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Confucianism

ek hornbeck's picture

Among the lesser known factoids of history is that there was actually a guy named Confucius and he wasn't trapped inside a Fortune Cookie factory.

Indeed in China (you know, only the single most stable, creative, and longest lasting civilization in history but then again why would you because the United States is so exceptional that nothing like that matters) he's regarded as a philosophic genius on a par with Socrates and like Socrates did a lot of thinking about Politics and Government.

Now we could argue about specific principles (not much into the whole ancestor worship thing myself) but my main point is that you can make a very compelling case that he is the inventor of the Professional State Bureaucracy.

In it's simplest form this seems like an obviously good idea. Instead of giving power to make stuff work to a big scary guy with a club because they are big and scary and have a club, why not give it to a guy who has demonstrated some competence making stuff work?

This is revolutionary, I know, but when you've basically just figured out the whole fire thing it doesn't really take that much.

Government is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.

There is a problem with this concept in operation that China (you remember, the whole longest lasting civilization in history bit?) struggled with again and again. Instead of measuring actual competence and holding people accountable for their performance (which back in the day involved looking at your still twitching, blood gushing body from an unusual perspective) the Professional State Bureaucracy substituted rote memorization of approved texts in prestigious academies and nepotism.

When, inevitably, the Peter Principle Point was reached and the Mandate of Heaven lost there was regime change (lots of twitching).

I hope this lesson wasn't too terribly boring but I do have direction in my message.

All day I have heard people who would contend they are Liberal decry the Brexit vote. They say it's racist and xenophobic. That it spells global economic doom.

That the people are too stupid to know what they want.

Well you privileged pampered assholes who have memorized all the approved texts, graduated from the prestigious academies, and only have jobs because of your bootlicking sycophancy because you're demonstrably bad at your chosen profession, let me tell you what they want-

Change.

You are damn lucky it was a ballot and not something more permanent and twitchy.

Brexit won’t shield Britain from the horror of a disintegrating EU
by Yanis Varoufakis, The Guardian
Friday 24 June 2016 13.38 EDT

I visited towns in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, seeking to convince progressives that dissolving the EU was not the solution. I argued that its disintegration would unleash deflationary forces of the type that predictably tighten the screws of austerity everywhere and end up favouring the establishment and its xenophobic sidekicks. Alongside John McDonnell, Caroline Lucas, Owen Jones, Paul Mason and others, I argued for a strategy of remaining in but against Europe’s established order and institutions. Against us was an alliance of David Cameron (whose Brussels’ fudge reminded Britons of what they despise about the EU), the Treasury (and its ludicrous pseudo-econometric scare-mongering), the City (whose insufferable self-absorbed arrogance put millions of voters off the EU), Brussels (busily applying its latest treatment of fiscal waterboarding to the European periphery), Germany’s finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble (whose threats against British voters galvanised anti-German sentiment), France’s pitiable socialist government, Hillary Clinton and her merry Atlanticists (portraying the EU as part of another dangerous “coalition of the willing") and the Greek government (whose permanent surrender to punitive EU austerity made it so hard to convince the British working class that their rights were protected by Brussels).

The repercussions of the vote will be dire, albeit not the ones Cameron and Brussels had warned of.
...
Italy, Finland, Spain, France, and certainly Greece, are unsustainable under the present arrangements. The architecture of the euro is a guarantee of stagnation and is deepening the debt-deflationary spiral that strengthens the xenophobic right. Populists in Italy and Finland, possibly in France, will demand referendums or other ways to disengage.

The only man with a plan is Germany’s finance minister. Schäuble recognises in the post-Brexit fear his great opportunity to implement a permanent austerity union. Under his plan, eurozone states will be offered some carrots and a huge stick. The carrots will come in the form of a small eurozone budget to cover, in some part, unemployment benefits and bank deposit insurance. The stick will be a veto over national budgets.

If I am right, and Brexit leads to the construction of a permanent austerian iron cage for the remaining EU member states, there are two possible outcomes: One is that the cage will hold, in which case the institutionalised austerity will export deflation to Britain but also to China (whose further destabilisation will have secondary negative effects on Britain and the EU).

Another possibility is that the cage will be breached (by Italy or Finland leaving, for instance), the result being Germany’s own departure from the collapsing eurozone. But this will turn the new Deutschmark zone, which will probably end at the Ukrainian border, into a huge engine of deflation (as the new currency goes through the roof and German factories lose international markets). Britain and China had better brace themselves for an even greater deflation shock wave under this scenario.
...
I very much doubt that, despite their panic in Brexit’s aftermath, EU leaders will learn their lesson. They will continue to throttle voices calling for the EU’s democratisation and they will continue to rule through fear. Is it any wonder that many progressive Britons turned their back on this EU?

While I remain convinced that leave was the wrong choice, I welcome the British people’s determination to tackle the diminution of democratic sovereignty caused by the democratic deficit in the EU. And I refuse to be downcast, even though I count myself on the losing side of the referendum.

As of today, British and European democrats must seize on this vote to confront the establishment in London and Brussels more powerfully than before. The EU’s disintegration is now running at full speed. Building bridges across Europe, bringing democrats together across borders and political parties, is what Europe needs more than ever to avoid a slide into a xenophobic, deflationary, 1930s-like abyss.

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ek hornbeck's picture
Submitted by ek hornbeck on

I can also tell you the difference between the Han and Tang dynasties if you want to listen to it.