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Nederlog

 April 29, 2016

Crisis: On Neoliberalism, Mass Surveillance, FBI Fascism, Refugees
Sections                                                                     crisis index
Introduction

1. Neoliberalism Is Destroying Almost Everybody's
     Lives—How Many People Even Know What It Is?

2. New Study Shows Mass Surveillance Breeds Meekness,
     Fear and Self-Censorship

3. Letter Details FBI Plan for Secretive Anti-Radicalization
     Committees

4.
Yanis Varoufakis: Europe’s "Hot Spot" Refugee
     Registration Centers are "Concentration Camps"

Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Friday, April 29, 2016.


This is a crisis blog. There are 4 items with 4 dotted links: Item 1 is a good item by George Monbiot on "neoliberalism" (with some extensions by me); item 2 is a fine item by Glenn Greenwald on mass surveillance (which turns out to work as it does/did in China and the former Soviet Union); item 3 is about a degenerate FBI-plan, that sounds a lot as if the USA is like the Soviet Union; and item 4 is an interview with Yanis Varoufakis, whom I don't like (and I briefly explain why), but who says some sensible things about refugees.

I also should say I discarded an item by Amy Goodman who is explaining how the media are ruining the 2016 elections: All I could get, at two places, was a
link to Basefuck, i.e. that fraudulent advertisers' shit, while the least I want is a link to Youtube. But no: absent, possibly because this might dminish Basefuck's profits. Well... you missed it on this site, and for that reason: I am not working for free to increase Suckerbug's profits.

Finally, to return to the earlier paragraph: Today is one of the fairly rare times all items are recommended.

1. Neoliberalism Is Destroying Almost Everybody's Lives—How Many People Even Know What It Is?

The first item is
by George Monbiot on AlterNet and originally on monbiot.com:

This starts as follows:

It’s as if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you’ll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is?

Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007-8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness, the collapse of ecosystems, the rise of Donald Trump. But we respond to these crises as if they emerge in isolation, apparently unaware that they have all been either catalysed or exacerbated by the same coherent philosophy; a philosophy that has—or had—a name. What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly?

Well...yes and no. First the first paragraph:

I have heard of "neoliberalism" (since a long time, also) and so has George Monbiot, and so have quite a few of his readers. Then again - I don't know, but he might be correct - it is possible Monbiot is correct in saying that "most of us" (presumably: Westerners, living in Europe or the USA) do either not know the term at all, or find it difficult to say what it stands for (though the first of these strains my credulity).

In fact, I certainly have heard of it since the 1970ies, and so have many others who were alive then. Here is the first paragraph of the item "neoliberalism" on Wikipedia (without note numbers):
Neoliberalism (or sometimes neo-liberalism) is a term which has been used since the 1950s, but became more prevalent in its current meaning in the 1970s and 80s by scholars in a wide variety of social sciences and critics primarily in reference to the resurgence of 19th century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism. Its advocates support extensive economic liberalization policies such as privatization, fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade, and reductions in government spending in order to enhance the role of the private sector in the economy. Neoliberalism is famously associated with the economic policies introduced by Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom and Ronald Reagan in the United States.The implementation of neoliberal policies and the acceptance of neoliberal economic theories in the 1970s are seen by some academics as the root of financialization, with the financial crisis of 2007–08 one of the ultimate results.
There is a lot more in the Wikipedia article, but this first sum-up is fair.

Next, the second paragraph: I think Monbiot is correct in attributing "a major role" to "neoliberalism" "
in a remarkable variety of crises", but he makes no distinction at all between the several "we"s he makes attributions to.

The least he should have done is distinguishing between (i) the masses of quite ordinary people, without a university education, and often with little real education (which is not their fault: education is lousy) and (ii) the politicians and governments who lead them.
[1]

For the latter group knows very well what neoliberalism is, and why nearly every professional politician these days seems to love it: it strengthens their own ideology, it increases their powers, and it increases their incomes.

But here is a description of neoliberalism:
So pervasive has neoliberalism become that we seldom even recognise it as an ideology. We appear to accept the proposition that this utopian, millenarian faith describes a neutral force; a kind of biological law, like Darwin’s theory of evolution. But the philosophy arose as a conscious attempt to reshape human life and shift the locus of power.

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions, that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counter-productive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.
Again I object to the thesis that "we seldom even recognise it as an ideology": Who are "we"? But Monbiot is quite correct in saying that it is an ideology (I am a philosopher, and I think that to say it is a philosophy is to praise it too much), and he would have been correct in saying it arose in 1938, and was adopted by people like Hayek and Friedman.

The description of it is fairly correct, although it should be said that "liberty" does not mean what it seems to mean (in my Shorter OED that sense is defined as: "Freedom from arbitrary, despotic, or autocratic rule or control") for the neoliberals only protest the restrictions on their personal "liberty" to do as they please from the state or government, but favor "
arbitrary, despotic, or autocratic rule or control" by the multi- national corporations, that is by non-elected non-governments.

Here is a point by point outline of "neoliberalism":
  • neoliberalism is against the state and governments: it objects to their laws, and insists these restrain personal freedoms (including those of the rich and the powerful to do as they please, without any legal restrictions whatsoever);
  • neoliberalism sees only one source of freedom: the freedoms delivered by the markets, which give consumers the right to choose from 32 different kinds of bagels or 40 kinds of car;
  • neoliberalism insists that taxes are bad and should be minimal; that all legal regulations should be minimal; and that public services should be privatized (so that people can make a profit from "caring for the poor and the ill and the mad");
  • neoliberalism is against trade unions, labor organizations or collective bargaining: all of these destroy the liberties of the rich (in their opinion);
  • neoliberalism insists that all inequalities are fair and deserved, and should be furthered, and promises that the riches given to the few (e.g. by cutting their
    taxes) will "trickle down to the many" (which is a lie);
  • neoliberalism insist that only the markets and only profits will deliver whatever is fair for anyone, and that poverty is a just punishment for laziness, and that whoever is poor owes it to themselves.
In other words, neoliberalism is the ideology of the rich careerists, the immoral profiteers, the sadistic exploiters, and the egoistic and greedy speculators, and indeed a far better term for it then "neoliberalism" or even "neoconservatism" is neofascism:

Neoliberalism = Neofascism

Fundamentally it is an ideology of the rich and of careerists who would like to be extremely rich, and who disregard or damn all legal or moral restraints on their desires and their decisions to make them rich. It is a kind of fascism, because it explicitly sides with the rich against everybody else, and because it denies all morality and all moral restraints in the fights ("the competition") for a greater size of the markets and for a greater net profit. Besides, it denies the values of democracy, equality, science and freedom for all (rather than just the freedom of the rich and their lawyers to do as they please: these "freedoms" are much admired and much craved by the "neoliberals").

It is an ideology of the rich for the rich, that pretends to be for "liberty for all" in order to make the rich as free as possible, while damning everybody else as lazy loosers.

Back to Monbiot:
We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages—such as education, inheritance and class—that may have helped to secure it. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances.

Never mind structural unemployment: if you don’t have a job it’s because you are unenterprising. Never mind the impossible costs of housing: if your credit card is maxed out, you’re feckless and improvident. Never mind that your children no longer have a school playing field: if they get fat, it’s your fault. In a world governed by competition, those who fall behind become defined and self-defined as losers.
Again yes and no: Yes, the second paragraph is mostly correct (alternatively phrased as: the poor, the ill and the badly educated can die, and the sooner the better), but the first paragraph falsely accuses everybody of accepting this utterly egoistic, greedy, a-moral, and extremely selfish, anti-democratic, and authoritarian bullshit.

So no, the first paragraph simply is false, because there are many more than just George Monbiot who know what neoliberalism is, and who disagree with it, and who also did not "
internalise and reproduce its creeds".

And in fact George Monbiot does see that, for he also wrote:
After Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan took power, the rest of the package soon followed: massive tax cuts for the rich, the crushing of trade unions, deregulation, privatisation, outsourcing and competition in public services. Through the IMF, the World Bank, the Maastricht treaty and the World Trade Organisation, neoliberal policies were imposed — often without democratic consent — on much of the world. Most remarkable was its adoption among parties that once belonged to the left: Labour and the Democrats, for example.
Yes, quite so - but I was 29 or 30 when Thatcher and Reagan took power, and therefore I remember there were quite a few, then indeed especially in Labour and other leftist parties and in the trade unions, who did protest.

As to the adoption of neoliberalism aka neofascism by Labour and the Democrats (which I agree did happpen, and was initialized by Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and Wim Kok, all professional politicians):

Yes, it did happen, but - I think - an important part of the reason that this could happen is that this was done by explicit professional politicians, who made careers by their capacities to lie, to mislead and to deceive, and thus to grow personally rich, and who never had any other job than as lying, careerist, professional politicians, fundamentally motivated by getting rich themselves. (For more on these conscious and degenerate professional liars see Third Way, that did make Clinton and Blair multi- millionaires, and was designed to do so [2])

Then there is this, which is quite correct, and also shows how fundamentally anti-democratic the neoliberal neofascists are in their means to further their own riches:
Where neoliberal policies cannot be imposed domestically, they are imposed internationally, through trade treaties incorporating “investor-state dispute settlement”: offshore tribunals in which corporations can press for the removal of social and environmental protections. When parliaments have voted to restrict sales of cigarettes, protect water supplies from mining companies, freeze energy bills or prevent pharmaceutical firms from ripping off the state, corporations have sued, often successfully. Democracy is reduced to theatre.
Precisely - and as I have warned again and again: For me the acceptance of the TTIP = the acceptance of neofascism = the reduction of Europe to a minor state of the USA (also not "Exceptional", and fit to be exploited as well as possible).

In case you object here that I am argueing fast and abuse identities: Possibly so, but I have explained this several times already, and yes: this is what I see happening for a long time now. (You may not see it, and if you don't, I recommend that you read some more politics.)

Here is a final bit, which is also correct (and shows one of my reasons to insist that neoliberalism is the ideological propaganda-name for what is in fact - quite consciously also, for a considerable part - neofascism:
Governments use neoliberal crises as both excuse and opportunity to cut taxes, privatise remaining public services, rip holes in the social safety net, deregulate corporations and re-regulate citizens. 

And again one reason why "governments" do so is that they are run by professional politicians, who anyway are the best liars in the country, who only very rarely are really interested in anyone but their own and their families riches, and who - if propagandizing that they are "leftists", "liberals", "progressives" or "social democrats" - are simply deceiving their electorates.

But in spite of my criticisms (which are in part inspired by 45 years of reading), this is a fine article and it is recommended you read all of it.

2. New Study Shows Mass Surveillance Breeds Meekness, Fear and Self-Censorship

The second item is b
y Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:

A newly published study from Oxford’s Jon Penney provides empirical evidence for a key argument long made by privacy advocates: that the mere existence of a surveillance state breeds fear and conformity and stifles free expression. Reporting on the study, the Washington Post this morning described this phenomenon: “If we think that authorities are watching our online actions, we might stop visiting certain websites or not say certain things just to avoid seeming suspicious.”

The new study documents how, in the wake of the 2013 Snowden revelations (of which 87% of Americans were aware), there was “a 20 percent decline in page views on Wikipedia articles related to terrorism, including those that mentioned ‘al-Qaeda,’ “car bomb’ or ‘Taliban.'” People were afraid to read articles about those topics because of fear that doing so would bring them under a cloud of suspicion. The dangers of that dynamic were expressed well by Penney: “If people are spooked or deterred from learning about important policy matters like terrorism and national security, this is a real threat to proper democratic debate.”

Quite so, and I have paid attention to this is in yesterday's Nederlog. And this is indeed a quite frightening finding, precisely because these were surveys of what are nominally "democratic states".

Then there is this, which I found a little misleading (though no doubt unintentionally):
The fear that causes self-censorship is well beyond the realm of theory. Ample evidence demonstrates that it’s real – and rational. A study from PEN America writers found that 1 in 6 writers had curbed their content out of fear of surveillance and showed that writers are “not only overwhelmingly worried about government surveillance, but are engaging in self-censorship as a result.” Scholars in Europe have been accused of being terrorist supporters by virtue of possessing research materials on extremist groups, while British libraries refuse to house any material on the Taliban for fear of being prosecuted for material support for terrorism.
It is a little misleading (at least), for the simple reason that self-censorship
is (or ought to be) very well-known from the histories of the Soviet-Union and
Communist China, where hundreds of millions for tens of years did not speak about very many things that did upset their lives and chances, all for
the - quite correct - fear that they might be arrested for "criticizing the state".

Again, this is also true of the beginning of the following bit: I think it would
have been more apt to mention the GDR or the Soviet Union, rather than Bentham (although I agree Bentham's idea was horrible and cruel [3]). Then again, the reference to and quotation of Orwell are fully justified:

That same realization served centuries ago as the foundation of Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon: that behaviors of large groups of people can be effectively controlled through architectural structures that make it possible for them to be watched at any given movement even though they can never know if they are, in fact, being monitored, thus forcing them to act as if they always are being watched. This same self-censorsing, chilling effect of the potential of being surveilled was also the crux of the tyranny about which Orwell warned in 1984:

There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You have to live – did live, from habit that became instinct – in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.

These days it seems most people are being watched all the time by various secret services, by many data-miners, by hundreds or tenthousands of cameras that are everywhere in the street and watched by policemen, or by helicopters (soon drones?) that keep flying overhead "to protect the people".

But the vast majority indeed either doesn't know or doesn't care (and in case
they think about it, tend to say "I didn't do anything harmful, so I am safe").

Here is the real moral of this story, which is quite correct:

There is a reason governments, corporations, and multiple other entities of authority crave surveillance. It’s precisely because the possibility of being monitored radically changes individual and collective behavior. Specifically, that possibility breeds fear and fosters collective conformity. That’s always been intuitively clear. Now, there is mounting empirical evidence proving it.
Again I remark there are heaps of empirical evidence to prove that the simple threat that you may be watched by the secret police does work: See e.g. Robert Conquest's "The Great Terror" (about the Soviet Union) and Jung Chang's "Wild Swans" (about Communist China), and there are many more similar if less well-known books.

But yes: The reason "
governments, corporations, and multiple other entities of authority crave surveillance" is that it gives them absolute control over nearly everyone. And most of the people running such institutions do want a great amount of personal power, and like to be quite rich.

This is a recommended article.

3. Letter Details FBI Plan for Secretive Anti-Radicalization Committees

The third item is
by Cora Currier and Murtaza Hussain on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:

Of the plans put forward by the federal government to identify and stop budding terrorists, among the least understood are the FBI’s “Shared Responsibility Committees.”

The idea of the committees is to enlist counselors, social workers, religious figures, and other community members to intervene with people the FBI thinks are in danger of radicalizing — the sort of alternative to prosecution and jail time many experts have been clamoring for. But civil liberties groups worry the committees could become just a ruse to expand the FBI’s network of informants, and the government has refused to provide details about the program.

The Intercept has obtained a letter addressed to potential committee members from the FBI, outlining how the process would work. While the letter claims that committees will not be used “as a means to gather intelligence,” it also makes clear that information from the committees may be shared widely by the FBI, including with spy agencies and foreign governments, and that committee members can be subpoenaed for documents or called to testify in cases against the people they are trying to help. At the same time, committee members are forbidden even from seeking advice from outside experts without permission from the FBI.

For me, this is just like the Soviet Union or Communist China:

The police is quite ready, and indeed insists it should cooperate with any civilan who may influence a considerable number of people, to find out, in secret of course, which individuals of the number of those served by such a  civilian, might have ideas, or values, or plans, or desires that are not like
what the police or the government desires.

Not only that: Any of the civilians whose help the FBI is seeking are "
forbidden even from seeking advice from outside experts without permission from the FBI" in the very best totalitarian traditions.

Here is some more on the plans the American police has for civilians whose help they seek "in order to find terrorists": There is a definite enormous gap between the "rights" these civilians have, and the powers the police assigns to themselves. And in the following quotation "SRC" refers to the "Shared Responsibility Committees" that the FBI expects the civilians they seek help from to form (if they are not there already):

According to the letter, the FBI “may or may not” inform the committee of any ongoing investigation, and law enforcement could also decide to arrest or charge the referred individual without telling the SRC. If committee members give information to the FBI, “the FBI may share any information the SRC provides with other law enforcement agencies, members of the U.S. intelligence community, and foreign government agencies as needed.”

SRC members, in contrast, must sign confidentiality agreements, and cannot consult outside experts on treatment plans. The committee members get no special legal protection, raising concerns they could be held liable if an individual they are helping turns violent as feared.

That is: Members of the SRC are the legal menials of the police, that has very many more powers and rights than the members of the SRC. For the police can do as it pleases, whereas the members of the SRC "must sign confidentiality agreements, and cannot consult outside experts on treatment plans."

Here is a conclusion a former FBI agent draws:

“Our society has established a number of protective zones where you’re allowed to be candid: with your doctor, your religious clergy, even to a certain extent within a school system, with student privacy laws,” said Mike German, a former FBI agent who is now a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice. “This program that the FBI is setting up seems not to acknowledge those privileges, and in fact, seems to be intent on undermining them.”
Quite so, though in fact it seems to me that the FBI is going further:

The American police explicitly demands that it will be involved, mostly in secret, in all manner of committees, by enlisting "civilians" who lead such committees, and by making them responsible for the safety of their groups, while denying them any legal protection, and insisting these civilians whom they "asked to help them" (!) "
must sign confidentiality agreements, and cannot consult outside experts on treatment plans".

I only know this kind of police activity from the Soviet Union, the German Democratic Republic, Communist China, and Hitler's Germany.

Congratulations, America!! And this is a recommended article.

4. Yanis Varoufakis: Europe’s "Hot Spot" Refugee Registration Centers are "Concentration Camps"

The fourth item is by Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh on Democracy Now!:

This starts as follows:
We speak with former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis about the refugee crisis in Europe, and so-called hot spots that are registration centers for refugees in his country. "George Orwell would be very proud of Europe and our capacity for doublespeak and creating new terms by which to hide the awful reality," Varoufakis says. "When you see the word 'hot spots,' just translate it to 'concentration camps.'" He says the Greek government has been pressured to intern the refugees fleeing war and famine, and notes the growth of right-wing parties in Europe, such as Golden Dawn.
I should start this review by saying that, while I more or less agree to the above, I don't admire Yanis Varoufakis.

I don't especially because I have seen him insist that he is "a communist" because his quite rich father was once a communist in his twenties; I have seen him insist that he was something like "a marxist" as a professor, while being very well paid and having a luxurious big house, and it reminds me all far too much of the many Dutch "social democrats" who were professors, and who made similar false pretences from the 1970ies till the 1990ies.

Besides, my father and my mother were communists for more than 40 years each; my father and my grandfather were locked up as "political terrorists" in
German concentration camps
(which my grandfather did not survive); my mother's parents were anarchists; and all were quite poor all their lives, and were always proletarians (i.e. they really "owned" very little other than their children) but nevertheless were radicals and in the resistance against the Nazis, which extremely few Dutchmen had the courage for (i.a. because 6 times more Dutchmen went into the SS than into the resistance during WW II: The Dutch are a noble people (and managed to collaborate in murdering over 100,000 of their fellow Dutchmen, because they were "of the wrong race"[4])).

Anyway - I think this needed saying, and I think my leftist, marxist, communist and socialist background is a lot better than his, and I also never made one cent for expressing anything I did, again quite unlike Varoufakis.

But here is the background, and that is serious enough:

SYRIAN REFUGEE: [translated] We run from the death, to the death. We find death at each step in our way. We ran from the death in our country to find death in the sea, and when we ran from the death in the sea, to find it here in the camp.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: But at the time, the town officials said they were unable to address the situation, especially amid the country’s financial turmoil. This is the mayor of Mytilene speaking last July.

MAYOR SPYROS GALINOS: [translated] It’s as if the international community, the European Union, the Red Cross, the U.N. have given me a bomb to hold in my hands, and the fuse is burning very slowly. And I am desperately crying for help to blow out the fuse, but they are waiting for the bomb to explode before coming to our aid.

I think I agree with the Syrian and with the Greek mayor, at least to the extent both must have been leading extremely difficult lives, and through no faults of their own.

That was the background. Here is Varoufakis:

AMY GOODMAN: So, Yanis, can you talk about the refugee crisis in Greece and also the so-called hot spots, the registration centers for refugees there, which you’ve talked about?

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Well, George Orwell would be very, very proud of Europe and our capacity for doublespeak and creating new terms by which to hide the awful reality. When you see the word "hot spots," just translate it to "concentration camps." It’s very simple. The Greek government has been steadily pressurized by the European Union to, effectively, intern the refugees. Instead of treating them like human beings in need of support, in need of food, in need of medicine, in need of psychological assistance, they are going to be treated, according to Brussels, as illegals, aliens, that are going to be enclosed in those hot spots, concentration camps. And I have it on good authority from within the Greek government that the pressure is tremendous. The Greek government, which is, of course, fiscally completely and utterly impecunious, is being told, "The only way you are going to get money is if you intern them. So if you let them free and loose, even within Greece, you’re getting not a penny in order to help feed them."
In fact, George Orwell would be extremely sickened by the present Europe, although I accept that Varoufakis very probably spoke in irony. Again, I am
much less well-informed about Greece than Varoufakis is, but I accept what
he is saying. And he is quite right in being extremely critical of the European Union.

And here is Varoufakis on the rise of neofascist political parties (which - to clarify, with item 1 in mind - is different from the neofascists who pose as
neoliberals and head many states now, but who do not come from neofascistic
parties):

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: It’s not just Golden Dawn. It’s everywhere in Europe. We have a neofascist government in Hungary. We have Marine Le Pen, who’s going to top the presidential race next year in France. I mean, you just have to state this to panic. You have UKIP, the United Kingdom Independence Party, in Britain. You’ve got Austria; in Vienna, the beautiful city of Vienna, 42 percent voted for a neofascist party in the last municipal election—and last week, in the presidential—

NERMEEN SHAIKH: We have 30 seconds, so, quick, please.

YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Very simple. Great Depression, national humiliation—put them together, like in the 1920s and '30s in Germany, and you end up with the serpent's egg hatching.

Again I mostly agree, though I wish to add an additional reason for the present rise of neofascist parties:

The lack, in many countries, of a credible social democratic, a credible socialist or a credible leftist party, for the simple reason that these have been taken over mostly by "neoliberalism", of the specific variety that strongly appealed to the desires to get rich of their professional foremen (and -women).

Thus, those who disagree with "politics" and with standard political parties often have no plausible way to express their disappointment other than support parties of the right. It's a great pity, but it seems to be happening a lot.

And this is also a recommended article.

--------------------------
Notes
[1] I think this is quite obvious once stated, but I should also like to make a brief remark about "we": I find it (as a philosopher, a logician, and a philosopher) rather sickening to have to point out - time and again, and since 50 years at least - that "we" is very often very misleading, simply because not everybody is like the "we" that someone blandly assumes and addresses. (You really ought to ask yourselves whether you even know what percentage of the "we" you universally address as if this covers everybody does in fact have the attributes you assigned to everybody.)

[2]
Incidentally, because I checked: The "Third Way" lemma has been altered. I don't have the time to read it through and compare it with the previous version (which I have), but it looks as if it may have been made more
palatable to "Third Way" proponents by some "Third Way" adherents.

[3] I know this also since the 1970ies, but I also know very few read Bentham, and indeed he also was a bad writer. Incidentally (and this is a reason for this note): Bentham very probably did not see that his panopticon was a horrible and cruel idea, though it was.

[4] You may protest, but if you did not read Jacques Presser's "Ondergang - De vervolging en verdelging van het Nederlandse Jodendom 1940-1945" it is rather senseless. (And Presser was a quite different and very much better historian and writer than Lou de Jong, who was Holland's "official historian" of WW II - which he did not know from his own experience, because he lived relatively safely in England then.)

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