Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: McVicar and the media

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  • Kyle Matthews,

    Now, that's the house of representatives, so what does that say about the rest of the country?

    Depends what you think of the members of the HOR really ;)

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Humanity has demonstrated a near-total inability to operate societies larger than tiny villages without resorting to law-of-the-jungle, you-own-what-you-can-defend systems of "justice".

    I seem to remember reading that most prehistorical archaeological digs - from a period when humanity did largely operate on a law-free basis - reveal a 1/3 death-by-violence rate for men (not sure what it was for women). That's just the ones with wounds that would have killed them, too, not the ones with serious wounds likely acquired from other humans that they healed from.

    That's *really high*. And I have zero faith that, were society to revert to this sort of state, humanity would have moved beyond this.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    how would we stop the sort of blood-feud based chaos that tends to emerge whereever an effective legal system is absent?

    Anarchism is not the same thing as anarchy.

    Yes, most pre-industrial societies turned into autocracies large or small, where the man or group who could marshal the most violence took control, oppressed the others, and attacked other communities.

    But people have developed ways of living that avoid this. Currently, we have capitalism, where people are given the illusion of control and the system's violence is primarily targetted at the "other", be that Iraqi kids or Maori "criminals".

    Another is anarchism, where an attempt is made to actually remove the concept of leadership through violence. This has actually been tried and worked in Barcelona during the Spanish Revolution. It was crushed by the forces of state and traditional capitalism (in particular the Soviet Union and the fascist states of Europe).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Without the police or the judiciary, you have no (semi) objective arbiters who can and do rule *against* the powerful. I've yet to see a good argument that the abolition of these systems would not just result in the powerful - groups as well as individuals - doing whatever the fuck they want to the powerless. Because there's never been a human society of any size where that *didn't* happen. It's not that individuals can't be good without law; it's that groups generally won't, especially groups of any size.

    Thanks, Lucy. That's pretty much what I was wondering - what methods does anarchism propose that would replace the current functions of the police and legal system? And have those methods been shown to work for groups larger than 150?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    This has actually been tried and worked in Barcelona during the Spanish Revolution. It was crushed by the forces of state and traditional capitalism (in particular the Soviet Union and the fascist states of Europe).

    In other words, it didn't work. I mean, really, if you want to explain how the anarchists will avoid getting robbed by nasty men with guns, Barcelona is not a good example.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    As I understand history, no form of truly egalitarian system of selfgovernment has ever worked for humans: might've worked temporarily in Barcelona in the 1930s: was working for a group that Alexander-the-Pyschopath ordered exterminated waaay back when...and that is the problem: humans are hierarchical and dominance-driven animals. Small groups may come to a satisfactory existence that doesnt include these elements - but larger outside groups will be motivated to wipe them out (sets a bad example for 'ordinary humans' = 'those under our control.')

    The rule of law isnt yet perfect but it frankly IS the best thing we have so far devised for the 'greatest good for the greatest number.'

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Small groups may come to a satisfactory existence that doesnt include these elements - but larger outside groups will be motivated to wipe them out (sets a bad example for 'ordinary humans' = 'those under our control.')

    It's your basic ingroup-outgroup problem; humans aren't happy without an ingroup-outgroup system. And then someone will always decide to enforce said system via violence.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Lucy Stewart - exactly.
    Works for Pan. trog (although not for Pan paniscus which seems to suggest some of our genes are closer to the former)- & has worked majorly for us H.sap.saps-
    well, 'worked' in the sense that there has been an *awful lot of dead-before-their-time humans, with the disgusting waste of their abilities"...*

    and the non existence now, of at least 3 other human species...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    and the non existence now, of at 3 other human species...

    I kind of don't want to know how they went extinct, because I have a strange suspicion it would just be fucking depressing. And involve a lot of flint axeheads.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Lucy Stewart....umm, we're not sure. Nobody has an exact scenario of why H.sap.neanderthalis died out - we know H.s.s came into -Europe for instance - and *about* 10 millennia later, oops, no Neanderthals (and there is quite a bit of evidence ofcannabalism apropos Hs.n bones - but errm, toothmarks do not clarify who was eating whom...)BUT there was a bit of climate change going on there also-

    For H?floresensis - there is some very provocative evidence, that some individuals survived even after about 10,000bce. For the last & latest discovery, hey! we didnt even know she existed until (publically) about 2 months ago!

    Flint axes - possibly. Outbreeding a cold-adapted set of humans - definitely.

    Shit. (Thread merge warning!) I would seriously love a time-machine...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    laws can and often do serve the interests of the powerful, but they also serve the interests of those who have no power and no allies.

    This is worth repeating. One of the reasons that societies with laws and state-sponsored enforcers can prosper is that it's not necessary for people to spend their days defending their property. Rather, the state provides a protection service and this allows property owners to dedicate their efforts to providing goods and services to others.
    Abolition of laws and their enforcers would force people to spend their time defending their property, rather than engaging in productive pursuits that enrich society as a whole. Anarchism may be a nice thought, but it rarely stands up to any kind of real scrutiny. Unless, of course, the proponent fancies a society that stagnates in all fields of endeavour, be they scientific, industrial, or philosophical. I cannot think of a single major advance in human development that has come from a society that lacked any kind of hierarchy and enforcement of strictures that would be recognisable as laws in a modern context. Even Ancient Greece had judicial and statutory systems.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Another is anarchism, where an attempt is made to actually remove the concept of leadership through violence.

    It's hopefully not really what you meant, but the phrase "remove the concept of leadership" is quite depressing to me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I believe the construction is "remove the concept of (leadership through violence)" rather than "(remove the concept of leadership) through violence" - less depressing.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    So how was his Garthness tonight?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Abolition of laws and their enforcers would force people to spend their time defending their property, rather than engaging in productive pursuits that enrich society as a whole.

    Somalia is the most obvious example. On the opposite extreme, there have been cases of private property rights enforced at machine-gunpoint, such as Pinochet's Chile or Verwoerd's South Africa.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5418 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Or Land Wars in Aotearoa-NZ-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    So how was his Garthness tonight?

    Quite genial he was, a very down-to-earth bloke.

    But the mask slipped a bit when he was defending his support of Bruce Emery and demonisation of Pihema Cameron as a strategic decision by the trust "to focus attention on entry-level crime".

    Also, closing out on "the end justifies the means." Good times.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    "remove the concept of leadership"

    I find it hard to hard to square this statement with the Homage to Barcelona above.

    If I recall correctly, the CNT still had officers. Elected, but still leaders.

    Orwell also explicitly points out the contrast between the soldiers at the front (always chronically short of material and supplies, but great camraderie), and the REMFs in Barcelona proper, who always seems to have as much of everything they care for.

    So plus ca change, really.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I find it hard to hard to square this statement with the Homage to Barcelona above.

    I think if you take off the last two words "through violence" it completely changes the quote, as Sacha noted.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Ahhh. Up to speed now.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Ta, Sam

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    The SST is a classic case of law and order moral panic, particularly as described in Stuart Hall's work on authoritarian populism during the heyday of Thatcherism in the late seventies,
    eighties and early nineties. Enter populism, stir up moral ioutrage,
    contact the unreflective tabloid media, light the tory blue touchpaper
    and stand well clear...

    Craig

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 566 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    Mc Vicar may have been dealt with and this may already have been said, however I think the media attend to his views because they are predictably far right. What else would you expect from a pig but a grunt.

    Since Mar 2010 • 378 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    william blake - pigs are intelligent animals: yes, they grunt, but they also honk & squeal. I dont think Garthy-baby is up to that range...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Enter populism, stir up moral ioutrage,
    contact the unreflective tabloid media, light the tory blue touchpaper
    and stand well clear...

    What surprises me is how many people who shouldn't be are scared of the SST.

    I was able to conduct a perfectly reasonable interview while asking Garth McVicar questions I don't think anyone else has.

    FWIW, he's quite a nice man in person. I think getting him in the same room as people he habitually denigrates is a good thing. I was surprised that he hadn't met Roger Brooking until last night, but they exchanged contacts and resolved to catch up.

    I didn't ask the questions PA readers (probably) wanted to me to ask, but I tasked him on the hostility to ideas he creates.

    Anyway, watch it, 9.10pm tonight, TVNZ 7.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

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