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Jack Graham

Jack Graham wrote about Doctor Who and Marxism, often at the same time. These days he co-hosts the I Don't Speak German podcast with Daniel Harper.Support Jack on Patreon.

4 Comments

  1. Theonlyspiral
    July 15, 2014 @ 4:23 pm

    God I love it when you are in top form.

    Reply

  2. Anonymous
    July 16, 2014 @ 11:49 am

    The main thing about universal rights which tends to get swept under the carpet to allow all sorts of problems, at least as far as I can tell, is that social rights and economic rights are completely and fundamentally different things.

    With stuff like free speech, or having whatever sort of sex you want, or the like, one person's freedom doesn't interfere with another person's freedom, except for a few edge cases. By and large, if I can say whatever I want, it doesn't interfere with you being able to say whatever you want. So everyone can in fact have everything, and this being a universal right makes perfect sense.

    But when property comes into the equation, there's no getting away from the fact that owning property works by preventing anyone else from doing stuff with it. The fact that two people can't eat the same apple is behind most of the complexity of politics and economics in the first place. It's better characterised as a 'power', than a 'right'. If you own something, you have the power to stop anyone else from using it or consuming it, and the fact that this means you will be able to use or consume it more reliably is just a desired effect of ownership, rather than what it actually is.

    (And when this goes further into so-called "intellectual property", where you can have something called "copyright" which doesn't actually give anyone any additional freedom whatsoever, since information and data doesn't have the property of only being usable by one person at a time, it just takes freedom away…)

    The idea of economic freedom just isn't even coherent, because economics is all about those things in the world that can't be used freely by everyone, by their very nature. It's just one out of an infinite number of ways of deciding who to take freedom away from regarding which objects, which isn't fundamentally more (or less) free than any of the others. But it works quite naturally at a small scale, at a small scale it really does look free, because property ownership is so natural that the fact that you're trading threats of force against everyone else is unnoticeable. And humans, having evolved in societies of 150-ish, aren't designed to think about large numbers of people. So it continues to be possible to make people believe it's still got special properties of freedom when you do it in an entire country or world.

    The large-scale effects which mean it's only actually freedom for a lucky (and generally less ethical) few aren't obvious to the intuition, so it's easy to pretend them away.

    Reply

  3. timber-munki
    July 20, 2014 @ 4:47 am

    The history of world war 1 link appears to be dead. Is that intentional?

    Reply

  4. Jack Graham
    July 20, 2014 @ 6:12 am

    No, that's some kind of glitch. But I've fixed it now.

    I like that you thought a deliberately dead link might be some kind of situationist statement about the futility of war. 🙂

    Reply

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