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Big-Tent Rightism

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Jargon Posted: Thu, Apr 18 2013 2:06 PM

So has anyone noticed a certain political current on the internet which seems like big-tent rightism? And when I say rightism, I don't mean the American Republican party, but a rightism which is inclusive of conservatives, nationalists, libertarians, reactionaries and monarchists. It's more like a big anti-leftist movement than anything. Do you think that there is some common thread that binds all ideologies non-left?

If one existed, I would have to say that it lies in the placement of power. Libertarians believe in the individual having power. Nationalists, nations have power. Monarchists, monarchists have power. It seems like leftists, on the other hand, want to abolish power. What do you think?

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I have been meaning to doa thread on the "phenomenon of the right and left": and what that could possibly mean, as I think there is something to all this.  I would hope not, I would hope things were a little more complex than that. 

If not, my working hunch is there is a definate scope to left wingism (assuming it means something more than socialism) - and being right wing may almost simply mean something like "not leftist". 

Either way: I think it is probably best to start with the assumption that things are probably more complicated than "right" and "left" - and there just may be an institution or two (media and party systems maybe?) that really water this down and profit from oversimplicication.

"As in a kaleidoscope, the constellation of forces operating in the system as a whole is ever changing." - Ludwig Lachmann

"When A Man Dies A World Goes Out of Existence"  - GLS Shackle

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Jargon replied on Thu, Apr 18 2013 3:12 PM
I think that it's safe to say that Progressivism, which is Socialism's son who got sent to London to study as a small boy but never forgot his mother's lessons, has won the day. All the publications which control public opinion hold progressivism to be the center position. Actually maybe it's right-progressivism. The rightist publications which circulate today are largely ineffectual. They are parodies and strawmen of their own positions, they delegitimize themselves by supporting bluntly nationalistic and conservative policies with folk-rhetoric and christian values. They don't step up to the level of progressives by pretending to be pro-science and pro-logic. Dunno if any of this makes sense, it may not. I didn't even mean to say that drawing the left/right line will be particularly illuminating. I just think there is necessarily something more to right wing movements than their penchant for anti-leftism.
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Neodoxy replied on Thu, Apr 18 2013 3:23 PM

Vive,

I think that the left-right phenomenon is really just about certain ways that people think and the implications of certain inherent human values. These can manifest themselves in a number of ways, but I think you could really split the divide across some of the most basic dichotomies of the human experience: femininity vs. masculinity, tolerance vs. judgment, action vs. apathy, and so on.

I think that there are things that are very fundamental to the left/right divide that have rarely ever been truly explored, and of course there are a near infinite number of subsets within these groups, and the existence of the groups themselves necessarily both homogenizes and dehomogenizes opinion at the same time, but the primary enemies must necessarily be from other camps.

At last those coming came and they never looked back With blinding stars in their eyes but all they saw was black...
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Wheylous replied on Thu, Apr 18 2013 3:24 PM

Nationalists, nations have power

What's a nation?

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Jargon replied on Thu, Apr 18 2013 3:31 PM

A people with a shared language, history, religion, set of traditions, superstitions, mannerisms and etiquettes.

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OK,

let's see if I can ask some good questions:

What is the lefts relationship with:

-Science (Herbert Marcuse vs Karl Marx vs Michel Foucault vs Paul Krugman, etc): how do these groups feed into eachother and how do they form a united front. When is it "pro science" when is it "anti science" - how do both of these positions feed into one another and make it a united force. To Neo, it would be the promotion of some core value (which is a reasonable assumption I probably agree with).

-Values: When a lefty is idealistic, nihilistic, scientistic, irrational, amoral, moral,or whatever: it doesn't seem to mean the same thing as a "non leftist" - and it very well may all be pointing to a level of activism and "value set" that I just don't understand regardless of their relation to science, spirtuality, or ethics.  When I think a self proclaimed "amoral anarchist" goes vegan, hates fur, fights "the corporations", and gets warm and fuzzy when Barak Obama gets elected is asinine - and  he calls me a "reactionary who can not cope with the changing values of society"  for such an opinion, this actually points to something

-The institutional framework most of the world has: Is there something inherent in the left for creating, dictating, and dominating our institutional framework and the way we view cultural paradigms ( to what degree does leftism = intellectualism?)  And if someone who doesn't toe the line so well (Mises, Nietzsche, whomever) bound to end up on the fringe and not looked at too seriously due to a form of institutional dominance?

-On an amusing note: where is that little switch where the left winger turns from a docile (i.e passive-aggressive) "pacifist" vegan to a raging violent coffee house revolutionary demanding "social justice" that can't be stopped until it reache all four corners of the globe.

-What is "the lefts" relation to social justice: is there anyway their view of "justice" can be localized, or does it have to spread

One thing I feel strongly about: In so much as this dichotomy holds water, I do not think, in this day and age, someone who does not really buy into "the left wing" paradigms all too much (such as myself) have nearly as much positive reinforcment for however they may approach things.

 

P.S:

I was angrily called a "petite bourgoise" a few days ago by some adjunct philosophy prof from the University of Chicago (an old quasi-friend of mine) for taking a small dig at Martha Nussbaum and calling his use of the words "Capitalism", "The Corporations", etc the same as the way Homer used the Greek Gods of the Iliad walking around and influencing things.

"Petite Bourgoise" is a pretty big insult in the humanities department.  However, being that it was essentially Karl Marx's chief "argument" against Max Stirner I took it as a fairly high unintended compliment.

 

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Wheylous replied on Thu, Apr 18 2013 10:50 PM

It seems like leftists, on the other hand, want to abolish power.

I'm not actually sure that's what they want to do.

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Bogart replied on Fri, Apr 19 2013 7:57 AM

"Leftists" want abolish power?  Since when, which "Leftists"?  I could ask the same about "Rightists" as well and the answer would be exactly the same.  Both categories of people want to use force in their relationships with other humans over engaging these other humans on a voluntary basis.  There are only two kinds of people: Those that want human interactions to be voluntary and those that don't.  Leftists, Rightists, Minarchists, Nationalists, Republicans, Democrats, Socialists, Keynesians, Monetarists, etc ALL want to use violence or the threats of violence to get people to do what those people would choose not to do voluntarily and therefore fall into the latter category.

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Jargon replied on Fri, Apr 19 2013 12:19 PM

There are only two types of people: those that revert to the NAP as the ultimate of all discussions, and those who don't.

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Kakugo replied on Fri, Apr 19 2013 1:05 PM

Let's see if we can answer some of those questions.

Science. While, from a theoretical point of view, the Left pays lips service to science in all forms, the reality is for them science is useful only when it can provide a tool for furthering their social and political goals, regardless of how solid the basis are. Example: Lysenkoism (also called Michurinism) or heritability of acquired charcteristics. No need to tell why Stalin loved this theory so much.

Values. This is a mixed bunch since people from the Left embrace a wide berth of values. You can meet Leftists who are deeply religious or firebrand Atheists. Some are idealists driven by the noble principle of equality among men and others are just rotten Statists. If there's a core value it can be said to be they all strongly believe in State coercion to further their goals. That's why the border between Anarcho-Socialists and hardcore Communists in countries such as Italy, France and Greece was so thin.

Istitutional framework. Boy, this is hard to answer. Personally I am intrigued by Walter Block's idea that man "is hard wired for Socialism". One thing for certain is that the Left is continuing Gramsci's recommendation to quietly take over the educational and academic sector and hold to them like a mussel on a rock (OK, Gramsci didn't write that last phrase). This has gone very, very deep, to the point people like Menger, Mises, Hazlitt and Rothbard (not to mention Nietzsche, the cultural equivalent of the Anti-Christ) are liquidated as "crackpots" without much explanation being given. If any explanation is given it's aimed at demonizing and ridiculing the adversary: typical Marxist tactics (which Marx got from some Christian apologists of Late Antiquity: read how the Paulician and Nestorian "heretics" were treated by them).

Social justice. This is elusive to pin down but I suspect it ultimatily boils down to Marx's phrase "form each according to his means and to each according to his needs". Social justice = wealth redistribution on massive scale. As Bastiat would have said the"illusion according to which everybody wants to live off everybody else's back". Still Leftists don't explain why ultimately the wealth doesn't flow to the needy but always collects at the feet of the nomenklatura (in truly Socialist regimes) or the well connected (present situation).

Little switch. It's different for each Leftist. Some have Global Warming, others have gun control, other still have the need to "soak the rich". I take it's something the person in question has invested a lot of emotional capital in and yet suspects to be bogus.

About your PS: you cannot reason with these people. They still believe it's '68 (as in 1868, the year the first volume of Das Kapital started to be widely available, thanks to bourgeoise printers). My usual retort is I am not a petite bourgeoise but a "grand bourgeoise" because I have worked for years in a productive fashion instead of playing at being Che Guevara.

Together we go unsung... together we go down with our people
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fakename replied on Fri, Apr 19 2013 4:06 PM

So has anyone noticed a certain political current on the internet which seems like big-tent rightism? And when I say rightism, I don't mean the American Republican party, but a rightism which is inclusive of conservatives, nationalists, libertarians, reactionaries and monarchists. It's more like a big anti-leftist movement than anything. Do you think that there is some common thread that binds all ideologies non-left?

If one existed, I would have to say that it lies in the placement of power. Libertarians believe in the individual having power. Nationalists, nations have power. Monarchists, monarchists have power. It seems like leftists, on the other hand, want to abolish power. What do you think?

I hate to give trite answers, but those are the only one's I can come up with: I believe that rightists are growing closer, to some extent, due to what they see as a battle against the left which is increasingly hard to win just by themselves. One part of this is undoubtedly due to Obama's re-election which was interpreted as a huge demonstration of how a leftist would willingling vote for anyone with a "D" next to his name, no matter how ineffectual or how unsuccessfully that "D" lived up to his campaign promises/image. This view that the left has a herd mentality has inspired some of the libertarian/individualist rhetoric we see around the right a bit.

Historically, the current right as you have described it is an interesting body. Monarchists, of course, used to actively oppose nationalists and the latter even used to be "leftists". Libertarians have likewise either gone over to the left (Jeffersonians, S.American independence movements) or the to right (Girodins, 1920s-30s Republicans, etc.). The Leftist body is also interesting in that it exists either as a group of apparent hobbyists (vegans, greens) or anarchists/communists extremists. I have no idea what a moderate leftist would look like, I suspect that these people would be those who were radicals in their youth but grew up to become CEOs or politicians who now are "The System" and would like to change society slowly (that is, prudently) and not quickly (moderates in their tactics). Of course we all know that leftists have an unapologetic streak to them, which is what further distinguishes them from conservatives, while the right must always apologize for anyone further to the right.The political economy of the left today is also closer to the political economy of the right in its oldest forms (mercantilism, , localism, distributism vs laissez-faire capitalism, or neo-liberalism). Indeed, even the social ideas of the left find more currency in the right today, though they were more popular with the left in the past (eugenics, scientific racism, IQ tests etc.).

To organize this body of data, according to shared philosophies, ideas, etc. would be difficult since each individual rightist philosophy may not even be logically coherent themselves (so much less would a logical connection of such philosophies, unless I am committing some fallacy of composition) and together there is no guarantee that they entail each other. I don't even think this is the primary concern of most rightists. Historically too, we have seen how illogical ideas can come together and be realized under a single banner, since there are many contradictions in even current leftist concepts (like truth is just an idea that is used to oppress people and is therefore invalid) and yet fanatical unity amongst those who hold such concepts. But to organize these ideas according to shared political needs is, by process of elimination, the most frutiful avenue for analysis.

   I think that the right is today unifying, only due to the seeming monolithic status of the left. I also say that the right is made up of naturally reactive characters with a huge amygdala whilst the left is made of people with different physiological tendencies (whether this means all liberals are that way or all people that way are liberals is up for debate) http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection//2011/06/13/liberals-are-from-the-acc-conservatives-are-from-the-amygdala/#.UXGvzMol-up. Finally, I speculate that the right is made up of people who have some habit towards always favoring the strong and superior over the weak and inferior (however that is defined). I think that the observation made since even Greek times holds true; that some people are just born liking the successful and disliking the unsuccessful and others do the contrary. After all, this is why so many conservatives now uphold the free-market namely, because it serves as a mode of distinguishment and partition that separates people into higher and lower while liberals despise the market for the same reason.

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I could get on board with that without the libertarians and reactionaries/monarchists. No way those contrasting visions are going to translate into a real world regime.

"Nutty as squirrel shit."
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@Kakugo:

I'll probably add more later, but I am short on tim: and I thnk this topic is a HUGE topic that is rather difficult to focus one's thoughts on.

1) I think one of the 1st things that have to be distinguished is how the left =/= socialism (where are the differences): in this it may be fine to note that all radical political expressions of the left (anarchism, scientism/technocratism, primitivism, etc) are a form of blatant socialism one way or the other, something that I have a hunch is true.  Either way, just thining about "socialism would proabably be easier to focus on, however the name doesn't seem to occur so directly anymore.  I think this may have to do with the face of the New Left and it's relationship towards (to use a buzzword) "post-modernism",

2) ABout "social justice":  I had a thought, and upon request I could probably bomabard my next post with quotes from Moore, Fourier, Marx and Engles, Trotsky, Bakunin, Meslier, and any other "classic" socialist / radical name you can throw out there (excepting perhaps individual anarchists / mutualists) - and show examples of history (think the nature of the EU, the US Democratic Party, all the closed off commie countries, to things as old as Anabaptists) how a society has to be "closed off" and in complete control to "leftism" (or at least direct in your face socialism) - or it HAS to spread, it can not leave anything alone: it in it's nature - perhaps as an instinctive survival mechinism.  Of course this could once again be asked, how does this game change and remain the same in regards to toady, and the way the left functions - I think it is much different in it's nature than the early 20th century.

3) A thought on being "reactionary" this is kind of addressed to fakename):  When you have a group that is built off of creating problems, "raising conciousness", exploiting and dividing classes, and  causing "class warfare" using any institutional apperatus available...and you have a group that almost does nothing but take "non things", turn them into monolithic entities to bludgeon people with while controlling the context and tempo of how one can handle the issue, and demanding it be settled in a very particular way - how can you be anything but reationary?  It is just the very nature of things. 

The real issue is what classes are they succesfully picking to divide at any given time (the poor, the sexes,  species, race, etc), how are they doing it, and perhaps why is this division succesful as opposed to others?  It's odd: most don't care about hierarchy, money, or pick an issue; except the people who demand these things be utterly abolished, they are obsessed with such things.

In other words: it is quite possible a "reactionary" is, by his nature, some poor naive schmuck who just got rear ended out of nowhere by people with an axe to grind.  Is it because he was in a position of power and they were not, so he never noticed - or perhaps in a more subtle way, it's the other way around, who is the splendid blonde beast here?

 

"As in a kaleidoscope, the constellation of forces operating in the system as a whole is ever changing." - Ludwig Lachmann

"When A Man Dies A World Goes Out of Existence"  - GLS Shackle

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Wheylous replied on Sun, Apr 21 2013 7:26 AM

There are only two types of people: those that revert to the NAP as the ultimate of all discussions, and those who don't.

Technically, whenever you had a set S which belongs to the universe, there are always only two things in the universe: Set S and not set S. So yeah, you're right. Always. Thanks for not adding info.

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Jargon replied on Sun, Apr 21 2013 7:35 AM

Wheylous:

There are only two types of people: those that revert to the NAP as the ultimate of all discussions, and those who don't.

Technically, whenever you had a set S which belongs to the universe, there are always only two things in the universe: Set S and not set S. So yeah, you're right. Always. Thanks for not adding info.

Mind if I borrow this then?

Bogart:

There are only two kinds of people: Those that want human interactions to be voluntary and those that don't.

"Technically, whenever you had a set S which belongs to the universe, there are always only two things in the universe: Set S and not set S. So yeah, you're right. Always. Thanks for not adding info."

Or are you just angry that I'm abusing the sacred cow?

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The best, but by no means perfect, distinction I've heard between left and right is from Paul Gottfried who argues that the essence of the left is egalitarianism and the essence of the right is inegalitarianism. For the left then the fundemental principle is always does this bring us closer to equality. So when it comes to science they cannot admit any law or principle which contradicts the equality pressupposition. This is probably why they head to the humanities and social science departments since they are the places typically best shielded from reality. In these enclaves everything can be argued to be arbitrarily socially constructed. From a social persepctive redistribution easily follows from the egalitarian world view. I teach some high school Sociology and the prevelant view from it seems to be that all people are the same (there's no real distinction in gender, race etc.) but that each individual is entirely unique at the same time.

The right on the other hand see difference as ubiquitous and largely positive. Taken to its logically conclusion though the concept of a human race is not possible. In a way, in rightism particulars trump universals and in leftism universals trump particulars. Seen in this light the alignment of some libertarians, monarchists and nationalists etc makes sense since they are striving for a properly unequal (in some sense) society. 

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The Soviet Union was left on principal but could it be described as rightest in practice since there was obviously inequality. If Obama's policies lead to increasing inequality could Obama then be described as being right wing in practice even if his rhetoric is left wing

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1) I'd like to point out that my "hatred" of "the left" is kind of academic.  I am mostly concerned, being a man who has been around it kind of a lot, the extremes and the margins of things - aswell as the how ideas sort of take over someone and push them towards filling a certain role and expectation you can see comming from miles away.  But any critique or railing I do is merely a caricture.

2) About the whole hierarchy ordeal:  I wonder if it could just be an odd relationship to the division of labor.  That is, it is a way to contextualize the division of labor and show how one reactes to it.  I personally, for the life of me, can not tell why someone would "hate" the division of labor - it doesn't even make aesthetic sense to me.

That said there does seem to be a type of all inclusive "pantheistic" drive in a lefties mentality that would blot out all distinctions - so that may have something to do with it.

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vive la insurrection:

That said there does seem to be a type of all inclusive "pantheistic" drive in a lefties mentality that would blot out all distinctions - so that may have something to do with it.

That "pantheistic" drive was what I was getting at with the universals over particulars statement. It is definitely a hallmark of the left.

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Jargon replied on Mon, Apr 22 2013 6:49 AM

vive la insurrection:

2) About the whole hierarchy ordeal:  I wonder if it could just be an odd relationship to the division of labor.  That is, it is a way to contextualize the division of labor and show how one reactes to it.  I personally, for the life of me, can not tell why someone would "hate" the division of labor - it doesn't even make aesthetic sense to me.

No? Let's try then, from an aesthetic sense (even though it's kind of bizarre to try seeing as the division of labor gets bundled in with a bunch of things political and economic (I have in mind the enclosure acts but nevermind)):

In the days of old, before machines ruled men, your neighbor would make you a shoe. You would come in for a fitting, and he would take his father's measuring tape and wrap it around your foot with his own two hands. He'd take his father's leather, nails, hammer, and soul and begin to craft it on the spot. He'd tell you "come back in a week!" and would labor personally over your shoe. He would take satisfaction and care, knowing that this was his craft and that no one could make a shoe quite like his. Each one was handmade. When you returned to him and finalized the exchange, you could smile knowing it was your neighbor and not an impoverished chinaman in a soulless automated factory, stamping a soul onto a shoetop with a steamfitter, shoe after shoe, all day everyday. Total repetition and zero dignity. Of course it's more productive, but what of the joy of creation? What of putting care and dedication into your craft and receiving the satisfaction of engaging and fulfilling labor? Replaced by the cold machine and man's implacable appetite for consumption.

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1) That's not a "hatred" for the division of labor: that's just a look at typical psychologisms /  lefty themes, institutional positive feedback, and narrow paradigm controlling tricks like alienation and "hyper specialization" lefties like to use .  There is stil  some vision of the division of labor in their heads (you still have a cobbler you have to go to, enjoy the "local charm" and "diversity" of all the small business and crafts, etc). I'll just leave it at that, though it is always very tempting to really take apart these clearly dubious, and probably self serving, statements (these are the type of comments that really drive people to take up econ I think).

The hunch is the hatred actually comes with the conequences of the division of labor - that is of something along the lines of "status" (hence the hierarchical haterade):  If these so called "Wage slaves" (so named by intellectuals), with the same "cog like" job, were treated like rock stars, or had the same "social status / prestige" as a stock broker - the lefties would probably leave the proleteriat alone (though they kind of have already) and/or hate them as much as they do typical busnissmen (though they kind of do already) and find some other group of people to rabble rouse and caste their "sympathy towards" (which they kind of already have). 

Also, because I can't help myself  I don't think I need to tell you or anyone on this site:  One can make a pretty strong case that the more one wishes to control such activities and create these "paradises" and perfect equlibriating state that exist in their own mind in such a socialist, bureaucratic, technocratic (pick one) manner the better the analogy one could make for people being real "cogs in a machine".

2) AN absolute hatred for something like the division of labor would be a hatred of life itself: everything would have to be destroyed with no concern for any forseeable future, nor any concern to actual create anything: this would include all of ones desires, loves, hates, relationships, etc.  One could perhaps only value a "Nirvana" or vegetable man type amorphus blob existence, and perhaps have a revolutionary Bakunin outlok on things.  THis too is a tendency of the left - and perhaps part of the "nihilistic pantheism" that seems inherent in some/ many peoples thinking.

 

"As in a kaleidoscope, the constellation of forces operating in the system as a whole is ever changing." - Ludwig Lachmann

"When A Man Dies A World Goes Out of Existence"  - GLS Shackle

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JackCuyler replied on Wed, Apr 24 2013 12:33 PM

Jargon:
In the days of old, before machines ruled men, your neighbor would make you a shoe.

This is a perfect example of division of labor. You're not making your own shoes; your neighbor is.


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Personally I am intrigued by Walter Block's idea that man "is hard wired for Socialism".

Speaking of which, try this: Muscularity and attractiveness as predictors of human egalitarianism.  I think that people are hard-wired for self-serving ideas.

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Speaking of which, try this: Muscularity and attractiveness as predictors of human egalitarianism.  I think that people are hard-wired for self-serving ideas.

So socialists are all short, fat, ugly, wimps, especially the females.

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So socialists are all short, fat, ugly, wimps, especially the females.

I wouldn't ascribe to a specific set of traits.  The point is that having advantages makes you want to use them to get ahead.  Not having them makes you want to sabotage those that do.

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No? Let's try then, from an aesthetic sense (even though it's kind of bizarre to try seeing as the division of labor gets bundled in with a bunch of things political and economic (I have in mind the enclosure acts but nevermind)):

In the days of old, before machines ruled men, your neighbor would make you a shoe...

That is a problem regardless of the mathematical optimization we are aware of.  I have no motivation to work a 9-5 job.  That's why I ultimately turned to screenwriting, programming and software design.  I tried to force myself to like the idea of going to college and sitting in a cubicle as an accountant or some such.  Working on a production line was the most boring thing I ever did.  I don't know how other people can do it.  I get bored very easily.  What makes it worse is the slavery based compensation model.  The idea of locking people in a room, overseeing them and paying them according to how long they have been there is ridiculous.  Most businesses are copies of the military.  Dogmatic mantras, regimented processes and flat rewards.  There are necessary reforms before we can seriously assess the conditions of specialization.

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