chicago.  From the transcript:
"Judge Eugene Pincham
I just happen to be one who believes that-- again, the power structure does this-- make heroes out of dead folks. Because dead folks can't lead nobody nowhere. They've made Doctor King a holiday. And he was the most unpopular person at the time of his death as any leader in the history of the nation. And the moment he got killed, since he can't lead nobody nowhere, now he's a hero."

My feed has been similarly full of canonizing status updates since yesterday.  I think they are mostly sincere, and not just SWPL-tribe attempts at making sure they are seen to be on the right side of history.

If his death had happened a month before now, I might not be as interested as I am now, but I recently read a (certainly apocryphal, non-scientific) comment on a blog somewhere from somebody who had spent time in South Africa and said that he commonly heard black South Africans muttering "just wait until Mandela dies" any time they felt impugned by a white South African.  (Mandela apparently was a big force in keeping things peaceful after the end of apartheid.)  It will be interesting to see what happens now.

All I really know about South Africa is that they have a pretty decent wine industry, mostly Cabs.

some presumed knowlegdable persons by bobdole (2.00 / 0) #10 Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 04:20:45 PM EST
have indicated that given the closeness to the upcoming election - his death will probably increase the sympathy for ANC in the short term - and "ironically" postponing any real change until the next election.

Oddly enough probably counter to what Mandela himself wanted - given the growing realisation that ANC has turned sour (corruption wise) and it's time for a fresh start.
-- The revolution will not be televised.

[ Parent ]
the important thing about the right side... by gzt (2.00 / 0) #11 Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 11:08:16 PM EST
...of history is that you want to be on the right side of history before it's history. the phrase was being used quite a bit in the 80s to refer to SA.

i give credit where credit is due: mitch mcconnell and newt gingrich were on the right side of history with mandela and south africa in the 80s. they are still on the right side of history with mandela. gingrich wrote a nice piece about mandela on this occasion.

[ Parent ]
the right side of history by nathan (2.00 / 0) #12 Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 11:34:33 AM EST
Not to threadjack, but I really dislike this concept. It's really easy to get on "the right side of history" by being tall, handsome and good at appearing above it all, like Richard the Lion-hearted, and on "the wrong side" by being an unpopular twerp, like John Lackland.

History also has a tendency to reverse itself in unpredictable ways. Right now, Marcus Aurelius's stock is high because of his high character and lofty personal code. But he wasn't a great administrator and he greatly dialed up the persecution of the Christians, so in other ages other views prevailed. Likewise, Orwell (I think) wrote somewhere that it was, on the whole, judicious of Lenin to have died when he did, since that allowed the blame for repressive policies he initiated late in life to fall on Stalin. At times, Columbus, Napoleon and Cortes were considered great heroes, while the wheel has turned on them all by now.

All politics is of the present. People mine the past and their notional antecedents for material to build heroes whose effigies can be carried as standards by present political movements. I think worrying about how you'll be thought of long after you're dead is pointless -- who knows who will win in the long run, or the longer one?


[ Parent ]
this is certainly true in some senses by gzt (2.00 / 0) #13 Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 12:30:05 PM EST
but i don't think anybody judges somebody for or against marcus aurelius as being on the right or wrong side of history. the rhetoric is generally only used when somebody in modern times is making a moral decision - e.g. whether to support or oppose economic sanctions on south africa - and people are saying history will condemn the decision. yes, the wheel turns for and against certain decisions. some, like sanctions against SA, kind of turn out unambiguous.

[ Parent ]
"history will condemn" by nathan (4.00 / 2) #14 Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 02:45:14 PM EST
Well, that's really my point. "History" isn't an actor and can't judge anything. Concealed in the phrase is the assumption that "future societies will like and condemn the same things that I do", which is pretty Whiggish -- what if 100 years from now everyone lives under an Islamic theocracy, or under some kind of ultra-liberal state that castigates us all for our non-veganism, or who knows what?

http://www.thepaincomics.com/Don't%20Mind%20Grandpa.JPG


[ Parent ]
concealed in the phrase? by lm (2.00 / 0) #15 Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 05:54:42 PM EST
It seems to me that the phrase itself is explicitly stating that a  particular moral judgment will eventually prevail in a dominant fashion.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
that it's an assumption is concealed by nathan (2.00 / 0) #16 Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 06:31:05 PM EST
And the speaker likely doesn't realize that it is an assumption -- fish don't see water.

You could certainly argue, maybe even successfully, that a particular moral judgment will prevail (everywhere? forever? inevitably?) but that isn't what people are typically doing when they appeal to the "judgment of history". Instead, they are assuming that the future is going to be like the present, only more so.


[ Parent ]
I don't think people use it that way by lm (2.00 / 0) #17 Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 06:48:14 AM EST
Most often the phrase is either used to predict the future (i.e. people in the eighties saying that Reagan was on the wrong side of history for supporting the Apartheid regime) or as blanket statement about the present (i.e. people today saying that Reagan was on the wrong side of history for supporting the Apartheid regime).

My earlier comment was on the first of these. But some people do use the phrase in the latter way. And in that latter case, the "history" is not future history which has yet to be written but present history.

In either case, the assumption you see isn't being made.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I don't think there's any difference btw by nathan (2.00 / 0) #18 Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 10:51:36 AM EST
"Predicting" the future and "assuming" that the future will turn out in the way you think it will, except that someone who's predicting knows he's making a measured judgment with some margin for error and that a particular prediction can't be projected forward eternally.

In the latter case, there's obviously an assumption: that the arrow of history flies one way only forever, towards greater liberty and Enlightenment principles. This assumption is widespread enough to have its own Wikipedia article. I'd say that it's an unusual American that hasn't got any Whiggishness about him. It's implicit in the phrase "social progress", which may be used carefully to mean "progress towards some particular contingent goal" but is more commonly and sloppily used to mean "progress in the natural and ultimately inevitable direction of large-h History".


[ Parent ]
I see what you did there by lm (2.00 / 0) #19 Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 07:19:20 AM EST
Linking to an article about a criticism of a tendency to write books about the past as if it were teleologically moving to the present as if it had bearing on whether or not people are projecting into the future when they talk about being on the right side of history.

You probably would have been better off linking to something about Hegel who thought history was over, except in America. That's far closer to the point you're trying to make, I think.

But certainly, the so-called Whiggish view of history is nothing new. You can see it in the Gospels, especially the Gospel of Luke where Caesar is presented as having united the whole world under one rule as preparation for the advent of Christ. Never mind that the Romans hardly ruled the whole world.

But I still don't think that really has a lot to do with the way that most people use the phrase "x is/was on the wrong side of history".


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I actually mentioned Whiggery in an earlier post by nathan (2.00 / 0) #20 Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 01:15:06 PM EST
Link

So at least I'm consistent.
Linking to an article about a criticism of a tendency to write books about the past as if it were teleologically moving to the present as if it had bearing on whether or not people are projecting into the future when they talk about being on the right side of history.
Well, yeah. My claim is that people who think history has a "side" are predicting the future on the basis of a teleologically driven trajectory they deduce from past events as viewed through an ideological lens, or put differently, are assuming the future will turn out in accordance with their values because their values enjoy the mandate of providence. One way of supporting that claim is to point out that this exact criticism was made of influential historians of the recent past with genealogically related values (the "Whig historians" were among the liberals and progressives of their time).
You probably would have been better off linking to something about Hegel who thought history was over, except in America.
Here you're assuming that I looked for a link to support an argument I made ad-hoc rather than linking to something I already knew about that underpinned the argument. Why drag Hegel into it? He has lots of baggage and little influence among the kind of people who say "the right side of history" today. America has many more Whigs than Hegelians. If I'm making a claim about what Anglo-Americans typically believe, there's no point talking about Hegel, patristics, etc., because they have little direct influence. FWIW, I think you could certainly argue that the unity of the Roman Empire was a major factor in helping Christianity to spread, even if the Romans didn't rule the whole world (for one thing, they didn't rule Persia).
But I still don't think that really has a lot to do with the way that most people use the phrase "x is/was on the wrong side of history".
Our disagreement is, at bottom, over whether people using the phrase are predicting or merely assuming that the future will be progressive and liberal.


[ Parent ]
Conservatives use the phrase as well by lm (2.00 / 0) #21 Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 06:28:44 PM EST
George Will, for example, was quite found of it back in the 90s.

The point about Hegel is that his philosophy underpins the argument that you're actually making. The Whiggish view of history is about the past leading inexorably to the present rather than the present being one step that leads inexorably into the future.

If you're making the claim that people who use the phrase about the wrong side of history are making claims about the future, then you're with Hegel and not the Whigs.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I agree that conservatives don't want to be by nathan (2.00 / 0) #22 Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 10:15:47 AM EST
On "the wrong side of history". Most people in the Anglo-American world today are the intellectual descendants of the Enlightenment and of Whiggery. As a foreigner, I may be misreading things, but American conservatives seem to want to conserve the recent past on the grounds that the present represents a deviation from "true" liberalism and is therefore on the wrong side of history! They don't want to repeal the 19th Amendment, establish a legally distinct aristocracy, establish a new 1st Estate, put the Throne and Altar back up and put Maistre's hangman back in business, etc. It's hard to imagine a modern person praising, as Plato does, the Doric discipline and manners.
The Whiggish view of history is about the past leading inexorably to the present rather than the present being one step that leads inexorably into the future.
I disagree with this distinction, and so does the second paragraph of the Wikipedia article I linked: "Whig history is a form of liberalism, that puts its faith in the power of human reason to reshape society for the better, regardless of past history and tradition. It proposes the inevitable progress of mankind." In the second paragraph under "Terminology", the article says: "The term has been applied widely in historical disciplines outside of British history (the history of science, for example) to criticize any teleological (or goal-directed), hero-based, and transhistorical narrative." Maybe in some contexts, "Whig history" is narrowly limited to progress towards high Victorianism, but in other contexts it is used more broadly to refer to teleological theories of history generally. I'm not well-read in Victorian historiography, but I don't remember anything about Hegel in Macaulay's Evidence of Progress, and I do remember Macaulay coyly "refusing to predict" that England in 1930 would be as much more advanced, wealthy and progressive than in 1850 as England in 1850 was than in 1720, as a consequence of free-market capitalism and the erosion of medieval remnants.

I also disagree that we need to specifically resort to Hegel to talk about liberal teleology in general. Just as there was non-Marxist socialism in the 19th century, there were non-Hegelian narratives of progress toward liberty, and there was a lot of overlap between their proponents. It's hard for me to find Hegel or Marx in e.g. Edward Bellamy. (A quick skim of JSTOR suggests that Bellamy hadn't read Marx when he wrote Looking Backward; presumably he hadn't read Hegel either). Hegel differs from other 19th century teleological historians not in positing ongoing progress but in providing a deeper mechanism for it than simply an appeal to the success of liberalism so far. And correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Hegel think that limited constitutional monarchy actually is the final stage of history?



[ Parent ]
On terrorism and freedom fighting. | 22 comments (22 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback