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Terry Dyke
Worked at City of Austin
Attended University of Texas at Austin
Lives in Austin
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Austin during SXSW, geek-town extraordinaire: look, up in the sky -- it's... Pi! Cloudy digits left by a platoon of skywriting planes.
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Terry Dyke

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Hold the phone, comrades -- "liberal" is not really "left"

Contrary to popular usage, "liberal" is qualitatively different from "left." It is a centrist  position meant to preserve the status quo by allowing a few reforms that help appease or co-opt efforts at basic systemic change sought by the left.

Part of the confusion in terminology comes from the ever-present tendency in politics toward subverting the language. It's a political weapon first recognized and instituted in the popular mind in Orwell's novel 1984, but is certainly alive and well today.

It goes back a lot further, of course -- the politically-mindful Confucians in ancient China asserted that "good government begins with calling things by their right names."

To get a handle on liberalism, referring to its history is probably the best way to steer clear of the subjectivity involved in semantic wrangling about the term. Left-oriented European historians like those of the Annales  school (Braudel, Wallerstein, Arrighi et al) give us some pretty interesting background on the matter.

As a policy, liberalism apparently came out of the Congress of Vienna of 1815 and Europe's massive reorganization after the defeat of Napoleon, who represented the culmination (at that time) of the "Age of Revolutions."

The powers-that-be recognized that revolutionary tendencies among the masses meant the established power structure could no longer be sustained by the current system of monarchy, so reforms were put in place with the aim of appeasing them -- a program of concessions to "the dangerous classes."

These included free public education, "patriotism" bolstered by universal military service, widening of suffrage into non-landowner classes, and somewhat later, social insurance.

As Wallerstein puts it, "In response to burgeoning masses of disenfranchised wage-workers, Western states began a program of 'palliative' reform."

This also included establishing our present notion of "social progress," which helped stabilize the status quo, since the promise of it created patience among those classes who would otherwise be quicker to agitate.

Yes, we're talking labels, with all the standard disclaimers hereby invoked. Still, I'd say that in blunt terms, "liberal" is ruling-class, "left" is working-class.

I'd also suggest that anyone comfortable with the label "left" would also accept -- or at least, not be offended by -- the label "socialist." Certainly, that works for Bernie Sanders!
#liberal #left #class #socialist #statusquo #progress #revolution
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PPS: On checking the Wallerstein reference, I found that it's actually a paraphrase. Here's the verbatim quote, from The End of the World As We Know It, page 9,  referring to the masses of disenfranchised wage-workers:

"...political leaders of the different states began to effectuate a program of reform designed to respond to the plaints of this group, palliate their miseries, and appease their sense of alienation.”
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Terry Dyke

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Guilty Pleasure Dog...
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Terry Dyke

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One big reason I don't worry so much about Big Brother

Jim Kunstler nails it:

The means for such a coup of the zeitgeist are rather frightful now: drone aircraft, computer surveillance, militarized police, a puppet press. It makes thoughtful folks queasy.

...It is one of the great hidden blessings of our time, actually, that anything organized on the massive scale is doomed to failure.

But it is likewise the great mission of our time to prepare to get local and smaller, something we’re not really ready for and certainly not interested in.

Kunstler blogs about energy decline, racket economics, and the terminal follies of Washington.
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+Benjamin Brownell True, self-organization and emergence are pervasive, at all scales. This is something we systems geeks appreciate fully, even though much of the body politic just goes "huh?"

To key into your meshwork theme, I believe the shared adventure here has to do with decentralization on many levels, including the political.

We're moving from a centrally-controlled machine model to a dispersed organic one.
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Where's my half a mil, bub?

For your consideration and heartburn:
- Total household net worth in the US: $75 trillion.
- Total number of households in the US: 115 million.
- Average net worth of US households: $652,000. That's average.

This is the arithmetic that they do not want you to do. If wealth distribution were even close to level, you and your family would be worth well over half a million dollars.

Even allowing, say, a ten-fold difference in people's abilities, that'd still leave those at the bottom of the heap sitting on a 65-grand nest egg at the very least. You want fries with that?

There's plenty to go around. If you hear somebody start to say "Yes-but," please slap them and 'splain it to 'em.
#wealth #inequality #classdivision #plutocracy #lampposts
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+Terry Dyke Johnny Rocco.  "Key Largo".
Key Largo - Humphrey Bogart & Edward G. Robinson - No Johnny Rocco Scene

"Yeah, that's it, more. I want more!"
"Will you ever get enough?  Will you, Rocco?"
"Well, I never have.  No, I guess I won't."
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Have him in circles
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Terry Dyke

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New post at my blog, "Midnight Oil."

 Both liberals and conservatives are just plain off-base when they use "liberal" and "left" interchangeably.

As if there weren't enough of a problem in American politics with twisting the language for political advantage, this is just one more way that the ruling class marginalizes the working classes.

...liberal advocates have boldly assumed that since they are “not-the-right,” it means they are “of-the-left,” at least kinda-sorta some shade of left - though, heaven forbid, not like those hirsute troublemakers far enough left to be socialists.

Contrary to the popular American usage, however, “liberal” is qualitatively different from “left.” It is a centrist  position meant to preserve the status quo by allowing a few reforms that help appease or co-opt efforts at basic systemic change sought by the left.

Here's an analysis and some historical background on the meanings behind the labels.
#liberal #left #class #socialist #statusquo #progress #revolution
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+Julian Bond Why, to the left, of course!

Hadn't come across the Overton window concept before -- appreciate the tip. Very useful.
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Powerdown: the only future that has a future

All the reasons, in blunt terms, why the only way to fix this mess is to adjust our lives to living with less. Less stuff, less messing around, and most of all, less energy: powerdown.

...No one dares speak the little secret: Even with renewables, there's got be a powerdown.

...Powerdown means shifting to tools, techniques, lifestyle habits which use LESS power. It means reducing our energy consumption overall. ...powerdown means shifting to bicycles and human-powered transportation and reorienting our lives and our cities to need LESS transportation.

...We can no longer have economic structures be dependent on more-more-more volume and more-more-more profits. Powerdown means a re-evaluation of what is important: Sufficiency. Basic needs met. Peace and harmony.

...Powerdown is inevitable ...powerdown is here. Powerdown is now. We need to use the term widely.
#powerdown #energy #decline #climate
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Interesting article. I've been thinking about something similar with different languages for awhile now. Broadly speaking, we have focused on increasing the quantity of goods and services per person. We call it increasing productivity. It seems like there should be a point at which we say we have enough stuff (at least in the developed world). It might not matter if there were only 500m of us.
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The second American nation

Historically, the fact is that the United States are united only in name.

The Tea Party is not a movement, it’s a geographical region: the Old South.

"...merely the familiar old neo-Confederate Southern right under a new label.”

...there are two Americas. Not just ideologically, but geographically. America is two distinct nations with a distinguishable border that runs the breadth of the country from the Mason-Dixon line across the southern border of Pennsylvania, finishing in some Baptist church somewhere in rural Texas.

Two is certainly a start, with Dixie and Yankeedom being the "superpower" American nations. Colin Woodard counts eleven of them in his historical analysis of American settlement patterns and the resulting regional cultures:

As any traveler has probably sensed, these cultural boundaries cut across state lines: travel through California from LA to San Francisco, or in Texas from Houston to Austin, and the evidence on the ground is plain enough. In the case of that rural Baptist church, for example, it is most likely to be located east, on the Dixie side of the Brazos river.
#neoconfederates #AmericanNations #culturaldivide #independence #localautonomy
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If the South really had seceded a century ago "Southern culture" would have been transformed beyond recognition by now. That would have been due to internal contradictions within the CSA in combination with external pressures that nations undergo in the international arena. How long do you think slavery could really have lasted in the CSA after the whole world had turned against it? Even if they can managed to build racist regime like Apartheid in South Africa, it seems unlikely that it could have lasted any longer than that one did. If the CSA had succeeded as a real country, Southern culture would likely be a whole lot more liberal than it is today.
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Values on violence create a cultural and regional divide

Author Colin Woodard traces the history of US settlement patterns and the values that came along with each group. When these values conflict, we see them playing out in political and cultural conflicts right down to the present day.

The article focuses on violence as a key social value-- one culture says that the government has a legitimate monopoly on violence to enforce the community's laws, while another culture says that defensive violence is an individual right and a matter of honor.

These fundamental values obviously contradict each other, while each culture struggles to make its own values the law of the land for all.

My own take is that for a divide this deeply felt, any outcome is sure to have winners and losers, and we can take a clue from the long-term outcome of 1865 that the losers don't just get over it and meekly get with the program.

They keep making trouble for as long as they are kept from being able to live according to their values.

However much we may disagree, they aren't just going to go away or convert to our values. It seems clear that any lasting solution needs to take this into account.

Woodard supplies some background here from his book American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America, a well-researched and thought-provoking read. Highly recommended.
#AmericanNations #guns #peace #culturaldivide #separatism #independence #devolution #localautonomy
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Truly interesting news from the Catalonian independence front, complications included.

Worth noting that the piece appears in a Scottish publication. Scotland votes on its independence next year.

Anybody listening in Washington or Charleston? I bet they are in Quebec and Montpelier!
#independence #Catalonia #Scotland #Vermont #Dixie
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Have him in circles
1,272 people
Writer, researcher, neighborhood organizer
  • City of Austin
    Research Analyst (retired), 2012
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
San Antonio - Berkeley - Great Barrington MA - Lasqueti Island, BC - Dobbs Ferry NY - New Brunswick NJ - Caldwell ID - Gotemba, Japan - Stuttgart, Germany - Augsburg, Germany - Ft. Knox KY
It's late, and it's getting interesting...
Neighborhood citizen and urban farming instigator. Relocalization advocate.

Old hippie with a mortgage, a pension and a contrarian view of The Future.

Army brat and conscientious objector. Former rocker, programmer, cable network exec, media consultant and public servant. Now happy to be full-time human and husband.

I follow energy and technology issues, particularly post-industrial and post-carbon social adaptation, and look for ways to "walk the walk."

Always grateful to talk to people with similar interests and concerns. Actually, with anyone who doesn't go "Huh?"

I write a lot more than I used to, but don't play as much music. I currently have a novel that I'm looking to get published.

Also, will code for food.
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Able to empty a room in thirty seconds just by saying "peak oil."
  • University of Texas at Austin
    Anthropology & Computer Science
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