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Chinese imperialism and future Australian sovereignty

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Mugwump 



Joined: 28 Jul 2007
Location: Between London and Melbourne

PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:46 am
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pietillidie wrote:

Your comments on Chomsky are childish rot and demonstrate you have no knowledge of his technical writings.

I only have one interest in this particular context, namely his later thinking on cognitive philosophy. This is a technical argument you would do well to research in depth so you can pass serious comment on it.


I'll duck the tone of that lot and accept (with some relief) that you were not using Chomsky as an authority on a political level !

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pietillidie 



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:49 pm
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David wrote:
Otherwise, I don't personally see anything scientific about asserting an innate 'good' unless it's simply a characteristic or characteristics that you've arbitrarily deigned as such.

To add to my earlier points, it most certainly is scientific. If the outer world is virtually constructed—and this is where Chomsky's cognitive philosophy shines IMO—our sense of "the good" or "the moral" (bear with those terms for the moment), which is a demonstrable and near-universal scientific fact for Homo sapiens (ignoring its absence through dysfunction or temporary suppression by other drives), must also be innate.

This is, as Chomsky would say, non-controversial.

That is, our sense of sense of "the good" or "the moral" is not controlled by the moons of Jupiter any more than our heart beat is controlled by the tides on Pluto, so what else is there to conclude, scientific or otherwise?

By extension the hope element involves the hope that we can somehow impact/improve/remedy/enhance/engineer that innate sense. The entire social sciences and much of our life generally is predicated on the assumption we have that efficacy, even if it too is an illusion.

Every alternative bumps into cognitive biological constraints in one way or another. Cognitive science has achieved much by way of medicine and the general dispelling of nonsense ideas, but it doesn't get you past that wall and neither does it even hint that it will be capable of doing so. Assuming it away is the equivalent of assuming away free will; you couldn't do it even if you wanted to.

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David Libra

Speak about destruction


Joined: 27 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 11:57 pm
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pietillidie wrote:
That is, our sense of sense of "the good" or "the moral" is not controlled by the moons of Jupiter any more than our heart beat is controlled by the tides on Pluto, so what else is there to conclude, scientific or otherwise?


...or just a cultural construct, like "evil" or "possessed"? Apologies if I've missed something obvious, I'm just a little confused by what you're saying is innate here. Many fantastical things are believed in (that have developed organically) that have no basis in reality. But that seems too obvious, so I'm guessing I've misunderstood your point?

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think positive Libra

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:34 am
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Mugwump wrote:
pietillidie wrote:

Your comments on Chomsky are childish rot and demonstrate you have no knowledge of his technical writings.

I only have one interest in this particular context, namely his later thinking on cognitive philosophy. This is a technical argument you would do well to research in depth so you can pass serious comment on it.


I'll duck the tone of that lot and accept (with some relief) that you were not using Chomsky as an authority on a political level !


Oh man your good, I read both sentences, and I actually laughed out loud! I'd steal it, but I couldn't remember the whole line!

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pietillidie 



Joined: 07 Jan 2005


PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:51 am
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David wrote:
pietillidie wrote:
That is, our sense of sense of "the good" or "the moral" is not controlled by the moons of Jupiter any more than our heart beat is controlled by the tides on Pluto, so what else is there to conclude, scientific or otherwise?


...or just a cultural construct, like "evil" or "possessed"? Apologies if I've missed something obvious, I'm just a little confused by what you're saying is innate here. Many fantastical things are believed in (that have developed organically) that have no basis in reality. But that seems too obvious, so I'm guessing I've misunderstood your point?

Right. Constructivism wouldn't confuse the ability to imagine pink hippos on flying carpets with a stable, universal phenomenon such as a notion of "good". Think about it, most of what science is doing is separating the persistent and robust notions from artifacts, and that is still fully consistent with a strong innatism. (All it means is that some cognitive constructs are more reliable than others).

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HAL 

Please don't shout at me - I can't help it.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:54 am
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I am thinking about it most of what science is doing is separating the persistent and robust notions from artifacts and that is consistent with a strong innatism .
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Mugwump 



Joined: 28 Jul 2007
Location: Between London and Melbourne

PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:03 am
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As one looks through history, it seems to me that humans do have a sense of "the good." It seems far less clear to me that this is innate in any directional sense. The Nazis are a little obvious as a reference point, but they do make useful shorthand for a generalised human capacity for evil. One of the interesting, if revolting, things about Himmler and Co was their apparent conviction that they were doing moral work in ridding the earth of untermenschen. If they had not been defeated in 1945 (and there was no inevitability about that), then their Neitzschean morality might be the morality of much of Western Europe today. It is not too difficult to suppose that the course of history across most of the world might have been permanently altered in such an event.

We may be in the barren realm of metaphysics, but I think the evidence is that humans, on average, have an abiding capacity for both good and evil, though an individual expression of this capacity depends on culture, intelligence, neural makeup and other things. Some cultures and political systems are forged from enlightenment ideals of reason, science and equality, which have been gropingly formulated and, of course, often violated by their professors. Some cultures, presently, are far less influenced by these ideals. Those that are in the fragile but relatively happy state of being liberal democracies may well slide backwards, and those that are not, may move forwards. There seems to me plentiful evidence in history for this.

As a final comment, I was hasty and slighting in my comments on Chomsky's important work in linguistics, with which I am fairly familiar. Because i loathe his politics, and this is a political thread, i did not give due credit to his real and lasting intellectual achievements. Not that I suspect he reads Nicks a lot. He's probably a St Kilda supporter.

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David Libra

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 12:47 pm
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Yeah, well, sovereignty was fun while it lasted.

http://peter-whish-wilson.greensmps.org.au/content/media-releases/trojan-horse-isds-provisions-china-deal-haunt-australian-parliament-decades

Quote:
“Stunningly, Chinese State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) will also be able to use these provisions to protect their investments in Australia from future changes to laws.

“This means that the Chinese Government can now, via its SOEs, sue the Australian government over changes to laws that impact on its interests.

“The Liberal government says that they have included some safeguards, but ISDS safeguards have failed to limit litigation in several trade deals already in place around the world. The only safeguard is not to have ISDS provisions in the first place.

“Chinese businesses would be able to challenge future legislation changes made here via international arbitration panels that lack transparency, but even Australian companies won’t have this privilege in their own country."

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think positive Libra

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 5:04 pm
Post subject: Re: Saying the unsayable about ChinaReply with quote

David wrote:
Is some sort of conflict with China a possibility in the coming decades? Such speculation might seem the domain of right-wing fruit loops like Jacqui Lambie, but Guy Rundle argues that we should be taking her words a little more seriously:

http://www.crikey.com.au/2014/08/20/rundle-the-coming-east-west-conflict-a-truth-we-dare-not-mention/

Quote:
Culture works like a camera obscura. The image is predicted upside down, and there’s a blank and blind spot right at the centre, by the very nature of the mechanism. Take our commemoration of World War I, for example. For the next four years we are condemned to a moment-by-moment recreation of this appalling conflict, which plunged Europe and its resistant colonies into three decades of blood and turmoil.

Yet the one thing we will not see discussed is the central point of the war — that it hid in plain sight, that the European powers were edging towards it for years and hiding from themselves the ample evidence (from the US Civil War, for example) that the conflict would be total and consuming. Such apocalyptic imaginings were contained in a slew of novels and cheap serials, while the official discourse was one of enlightened self-interest between powers.

So, to 2014, and Australia and China. It is obvious to anyone that not this decade, not the next, but in this century, there will be a reckoning between East and West, between the former imperial powers and the former colonies — including once-subject nations such as China. Such a conflict has nothing to do with race or cultural difference — though that may become attached on both sides, as motivating propaganda — but simply to do with the still uncorrected imbalance created when the European powers began colonising Asia in the early 19th century.

At its “best”, this encounter will be resolved with the crucial withdrawal of the United States from the Asian sphere of influence — the final acknowledgement of the end of its sole superpower status. The world will then be a multipolar place once again. As China and India become dominant global powers, other powers rise to second-tier status. The “worst” outcome would be a war, or series of wars, as the US and its NATO partners refuse to give up a dominance inherited from colonial-era imperialism.

Everyone knows this, every nation plans for it, and it governs a series of alliances and decisions. Yet it cannot be spoken of. In Australia this split mindset is total. The political-media elite who have been disturbed by the arrival of the unruly crossbenchers, enforce an absurd double act, in which we talk of China as our great trading friend, etc, etc, while at the same time strengthening a US alliance –- with the placement of 2000 combat troops in Darwin –- whose principal object of attention is the expansion of Chinese influence in south-east Asia.

Now Palmer and Jacqui Lambie have said what many people say between themselves outside the hushed halls of Parliament and News Corp — that it is obvious that this is the major question we will have to deal with over the next half-century and beyond (if Australia continues as an entity beyond). Palmer’s Chinese menu of contradictory assertions is simply designed to misdirect away from embarrassment around his alleged fast and loose use of funds from a holding company for his election campaign. The treatment of Lambie’s comments, though, is a grimly hilarious thing to watch — the worst thing to say, apparently, is that large states have interests, that geopolitical war is not a thing of the past, and that the West might not always be the most powerful agent in the exercise of such.

So the argument is that what will really sour Australia-Chinese relations is the remarks of one Senator once — and not the escalation of the Australia-US alliance to a whole new stage by the hosting of a troop base in our north. Apparently, this is something the Chinese won’t notice — just as presumably they won’t notice the West’s attempt to curtail their economic and diplomatic extension into Africa and Latin America, the attempts to enforce global currency settings of advantage to the West, copyright and IP regimes that raise Chinese business costs, a renewal of imperial encirclement by strengthening our alliance with Japan, and pushing for an end to the constitutionally guaranteed neutrality of the Japanese military — no, shhhhh, they never noticed any of that.

You don’t have to agree with Lambie’s solution to this — rearmament and our own missile systems, presumably nuclear — to see that once again, because of the new Senate arrangements, a conversation is being had that the political-media elite don’t want the country to have. This is an example of the strange somersault that has occurred in Australian life since the 2013 election. For years, the right-wing media elite — the wired-in “power intellectuals” who saw their role as doing the bidding of the Coalition, the US-Australia alliance, NATO and the West — bemoaned the rule of the elites, by which they meant, ordinary professional middle-class people of a left-liberalish tinge.

The “power intellectuals” — the Paul Kellys, Greg Sheridans, Nick Caters, etc — purported to speak for ordinary Australians against that. Well, the ordinary Australians are here now, in the Senate, albeit by a complex and contradictory process, and what do you know, they’re going off the script. In response, the right-wing media elite has slowly dispensed with its pseudo-populism. Suddenly, government is not something everyone can do, since what is required for government is the rigorous not-having of conversations about the most obvious global processes and array of powers.

Yes, there is little chance of a major geopolitical earthquake in the coming years. But you would have to be wilfully ignorant to not believe that the course of the century is not merely a strategic question for Australia, but an existential one.

This has nothing to do with “yellow peril”, or some sort of deep cultural drive for dominance, but simply with the same imperative that drove the First World War — if you jump first, you get an advantage. Competition for resources, economic crises, a rightward shift in the US, an upsurge of chauvinist nationalism in China, and elsewhere — all of these could create a situation in which China, or a wider alliance of powers, decide that it is no longer wise to tolerate a white-originated settler-capitalist nation-continent as a US outpost in their neighbourhood.

For years, we have been fed a degree of bullshit about how oriented to Asia we are, how integrated we are, how much they accept us. This fiction can only be sustained by our moronic refusal to understand the impact of European imperialism on Asia — the century of racist subjugation, free-market holocausts (which gave Chairman Mao’s worst mistakes a run for their money) and needless late imperial military slaughter we foisted on them. Yes, no one’s going to let that get in the way of business — the Chinese are as adept as Clive Palmer at switching from global capitalist smoothness to neo-Maoist rhetoric in a heartbeat — but no one’s under any illusions about what sort of power we represent.

We remain the last European colony in Asia — we simply colonised a people who didn’t have a unified state and society capable of throwing us off, and restoring their own autonomy. The only way we will ever have a real relationship with Asia is to repudiate the US alliance, remove both the new military bases, and the listening posts at Pine Gap and elsewhere, hand in the deputy’s badge. Compared to that, stray remarks by senators are of no import. But most likely we’ll stay in the shadows of the camera obscura, convinced that the US would come to our aid should there be a major re-alignment.

They wouldn’t of course, and really, if China and other Asian powers want us, they will take us — at some point 25 million people sitting on the world’s greatest mineral trove through sheer low density of population, need to get a bit real. There’s a point at which it is cheaper to just come and take it, rather than buy it — the minerals, the mines, and the temperate eastern lands which could host a lot more than five million rural Australians. Indeed, at some point, we may simply have to give up the continent to entirely new political arrangements.

That was how we were created in 1788 — there’s no reason to suppose it won’t happen to us in 2088, or 2056, or 2035. And there sure as hell is no reason not to talk about it, in full view, without the tricks of the light of a power elite, who would, unquestionably, welcome our new overlords, whoever they might be.


That last sentence is an excellent observation, I think, and it's a fear I've long held as well. Liberal and ALP kowtowing to the US is less about ideological alignment—and this is a great point Rundle makes in another article just published the other day—than it is about sycophancy. That's just the nature of politics in this country (and, perhaps, the world as a whole). As a middle power, we have always sold out to the highest bidder and probably always will.

If Rundle's right on this—and I'd be very interested in getting opinions on that from some of the more thoughtful posters here—and we should be expecting anything up to and including invasion by the end of the century, then we need to be prepared for that. That means devoting energy to defending the values that are most directly threatened by a shift away from American control and towards Chinese hegemony.

For me, the starkest difference between those two systems, in the sense that it might negatively impact on our way of living, is civil liberties, and everything that concept entails: freedom of speech (particularly in terms of political and artistic expression); freedom of information; freedom from surveillance; freedom from draconian work contracts; freedom from discrimination and oppression; and so on. If you're not fighting for civil liberties now, then you should be, because there may well come a time within our lifespans when we are no longer permitted to.

In the meantime, I suspect some sort of Chinese control of Australia in the future is probably close to inevitable—if not militarily, then certainly economically (and, by extension, politically). While we probably don't need alarmist militaristic nonsense from the Parma bunch, we need the "Pollyanna" responses even less.


so will you be rolling over, or hiding behind those idiot murdering fools we call our armed forces?

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Wokko Pisces

Come and take it.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 5:13 pm
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David has said on more than one occasion I believe that if Australia was facing a real, physical, imminent danger that he would join in defending the nation.
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stui magpie Gemini

Oh, the Premiership's a cakewalk


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 5:18 pm
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This reminds me, I need to go buy a decent hunting rifle and scope. I'm thinking a .223
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think positive Libra

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 5:21 pm
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place across the road has a range where you can play with all sorts of semi automatics!
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David Libra

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 6:17 pm
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Wokko wrote:
David has said on more than one occasion I believe that if Australia was facing a real, physical, imminent danger that he would join in defending the nation.


Correct. But who needs invasion when your own government bends over and hands its independence across on a platter?

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pietillidie 



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 1:40 am
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^What are you all worried about? Abbott and Bishop will negotiate a shot-less treaty with the small price of sending your children to the salt mines of Outer Mongolia! And, much like the damage to healthcare and education being wrought by Abbott, many will just cheer it on, claiming it will teach some bizarre lesson in needless suffering to their kids (i.e., reduce their tax).

On a serious note, the US and large multinationals have been the driving force behind these types of clauses the world over; look at the other trade deals before going into a Sinophobic panic.

The point that Keating would make is that China has to succeed; the bits and pieces on the way are distractions. Does anyone think the future looks bright if they don't? There is no bright world future without a successful China. This is why Abbott's rejection of China's development bank was, as Keating said, the biggest failure of his foreign policy to date.

We have to get it into our heads: China simply has to succeed.

And do you lot know the difference between diachronic and synchronic analysis? Big words for basic ideas, I know, but basic ideas people conveniently forget when discussing China. Obsessing over present, static phenomena won't get you anywhere but some dumb Anglo-Americano-Euro-centric bigotry when assessing China. It's a bit like repeating the tautology that the best is better than the rest.

But from the lived, felt Sitz im leben of the Other, moving forward even from an underwhelming starting point often feels better than billionaires feel when moving backwards; this is trivial human psychology on display all around us in life. So going into a moral panic over China not meeting the best standards history and geography have to offer is to impose extraordinarily wankerish concerns on people with very different subjective lives and aspirations.

IMO, if you can't map, describe and quantify the difference in human development over time in China post 1980, you've got nothing meaningful to say on the topic. There is no ex nihilo democracy and we all know it; the very notion is a racist mischief dreamed up to hold others to higher standards than ourselves. It's the same kind of mischief Libertarians use when they want to pretend the current wealth distribution in society was handed down by Jesus himself and is thus not open to question: That is to say, a deceitful load of crap invented to justify the random fortune of being in the right place at the right time in history, and to condemn everyone else who finds themselves in a different spot in life.

Why people keep peddling this deceit—this outright, misleading racist BS—when it comes to China is beyond me.

On the other hand, tell us how things are progressing in China and we can have a sincere conversation. Tell us they're going backward, and even I will be gravely worried. But if you've got nothing to say on directionality and basic human psychology you've got nothing worthwhile to say on China except detached, autistic Internet nonsense.

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watt price tully Scorpio



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 7:47 am
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I like Chinese

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NH2P_pVze6s

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