sean

If you have a Marxist friend

8 posts in this topic

Having grown up in the 80's punk rock-n-roll scene I remember one for the strictest principles behind the "movement" was that not only was racism looked down upon, but if you weren't racist but had friends that were it was more or less over for you. People would be chased out of clubs and had bones broken over this stuff! Although I'm older now and in no way condone the use of force to get my point across to people I disagree with, I still to this day will not be a friend to anyone who would judge another person on the basis of his/her race. I also have given up all hope of talking sense into anyone with such views for the most part. That said, I still run in circles heavy populated with other types of authoritarians. In fact a lot of my friends can range from liberal to full on Marxist and yet I'll still call on them to go out and argue over a beer or two or go motorcycle riding with . Is this wrong? I'm I just a big hypocrite by tolerating being around one form of fascism/authoritism over the other? Why is it considered normal for one to reject someone with racist totalitarian views over someone with social/economical totalitarian views even when history has proven the latter to be far more of a constant threat to mankind's freedom?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, you do have a good point there. I know that people are a lot deeper then the political philosophy they subscribe too and that seeing how I live in one of the most liberal cities in the U.S. (Pittsburgh) it would become pretty lonely real fast if I went and limited my friend count to only people with views close to mine. It's just that when it comes to people who try and pass off racism as an intellectual philosophical pursuit, most people would not pull up a chair and listen with an open mind and that has been a good thing when it comes to lessening the power that that philosophy might other wise have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bah, if you're friends only with people whose views exactly match yours, you're going to be very lonely!

Friendship is based on more than just shared values. I do have a communist friend, we used to have long heated arguments over a bottle of wine (I since moved but we keep in touch), despite knowing full well that we are so philosophically opposed that there will be no resolution - it's all good fun and I learnt a few facts about history. We share a passion for classical music and that was the initial basis for our friendship.

I have quite a few friends who would be considered "leftist" even in Europe. Their defining feature is that they are honest with themselves, rather than manipulative, in their leftism (which, taken to its logical conclusion, will in my view result in Objectivism eventually - one of my friends has already started voting centre instead of hard left, she says she's not ready for right-wing yet but could see it coming within a year or two).

I draw the lines clearly. I tell them: "This is what I believe, and this is where we disagree, and this is why (I believe in the primacy of the individual and reason, you [the socialist friend] believe in the primacy of arbitrary rule and an undefined "society", etc.)." Some eventually turn around and start questioning their beliefs. Others don't. I still get tremendous value from them.

Everybody has a bit of irrationality somewhere, usually derived from personal experience. I recently heard an Objectivist argue for banning derivative products from financial markets. I have some racist friends; most of them come from Southern states (visiting the US, I found the stereotypes true), some have grown up in hairy parts of Europe where they learnt to associate brown skin with danger. I just make it clear I do not share certain of their opinions.

Just see the good in people. Most authoritarians have good intentions, or at least a good heart. They're just not rational. Invest a bit of time in those you value, and perhaps they will come to agree with you in due time. It's worth it... at least I think so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Having grown up in the 80's punk rock-n-roll scene I remember one for the strictest principles behind the "movement" was that not only was racism looked down upon, but if you weren't racist but had friends that were it was more or less over for you. People would be chased out of clubs and had bones broken over this stuff!

Was it really objections to actual racism or much more? The left has long accused anyone who opposes their policies of being "racist", to the point of obsession within the movement.

... I still to this day will not be a friend to anyone who would judge another person on the basis of his/her race. I also have given up all hope of talking sense into anyone with such views for the most part. That said, I still run in circles heavy populated with other types of authoritarians. In fact a lot of my friends can range from liberal to full on Marxist and yet I'll still call on them to go out and argue over a beer or two or go motorcycle riding with . Is this wrong? I'm I just a big hypocrite by tolerating being around one form of fascism/authoritism over the other? Why is it considered normal for one to reject someone with racist totalitarian views over someone with social/economical totalitarian views even when history has proven the latter to be far more of a constant threat to mankind's freedom?

I can't help but be affected by someone's political views because I see too clearly what they mean in reality, including how it affects me and destroys my personal values. You can deal with certain people only by temporarily forgetting all that they are. If you think in terms of the meaning in reality of what people say and want, whether it is communism, debilitating taxes, racism or anything else, you begin to look for what it is in their nature that makes them that way and how serious it is, as well as seeing the consequences of their advocacy. If you think in such terms, the level of friendship possible based on other points of commonality will take care of itself. It's not a matter of not wanting to be a "hypocrite" by befriending someone with wrong abstract views.

I think this topic may have been discussed on the Forum before, and I think Leonard Peikoff also once addressed it in his podcasts, but I don't remember where or what was said.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Was it really objections to actual racism or much more? The left has long accused anyone who opposes their policies of being "racist", to the point of obsession within the movement."

Well, the punk rock thing back in the early to mid 80's kind of started off as a do what you wanna do, don't give a crap about anything, be an individual kind of thing, but as time went on it got more and more left. I can't say there was not a lot of witch hunting going on. "You don't agree with me so you must be a racist" crap, but there was defiantly a lot of Nazi type skinheads that would show up when punk bands played and they did start a lot of trouble. Was it really objections to actual racism? Well, to me it just seemed to be more of a gang fight thing then trying to win anyone over to one ideology or another. I mean it was mostly white on white kids beating the tar out of each other. The 80's were a pretty crazy time for that kind of stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, the punk rock thing back in the early to mid 80's kind of started off as a do what you wanna do, don't give a crap about anything, be an individual kind of thing...

Being an "individual" by rebelling against everything else is a false and shallow individualism, because you are still defining yourself by everyone else, you are still second-handed. This is a trap that you see many young people fall into, as evidenced by the "goth" and "punk" crazes in high schools.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Being an "individual" by rebelling against everything else is a false and shallow individualism, because you are still defining yourself by everyone else, you are still second-handed. This is a trap that you see many young people fall into, as evidenced by the "goth" and "punk" crazes in high schools.

I occasionally have fun at parties (when I know I'll get away with it) by picking on the girls who think they are "individuals" and think "by themselves". I proceed to describe their views (Obama sums it up nicely), their favourite economist (Krugman), their position on global warming, etc. - usually about 99% accurate. Once met an Obamaniac who also was pro-guns but she was from Alaska, where going out implies wild animals which implies "packing heat". They keep "surprisingly" quiet about the Iraq and Afghan wars, too, now that Obama's in power.

Well, it would be more fun if there were more women with more rational views :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, the punk rock thing back in the early to mid 80's kind of started off as a do what you wanna do, don't give a crap about anything, be an individual kind of thing...

Being an "individual" by rebelling against everything else is a false and shallow individualism, because you are still defining yourself by everyone else, you are still second-handed. This is a trap that you see many young people fall into, as evidenced by the "goth" and "punk" crazes in high schools.

There's no denying the punk movement was second-handed and it did help foster a lot of the left wing thinking that goes on in today's music scene, but on the other hand it did open me up to a lot of other ideas I might not have been exposed to had I just hung out with the "normal" kids. It also encouraged me to never take things laying down and to always question authority and that's always been a good thing in my book.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites