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Thread: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

  1. #1
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    Default Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    My two sons are 27 and 20 and are somewhat to the right of me, on the usual political tests. This is because in recent years I have been moving Left. My sons are pro-EU, strongly Green, liberals. I’m more on the Social Democrat / Democratic Socialist spectrum.

    My 20 year old favourite niece, who functions as a part time daughter to me and sister to my sons, has just discovered Marxism-Leninism. I would like to gently take her through the arguments against Marxism and in favour of liberalism and social democracy.

    Like most people she read “Animal Farm” at school and has dipped into Bertrand Russell’s “History of Western Philosophy”. I’m a little concerned that she has picked up a conspiracy theory idea that Orwell was a tool of the British deep state.

    Besides giving her a subscription to The Economist for Christmas, what else might one do?
    Last edited by Andrew Craig-Bennett; 12-01-2022 at 08:16 AM.
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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    give her a two week holiday to denmark
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    You could remind her that no experiment in Marxism has ever moved beyond the totalitarian state.
    "Where you live in the world should not determine whether you live in the world." - Bono

    "Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip." - Will Rogers

    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - Groucho Marx

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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    Give her more of Orwell's work, The Road to Wigan Pier, for example. 19884 might be a bit of a cliché now, but is definitely anti-totalitarian.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    I’ve just sent her this, saying, which is perfectly true, that my younger son, her cousin and quasi-brother, sent it to me.

    https://www.politicalcompass.org/test

    The thing that inoculated me against Marxism was Karl Popper’s “The Open Society and its Enemies”, but it’s two heavy volumes and she’s a medical student with a social life and limited time available.
    Last edited by Andrew Craig-Bennett; 11-26-2022 at 06:39 AM.
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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    Russia/USSR, early years plus Stalin. ‘Nuff said.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett View Post
    I’ve just sent her this saying, which is perfectly true, that my younger son sent it to me.

    https://www.politicalcompass.org/test

    The thing that inoculated me against Marxism was Karl Popper’s “The Open Society and its Enemies”, but it’s two heavy volumes and she’s a medical student with a social life and limited time available.
    At least one of those propositions needs a neither option
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    Severe beatings. Worked wonders with my kids.

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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    Just let her run with it and discover the positives and negatives herself.
    Rick

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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett View Post
    she’s a medical student with a social life and limited time available.
    It might be best to not mention socialized medicine.
    Life is complex.

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    I recommend gentle persuasion and living as a consistent and positive example.

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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    Have her watch "A Young Doctor's Notebook" with John Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe and read "Heart of a Dog" by Mikhail Bulgakov.

    It may cure her. If not she will still enjoy them.
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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    It's very hard to get away from Marx's influence on most human endeavor except the hard sciences and even there we are learning from a Marxian influenced analysis of who advances in science. One hopes that she will realize that social change takes experience in the hard places of human want and suffering: In her case volunteer medical work.

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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    "My 20 year old favourite niece, who functions as a part time daughter and sister, has just discovered Marxism-Leninism."
    Give her time ABC. Ignorance and youthful hormones. Marxism relies on universal altruism.
    Best to love the young lady with a open hand.

    Tom

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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    ^I support Tom and RFNK, let her discover the aspects of life on her own, don't interfere to much.
    Just give her a very, very subtle push in the right direction now an then, but I'm sure you know how to do it

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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    Take her on a tour of Cuba and Venezuela.

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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    There is a saying - who isn't left when he / she is 20 has no heart. Who still wants communism / socialism at 40 has no brain ... I take it that you believe she has brains.

    Altruism is not a bad feature for becoming a doctor. Certainly better than going for that profession just for the money. If the majority of people were altruists, perhaps socialism or communism might actually work?

    About two weeks in Denmark - nice place for a holiday! Finland, Sweden and Norway are also societies with a lot of social ingredients - all while also having a market economy. To experience "real world" fundamental socialism / communism - China, Cuba, North Korea? Any other nations left? Venezuela was also mentioned above.

    I guess she will go her way. Reality, the need for compromising on ideals will likely catch up with her sooner or later. Being a doctor is not easy and having some altruism can make it easier for her to be a better doctor.

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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    Quote Originally Posted by George. View Post
    Take her on a tour of Cuba and Venezuela.
    Or Chicago?

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    Thanks to everyone.

    I like Ian’s, Henning’s, Dutchpp’s, Tom’s and RFBK’s advice best. My niece has a professor who is active in pro bono medical work and encourages her students to get involved, which my niece does.

    I ought not to worry too much. The mother of my children was, as a teenager, an active supporter of a Communist guérilla movement. My sons found this quite surprising. Of course, in her case, she had five years in Beijing…
    Last edited by Andrew Craig-Bennett; 11-26-2022 at 07:21 AM.
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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    It might make sense to observe and if she should start to sacrifice herself for her altruism, to enable some intercultural experience in perhaps Norway, Sweden, Finland or Denmark. Doctors are welcome in these countries as far as I know - when we were in Aaland, there was even an advertisement for medical staff to seek employment in Aaland in the tourists brochure handed out in the harbour at the registration desk ... If she should go as far as damaging herself for her altruism - that might even be a topic for professional treatment.

    This - a mindset where she might go too far and sacrifice herself for other peoples ideals - could be a danger for herself. Young people are strong and have a lot of energy, but if she should have a mindset of sacrificing herself, of going beyond healthy altruism into damaging herself - that would need attention. Especially if she has not pulled out of such a mindset (if it should exist) by say 24 or 25.
    Last edited by Henning 4148; 11-26-2022 at 07:22 AM.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    Excellent point, Henning.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    A book that just might ring a bell for her - "How to be good" from Nick Hornby. Or perhaps it might not ...

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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    "Life Of Stalin", great flick that shows what it's all about through satire.
    If he ever drinks the brew of 10 tanna leaves, he will become a monster the likes of which the world has never seen



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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    Or "Dr. Zhivago", I just saw it again on TV the other night and I think it holds up as a really good movie it also is fascinating from the historical social point of view.
    If he ever drinks the brew of 10 tanna leaves, he will become a monster the likes of which the world has never seen



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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    the killing fields
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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    A lot of typical male suggestions
    The top 50 list of books from woman for woman ( from an US perspective);
    https://www.womansday.com/life/enter...oks-for-women/

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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    Rigadog says “Life of Stalin” but he might mean “The Death of Stalin” which I think is perfect.

    Also agree with George about Cuba - it’s a wonderful place crumbling under the dead fist of Marxism.

    My older daughter believes in socialism but aligns with no political party. She has a broad perspective which overlaps with mine. So I did the loving father thing and bought her a subscription to The Economist.

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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    the killing fields
    As any treatment, book or movie, truly captured the horror of that monstrous act?
    "Where you live in the world should not determine whether you live in the world." - Bono

    "Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip." - Will Rogers

    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - Groucho Marx

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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ross View Post
    Also agree with George about Cuba - it’s a wonderful place crumbling under the dead fist of Marxism.
    US sanctions, alongside the dead fist of Marxism





    produced a good health care system even though the US embargoed the import of drugs and equipment, a world respected hub for music and dance including ballet
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Healthcare_in_Cuba
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_...e_ballet_today
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_..._Ballet_School
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    The Soviet Union in a nutshell: “You pretend to pay us, we pretend to work.”

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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    One more thought - back in the days, there also were Marxist and or Leninist groups at higher education facilities. The assumption was, that these groups were "steered" (and possibly financed ...). That in these groups, there were people who had been indoctrinated and who's task it was to indoctrinate others and win them for "activities" (whatever that means). So - raising some awareness regarding recognizing indoctrination might be valuable - if it is possible.

    Altruism is one thing - becoming entangled in indoctrination, becoming a tool used by other people to push their political interests is another.

    From what you wrote in the past, not everything is perfect where your niece lives. Seeing this may be what drives her into seeking alterntives and may be what is behind her current fascination with Marxism. Perhaps, some time it is time for her to continue her education in another environment.
    Last edited by Henning 4148; 11-26-2022 at 11:00 AM.

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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    US sanctions, alongside the dead fist of Marxism





    produced a good health care system even though the US embargoed the import of drugs and equipment, a world respected hub for music and dance including ballet
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Healthcare_in_Cuba
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_...e_ballet_today
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_..._Ballet_School
    Like I said, a marvelous place.

    The U.S. sanctions stung Cuba, but Russia was a major trading partner on favorable terms through the collapse of the Soviet Union. Since at least the early 1980s Cuba has traded with dozens of countries. For more than forty years Cuba has had full access to world markets.

    Cuba’s problems are of it’s own making. The Ruling Party diverts blame to the U.S. because it’s convenient.

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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ross View Post
    Also agree with George about Cuba - it’s a wonderful place crumbling under the dead fist of Marxism.
    To say nothing of the sixty plus years of economic warfare conducted by the USA - which is the principle hazard experienced by any small nation guilty of considering anything labeled socialism or - god help them - communism.
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ross View Post
    Like I said, a marvelous place.

    The U.S. sanctions stung Cuba, but Russia was a major trading partner on favorable terms through the collapse of the Soviet Union. Since at least the early 1980s Cuba has traded with dozens of countries. For more than forty years Cuba has had full access to world markets.

    Cuba’s problems are of it’s own making. The Ruling Party diverts blame to the U.S. because it’s convenient.
    From the Wiki:
    During the 1990s the ongoing United States embargo against Cuba caused problems due to restrictions on the export of medicines from the US to Cuba.[25][26] In 1992 the US embargo was made more stringent with the passage of the Cuban Democracy Act resulting in all U.S. subsidiary trade, including trade in food and medicines, being prohibited.[25] The legislation did not state that Cuba cannot purchase medicines from U.S. companies or their foreign subsidiaries; however, such license requests have been routinely denied.[25] In 1995 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States informed the U.S. Government that such activities violate international law and has requested that the U.S. take immediate steps to exempt medicine from the embargo.[27] The Lancet and the British Medical Journal also condemned the embargo in the 90s.[28]
    The embargo forced Cuba to use more of its limited resources on medical imports, both because equipment and drugs from foreign subsidiaries of U.S. firms or from non-U.S.sources tend to be higher priced and because shipping costs are greater. The Democracy Act of 1992 further exacerbated the problems in Cuba's medical system. It prohibited foreign subsidiaries of U.S. corporations from selling to Cuba, thus further limiting Cuba's access to medicine and equipment, and raising prices. In addition, the act forbid ships that dock in Cuban ports from docking in U.S. ports for six months. This drastically restricted shipping, and increased shipping costs some 30%.[29]

    <snip>
    In a 2006 report to the U.N. Secretary-General, Cuba acknowledged the authorization of medicines, though stated that they were subject to severe restrictions and complicated procedures. Cuba is obliged to make payments in cash and in advance, and is precluded from obtaining credit funding, even from private sources. The sale and transportation of the goods require licenses to be obtained for each transaction. Cuba cannot use its own merchant fleet for transporting these goods, but has to make use of vessels from third countries, primarily the United States. Payments are made through banks in third countries, since direct banking relationships are prohibited. The Cuban delegation concluded that restrictions on importing medical products were "so extensive that they make such imports virtually impossible". The World Health organization/PAHO and UNFPA concurred that it was impossible for Cuba to purchase equipment, medicines and laboratory materials produced by the United States or covered by United States patents, even though those products were purchased through multilateral cooperation. Cuba was not able to purchase the isotope I-125 that is used to treat eye cancer in children. The companies manufacturing reagents and equipment are 70 per cent United States owned, which makes it difficult to purchase necessary medical equipment and other items.[34][non-primary s
    Did you read the link?
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  35. #35
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    Default Re: Advice sought on a quasi-parental political issue

    If I might, invite her to reflect on the persistent concerns of the patients in her practice. It is certain that some patients are ill because they are indigent, or too poor to have access to the "social determinants of health."

    It is also certain, though, that most of her patients with chronic diseases- which is most of a family practice - suffer more than they should. Not because they cannot afford medicine or good nutrition or etc , but because their habitual behaviors which they use to get through their lives make them sick. They know this, but do those things anyway.

    Every lung resection happens due to tobacco. Virtually every cirrhotic liver belongs to someone with alcohol troubles; virtually every amputated gangrenous foot, or instance of kidney failure leading to dialysis happens due to poorly managed type 2 diabetes.

    It isn't capitalistic oppression forcing people to eat sugar instead of fresh produce, or fall into various types of substance addiction. These things are coping strategies, which offer immediate relief at the expense of long term death. Our species is bright enough to know this, but incapable enough of change through simple education that we employ industries both producing the various things we use to cope, and of medical and counseling professionals to help some of us dig our way out.

    Marxism presumes that people will choose the good and equitable, and be content because hypothetical others have enough, at the expense of very real, personal relief. But your niece knows, from her practice, that few people make such altruistic choices, and fewer yet in favor of those they've never met. Ask her why one should imagine that people are more capable of making such choices in terms of their own economic gain than they are in terms of their quality and span of their own lives.

    It isn't that Marxism is wrong in the notion that people would have enough, if goods and services were distributed equitably. It's wrong in imagining that humans can be persuaded, educated, into doing so. And that compulsion won't always be oppressive, or at least trend in that direction very early into some version of a Revolutionary People's Republic, as it always has across history.

    Ask her if instead, regulation on free markets and some specific policy choices about specific economic sectors (like health) doesn't actually thread the needle better to contain human greed etc.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

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