Freedom and equality?

bill fancher fancher at
Thu Aug 31 13:42:30 PDT 2000

on 8/31/00 9:03 AM, Reese at reeza at wrote:

> At 10:45 AM 31/08/00 -0400, Gordon Fitch wrote:
>> It's curious that personal autonomy is found, even assigned,
>> to the Right, given that the Right is the party of
>> authority, power, status, private wealth, order, and
>> conformity, the friends of the King of France, while the
>> Left is the party of freedom and equality. How'd that
>> happen, anyway?
> I think it stems from differences in how key terms are defined.
> Take freedom and equality, for example; how do you define them?
> How do you think someone from the other camp would define them?
> Reese
I think it stems from the fact that the ruling class has worked very hard to eliminate the threatening ideas promulgated by Skinner in the 50's and 60's.

Skinner enumerated the techiniques of effective behavioral control. He demonstrated how behavior is controlled and showed how and why the traditional "literature of Freedom and Dignity" is ineffective against non-traditional, non-punitive measures of control.

Since such methods are (and were then) the methods of choice for the ruling class, this exposure was considered extremely dangerous. Consequently, his work was attacked from both the left and the right. His ideas fell out of favor, not because anything he said was shown to be false, but because his ideas were said to lead to authoritarian systems of control, or demeaned the dignity of man. Funding for research dried up, and a program of character assassination was instituted.

Of course, the authoritarian systems of control were already in place. Skinner merely pointed out their existence and showed how they worked.

On the right, we got Libertarianism, which is based on the autonomy of the inner man.

On the left we got Chomsky's Anarchism (Libertarian Socialism) which is based on the autonomy of the inner man.

In the middle we got Pinky and the Brain, Pinky being the only individual dumb enough to follow the Brain, a charicature of Skinner, who wants to take over the world though techological means.

All in all a most effective program of population control, carried out almost entirely with non-punitive techniques. And both left and right will join hands to deny that they could possibly have been manipulated into their present beliefs. That follows, after all, from their shared first principles.

-- bill

"It is traditional to regard opinion as due to mental causes, but this is only true of the immediate causes: in the background, there is usually force in the service of some creed." Bertrand Russell

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