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Thursday, May 20, 2021

A RESPONSE TO SOME COMMENTS

Before I respond to a number of interesting comments, I feel the need to say something about several terrible things now taking place in the world, even though I have neither special insight nor any particular information to contribute regarding them. It just seems odd not to acknowledge their occurrence. The first is the truly awful spread of the virus in India, the second largest nation on earth. The second is the Israeli attacks on the huge sprawling open-air prison that they have been maintaining for decades in Gaza. My heart weeps for the first and my blood boils at the second. There is really nothing more I can say.

 

Let me now respond to three quite different comments that have been offered by readers of my most recent blog posts.

 

First with regard to my repeated invocation of the name of Karl Marx. Nothing I have said depends essentially on the use of his name or of such terms as “Marxism” or “Marxist.” I am afraid that invoking that name was simply a red herring, whatever a red herring is. One need not invoke the name of Charles Darwin to talk about evolution or the name of Albert Einstein to talk about general relativity, although simple piety might suggest an appropriate nod in that direction, and since the name “Marx” has become freighted (or fraught, to use the old past participle) with a great overlay of associations both positive and negative, let me write these comments without further reference to the 19th century German √©migr√©.

 

Second, and rather more importantly, why do I talk again and again about collective ownership of the means of production rather than about the many other issues that have been the focus of progressive or even revolutionary struggle in the past century, issues such as women’s liberation, black liberation, or gay liberation? The reason is simple but, in my judgment, exceedingly important. Each of these struggles, to which I have made tiny but deliberate contributions, is an effort to eliminate what might be called imperfections in capitalism. When women in large numbers enter the workforce as paid employees, they increase the supply of labor and thereby drive down wages, which, I believe, is why capitalists have not resisted this very important rectification of an old and unjust inequality. Instead of having to pay men what used to be called a “family wage” employers can reduce wages, counting on each household to send two or more earners into the labor force. The struggle to make women full participants in capitalism has been a liberation for countless scores of millions of women but in no way a threat to capital’s domination of the economy. The black liberation struggle has, especially in the United States, deep and complex roots in the history of slavery but in the end it accomplishes the same removal of an imperfection in the labor market. That is why, when cases come before the Supreme Court concerning such things as affirmative action admissions policies in colleges and universities, large corporations file amicus briefs supporting, not opposing, those policies. The gay liberation struggle, in which I have a very personal interest because my younger son is a proud gay man, in the same way offers no threat to the private ownership and control of the means of production. But any call for collective ownership of the means of production constitutes a threat to capitalism and is, in my judgment, for that reason a proposal of an entirely different nature.

 

If the ranks of billionaires, of corporate executives, of judges, of generals, and of other leading lights in modern economies perfectly reflected the distribution of women or people of color or LGBTQ individuals in society, it would no doubt open up avenues of advancement to people who are now closed off from such positions but it would make no fundamental difference in the nature of the modern world.

 

Finally, let me say something, or rather acknowledge how little I have to offer, about how one could organize a society based on collective ownership of the means of production without that society falling into tyranny or hierarchical authoritarianism. Please note that this question, when raised, seems implicitly to suggest that this problem has been solved for capitalism but poses a threat in a society based on the collective ownership of the means of production.  However, it would be a truly blind and Pollyanna-ish foolishness for anyone reflecting on the last hundred years of world events to make such a suggestion. As Gandhi is reputed to have said when asked what he thought about Western democracy, “it would be a good idea.”

 

To an extent that is not generally acknowledged, free and fair elections, impartial courts and justice, a free press and communications and all of the other blessings of modern democracy depend essentially on the fact that none of these indispensable and enormously valuable institutional arrangements poses any threat to the private ownership of the means of production. If it were to do so – if political parties were genuinely to win political power on programs of taking away ownership and control of the means of production from private individuals and vesting them in the collectivity – we might see a rapid and disastrous end of such things as free and fair elections or an impartial judiciary or a free press.

 

But this does not offer any guidance about how to make so fundamental a change in the organization of our society without risking tyranny – well-meaning tyranny, no doubt, but tyranny nonetheless. As I say, I have very little to offer along these lines but perhaps tomorrow I will try my hand at making some suggestions.

33 comments:

s. wallerstein said...

I'd say that a society in which a real gender revolution took place would make a fundamental different in the nature of the modern world in contrast to what you say above. There are many varieties of feminism, besides the liberal feminism which you above take as the model for that movement and many of them claim that the end of patriarchy would produce huge changes in the social order, that a more matriarchal society would be a more caring, less competitive, more collectively oriented society.

You may reply that those are just utopic dreams, but they have as much claim on reality as
Marxist claims about what socialism would be like.

There are also queer movements, which are not just about integrating gays into the existing social order, but about changing it radically.

Anonymous said...

Well, since you have brought it up:

A PARABLE

Suppose there’s a group of people going back several centuries B.C.E. who identify themselves as people A, who share a common religion and ethnicity. They live and create a civilization in territory X. Historical and archeological records confirm their existence and their control over X. At some point, another civilization, B, conquers the people A and expels most of them from X. After the expulsion, however, many of the members of A continue to live in X. Time passes and civilization B is itself conquered and essentially disappears from existence. After this occurs another group of people develop a new religion called C, and they invade X and take control of X, as well as other parts of the world. Members of A continue to live in X and other parts of the world under the domination of C, as well as other nations.

Many centuries pass, and then yet another civilization. D, conquers the territory controlled by C. People of A and C continue to co-exist in X. People of A also live over the centuries in other territories, where they are routinely persecuted and expelled and forced to move to other territories in order to survive. (Why this persecution occurs is too complex and inscrutable to explicate here.)

Over time, people of A emigrate back to X and start purchasing property now owned by D, not C. The property they purchase is in mostly remote area of X, where there are few inhabitants, and that no members of C are displaced by A’s ownership of the land in question. The A immigrants drain swamps in X, and cultivate the land, producing agricultural crops which they use to feed themselves, and which they also share with their co-inhabitants who are member of C. Then D is itself defeated in a major war, and nation E takes control of much of the territory that had been controlled by D, including X. E issues a declaration that members of A will be allowed to return to X, where they will be allowed to form their own independent nation.

Then another war breaks out between yet another nation, F, and E and several other nations. During that war, F inters hundreds of thousands of members of A who are living in country F and elsewhere, and begins a systematic program of killing members of A. During this war, leaders of C side with F and support F’s efforts to exterminate the people of A, hoping that F will help the people C regain control of X. Eventually, F is defeated in the war, and members of A who survive the war, seek to emigrate to X. People who are members of C resist the immigration of A to X, but, nonetheless many members of A who have survived the efforts of F to exterminate them, succeed in emigrating to X. There are constant violent clashes between the people of A and C in X, and E, caught in the middle between A and C, decides to leave X. At this point in time, approximately 1/3 of the population in X consists of members of A, and 2/3 consists of members of C. An international organization, called the UN, proposes a solution to end the violent conflict between A and C, by creating two separate nations, one controlled by A, called G, and another controlled by C, called H. This way both A and C can share the land and still exercise autonomy in separate nations. The members of A in X accept the proposal. The members of C in X reject the proposal. They maintain that they are entitled to control all of X, and declare that they will drive the members of A in X into the sea.

This is essentially the history of the Jewish people and their relationship with X. At this point, can it be said that justice and fairness support the position of C over A? Can it be said that the people of C have a right superior to that of the people of A to live and control all of X to the exclusion of A? Or do they both have legitimate rights to share the land and live in and control different parts of X?
(Continued)

Anonymous said...

After the people of C reject the partition plan proposed by the UN, the people of A declare that G is a new country. The people of C, joined by other members of C who control five countries which surround G, declare war on G. G survives the war, however, and defeats the five nations which have declared war on G. Can it be said, in all justice and fairness, that G has no right to exist; that the people of A stole the land which constitutes G from the people of C?

During this war for the independence of G, the leaders of C warn C’s members living in G that they had better leave G, or the people of A will kill them. So, large numbers of C leave G, expecting that after the five nations defeat G, they will be able to return. It is also true that there are instances in which G expels members of C who are living in G, a measure which G regards as necessary for its own security. The five nations do not defeat G. Rather, G defeats the five nations.

After G defeats the five nations which declared war on it, G continues to thrive. The people of C who lost the war are absorbed into one of the five nations that is adjacent to G, country J. 19 years after G succeeded in defeating the five nations that sought to destroy it, another war breaks out in 1967 between G and the five nations, including J. Again, G defeats the five nations and takes control of the territory of X – K - that was not included in G. As a result, G controls a part of X in which many members of C continue to live. Country J refuses to accept those members of C who live in K and allow them to live in J, even though the people living in K and the people living in J are all members of C.

At this point, some members of the UN accuse G of improperly controlling K and demand that G give K back to the members of C. G says they are willing to do so, as long as the leaders of K assert that G has a right to exist. The leaders of K refuse to do so, claiming that they are still entitled to control all of X. The leaders of K begin to wage a guerilla war against G, which continues to last many decades, resulting in the tragic deaths of members of A and C. From time to time, members of C living in K, who are designated as refugees, commit terrorist attacks within G, killing many members of A. G therefore decides to build a wall at the border of G and K, to prevent these terrorist attacks. After the wall is built, the terrorist attacks diminish significantly.

This is essentially the history of Israel after the War for Independence and the creation of the West Bank. Can it be said, in all fairness and justice, that G and the people of A have mistreated the people of C, have stolen their land, and have oppressed the people of C the way that F treated the people of A, by interring them in concentration camps and systematically killing them? Can it be said, in all fairness and justice, that Israel has turned K into a concentration camp, and that they are committing genocide against the people of C? Had the five nations defeated G in the first war, is there any question that they would have expelled all of the people of A from X, and have killed most of them? Why, then, is it unfair for G to assert its sovereignty over all of X, when the people of C refuse continuously to recognize G’s right to exist and continue to claim that G stole the land from them?
(Continued)

Anonymous said...

Since K and its leaders refuse to recognize G’s right to exist, G concludes it should not withdraw from K – why should they if K and its leaders will not recognize G’s right to exist? Why should G give the people of C what they want, without any quid pro quo in return? So G starts building settlements in K for members of C to live in, hoping to persuade K to finally agree that G has a right to exist, in exchange for ending the building of settlements in K. But the members of C living in K continue to refuse to recognize G’s right to exist, and the world community accuses G of violating international law by building the settlements in K. But does the world community take the members of C living in K, and their leaders, to task for refusing to recognize G’s right to exist? No, it does not. So G continues building settlements in K.

Among the territories which G took control over as a result of the 1967 war is a territory west of G called L. L is controlled by a segment of C, named M, which refuses to recognize G’s right to exist and which periodically launches terror attacks into G. G decides that continuing to control L is straining G’s resources, so it decides to liberate L and entirely withdraw its military forces from L. This is a test to see how the people of C will administer L if it has complete control over L. G accordingly removes all of its military forces from L, even leaving intact greenhouses in L which G built, which the people of C can use to provide food for themselves and their families. The people of C, however, destroy the greenhouses, claiming they will not eat any food provided for them by G.

M continues to deny that G has a right to exist. The international community provides L with financial support in the millions of dollars. How does M spend that money? Rather than M using the money to build the infrastructure of L, to build schools for the children of L, to build health facilities for the people of L, to foster the creation of businesses to employ the people of L, M continues to launch terrorist attacks against G using tunnels it has built to infiltrate G and launching rockets into L, paid for with the money provided by the international community. G responds by launching air-attacks on buildings they believe the offices of M are located. M responds by housing children and their families in the same buildings, and then when they are killed during G’s bombing raids, they accuse G of deliberately killing women and children. The international community turns on G, accusing it of committing war crimes and atrocities against the people living in L. None of these accusers questions why M is not using money provided by the international community to improve the lives of the people living in L, rather than continuing its guerilla war against G.
(Continued)

Anonymous said...

Fast forwarding to current events, members of C are living in quarters which once belonged to members of A before G’s War for Independence. The homes are located in the ancient capital of G, going back centuries B.C.E. After the war is over, J evicts the members of A from those quarters and gives them to members of C. After the 1967 war, in which G reconquers its ancient capital, G agrees to allow the members of C who are living in the quarters in which members of A once lived, as long as they pay rent. The members of C living in those quarters stop paying rent, claiming that they have a right to live there without paying rent because G stole the land of X from them. G responds by taking action to evict the members of C from the quarters because by refusing to pay rent, they are illegal squatters. The world community comes to the aid of the members of C who refuse to pay rent, accusing G of unlawfully evicting the members of C from homes they have been living in for decades. To show solidarity with the families who are being evicted from the homes, M once again starts launching rockets into G. Because G has developed a self-defense shield which intercepts many, but not all, of the rockets which M is launching into G by the hundreds per day, only a few of the rockets avert the defense system and succeed in getting through, landing in G and destroying property and killing some members of A.

G responds with air attacks by its air force, striking buildings in which M is believed to have offices and destroying the tunnels in which members of M are hiding. Many civilians, including women and children, are killed or seriously injured during these bombing raids. The world community accuses G of committing war crimes and killing innocent women and children. None take M to task for wasting the money it has received from the international community on its never-ending war on G, provoking G to respond in order to discredit G in the eyes of the world community.

What is G supposed to do? The members of C in both K and L refuse to recognize G’s right to exist. They attack G, L using rocket attacks, K using terrorist attacks, and G is accused of war crimes and behaving like the people of F who confined them in concentration camps and systematically killed them.

Does G have a right to exist, or not? What is it supposed to do in the face of C’s continued intransigence, its refusal to compromise and recognize G’s right to exist? Is it just and fair to expect that G throw its hand up in surrender, allow the rockets to land in G, killing A’s women and children? Is it expected to allow members of C to continue to live in quarters which they do not own, and for which they refuse to pay rent?

Which people in this dispute are being unreasonable, unwilling to compromise, and refusing to share the land in which they both have lived – but in which one group has lived in several centuries longer (1,500 years longer, to be exact) than the other - with people of another faith?

All of the above is historically accurate, and I challenge anyone reading this parable to identify any statement which is not supported by the historical record.
Key
A: Jews/Hebrews
X: Canaan/Palestine
B: Rome
C: Arabs/Moslems
D: Ottoman Turks
E: Great Britain
F: Nazi Germany
G: Israel
H: Palestine
J: Jordan
K; West Bank
L: Gaza
M: Hamas

marcel proust said...

If the ranks of billionaires, of corporate executives, of judges, of generals, and of other leading lights in modern economies perfectly reflected the distribution of women or people of color or LGBTQ individuals in society, it would no doubt open up avenues of advancement to people who are now closed off from such positions but it would make no fundamental difference in the nature of the modern world.

Adolph Reed has been making a similar point, e.g., here, where he says,

What can ultimately ensue is an ideal of society such that if 1% of the population controls 90% of the resources, as long as that 1% were apportioned in a way that more or less faithfully reflects the composition of different ascriptive groups within the population, then that society could be considered just. That is to say, if the 1% were [approximately] half women, 12% Black, 14% to 15% Hispanic, et cetera, it would be a just society, even though 90% of the people are getting the short end of the stick. That’s the logic of a neoliberal notion of social justice.

LFC said...

Two points or questions.

1) "Collective ownership of the means of production" -- or to be more precise, collective ownership and control of the means of production -- could be organized in different ways. Do you have any thoughts on the specifics here? What does collective ownership and control actually look like? Who makes decisions about what is produced, or do market forces guide those decisions? If you favor a form of "market socialism," i.e., collective ownership coupled with the market mechanism, do you have thoughts on what it looks like? Various authors have put forward ideas here (including Roemer, whom you have referred to before) but it's been a long time since I read any of this stuff. Maybe this is already covered in your "Future of Socialism" paper, in which case my apologies.

2) Re collective ownership of the means of production -- huge parts of modern so-called advanced economies do not produce anything -- that is, they do not produce anything tangible, nothing, I think, that fits the classic definition, which Marx more or less adopted (though he also looked behind it), of a commodity. So I think it may be clearer, and make more sense, to refer to collective ownership and control of the key sectors of the economy -- rather than simply the means of production.

Jerry Brown said...

I think the Gandhi quote goes like this- “What Do You Think of Western Civilization?” “I Think It Would Be a Good Idea”.

But apparently this was not tape recorded and different versions are out there so who knows really...

LFC said...

@ m proust

thanks for linking the Adolph Reed interview. It's interesting.

Bill Edmundson said...

Well stated, Robert. The only improvement I can think of would clarify what is meant by the term "the means of production." Does it encompass every tool, material, and utensil used to produce any usable thing? Or is its extension more restricted?
Much depends on this, if socialism is defined as collective ownership of the means of production.

anon said...

I'm thinking of going back to some as yet to be determined little place in southern Africa to reclaim my primordial rights of possession. I guess I'd need more letters than the alphabet affords to make my case in appropriate abstract fashion.

Anonymous said...

anon,

Very funny, anon. But your effort at satire ignores the fact that my post relates to real people, who have suffered persecution for centuries, and who can document their continued presence in the region of the Middle East in question for over 1,500 years, beginning in at least 900 B.C.E. Your mocking comment does not diminish their rightful claim one iota. If you can prove that you, or your family, or your kindred have a comparable claim to live in some parcel in southern Africa, or any other place in Africa, regardless how many letters of the alphabet you may need to prove that claim, then go for it.

Howie said...

Dear Professor Wolff

By collective ownership of the means of production, you mean by the government which represents them- but then as Socrates might ask: who governs the government?
You ought to take the MBTI- you are definitely a strong F; for all your training in logic, you think with your heart, which knows too little about the real world, CNN and the Times and MSNBC notwithstanding- your heart is a creature of sand castle utopias

aaall said...

On the other hand we could have allowed those on the St. Louis to debark.

Anonymous said...

But the United States would not allow the passengers on the St. Louis to disembark, on orders of Secretary of State Cordell Hull. Of the 926 Jewish passengers on the St. Louis, 227 were returned to European countries, where they perished in the Holocaust.

FDR in addition rejected military plans to bomb the railroad tracks leading to Auschwitz.

John Doe said...

Anonymous who wrote the "Parable":

If you want people to actually read your multi-part comment and possibly respond, you should use the regular names instead of letters or variables. We shouldn't have to decode your comments using a key. This should be obvious.

Anonymous said...

John Doe,

I deliberately used letters rather the actual names in order to neutralize the preconceptions that automatically, and prematurely, would come into play and cause readers to immediately dismiss the parable as so much pro-Israeli, anti-Palestinian propaganda. Although, as the reader reads more of the parable, the correlation become obvious, my hope is that by that point I will have overcome the predisposition to reject the parable as propaganda. My methodology may turn out misguided, but I thought it was worth the try.

Jerry Brown said...

"My heart weeps for the first and my blood boils at the second. There is really nothing more I can say."

That is some powerfully good writing in my opinion. I'm sure it helps that I share your sentiments here. Even so, it is real good.

John Rapko said...

A has been living in an area X for between 50 and 10,000 years. Some adventurers from B show up. Gestures are exchanged, gifts are given, raids are made, groups of A's and B's slaughter each other, and diseases brought by B, mostly inadvertently but sometimes intentionally, infect and kill between 10% and 90% of A. A's are enslaved, forced to work for B, regularly whipped and raped by B. B sets up a government Y that claims sovereignty over all of X. Eventually some of A are granted small tracts of land by B and, though some of A's children are forced to attend B's schools, B abandons their overtly exterminist policies. Does Y have a right to exist? Who has more right to X, A or B? And what follows from any particular answer to these questions?

Ahmed Fares said...

The gay liberation struggle, in which I have a very personal interest because my younger son is a proud gay man..

There is no mention of homosexuality in the Old Testament. None whatsoever. Nor in the Qur'an for that matter.

The prevalence of homosexuality is roughly three percent across all populations. In San Francisco, which is the gay Mecca of the world, it rises to roughly six percent. In the examples given in both the Old Testament and the Qur'an, it was the whole town.

These were not homosexuals but rather straight people committing homosexual acts. Which is something completely different. They were punished by God because they were acting against their God-given nature which in this case was to be straight. In point of fact, the only innocent people would have been the homosexuals, but when destruction comes, God takes the good with the bad.

As an aside, I became pro-gay when I was watching a TV show where this woman couldn't have children. It turns out she had testes in place of ovaries. (Her husband said that to him, she was all women and that he would always love and stay with her). I later learned that all humans start with gonads which are undifferentiated sex organs. These are created back of the kidneys after which they get hit with a chemical signal which then transforms them into ovaries or testes. These then travel across guiding lines called the gubernaculum (which later disappear). In the case of females ending up at the end of the fallopian tubes, in the case of males travelling a seven-week journey, exiting through the inguinal canal into the scrotal sack. And just as with females, there are men with descended ovaries.

As we can see, and from a spiritual perspective, there are times when God scrambles sexual characteristics. It is inconceivable that the brain is somehow inviolate.

From an Islamic perspective, the Qur'an says:

He it is who forms you in the wombs as He pleases; there is no god but He, the Mighty, the Wise. —Qur'an 3:6

For Muslims, that leaves no room for talk of genetic defects, randomness, etc. Everything is by God's will.

Anonymous said...

Prof. Rapko,

What follows from your totally inapposite analogy is that the Native Americans clearly have a greater right to the land now governed by the government of the United States, descendants of the original English settlers who killed and slaughtered them, and transmitted the deadly disease of smallpox to them, and it there were justice in the world, perhaps the Native Americans would be entitled to assume control over all of the lower 50 states and expel the descendants of the people who committed genocide against them. But we know that will not happen, because it is infeasible from a practical standpoint – you, I, Prof. Wolff and everyone else who reads this blog are not going to voluntarily vacate the United States and return it to the rightful owners.

But what the hell does any of that have to do with the rights of the Israelis - descendants of the original Jewish/Hebrew indigenous people who occupied Canaan/Palestine – to live in an Israel that is free from the constant terrorist attacks and demands by a non-indigenous people that the Israelis give them land they refused to share with the Israelis? The fact that justice is on the side of the Native Americans, but is unlikely to prevail, does not mean that in the parable I wrote, where justice is on the side of the Israelis, that somehow the Israelis have no claim to the land they once occupied, re-purchased from the Ottoman Empire, cultivated and made flourish, offered to share with the Arab population, were rejected, and then defeated them twice in wars in which they were vastly outnumbered. The fact that in one case justice will not prevail does not entail that in the case of the Israelis, justice should likewise not prevail – especially when the Israelis are succeeding in making justice prevail. The fact that you could even offer your warped analogy demonstrates that you have absolutely no comprehension of the issues involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

John Rapko said...

Dear Anonymous, Thank you for reminding me that an analogy is not an identity. And I'm chastened to learn that my thought experiment shows unequivocally to at least one anonymous person on the internet that I have absolutely no comprehension of the issues involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.--Hint: I offered the analogy in (utterly vain) hopes of inducing reflection on whether such ABC stories about events from centuries and millennia ago provided definitive answers to questions such as whether a government has a 'right' to a land.

Anonymous said...

It was not in vain. I acknowledged that Native Americans do in fact have a superior claim to the descendants of the original English settlers, and to that of immigrants who have succeeded them, to ownership of this land. Their claim, however just, will never succeed because you and millions of others would refuse to recognize it and the current Native American population does not have the military force to successfully assert it.

That has nothing to do with the equities of the claim of the Israelis. What are you saying – that ultimately might makes right – the you and I have a right to assert ownership over the United States because the Native Americans do not have the military force to defeat us? In that case, regardless the equities, Israel has the same right to assert its military prowess over the Palestinians, ultimately the answer to the question of who has a right to the land is determined by the last man standing. But if this is the case – if might makes right – on what basis would you assert the Palestinians’ right to own the land, or any part of the land, since they are losing in the might makes right battle. Your argument is strewn through and through with inconsistency and hypocrisy. I, for my part, deny that might makes right – and still maintain the historical equities are on the side of the Israelis.

aaall said...

"...descendants of the original Jewish/Hebrew indigenous people who occupied Canaan/Palestine..."

Of course, if one believes certain stories, the original folks who occupied that area were killed or driven out. We should also bear in mind that the earth's human population when all this supposedly started was in the high seven to low eight figures and most of those in what is now India and China. Given the extinction in the same period and area of most y-chromosome lines, the possibility of an unique indigenous population persisting to this day seems slim to none.

Anonymous said...

aaall,

You are mistaken. Genetic studies have concluded that individuals who identity as Jewish have “many genetic features, suggesting common roots that the team estimated went back more than 2000 years.”

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2010/06/tracing-roots-jewishness

At exactly 2000 years, would place the common root at 10 A.D. (since the study was conducted in 2010), which would coincide with close to the destruction of the 2nd Temple by the Romans and the large-scale expulsion of Jews from Paslestina, the Roman name given to the region.

The fact that you claim that such a phenomenon is “slim to none” indicates your lack of knowledge of Jewish culture. Given their unique religious and dietary regimen, their genetic identifiability is readily explained by their resistance to intermarriage, until more recent generations.

Anonymous said...

The problem, Anonymous (@ May 20, 2021 at 3:52 PM and May 21, 2021 at 5:32 AM) is that you claim that the Jewish/Hebrew people are the original/indigenous occupants of Canaan/Palestine.

The biblical story, however, contradicts your claim. According to the Bible, other peoples occupied that land before the arrival of the Israelites.

Now, it's entirely possible that the Bible narrative is bogus. Maybe those we now call Jews/Hebrews were indeed the first occupants of that land.

Nevertheless, the narrative that the Israelites conquered Canaan/Palestine and expelled/exterminated their original occupants is the one used to legitimize the existence of the State of Israel.

So, which of those two mutually contradictory rationales are we to pick?

Another Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Another Anonymous,

The point is not that the Hebrews/Jews were the first inhabitants of Canaan/Palestine, but that they are the only surviving people who can link their history in an unbroken chain to those first inhabitants. The Hittites (who I believe inhabited Asia Minor, not Palestine), the Canaanites, the Philistines, etc., have all disappeared from the historical record. Only the Hebrews/Jews remain, as confirmed by the genetic studies referred to above.

TheDudeDiogenes said...

To the point of "collective ownership of the means of production": due to the idea of historical materialism, Marx believed that socialism was an inevitable outcome of capitalism.

Without that article of faith, are there good reasons to think, not only that such an outcome is possible, but that it is beneficial? I'm inclined to think it would be a social good, if collective ownership of the means of production were to occur, but I realize that I don't really have any good reasons for thinking so.

Danny said...

'What are you saying – that ultimately might makes right – the you and I have a right to assert ownership over the United States because the Native Americans do not have the military force to defeat us?'

Obviously.

J. Fleming said...

However...see this article...Genetic markers cannot determine Jewish descent.
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fgene.2014.00462/full

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (May 22, 2021 at 1:55 PM) wrote,

The point is not that the Hebrews/Jews were the first inhabitants of Canaan/Palestine, but that they are the only surviving people who can link their history in an unbroken chain to those first inhabitants.

Give me a break, Anonymous. In your two comments (May 20, 2021 at 3:52 PM and May 21, 2021 at 5:32 AM) you literally wrote original and indigenous. It's there, in black and white.

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A general advice: People, think precisely what is it you want to communicate (that goes to Ahmed Fares too). Don't write something and then ask people to understand that you actually meant something else.

Another Anonymous

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