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Nederlog

Sep 5, 2016

Crisis: Intellectuals, "Free Trade", Democracy, Labor Question, Terrorism, ISDSs
Sections                                                                                     crisis index
Introduction

1.
The Intellectuals We Abandon
2. The reality of free trade deals
3. The Frog Is No Longer Boiling, It's Dead
4. Once Again, America Seeks the Answer to The Labor
     Question

5. By Any Means or None
6. The Court That Rules the World
Introduction: 

This is a Nederlog of Monday, September 5, 2016.

This is a crisis log with 6 items and 6 dotted links: Item 1 is about an article by Chris Hedges on intellectuals (I disagree somewhat, but this is for personal reasons: My background is quite different from that of most); item 2 is about free trade and by Robert Reich, but I find it disappointing that he writes as if he believes "free trade" is not a propaganda lie; item 3 is about democracy, that is declared dead, but that is written by someone who holds the utter lie that absolutely everyone is equal or of equal value to anyone else (you, Einstein and Hitler all have precisely the same value!) - which I consider a totally insane idea; item 4 is about the fact that there is - once again - a labor question in the USA, but is not clear on its reasons (deregulation of nearly all laws that protected the many against the piracies and depredations of the rich); item 5 is a good article about terrorism; and item 6 quotes the begin- ning of a quite long article about the ISDSs (which are the neofascist courts that the rich want to have, so that they can rob whole states at once): the quote I give is good.

Also, I like to draw your attention to the previous Nederlog, called Rewriting my site, that is indeed about that, or more precisely: About a resized graphical background that is necessary since I have now a normal sized squarish monitor. [0] This will take quite a lot of work, which I will continue after having finished the present crisis item. (It will probably be done before the end of September. I do not yet know when, but I will say so in Nederlog if it is finished.)

1. The Intellectuals We Abandon

The first item today is by Chris Hedges - returned from vacation - on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:

Great writers and intellectuals give us a vocabulary that allows us to make sense of reality. They excavate depths that we, without their help, are unable to fathom. We are captive to systems of power until we can name the dominant myths and the intricate systems of coercion and control that extinguish our freedom.

We are a society awash in skillfully manufactured lies. Solitude that makes thought possible—a removal from the electronic cacophony that besieges us—is harder and harder to find.  We are unable to grapple with the nuances and complexity of ideas. We have traded ideas for fabricated clichés. We speak in the hollow language we are given by our corporate masters. Reality, presented to us as image, is unexamined and therefore false. We are culturally illiterate. And because of our cultural illiteracy we are easily manipulated and controlled.

I have to say yes and no to this beginning, but my reasons are mostly personal, and also have something to do with my difficulties with "We".

My main reason to say "No" in my case - while I am a great lover of great writers and a great collector and reader of books, and also someone who simply denies the "equivalence" of everyone (idiot and genius, monster and hero, conformist and revolutionary) as the degenerate pretensions of the stupid, the dishonest and the conformist [1] - is that I am one of the very few Dutchmen who had communist parents and communist and anarchist grandparents. [2]

And while it is true that I myself disagreed intellectually with communism and Marxism from age 20 onwards, it is as true that I did not and do not disagree with the moral teachings my parents provided:

We live in a dishonest and falsified human society, in which the few rich are trying to hold on to their enormous riches by lies, by propaganda, by dishonesty and by force, while the many poor are trying to defend themselves by honesty, by trade unions, and by leftist policies of many kinds.

I never needed any convincing of that, for I got it from my parents, and it really held up, although it is also true that their communism was mistaken, and the Left also changed character, and grew much more corrupt and dishonest as it made itself into the vehicle of rich quasi-leftist utter frauds like Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and Wim Kok. (See: "Third Way" on Wikipedia.)

And I also am one of the very few with such an education, for both my parents and my grandparents were quite intelligent, if not very well educated, and were very active communists or anarchists all their lives, for the most part. [3]

Besides, I also completely reject the part of the second quoted paragraph that starts with "We have severed ourselves from a print-based culture" and that ends with "We are culturally illiterate", for I certainly do not belong to this "We" of dishonest, characterless, stupid conformists, and absolutely never did and never wanted to (which also is an important reason that I am very poor). [4]

Also, I think that there are more (of my approximate age: 66) who were born in genuine leftist families and/or who are born with fine minds that are not easily deceived by lies and propaganda, but indeed I am willing to agree that they form a small minority. [5]

Here are the great writers according to Chris Hedges:

The great writers—Marcel Proust, Anton Chekhov, Hannah Arendt, Simone Weil, Max Weber, Samuel Beckett, George Orwell, W.E.B. Du Bois, James Baldwin and others—knew that thought is subversive. They challenged and critiqued the dominant narrative, assumptions and structures that buttress power. They freed us.

I am a philosopher and a psychologist, with very good academic degrees in both subjects; I have been reading extremely much for 50 years now; and while I have read all of the writers Chris Hedges names, my own tastes are
different, and the only ones I agree with are great writers on Hedges' list
are Max Weber and George Orwell.

You want to know my list of great authors? They are - for example - here (from 2012): On Some Favourite Books & Authors, which has a list of 115 authors, which also is far more than Chris Hedges could give in his article, I agree. (And remember the list I give is reading for pleasure!)

Then there is Sheldon Wolin, who is a great writer and intellectual according to Chris Hedges:

Sheldon Wolin was a writer of this stature. He gave us the words and the ideas to understand our corporate despotism—what he called “inverted totalitarianism.” He did so by battling the dominant trend within university political science departments that, as he lamented, has seen them become de facto social science departments “addicted” to quantitative projects, chasing after an unachievable scientific clarity and refusing to take a stand or examine the major issues facing the wider society.

I don't know whether Wolin is a great author in my sense (for one thing, I did not read enough of him), but I agree he is a good and honest author, and as such in a small minority.

And about inverted totalitarianism, which is - in my opinion - not an easy concept to grasp, though there is now a fairly extensive elucidation, which again was put together by Chris Hedges, who interviewed Sheldon Wolin in 2014. Here are all of them, with links to the issues of Nederlog in which I reviewed them: parts 1-3, part 4, part 5, part 6 and part 7 and 8. These are very well worth (re-)reading.

The previous paragraph was mostly copied from August 24, 2016. Here is the last bit that I quote:

I taught his “Politics and Vision” last spring in a maximum-security prison in Rahway, N.J., to students earning their B.A. degrees.
(..)
In prison these intellectuals, struggling against odds that most in this hall cannot imagine, convert their cells into libraries. My class was consumed by “Politics and Vision”—Machiavelli’s advocacy of “calculated violence” and call for the power elites to be skillful pretenders and dissemblers; Locke’s ability to convert property into an instrument for coercing citizens into political obedience; Weber’s understanding that the modern hero, unlike the classical hero battling fortuna, had to struggle against a bloodless, faceless system “where contingency has been routed by bureaucratized procedures” and where “even charisma has been bureaucratized.” The ideological mantra of corporate oppression—sine ira et studio, without scorn or bias—is, as Weber knew, a weapon to crush those with the passion, outrage, courage and vision to effect change.

I agree mostly, indeed also with the "sine ira et studio, without scorn or bias" bit, which is indeed a palpable lie with which the vast majority of academics
turn away from taking any real ethical or moral position.

Then again, my main objection against most of the (many) academics I have known is not that they - in effect - refuse to take impopular ethical and moral ideas: my main objection to them is that most academics are dishonest, conformist careerists, whatever their moral pretensions, and that while being dishonest conformist careerists, they also gave up any really scientific outlook, if indeed they ever had one.

And this is an interesting article that is recommended.

2. The reality of free trade deals

The
second item is by Robert Reich on his site:
This starts as follows:

Free trade is figuring prominently in the upcoming presidential election. Donald Trump is against it. Hillary Clinton has expressed qualms. 

Economists still think free trade benefits most Americans, but according to polls, only 35% of voters agree. 

Why this discrepancy?

I would say (but Reich may disagree) that (i) "free trade" as it is bandied about by all manner of economists and politicians is nearly always pure fraud: They are not speaking of "free trade" when speaking of free trade: They are speaking of enriching the rich by taking from the poor, and have been doing so since the 1980ies; that (ii) the vast majority of Trump's pronouncements are lies, as are Hillary Clinton's "reservations" about "free trade" and the TTP; that (iii) economics is not a real science (if it were, far more economists would have predicted the crisis of 2008); and also (iv) while most of the voters do not have any deep knowledge of economics, they do know when they are frauded by their politicians, and they are.

But the last paragraph are mostly my own explanations, and I do not think Reich will agree on "free trade" and economics. In fact, he seems to - somehow - embrace the concept of "free trade", and asks why it does work only for the rich and not for the non-rich.

Here are three of his reasons why the benefits of "free trade" only benefit the rich:

1. Inequality keeps growing. In a society of widening inequality, the winners are often wealthier than the losers, so even if they fully compensate the losers, as the winners gain more ground, the losers may feel even worse off. 

2. Safety nets keep unraveling. As a practical matter, the winners don’t compensate the losers. Most of the losers from trade, the millions whose good jobs have been lost, don’t even have access to unemployment insurance. Trade adjustment assistance is a joke. America invests less in jobs training as a percent of our economy than almost any other advanced nation. 

3. Median pay keeps dropping. Those whose paychecks have been declining because of trade don’t make up for those declines by having access to cheaper goods and services from abroad. Yes, those cheaper goods help but adjusted for inflation, the median hourly pay of production workers is still lower today than it was in 1974. 

So if we want the public to continue to support free trade, we’ve got to ensure that everyone benefits from it.

I say. Well... I agree with the criticisms, but I totally disbelieve in "free trade", and I simply think rational men should stop embracing that propaganda lie: There is no free trade without rules, regulations and laws, and those who favor "free trade" without rules, regulations and laws, in fact are proponents of the thesis that the rich can engage in any piracy they want to on the poor.

3. The Frog Is No Longer Boiling, It's Dead

The third
item is by Thomas S. Harrington on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

The frog of American democracy is no longer boiling, it’s dead. How do I know? By observing the public response to the actions undertaken during the last week by San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernic.

(...)

But even during the darkest moments of this post-war period, there was almost always been a sizable group of people, on both the left and the right, who resisted the hierarchical logic of this uniform-worship because they understood that it is, and always will be, absolutely incompatible with both the day-to- day dignity of the citizenry and that same citizenry’s pursuit of real democracy.

But this no longer seems to be the case.
I say. I don't think you can decide the question whether democracy exists in the USA by trying to chart the responses to Kaepernic's refusal to stand up for the American national anthem.

If you want to give a sensible answer to that question, you first have to define democracy, next decide how you measure its strength in some empirical way, and then see whether your ideas made sense when tested.

Nothing of the kind is offered here. And not only that, there is also the enormous confusion of the quasi-"leftist" utter baloney that every man is the equal and equivalent of any other man: You are equivalent to Einstein, who in turn is equivalent to Hitler and Heydrich, who in turn are nothing worse, neither intellectually, nor morally than you:

The great Italian essayist Indro Montanelli once said, in so many words, that to have a functioning democracy, you must first have democrats. Being a small-d democrat implies many things. Perhaps the most basic of these is to understand, and to firmly believe, that no person or group  of persons, especially those working explicitly in the public trust, are fundamentally more worthy than others.

Be it as a result of fear, or our government-media complex’s long campaign of pro-authoritarian propaganda, it seems, sadly, that only a  small minority of Americans still understand this fundamental trait of the democratic mind.

So let me say once again (as son of communists, as grandson of communists and anarchists) that someone who believes in the utterly insane gross lie that (boldings added)
no person or group  of persons (..) are fundamentally more worthy than others
is a sick and degenerate relativist who, either on purpose or through cultivated stupidity or dishonesty relativizes everything real leftists do not relativize:

Of course fascists, liars, rich egoists and their well-paid liars and frauds are not the equals of honest leftists: That is just the kind of lie degenerates like Clinton and Blair spun to
further their own riches and their own careers.

Then again, while I agree democracy is mostly dead in the USA (but not at all for the reasons Harrington gives), I also insist that the Left is mostly dead, and it has been killed - quite on purpose, quite consciously - by Clinton, Blair, Kok, the frauds from the "Third Way" and believers in such lies like Mr. Harrington.

I am sorry: If you believe that absolutely no one is any better than anyone else, you are not a Leftist but you are either dumb and deceived or else clever and lying.

4. Once Again, America Seeks the Answer to The Labor Question

The fourth item is by Damon Silvers on Common Dream:
This starts as follows:

“The labor question, is, and for a long time must be, the paramount economic question in this country.” — Justice Louis Brandeis, 1904

The labor question is back. After World War II, it seemed to many that widespread unionization and collective bargaining had made sure that the people who did the work in this country were getting a fair share of the wealth they created, and that through their unions working people had a substantial voice in the way our country was governed.

But we live in a different world today. Only 11 percent of all American workers belong to a union, and less than 7 percent of private-sector workers are organized. Workers’ incomes have been stagnant for decades, and whatever gains have occurred in family income have gone entirely to the top of the wage structure, driving runaway inequality. At the same time, working people feel increasingly alienated from and betrayed by our political system.

I agree, both with diagnosis (yes, there is a labor question) and with its cause (because - among other reasons, but this is quite important - around 90% of those who are currently working in the USA are not members of a trade union).

Here is one thing current defenders of the status quo - very much money to the very rich; hardly any money for the rest - now insist on, after "trickle down economy" has failed for twenty years: almost anything the rich gain, they keep to themselves:

Now defenders of the status quo of runaway inequality have shifted from saying there isn’t a problem to saying that, while there is a problem, NOTHING CAN BE DONE. The new line from the very serious people is that runaway inequality and stagnant wages are somehow the result of the unstoppable natural forces of technological change and globalization.

Clearly that is yet another lie, and in so far as it is true, it is true because
the rich have been very busy since 1980 with destroying each and any law that kept the rich from growing as rich as possible, and that protected the non-rich.

This was the process of deregulation, and this succeeded wildly, it seems mostly by corruptions of the House and the Senate, for these agreed again and again and again on deregulating laws they must have known protected the non-rich from the evils the rich could do against them.

Indeed, this is about what happened in law and in politics in the USA since 1980:

The data strongly supports what the American people say that they believe in poll after poll — that elites rigged the economic rules in our society to benefit themselves. That the United States adopted public policies — labor laws, trade rules, fiscal and monetary policies, immigration policies and tax policies — that ensured technological progress and globalization would benefit only a small number of Americans.

And so the labor question is back, and that question is: How can the people who do the work in America receive a fair share of the wealth we create, and how can our voices be heard in our politics, our society and our culture?

I agree with the first of the above two paragraphs, for this is what the many deregulations amounted to: rigging the rules of distribution in such a way that only the few rich profited, at the costs of the many non-rich.

But the second paragraph seems strangely off topic:

If the many non-rich have been growing less rich or poorer ever since 1980 (which is the case), and the reasons for this are mostly deregulating the laws that protected the non-rich and the economy, then clearly the answer to the first question, about a fair share, is to regulate the economy and the rich back again - though I agree this will be very difficult.

And in fact the same answer applies to the question how the voices of the non-rich are to be heard - though I agree again this will be very difficult, for the rich rarely return any of the riches they gained for themselves to anyone who is not rich.

Finallly, this is from near the end:

The labor question has an answer. When the people who do the work in our society have collective voice through unions — democratically run workplace organizations — then working people have a way of being heard when the big decisions get made in the workplace and in public life.

Yes and no: Yes, it has that answer, but no it will not work precisely because the rich have been deregulating all the laws that protected the non-rich from their piracies and depredations.

And besides 9 out of 10 working Americans are not unionized.

5.
By Any Means or None

The fifth
item is by Thomas Nagel on the London Review of Books:
This starts as follows:
When I am hit with news of yet another terrorist attack, I often wonder what these people hope to achieve. In a depressingly timely book, Richard English tries to answer that question for a number of important cases, in order to address the broader question of his title.
I say - and this article is in fact a review of Richard English's recent book.
Also, I am a bit amazed, because I take it usually for granted that I know
what terrorists wanted: Revenge.

Indeed this is also one of the things English concluded:
English makes it clear that one of the things these four groups share is hatred and the desire for revenge, which comes out in personal testimony if not always in their official statements of aims. He quotes Osama bin Laden: ‘Every Muslim, from the moment they realise the distinction in their hearts, hates Americans, hates Jews and hates Christians.’ Revenge for perceived injuries and humiliations is a powerful motive for violence, and if it is counted as a secondary aim of these movements, it defines a sense in which terrorism automatically ‘works’ whenever it kills or maims members of the target group.
I agree, although I should add that "terrorism automatically ‘works’ whenever it kills or maims members of the target group" is true only for those who have convinced themselves that terrorism - especially in the form of trying to murder civilians, who probably harmed no one - is a correct response.

I don't think so, and therefore for me there is not "
a sense in which terrorism automatically ‘works’", and in fact I think most real or potential victims agree with me that (1) terrorism is an extension of the more or less normal rules of war, in which it is presumed only soldiers kill soldiers of the opposing army and (2) this extension - at least - is immoral and improper, even if ordinary war might be accepted or acceptable.

Then there is this, which does explain a good part of the reasons for terrorism:
What struck me on reading this book is how delusional these movements are, how little understanding they have of the balance of forces, the motives of their opponents and the political context in which they are operating. In this respect, it is excessively charitable to describe them as rational agents. True, they are employing violent means which they believe will induce their opponents to give up, but that belief is plainly irrational, and in any event false, as shown by the results.
I agree, although it is also true (as Nagel probably agrees with me) that the fact that terrorist groups are usually based on solid delusions about their own effectiveness is certainly not shared by the terrorist groups themselves.

Here is the emerging pattern Nagel sees:

The pattern that emerges in these examples – and in many of those English cites in his final chapter, such as the Tupamaros, the Baader-Meinhof Group, Shining Path in Peru and the Weathermen in the US – is of groups employing violence in a hopeless cause. They perceive correctly that their aims cannot be achieved by non-violent means, but fail to see that that is because they cannot be achieved by any means, given the existing circumstances of power and public opinion. Hatred and the desire for revenge probably provide essential motivational support, but justification by expected political results is completely delusional.

I agree, but also want to insist that it is not only that (nearly always, at least) the ends of terrorist movements are not realizable by them, but also that their means - terrorism, that is: the attempt to murder civilians who probably harmed no one - are rejected by many as quite immoral, also if they might agree (in some sense) to some of the political ends of the groups.

Indeed, my addition is quite essential, for Nagel has the following criticism of English (the author whose book he is reviewing):

But the main thing missing from English’s response is any sense that there might be something intrinsically wrong in deliberately killing and maiming innocent civilians as a means to bring about even a desirable outcome. That is what people find morally revolting about terrorism, not just the death and suffering it causes. The sense that there are limits on what may be done to people is a crucial part of the morality most of us share. Contempt for such moral boundaries is the defining mark of both state and non-state campaigns of terror.

I quite agree, but it seems English does not, and it may very well be that one reason he does not is that he himself is a relativist, as I found most academics are, these days: They refuse to make moral or ethical distinctions, in the end - I believe - because this makes it a lot easier for them to be well-paid academics.

And while I do not know enough about English to say this is true, it may well be.

This is again a recommended article.

6. The Court That Rules the World

The sixth and last
item is by Chris Hamby on Buzz Feed:
This starts as follows, and is the only quotation I will give from this article:

Imagine a private, global super court that empowers corporations to bend countries to their will.

Say a nation tries to prosecute a corrupt CEO or ban dangerous pollution. Imagine that a company could turn to this super court and sue the whole country for daring to interfere with its profits, demanding hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars as retribution.

Imagine that this court is so powerful that nations often must heed its rulings as if they came from their own supreme courts, with no meaningful way to appeal. That it operates unconstrained by precedent or any significant public oversight, often keeping its proceedings and sometimes even its decisions secret. That the people who decide its cases are largely elite Western corporate attorneys who have a vested interest in expanding the court’s authority because they profit from it directly, arguing cases one day and then sitting in judgment another. That some of them half-jokingly refer to themselves as “The Club” or “The Mafia.”

And imagine that the penalties this court has imposed have been so crushing — and its decisions so unpredictable — that some nations dare not risk a trial, responding to the mere threat of a lawsuit by offering vast concessions, such as rolling back their own laws or even wiping away the punishments of convicted criminals.

This system is already in place, operating behind closed doors in office buildings and conference rooms in cities around the world. Known as investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS, it is written into a vast network of treaties that govern international trade and investment, including NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Congress must soon decide whether to ratify.

Yes, I agree with this - and this is also the reason that I say that NAFTA, TPP, TTIP, TISA and CETA all (mostly secret!!) "treaties" that have as their real end the introduction of neofascism, which is the control of the multi-national corporations, their CEOs and their lawyers of absolutely everything and absolutely anyone.

And I think my term is quite justified, for they aim at the absolute control of everyone anywhere, and their aim - the total rule of the multi-national corporations over anything, including states, and anyone, including all inhabitants of states - are also classically fascistic.


Anyway... the last link gives you access to a long essay of nearly 500 Kb that is recommended, and that I may return to in a later edition of Nederlog.
---------------
Notes

[0] Incidentally: I do want to keep my sites to look reasonable on the monitors (and computers and OSs) that I use, and I am trying to do so for
the new monitor I have, but I gave up (by 2012) trying to please everyone:

I do take care it works well on Firefox, on Ubuntu, on a normal sized squarish monitor, but I will not check anymore how my site is displayed on other monitors, other OSs and other screens: Too much work for my health. (I guess it works on most systems, but I lack the health to check and repair.)

[1] I am sorry, but I am one of those who is not a "leftist" who insists that he (or she) is just as good as anyone else, who are all as good as he or she: That is complete bullshit no real Leftist ever agreed to. And see also item 3. And see the next note:

[2] I have quite a few times insisted that my family - two parents who were - sincere, intelligent, courageous, though not highly educated - communists for 45 years each; four grandparents of which one was a communist and two were anarchists - was rather special, and I will in this note insist on numbers:

After WW II - in which the Dutch CP were the only ones to go into the resistance against the Nazis as a political party, from May 14, 1940 onwards, in which they lost some 2000 persons - the CP had from ca. 1955 onwards around 10.000 members, on a population that was 10 million or more.

In WW II, the Nazis succeeded, in part thanks to the help given them by David Cohen and Abraham Asscher, in arresting and murdering over 100.000 Dutch "Jews" (between quotation marks because many had lost their faith, while all were persecuted based on the lie that the Jews are a race).

Another reason that so many - more than 1% of the total Dutch population - could be murdered, is that in fact so few were in the Dutch resistance against the Nazis: Effectively 99% of the Dutch collaborated with the Nazis, although I should add that a considerable part was more or less forced.

I do not know the precise numbers or proportions of those who resisted in Holland, but it was much less than 100.000 (and probably closer to between 15.000 and 20.000 persons - and I am speaking of those who were in the real resistance, and not about those who occasionally read an illegal publication).

In any case, that is my background: A direct family who all were in the real resistance in WW II, which at most 1 in a 500 was in Holland during WW II, and of which both my parents and my grandfather were communists (which after WW II was blamed on my parents: according to the Nazi-collaborators of WW II my parents were "traitors" because they were communists, and indeed my parents were discriminated much of their lives for their political choices).

Finally on these numbers: I suspect there may be more Dutchmen with two communist parents, and one communist grandparent, all of whom were in the real resistance in WW II, but I do not know of them, and especially not if I also count in that my father and his father were both arrested in June of 1941, and convicted as "political terrorists" to the concentration camp, which my grandfather did not survive.

If there are more such Dutchmen, apart from my brother, I certainly never heard anything about them.

[3] As I pointed out in the previous note, my brother and I are the only persons I know in Holland (where my brother does not live anymore, since 30 years or so) with as strong a background in the resistance as we have. There may be more, but I never heard about them.

And here is also a remark on the lack of high education of my quite intelligent parents: That is correct, and it simply is a pity that my parents had to work from age 15 onwards, because there was no money to allow them to go to school any longer, or indeed to study. Both could have easily studied given their intelligence.

Then again, this is not the main reason they remained communists after WW II. The main reason for that are - especially - the very strong experiences my father had, since he survived more than 3 years and 9 months as a "political terrorist" in German concentration camps, where he also was rescued from death or starvation by fellow communists.

[4] I rarely believe in the "We" that the Dutch so much and so eagerly engage in, and part of my disagreements are indicated by the part of the paragraph Hedges wrote that he attributes to "we": It does not hold for me; it does not hold for my parents; it does not hold of my grandparents.

And because it doesn't, I protested against the education I got in the University of Amsterdam, from which I was - illegally, but effectively - removed in 1988 briefly before I could take my (brilliant) M.A. in philosophy. There were also many other discriminations of me in Amsterdam, some of which did have to do with my background or with my own opinions.

I do not know how many (Amsterdam was ruled for 66 years continuously by the Dutch Labour Party, that hated communists, and hated anyone not like them, and discriminated many as much as they could and dared, for several reasons, of which the main one usually was: opposing the Labour Party); I do know it is pretty crazy to have received one of the best M.A. degrees ever, and never having been able to get as much as one cent from it (whereas former communists without any talent were given the softest of academic jobs for tens of years in quite a few Dutch universities).

[5] One reason that - if they exist, in Holland - they must be very rare is that I discovered almost no one who agreed with me on science and truth in the university: For 25 years - from 1971 till 1995 - all Dutch universities were formally in the hand of the students, but nearly all students were completely uninterested in both science and truth, and instead preferred "leftist" ideologies, falsehoods, propaganda and the denial that there was any truth of any kind. Nearly everyone studied to get richer, and not because he or she wanted to know or were interested in science.

I did discover a few students who were seriously interested in science and truth, but none of them had a leftist background. And between 1977 and 1995 they were members of a small group of students that numbered no more than 5% of all students (judged by the proportions of people who voted for the studentparty I had created, which is the best means I have to estimate that proportion).

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