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April 09, 2005

Comments

KB

I don't know if this will answer your questions the way you want it to, but I guarentee that it's a link that you don't usually consult for answers. And I know what you're going to say after you go here: "Well, what do you expect from......" Save the lecture used to avoid responding and just challenge the ideas for a change.

Myths About Maoism
http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/wim/mythsofmao.html

And also, just to save myself from having to respond to some knuckleheaded response later, I'm not sending you this link because I think it's correct, or because I'm a Maoist. I'm sending you this link so that you'll read something different for a change. I'd be happy if you proved everything they've said wrong.KB

Cliff

The point being?...

…Maybe the stats we’ve been getting from the “imperialist bourgeoisie revisionists” are wrong.

KB would, of course, jump in to correct any statistics that exaggerate American poverty or wrong doing, it’s only appropriate that the record be set strait regarding a one party police state’s desire to mold a “new man.” Maybe Mao really wasn’t such a bad guy. Absolute power doesn’t seem to corrupt leftists absolutely the way it does everyone else. Sometimes a purge or two may be required to get those selfish counter-revolutionaries in line.

It seems only natural that KB and other roadies of Chomsky would want us to correct mistaken assumptions about communist tyranny; after all, they’re “anarchists.” They’re opposed to government authority – unless it’s the good authority that eliminates free commerce and private property, and promises to magically produce, “equality.”

Of course, those of us who believe multi-party open society to be a safer way to conduct one’s affairs are often reminded that we, “only think [we’re] free.” It’s assumed by some that we’d all be much freer if we obeyed the party, loved “the leader,” or confessed our crimes against “the people” in self-criticism sessions.

KB is not a Maoist, of course, and may not even believe statistics in defense of Mao are correct. He just wants us to see all sides, as long as we remember that, “four legs good, two legs bad” …and that America has two legs.

Now, I’ll recommend something as well. I just saw the video, “The Gate of Heavenly Peace” regarding the Tiananmen Square “incident.” Of course it wasn’t, “the greatest documentary ever made” like Fahrenheit 9/11, but it’s pretty interesting. Perhaps KB could convince some of the incident’s victims that “The Party” had their best interest in mind when they crushed the, “counter-revolutionary” movement.

Of course, China has now adopted considerable market activity (capitalism), but is still under the grip of the communist party. It would appear that KB still finds that system preferable to the US, simply because it’s not the US…and, “four legs good, two legs bad.”

P.S. Don’t assume your opposition doesn’t often read “something different for a change,” …even if they’re “knuckleheads.”

tanuki

Cliff, thanks for the info about Mao and China--good stuff. I'll check out the video if I get a chance (maybe ytou'll loan it to me at some point?)

I wonder if KB, in his objective interest in getting us to read things that we're not used to reading just to keep an open mind, would advocate our boning up on the views of the KKK or neo-Nazis.

I've given up trying to figure out what KB believes, because after reading his comments, I've come to the conclusion that it's a safe bet that he doesn't know either. The only rubric that I can discern is that if it embarrasses the U.S. or the Right, no matter how little basis in fact it contains, it's to be taken seriously. Little fact checking required, skepticism level at, oh, say, 5%.

If it criticizes the Left and any of its manifestations, no matter how well-supported in fact, it is to be gone over with the finest toothed comb available until some inaccuracy can be found, which would then make the entire premise false. If no error can be found or the researcher is to lazy to check, then some unrelated incident in which the right can be accused of a similar failing is introduced, or the (assumed)motives of the writer or poster are used as proof that the information, while true, can't be taken seriously. (Vide the brouhaha we had about Summers--yes, there are all kinds of differences between the brains of men and women, but the speaker or poster is a reactionary male chauvinist, so his points are invalid.) Skepticism level 95%

If Chomksy is criticized, buy a hermetically sealed raincoat because you're in for a shitstorm. Skepticism level off the scale.

Cliff

Now, don't we sound like fascists? Limited government, free commerce, dynamic open society, free inquiry and expression...and lamp shades of human skin.

The left in general just can't fathom the fact there are others who see things differently and who are not stupid, uninformed, or selfish "fascists."

Intellectual elitism can be downright bizarre.

Regarding Skepticism and the left:
http://photos1.blogger.com/img/157/1319/1024/Conditional%20Skepticism.jpg

Cheers!

KB

"The point being?..."

What do you mean "The point being?" If you can't figure it out, read it again.KB

"…Maybe the stats we’ve been getting from the “imperialist bourgeoisie revisionists” are wrong."

Uhh....do you think they're not? Why on God's green earth would you think that? I mean, after all, there are actually still people around saying that Pol Pot killed 2-3 million people.KB

"KB would, of course, jump in to correct any statistics that exaggerate American poverty or wrong doing"

You damn right I would. I don't like liars. I like facts. I'm looking for the truth, not a story that I click my heels together wishing to believe. If the U.S. does bad things then I'm going to say it. If it's an estimate, then I'll say it's an estimate. If it's a solid fact, then I'll say "according to...it's a solid fact." If I find that the numbers were pulled from someones butt, then that's what I'll say. You guys are REALLY hung up on this "hate America" pseudo-patriotic thing aren't you? This itself is a sign of deep-seated totalitarianism.KB

"it’s only appropriate that the record be set strait regarding a one party police state’s desire to mold a “new man.”"

Who has ever said anything good about this? I never have. Here you go again with your anti-communist paranoia. As I mentioned in my comment, but as usual didn't seem to register, "I'm not sending you this link because I think it's correct, or because I'm a Maoist. I'm sending you this link so that you'll read something different for a change. I'd be happy if you proved everything they've said wrong." See, it's right there at the top? Do you understand these simple sentences? Just which word do you not understand? I used very short simple words for this very reason. But your response is quite revealing. Just the thought of actually reading something by someone else, someone who I dare say has probably studied the topic a thousand times more than yourself, cannot even be tolerated long enough to make a criticism. The indoctrination is really deep if you can't do this. I'm not a Maoist by any means, but it doesn't interfere with my ability to read some sentences without going into some spasms.KB

"Maybe Mao really wasn’t such a bad guy."

If that's what you want to believe.KB

"Absolute power doesn’t seem to corrupt leftists absolutely the way it does everyone else."

If that's what you want to believe.KB

"Sometimes a purge or two may be required to get those selfish counter-revolutionaries in line."

Maybe?KB

"It seems only natural that KB and other roadies of Chomsky would want us to correct mistaken assumptions about communist tyranny;"

Yes, asking someone to actually read something other than that which they've been spoonfed from birth probably is asking too much of someone. It's would be kind of like asking someone who grew up under Stalin, who believed he did no wrong, etc...to actually read a book by most any president. Their response wopuld probably be the same. "What for? We don't need to. We already know the truth. Everything else is propaganda." It's just funny to watch you guys doing the exact same thing, and being completely oblivious to it. But then again that's the affect propaganda is supposed to have on you. Even considering an idea from "the other side" amounts to treason. This IS indoctrination.KB

"after all, they’re “anarchists.”"

Who are anarchists? Mao sure as hell wasn't. Anarchist are by definition anti-totalitarian. You should get your terms straight if you're going to use them.KB

"They’re opposed to government authority"

That's exactly correct.KB

"unless it’s the good authority that eliminates free commerce and private property"

Oh, you mean the freedom to exploit and centralize power to unaccountable private authority. Well, if I had to choose between a system which allowed the people to have the authority, or a few unaccountable private citizens to have all the power, I'd chose the democratic way, the people.KB

"and promises to magically produce, “equality.”"

It's a good goal. Oh, I forgat again. I'm not respecting a few assholes their freedom to rob and exploit. What was I thinking? Actually thinking that the people should be able to decide together if they want one guy to be able to make $286,000 an hour like Michael Eisner from Disney did, while their fellow citizens don't even have healthcare, instead of respecting his freedom to screw everyone..well...because of his genetic propensity to be a greedy good-for-nothing asshole, is simply my mistake. Actually, I do think this shows both a social disorder and a moral disorder, which probably stems from it. I'd be all for sending him or anyone like him
to a reeducation camp. Of course if the people voted for it.KB

"Of course, those of us who believe multi-party open society to be a safer way to conduct one’s affairs"

Yes, and we can tell by all of those dictators the U.S. has supported that this really is a high priority and concern of ours. Again, a 2 minute, un-indoctrinated look at history reveals this all over the place. Do you REALLY feel comfortable denying these real world facts?KB

"are often reminded that we, “only think [we’re] free.”"

You're free in what sense? You have formal freedoms, but as long as power is concentrated the idea that you have any really meaningful freedom is a joke. Yes, you have the freedom to compete against General Motors, so get off your whinig conservative ass and compete. Or, perhaps too are waiting for some government welfare like I'm sure GM, as well as all of the top Fortune 500 companies have. Twenty of them being baioled out from total collapse. Ahhh...the rugged individualists abound on the right. HAHAHAHAH!!!!KB

"It’s assumed by some that we’d all be much freer if we obeyed the party, loved “the leader,”"

This sounds remarkably like the blindly obedient followers of the Bush clan.KB

"or confessed our crimes against “the people”"

This would be a start.KB

"in self-criticism sessions."

We'd be satisfied with a simply acknowkedgement that they existed at all. And for some odd reason there's nothing in anything you've ever written that would indicate anything to criticize. But that makes perfect sense. To the indoctrinated there really isn't anything to criticize. And when the brave few actually point out not so pleasant facts they're met with the usual totalitarian "He hates America. He never says anything good about America." And the usual hogwash usually reserved for Stalinist-minded folks.KB

"KB is not a Maoist of course"

Well, he's finally goteen something correct.KB

"and may not even believe statistics in defense of Mao are correct."

Maybe? The chap points out how the numbers were arrived at. Do you have evidence, I mean, like something other than a 'feeling' or something other than "Well everyone just knows this" to challenge his numbers? See, I'm not interested in your belief system, though as a propaganda study it's quite valuable. I'm interested in whether or not the guys assertions have any validity. If so, great. If not, great. You see, my lack of belief system, actually allows me to consider anything as possible if the evidence is there. So, unless you have something to prove his numbers otherwise, at this point, he wins. As I said in my first comment, and as you've obviously missed this as well as the other point, I'd be happy to see any evidence to the contrary.KB

"He just wants us to see all sides"

The second correct statement. He's on a roll.KB

"as long as we remember that, “four legs good, two legs bad” …and that America has two legs."

Oh Christ! Here goes again. The criticism = hate. I'm tired of responding to these kindergarten type statements. But if you want to know the truth, one leg is probably more accurate. And so what? You should be proud of that one leg. Paint it on a flag and wave it.KB

"Now, I’ll recommend something as well."

I can't wait.KB

"I just saw the video, “The Gate of Heavenly Peace” regarding the Tiananmen Square “incident.”"

Haven't seen it.KB

"Of course it wasn’t, “the greatest documentary ever made” like Fahrenheit 9/11"

F 9/11 wasn't the best, but many thought it was. It probably was close. I liked 'Red in the Face'. It was about the fanatical right in America. It was quite scary. Almost no interview questions. It was just good ole country folks, a good part of the U.S., speaking thier minds. Almost made me want to buy a gun.KB

"but it’s pretty interesting."

Can I rent it in Japan?KB

"Perhaps KB could convince some of the incident’s victims that “The Party” had their best interest in mind when they crushed the, “counter-revolutionary” movement."

Why would I want to do this? I was for the protestors. You guys just really don't get it do you? Your totalitarian symptoms are quite extreme. You really think that the only two positions one can have are extreme fringe blind pseudo-patriotic right or totalitarian communists. This really is a good sign of indoctrination. This is exactly what the propaganda wants you to think, and it's working quite well. At least the propaganda that you pay for, but I'm sure that you're even unaware of this fact, is working. Why the hell would I like totalitarian communists killing students? The left stands for the exact opposite of this. Always has.KB

"Of course, China has now adopted considerable market activity (capitalism)"

It's actually been going on for quite some time. Some say that it always was really.KB

"but is still under the grip of the communist party."

Yes, well, they're probably a little hesitant to just hand the country over to someone else. I think this happens most everywhere. Do you think if the U.S. actually practice the real free trade that it preaches without any constraints people wouldn't start worrying? Or perhaps paying to hit Hondas and Toyotas with a sledgehammer on the city square? Actually, I think there are probably quite a few in the U.S. that hopes like hell that China never opens up more than they already have. Why? For obvious reasons. Look at how many people they have. What happenes when all of that cheap labor starts demanding more for their exploitation? I mean, work? What happens if they start getting richer and richer as they already are? What happens when they are no longer a source of cheap labor and they don't really need the U.S.? Perhaps they'll start getting cheap labor from the U.S. And they have FAR more people to make sure this happens. It's no wonder we're STILL spending so much on offense. Gotta' get ready for those capitalist Chinese when they start to take over I guess.KB

"It would appear that KB still finds that system preferable to the US"

Yes, I'm sure that to you "it would appear" that way. There's not a line I've said which would indicate this absurd idea. And I won't bother asking you to find one because I've done this 200 times in the past and because they don't exist you've never copied them.KB

"simply because it’s not the US…and, “four legs good, two legs bad.”"

Yes, I like anything that's not the U.S. My goal is to cut it down as much as possible because I just don't care about it. If I really cared I'd ignore everything it does wrong, criticize the people who try to talk about these things because in their ignorance they actually believe that acknowledging the negative things is probably necessary in order to fix them so that they can move on without making the same dumbass mistakes again and again. I'd make sure never to read any information which challenges those in power, though I supposedly think that all politicians are crooks and that government is bad, because even though I don't trust politicians or government I must blindly follow, for as everyone knows, the U.S. is "basically a force for good in the world".KB

"P.S. Don’t assume your opposition doesn’t often read “something different for a change,” …even if they’re “knuckleheads.”"

I didn't know you were the opposition. And I don't really think you're a knucklehead. And regarding your reading of other things, then why did you make such a big stink about a simply link I left which I said you should challenge, but of course didn't?KB
========================================================
"Cliff, thanks for the info about Mao and China--good stuff. I'll check out the video if I get a chance (maybe ytou'll loan it to me at some point?)"

When did Cliff give you information about Mao? There's nothing on this blog. Please share it with me as well. But I will look for the movie. Thanks!KB

"I wonder if KB, in his objective interest in getting us to read things that we're not used to reading just to keep an open mind, would advocate our boning up on the views of the KKK or neo-Nazis."

You should. I do. I have about 4 or 5 neo-Nazi links I look at from time to time just to see how far off the deep end they've gove. But there's not really any comparison between any of them and the MIM link. They're actually trying to be scholars. The neo-Nazis are simply unable to do this at all.KB

"I've given up trying to figure out what KB believes, because after reading his comments, I've come to the conclusion that it's a safe bet that he doesn't know either."

Some things I'm relatively sure of. Many things I'm not. And I don't have too much of a problem being in that space. I think killing is wrong.KB

"The only rubric that I can discern is that if it embarrasses the U.S. or the Right, no matter how little basis in fact it contains, it's to be taken seriously."

You guys really can't see the difference between criticism of something and hating something, can you? I've given 3000 examples showing the utter absurity of this position, but you still don't get it after 5 years. One more time becuase I'm a teacher and I know that some students don't get it as easily as others. Example: You parents yell at you and whip your as because you've done something stupid. They explain to you why doing that stupid thing wasn't right. They give you examples of other cases where this has happened and which led to a much worse result, etc... Using your logic, this means that the parents hate their child. I mean if they loved their child they would never have said that they had done anything wrong. They never would have given them reasons for why it was wrong, or examples of how things could have turned out much worse, etc...Using your logic the parents hate their child. Now, if you're the child perhaps you feel like your parents hate you, or are not trying to help you, etc...because your mind is still too small to comprehend what's in your best interest. But, usually, after folks grow up they realize that perhaps their parents really didn't hate them and that they were criticizing their behavior(Many U.S. actions), NOT THEM(the country), for a reason. And maybe it was actually a good reason. Please tell me that this analogy isn't too difficult. Remember though, you must be willing to acknowledge that you've done something wrong first. Using your logic the kid should deny he's done anything wrong and simply keep saying "I wasn't wrong! You're wrong! You hate me! Don't say anything wrong about me!" forever. Do you think this is really the best approach at growth of any kind?KB

"Little fact checking required, skepticism level at, oh, say, 5%."

All I do is check facts. And I'm the only person writing on your blog who seems to be the least bit skeptical. This is the exact reason why you 'try to' criticize what I say. I'm skeptical of simply believing everything any government tells the people. You don't seem to be. If you were a little more skeptical nothing that I'm saying would sound the least bit radical. But to you guys it does. That's another thing that's funny. You guys are the true believers. I question your beliefs, where they may have come from, etc...and yet I'm NOT the skeptic, you are? HAHAHAHAH!!!KB

"If it criticizes the Left and any of its manifestations, no matter how well-supported in fact, it is to be gone over with the finest toothed comb available until some inaccuracy can be found"

Wouldn't know. I've rarely seen any criticism of the left here beyond the usual screaming and name-calling which the right has a monopoly on, by definition. Look at this entire comment section. You've said bad leftists this, bad leftists that, and you haven't really said anything. You rarely or never present anything beyond opinion and belief system ramblings. But then again, if you haven't read anything about a certain topic, or by a certain person, what else would you have to offer?KB

"which would then make the entire premise false."

Well, if your idea is based on an entirely false premise tyhen it's pretty safe to say that most of which follows will be crap as well. What's the big deal. If you say Chomsky is a Pol Pot apologist and you build elaborate arguments supposedly showing this to be true, when in fact it isn't, you have two choices. You can say "Well, I'll be damned. What a complete dumbass I've been for saying such absurd nonsensical things for so long. I didn't have the faintest idea of what I was talking about. I'm glad I finally studied the topic finally. KB was right." Or you could follow the dishonest path and keep creating strawmen, red herrings, etc...digging the hole of dishonesty deeper and deeper because your belief system simply will not allow for the possibility that someone who makes criticisms may actually be correct. These are you only two choices. Which one do you take?KB

"If no error can be found or the researcher is to lazy to check"

Yes, this may be correct. And until that time they should spout off as if they know better.KB

"then some unrelated incident in which the right can be accused of a similar failing is introduced"

This isn't very specific, but if the other incident, or incidents, show a pattern then it should definitely be looked at. Don't you think? I mean, if the U.S. keeps supporting murdering dictators, and assuming that you believe this to be wrong, don't you think it's a good idea to look at it? It sounds once again that you're supporting denial.KB

"or the (assumed)motives of the writer or poster are used as proof that the information, while true, can't be taken seriously."

I think you need to leave a specific example. If the information is true, then it is true. I see no problem. Perhaps an example will be less muddled.KB

"(Vide the brouhaha we had about Summers--yes, there are all kinds of differences between the brains of men and women, but the speaker or poster is a reactionary male chauvinist, so his points are invalid.)"

Who said anything about your points being invalid? GOD!!! Help this guy! You REALLY can't see the difference between criticism and hate, invalidity, etc...Please point out specific instances where you perceive this to be happening. But, it really doesn't take a scientist to know that similar views are often shared by male chauvinists.KB

"Skepticism level 95%"

Thanks!KB

"If Chomksy is criticized, buy a hermetically sealed raincoat because you're in for a shitstorm."

If the person criticizing Chomsky doesn't know his work from a raincoat then they should keep their hermetically sealed mouth..well..sealed. And you STILL don't get this. One more time, for thr 578738746583978497th time. It's fine to criticize Chomsky if you know what his positions are FIRST. If you do not know what his positions are, then you can call him names if you want and call 'that' criticism, but you shouldn't be taken seriously, or be expected to. And it's funny that once again I didn't bring up Chomsky, and almost never do, but Tanuki does. If you really want a little insight into Chomsky's mind regarding why your mind is working the way it is regarding his works I'm in the process of transcribing a lecture which deals with this entire Pol Pot nonsense. I will be very curious to see how you interpret the words of the man himself rather than 25 filters of guys whose entire premises have been wrong. Let me know if you're willing. I won't hold me breath. I mean, why listen to the facts from the source when you can get your belief system filled with fantasy from some 25th hand source?KB

"Skepticism level off the scale."

You have very little skepticism. That's why you can so easily believe that the U.S. has never done anything wrong, or at least you've never mentioned anything. As I said, I think you should be a little more skeptical and start questioning some of the not so benign aspects of your country for once. And being that it is the most powerful country in the world right now, your slepticism should be much higher. You have even more responsibility to be critical and skeptical.KB

"Now, don't we sound like fascists?"

Sometimes.KB

"Limited government"

Hitler liked limited government, too.KB

"free commerce"

Hitler liked free commerce, whatever that's supposed to mean, too.KB

"dynamic open society"

Germany was by most standards the highest form of civilization at the time of Hitler.KB

"free inquiry and expression"

Thanks to the leftists, as usual. See? It's statements like this that makes me really wonder where you haven't gotten your information from. Why the hell do yyou think you have all of these rights? The right gave them to you? They were gifts from corporations?KB

"...and lamp shades of human skin."

Also, thanks to the left. Most on the right have fought this mongrilization, as they say on the neo-Nazi blogs, from early on. Who do you think has been fighting for civil rights? The right? Why do you even think they had to be fought for in the first place?KB

"The left in general just can't fathom the fact there are others who see things differently and who are not stupid, uninformed, or selfish "fascists.""

That's interesting given that it's a tenet of the left to include all things and all people. I have never seen anyone make so statements which were so diametrically opposed to reality. What do you think the definition of a liberal, or lefty is? It's exactly honoring and fighting for peoples differences of opinions, race, religion, etc...this IS the left. I have no idea what you're talkiing about, but it has little to do with the real world. But being that I'm a lefty, I think it's okay. I mean, God knows I've been wrong before, too. But there is a little truth to what you say. The more close-minded people are, pretty much most of the right, by definition, once again, the more prone they are to being fascist. This is just a historical truism as well.KB

"Intellectual elitism can be downright bizarre."

Saying that "intellectual elitism can be downright bizarre" is itself downright bizarre. It is basically meaningless. What is "intellectual elistism"? If someone knows that 2+2=4 and tells the other person this, does it mean that they're being elitist? Is it better to be an unintellectual elitist. Personally I don't like elitists in either of these groups.KB

"Cheers!"

This is okay.KB


Cliff

Then,...cheers again (since it's okay).

KB

"Then,...cheers again (since it's okay)."

Yes, cheers again(since I've said it was okay).KB

Chompsky

KB: I applaud your drive to examine all sources of information without bias, but shouldn't one also look at the credibility of the sources? For example, would you not think that, say, Reuters would have been a more reliable source of info on what's happening in the world in the early-1970's than the People's Daily, the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece, at the height of the Cultural Revolution?

I bring this up because while these Maoists that you link to probably do have some info that's useful if you sift through what they've written, my impression is that overall these are people that were brainwashed at some point and now parrot Maoist propaganda ideas that not even the Chinese leadership support anymore. I mean, do you think there are any serious scholars of modern Chinese history, in either the West or China or Japan or anywhere that agree with what these Maoists are saying? I'm not an expert but based on what I've read of Chinese history, I have my doubts.

A few weird things in the article itself:

1. The Maoists say that famine etc. caused the deaths, not 'malicious programs and mismanagement of industrialization'. Even if that were the case, China was a central-planned economy so the responsibility of not being able to prevent millions of deaths would have fallen on the Beijing leadership. But there's a lot of literature arguing that all of Mao's kooky rapid-industrialization schemes is what caused the mass starvation. Jasper Becker's book Hungry Ghosts (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0805056688/qid=1113296448/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/103-0217770-9875035) deals solely with that subject, for example.

2. What specifically does Mao's self-criticism about Great Leap Forward practices say? I've never seen this, and would be interested to see if it had anything substantial (which seems doubtful as it might be seen as a sign of weakness to other party members).

3. This statement is pretty scary, and doesn't seem like the sort of thing the Maoists would be that proud to show off: "Mao did claim government responsibility for 800,000 executions between 1949 and 1954. These were popularly sanctioned executions done in people's trials...".

4. On the part about the Cultural Revolution, the Maoists say that Western observers don't have specifics on deaths during the period because "there are few first-hand accounts by Westerners". But the Westerners leave out the fact that there aren't first-hand accounts because Westerners WEREN'T LET IN (unless they could be used to serve propaganda purposes). The country was a mess, and Beijing didn't want foreigners to come in and report on it.

5. The part about education doesn't talk about the fact that probably 100% of the intellectuals would have prefered to stay in school and continue studying biology, Western literature, public health or whatever they were working on rather than be shipped to the remote countryside to work on farms (while Mao himself lived in Chinese emperor-like luxury in Beijing, as documented in Li Zhi-sui's The Private Life of Chairman Mao (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0679764437/qid=1113297431/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/103-0217770-9875035).

Anyway, those are initial impressions. I would recommend, however, for anyone that wants to read a detailed and informed study on the Great Leap Forward to get a copy of Hungry Ghosts mentioned above.

KB

"KB: I applaud your drive to examine all sources of information without bias, but shouldn't one also look at the credibility of the sources?"

Of course they should. This is exactly what I'm always saying.KB

"For example, would you not think that, say, Reuters would have been a more reliable source of info on what's happening in the world in the early-1970's than the People's Daily, the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece, at the height of the Cultural Revolution?"

Maybe. But why should you necessarily believe one country's propaganda over anothers? Rueters is usually not to bad as far as I know. However, they're still giving certain information which may or may not be exactly correct. And given that the U.S. has the most sophisticated propaganda system in the world, don't you thin it would probably be prudent to be a little skeptical? Should we also not have listened to most international newspapers from all over the world when they were correctly saying that they didn't think Saddam had WMD, or that he was a threat, etc...? The U.S. media rarely batted an eye. The fulfilled their duty and made sure most people thought it was probably true. And who uses The People's Daily? As I said in the very beginning of my opening comment, I'm leaving this as an alternative source to those sources I know Tanuki would probably use and has used in the past. This especially the case with 'The Black Book of Communism' which you hear far right folks quoting as if it were somehow reliable. MIM simply challenged their numbers and won. And, two guys quit the project because they wouldn't boost the numbers as Courtis wanted to do. I'm not sure anyone denies that thousands of people died during the famine years. And certainly 'some' blame can be laid at the feet of Mao. It's just how outrageous the propaganda gets which needs to be looked at. I hardlty thin you can blame a natural disaster on one person. And it's nonsense to ever attempt to infer that Mao's intention was to kill "millions". This is nonsense from every angle. Anyway, Tanuki simply wants folks who will do nothing but to confirm his opinion. I've looked at many communist, socialist, etc...links. Some seem relatively intelligent, and some do not. I've looked at many rightwing links as well, and it's the same. MIM has simply tried to examine the numbers which are thrown around all the time. They don't believe the numbers, which is fine, as anytime you start talking about millions there's usually lots of guess work going on. The have no clue how many died in Vietnam by the thousands. Anyway, so they've tried to examine where the numbers came from. maybe they've done a bad job? Maybe they've done a good job? There's an easy way to tell. Look and see what there evidence is and challenge it. If there's a flaw in their numbers and someone can prove the weakness of their numbers, then more power to them, as I said. And simply because they challenges the currently prevailing numbers doesn't at all mean that they shouldn't be looked at. Have they not proved their case? If they haven't then show me why. That's all. What I find interesting is that if you look at Tanuki's and Cliff's comments about my providing a simple link to a site which speaks to the topic of what Tanuki asked for, this goes through their mind as somehow meaning that I'm somehow a Maoist simply for saying look at a link which I said I could care less about being right or wrong. Now, that's indoctrination. It's the same nonsense Chomsky went through regarding the Pol Pot Affair. He and Herman simply examined all the evidence put forth by everyone studying the case and came to the conclusion that they didn't know what the facts were, but presented the evidence they found from all sides. The low estimates were from the State Department, and other specialists working in the area, and the high estimates came from a book written by a French priest which was used by those looking for the highest numbers possible. This is where the 2 million came from. Nobody had even read the book in the states, so Chomsky had a friend in France to send him a copy. He and some folks looked at the book and it didn't say anything of the sort. It said that 800,000 had died in the American war, and 1.2 million died, not necessarily killed, under the Khmer Rouge. He then added these two numbers together, added a boast, and the 2 million number started flying. As any real scholar would do, Chomsky reviewed the book very carefully and it turns out that the numbers actually came from Thai newspapers, and there were translation problems, and the author had also supposedly gotten numbers from the U.S. Embassy over there. Chomsky talked to them and they denied ever saying anything of the sort. Anyway, he eventually confronted those who were perpetuating the inaccuracies and they retracted their numbers. I believe this was in the NYT Review of Books. Anyway, to make a long story short, all Chomsky and Herman had done were to compare the atrocities which ere going on in Cambodia at the time(with our official enemies) and the atrocities going on in Timor(where we, and our client, were responsible for the atrocities). The studied how these two simultaneous atrocities had been covered by the media. Pol Pot, all over the place. Timor, nothing, even though relative to population Timor was FAR worse. They simply presented the evidence which existed and didn't even draw any conclusions regarding fact. There has yet to be even a minimal error found in their study. This is NOT an opinion. This, then, gets transmuted by the indoctrinated idealogues as somehow a defense of Pol Pot. This is not only unscholarly, it's blatently absurd. That one could even come to this conclusion at all is quite amazing. It's classic propaganda indoctrination at work.KB

"I bring this up because while these Maoists that you link to probably do have some info that's useful if you sift through what they've written, my impression is that overall these are people that were brainwashed at some point and now parrot Maoist propaganda ideas that not even the Chinese leadership support anymore."

Maybe. Then let's look at what they may or may not have to offer. Let's llok at how they've been brainwashed. And while we're at it we may want to look at some of our our propaganda producers like The American Enterprise Institute, The Heritage Foundation, and many others. These should actually be of more concern to you as these are the ones working on you. Remember, the propaganda is primarily directed at the domestic population. Therefore, it's propbably a good idea to try and weed through that which we're being fed on a daily basis. Another thing I've found interesting in all of my time on certain blogs and arguing with certain folks like Tanuki is how few of them even acknowledge that propaganda exists in their own countries. They will simply not talk about it because there would have to be some acknowledgement that they're being lied to, quite often, in fact, and they'd rather not know about it. They want to keep their illusions comfortable. They resist any notion that this exists at all. What's interesting is that there are many sources who were quite influential in creating the entire propaganda system who have openly talked about is since the early 1910's when it was really taking off. They boast about it. Edward Bernays, the father of the public relations industry who used to work for the U.S. propaganda agency. Reinhold Niebuhr who was a very influential theologian/philosopher, and who coined the term 'necessary illusions' where he said that these were needed to be created to keep the idiots distracted(my paraphrase), and even veteran journalist/thinker Walter Lippman, who basically said that the masses were ignorant and so it was necessary for those endowed with intelligence to 'manufacture consent' so as to keep the rabble in line. And many others has similar ideas. It's good to keep in mind that these were liberals, too. I don't really think Chomsky looks too highly on their social philosophy either. This is one of the reasons he criticizes liberal intelligensia all the time. This is also something unknown to most of his critics, but is well know by anyone who has studied him for more than an hour.KB

"I mean, do you think there are any serious scholars of modern Chinese history, in either the West or China or Japan or anywhere that agree with what these Maoists are saying?"

Well, to be honest, yes. Certain aspects I don't think they would have too much disagreement. I was just reading about a big China conference which was held recently and the biggest scholars from everywhere were there. The number one scholar said some things which you may find a little surprising. I'll try to find it and get back to you. I don't want to misquote him. Anyway, rather than just saying "Why should we trust the source", why don't you challenge it?KB

"I'm not an expert but based on what I've read of Chinese history, I have my doubts."

You may very well be correct, as I said in my first comment. I'm not a China scholar either. I'm just looking at information and seeing what's there.KB

"A few weird things in the article itself:"

Probably.KB

"1. The Maoists say that famine etc. caused the deaths, not 'malicious programs and mismanagement of industrialization'. Even if that were the case, China was a central-planned economy so the responsibility of not being able to prevent millions of deaths would have fallen on the Beijing leadership. But there's a lot of literature arguing that all of Mao's kooky rapid-industrialization schemes is what caused the mass starvation. Jasper Becker's book Hungry Ghosts (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0805056688/qid=1113296448/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/103-0217770-9875035) deals solely with that subject, for example.

As I said earlier, you cannot blame a famine on one person. This is nonsense. You can blame certain policies which may have led to not enough food being produced, which led to people starving, but the usual inference, if not outright charge, is that Mao killed the people, as if this was intentional. I'd hate to see some long drought and famine strike the U.S. and people start dying right and left. Will we be so willing to vblame the government in this case? I hope so.KB

2. "What specifically does Mao's self-criticism about Great Leap Forward practices say? I've never seen this, and would be interested to see if it had anything substantial (which seems doubtful as it might be seen as a sign of weakness to other party members)."

Actually, this is a good question and I don't know the answer. But you may be surprised to know that not all of the evil communists around the world are in absolute denial. Many of them have talked about their failings. We just never hear about any of them. And while there are a few like Stalin who may not have admitted anything, though I'm not even 100% certain about this, there are others who rebelled against such monsters. Look at Trotsky. He was a communist who left because of Stalin. He was tracked down in Mexico and assassinated. He was a communist, but talked at length about Stalin's crimes. The point of anti-communist propaganda is to make Trotsky and Stalin all the same. They're not. And there are many other variations as well.KB

3. "This statement is pretty scary, and doesn't seem like the sort of thing the Maoists would be that proud to show off: "Mao did claim government responsibility for 800,000 executions between 1949 and 1954."

IO don't think they're showing off. They're being honest. And just because they call themselves Maoists doesn't mean that they want to emulate every word and deed of Mao. They probably like certain aspects of his worldview, and certain good things he did, which were many, and weed out the bad ones, thinking that this may be a better approach to having some sort of equitable, or whatever, system. After all, just because people find mistakes in some of Einstein's mathematics, it doesn't mean you throw out the theory of relativity along with the bad stuff. Should the U.S. disband because of all the stuff it's done wrong, and continues doing wrong? I don't thin so. That would be stupid. There are too many good aspects just to throw it all away.KB

"These were popularly sanctioned executions done in people's trials...".

Yes, I guess they were kind of like the Stalin ones.KB

4. "On the part about the Cultural Revolution, the Maoists say that Western observers don't have specifics on deaths during the period because "there are few first-hand accounts by Westerners"."

This is probably true. There are probably even very few Chinese observers. Usually when purges are done I don't think they like observers either from within or without the country. They're aware that it looks bad.KB

"But the Westerners leave out the fact that there aren't first-hand accounts because Westerners WEREN'T LET IN (unless they could be used to serve propaganda purposes)."

Well, then I guess their charge is probably relatively accurate. If no one was let in then how were they to make estimates? I don't think the answer is to weigh China before and after to see how much lighter it is. In other words, we shouldn't just guess, or if we do, say that we're just guessing. But see, this brings us back to the propaganda point Chomsky mentioned. If it's a client of ours we don't seem to be the least bit concerned, as was proven using MANY cases by Chomsky and Herman. The numbers either don't matter and are ignored, or perhaps challenged as propaganda from the other side. Most folks haven't a clue even about the most recent episodes in Latin America, where thousands, if not millions, were killed by U.S. clients. Why? These are the ones you're responsible for. You can't control Mao, but you can control the murder in these places. That people don't even contemplate this fact alone suggests that the propaganda is doing it's job.KB

"The country was a mess, and Beijing didn't want foreigners to come in and report on it."

This is probably true. Most leaders wouldn't want this. But this goes with our official clients as well. As a matter of fact, you should look and see how many journalists, some American, Australians, etc...were killed by the forces which we were backing. And they weren't simply caught in the crossfire. They were assassinated because they were reporting the truth about what was going on.KB

5. "The part about education doesn't talk about the fact that probably 100% of the intellectuals would have prefered to stay in school and continue studying biology, Western literature, public health or whatever they were working on rather than be shipped to the remote countryside to work on farms (while Mao himself lived in Chinese emperor-like luxury in Beijing, as documented in Li Zhi-sui's The Private Life of Chairman Mao"

This is probably true. However, if this is the book by the supposed doctor of Mao, it has come under great suspicion lately as potentially a complete fraud and hoax. Is this the same chap?KB

"Anyway, those are initial impressions. I would recommend, however, for anyone that wants to read a detailed and informed study on the Great Leap Forward to get a copy of Hungry Ghosts mentioned above."

I'll see if I can find it. I'm not sure if Japan is the best place to look for a book on Chinese disasters, but there could be a copy in Tokyo.KB

I appreciate your willingness to even consider a site which is probably not your usual read. By the way, how's Hegemony coming along?KB

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