You can read my review of Jason Brennan’s book Why Not Capitalism here.
One thing is clear. This year Americans will elect one of the worst candidates in their history. The question is which one of them it will be. Although I have always been a fan of Republicans, I would vote for Hillary now. Why?
Four years ago I would be a rock fan of Trump. Moreover, when he was considering his candidacy then, I was very happy about it. But since that moment a lot of things have changed. Not only Trump, the World and my opinion that if it will not be me who would be an advocate of the radical right-wing ultraconservatism then no one else would defend the right American and Western values.
Meanwhile, so many pseudo conservative lunatics have emerged that I realized that my own and even the Western values are completely somewhere else. Even during the primaries I figured out that the moderate Republicans are much closer to me.
But to the point. I don’t want Hillary there. But I don’t want Trump there so much more. And unfortunately the only way how to ensure this is to vote for Clinton. However, I could never vote for her if the circumstances were different. Not only due to her lying, corruptness, bad personality, the e-mails, paid speeches or the questionable financing of her foundation.
What also bothers me is her demagoguery rhetoric and her pragmatic move towards the radical Left, not to mention that she will probably use the executive actions instead of using parliament even more often than Obama did. Moreover, she will probably continue in his weak foreign policy, even though hopefully, thanks to Trump, with a lower naivety towards Russia. And the positions of those two bad candidates towards Putin are very crucial for me.
Putin’s puppet and a favorite of authoritarians
If one of them is able to send signals towards Putin that America will not automatically protect the countries of NATO, that due to the suburb of St. Petersburg (thus Estonia) it will not risk a nuclear war, then as a citizen of a country whose sovereignty, freedom and democracy are dependent on the will of the US to militarily help us against the potential aggressor, I would have to be crazy if I wished such a President.
Not to mention that he praises Putin and says he is far better leader than American President, that he denies murders of opposition journalists in Russia, and yet with a rhetoric of their propaganda – that in America this is allegedly happening too. And yes, it is not a joke; he would even consider recognition of the Russian annexation of the Crimea and refrain from sanctions. It seems like he would use as a source of information the Russia Today, because he ensured us that Putin will not come to Ukraine with his army. And yet Putin’s man was right inside the Trump’s team.
But it isn’t all. What a chaos is happening in the World when America thoughtlessly retreats from it was already shown us with Obama. We can add the panic on the stock exchange and we can only guess what kind of destabilization of China, Mexico and other countries would the return of America to mercantilism and protectionism with the crazy import tariffs bring us.
Donald ain’t no Ronald
Nevertheless, what also is funny is the picture of Trump as a defender of the conservative and Christian values. His life in mammon, his extreme egoism, his 3 wives, his total disrespect towards women, his racism, his ignorance of his allegedly the most favorite book-bible, his pre-election pose how a New York celebrity has suddenly changed his opinions and he became a great conservative now.
It even doesn’t matter that he has no political experience. He is a successful businessman, an example of the American dream, true self-made man, for whom, how he says, nothing was easy and his father just gave him a small loan in value of only million dollars then. But he is such a successful entrepreneur that if he had just invested his inherited money and don’t do any business he could have been much richer now.
But what? He can do it and fix it alone, he can manage country as a corporation. It doesn’t have to bother us that his companies have bankrupted six times and there is nothing wrong about it, he only abused the system, and everybody does that. Despite a long-time tradition he didn’t reveal his tax returns, because nothing is there. But these which were released has proven that he had such loses then that he again abused the system to avoid paying taxes. And it makes him smart, he brags.
A real hero of the low-income people and security forces indeed. But it doesn’t matter, the politicians are to blame. They are totally corrupt. And how does he know? He was corrupting them during whole his life. Now, the Mr. Clean will fight against them. He will also help the poor with lowering taxes mostly for the rich, repealing tax credits for families with children and increasing national debt. And a solution for the environment is probably his tweet that global warming was created by Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
The most important value is lying, rather much more than the liar Hillary. And also to insult, to say outrages and appeal to crowds with raising their right hands during a collective swear. The best how to fight against the excessive political correctness is to discredit it with his primitive rudeness. And it is usual in a democratic country to finish the whole campaign with threat to the opponent that if he wins she would be in jail, and to refuse to say if in a case of loosing he would accept the election results.
Moreover, it is funny to have a look at who supports him in the World. The biggest support is from Russia and the sympathies besides Putin were expressed also by the dictator from the North Korea. The other supporters are Vojislav Šešelj, Marine Le Pen and Jean-Marie Le Pen, Geert Wilders and other extreme Right-wing politicians and also from the official newspaper of the KKK. In my country it is right-wing populist Okamura, pro-Russian President Zeman, populist oligarch Babiš, communists and the pro-Kremlin- and extreme Right.
Otherwise, a lot of notable Republicans refused to endorse him, such as former Presidents Bushes and former candidates John McCain and Mitt Romney, and also current candidates Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Lindsey Graham, then Condoleeza Rice, Suzana Martinez, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and also commentators Charles Krauthammer and David Brooks and historian Daniel Pipes, who as a protest left the party after his 44 years long membership.
No vote for Hillary = vote for Trump
The only logical reason why someone could vote for Trump might be that, if he was removed during his term which seems quite probable, then the President would be Mike Pence who was very good during the VP debate. He reminded us how much we would need a real Republican there today, and that Democrats very often are not able to do anything else than using their crazy demagogy to mask that their good intentions in the same time doesn’t bring also the good results.
But this is not a sufficient reason because his candidacy with Trump and his continuation in it shows us that he has bad judgment and maybe even false values. It all despite it was quite clear in this debate that a lot of Trump’s statements seemed so absurd to him that he looked as he had a problem to believe that real Republican nominee could mean them seriously.
However, my current support for Hillary doesn’t mean that I would suddenly turn from Republican into Democrat. My favorites were from the beginning Rubio, Kasich, eventually Bush. We can only hope that Republicans will recover and in 4 years the Primaries will be won by someone good.
Now, we are very long time aware of that Hillary is very problematic. Moreover, it is clear that altough I will have a very big fun (even though in a style of a lunatic who is just taken in a straitjacket) if Trump will really win, but I will in the same time wish so very much that he will not. Therefore, I would vote for Hillary in those states where the election might be decided.
Not voting for her in the key states means the vote for Trump, and I don’t want him even by an accident. I don’t want America which would remind me Europe before the Second World War and I don’t want American Right which would be dominated by ideological wing, which would look as a multiple of all parodies of every Left-wingers, who doesn’t know and doesn’t understand it, and they could only fabricate it until now.
In Utah I would vote for McMullin, because Mormons despite evangelicals haven’t fell for the game of the saint savior Trump, and he has a chance to be successful there. In the same time in the states where it is clear that Hillary or Trump will win in there, I would write-in someone else there – mostly apparently McMullin because he is closer to me on the issues, or Pence, Kasich, Rubio or Misha. And I would vote Republicans to the Congress.
When Trump loses then maybe the riots will begin in America but it is also important what will happen to the entire World. And I don’t really want America which would be led by the nontransparent and six-time bankrupted, lying, unprincipled, nationalistic, semi-Fascist and populist authoritarian with connections to Kremlin. Moreover, I cannot imagine how Republicans could renew their party if they were represented by such a President.
You can also read this article in Czech here.
Whether we consider ourselves liberals of all kinds, modern conservatives, christian or social democrats, in short if lives and liberties of all humans/individuals are key to us, then we cannot remain indifferent to what Thomas Pogge criticizes in his text.
He raises there an accusation against rich countries, their governments, corporations and citizens. According to him, they systematically cause death of circa 18 million people in poor developing countries a year. He presents arguments and proposals for solutions how it would be possible to avoid it if rich countries agreed to make, in his words, realistic systemic changes, and why it would be, in the long term perspective, even for them better.
He considers the contemporary global order, in perspective of violating rights of the global poor, as morally wrong, and he doesn’t hesitate to use analogy with the behavior of fascists, Chinese communists etc. This seems to be exaggerated at the first sight, but if we accept his argumentation, then he is perhaps right.
Mostly in the sense, where he says it is true that although the crimes of colonialism or China’s great leap caused tens of millions victims, but they were single issues which ended, while the 18 million of dead people a year due to systemic poverty are the constant affair, and it is moreover realistically solvable, but there only is not enough will to do it. The aim of this paper* is not to verify if his numbers and the assumptions arising from them are factually correct, therefore I will presume they are.
If everything what Pogge says is truth, then also his argumentation on why rich countries should agree with the systemic changes, is logical. According to him, it pays off to them if the systemic poverty would be removed once for all, because the never-ending overcoming of a few individuals to voluntarily help, is not only exhausting, but also injustice and demotivational. That’s all because we know that if we had given just a little bit more, we would have helped much more people, but on the contrary, we can see that someone else had given nothing.
It is interesting from my view to think about if the societies in rich countries would agree with such institutional reforms. Now, we perhaps presuppose they wouldn’t, that they are too selfish, that they don’t intend to limit themselves. But I personally don’t think so. The author’s argumentation is very good, and if politicians in rich countries would be able to explain that, it could also have been taken as kind of a debt payment for how bad the previous generations used to behave to developing countries in the era of colonialism. Also, it would be an opportunity how to solve these problems in the long-term, so I believe they could agree with it more easily.
And it could also happen due to the reasons of a better solution for the causes of mass migration. If we removed the systemic causes of poverty, and therefore even the motivation of escaping from poor countries, then it wouldn’t be necessary to risk through mass immigration both, the loss of our own cultures, and the growth of extremist movements related to this.
Generally, it is interesting to look at the individual reforms which Pogge proposes. I am afraid that in the cases of ensuring poor countries a share from a value of raw mineral extracted from the seabed or payment for externalities, it would be problematic to manage the most efficient utilization of the resources redistributed this way. Nevertheless, it maybe isn’t impossible.
However, I was a little bit shocked with a proposal of a global minimum wage. It is truth that with argumentation against the race to the bottom, it doesn’t seem to be such a nonsense, but I am still skeptical about the institution of minimum wage at all.
Otherwise, even for the general global free trade, I consider as very necessary a regulation of working hours and workers’ conditions, because it is one of the little things where it might still be justifiable that rich countries protect their markets with high tariffs.
Generally, the issue of the tariffs is very interesting today, even in the context of American Presidential election. We can see, despite long-term belief of the Right, at least since the 80s, that what the freest trade is necessary, has the primaries been won by a candidate who proposes very protective measures. On the contrary, the Left has a big dilemma if they should protect through these measures the relatively poor in their own countries, or to protect the real poor in the developing ones.
Mostly, I consider the removing of tariffs as the least realistic measure at all. So after the proposal that it would not be necessary to pay a rent for using an intellectual property, which I am afraid would be complicated not only politically, but also practically. Generally, I consider it as a problem how to reach these global measures without increasing the democratic deficit even more, or on the contrary risking destroying the freedom in rich countries with its (global) removing.
*Note: This paper was written as a reflection on Pogge’s arguments for a course Concepts in Modern Political Philosophy at the Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University. Pogge’s text is called -“Recognized and Violated by International Law: The Human Rights of the Global Poor.”
You can read my text in Czech here.
The problem is that UK can survive without us, but the EU could collapse without you. As it is a good manner in your lands, we should not threaten you, as some people do, but rather politely ask you to remain. Here is why.
Our Union became too centralized and too bureaucratic. We also have a big problem with our external security. We also pay huge amounts of money to irresponsible countries, while we are not sure if we try to satisfy their lazy people, their corrupt elites and oligarchs, or the bankers, investors and speculators in rich countries.
During the WWII, UK remained the last one who could safe free and democratic Europe. I do not want to be pathetic but your referendum reminds me this situation a little bit. If Britain left the EU, I do not see many positive scenarios then.
Only the rise of power of the bigger states over the smaller ones, only the rise of Kremlin propaganda and of Putin’s influence in Europe, and only the rise of extremist parties caused by a feeling of a huge democratic deficit regarding our common policy decisions.
What we need, is to change how the European Union works, so that it better serves the interests of all of us. We have to insist on the real subsidiarity and demand a restoration of sovereignty of our member states in absolutely every issue, where there is not completely necessary to have a centralized solution.
I believe that the United Kingdom would still be a free and prosperous country even as a non-member of the EU. But this kind of a decision would influence not only you. What I am asking you for, as a citizen of a relatively small central European and post-communist country, is you to remain. I join the public figures our country in that appeal to you.
Our land would not have it so much easy, unlike any others, if you left, and we would also have lost a very valuable ally in reforming our common European Union. Please remain; Europe will be much better with your EU-membership.
You can also read this article in Czech here.
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The people of Austria have to send a signal do Wien, Berlin and Brussels. Therefore I could not vote for Van der Bellen. However, I could also not directly vote for FPÖ. How to solve it?
In the Czech Republic, we now have a very problematic president too. We also do the stupid thing that we elect him directly. And it all brings us to the question why we are even republics. As a political liberal I believe in a constitutional and parliamentary regime. But seriously, wouldn’t it be better for our countries to have a king (or a queen) instead of presidents?
We don’t have to be one federation as the Austrian Empire (or the Austria-Hungary) once could be after the WWI. But we could be a personal union. We could be free and sovereign countries with the same head of our states.
As well as Elizabeth II is the queen of New Zealand, so the Karl Habsburg-Lothringen could be the king of the Czech lands. And also the king of Austria and maybe even Slovenia or other countries of the former Austrian Empire that would like to be constitutional and parliamentary monarchies instead of republics.
Hofer or Van der Bellen?
I am really unhappy that Austrians have to choose between these two choices now. Their elites have failed and it seems that the problem with mass immigration escalated. Their elites probably forgot to ask the people if they agree with such an amount of immigration and they forgot to think about if it is even realistic to deal with it.
Of course, we are Europeans, we want to be humanists, and we inherited a lot of guilt from our ancestors, so we feel a duty to help the less advantaged in this world. But we also inherited a civilization which must not be destroyed. Not only by intolerant cultures within it, but also by the logical radical reaction from our home inhabitants.
If the elites, and mostly the centre-right, would not let the things go so further, the Austrians would not have to choose between someone who probably doesn’t understand the problem, and someone who is from a party which is very problematic.
When it comes to me, if I could vote in this election, I would make my own ballot with a name of the King on it, and I would hope that Hofer will not be so bad, and that the elites in Wien, Berlin and Brussels will understand that something has to change before there will be created a space for much more radical parties than FPÖ is.
You can read this article in Czech here.
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The demand to have apolitical songs is nonsense. Even peace or freedom is political value. As well as transgender emancipation or international justice is. Where else was the problem this year?
I am always watching Eurovision since 2007 when my country first participated. I like this show because it’s a great opportunity when all Europeans can have a feeling of being an European. And we can see that this contest is political in its substance. The aim of it is a unity and peace of all European nations. Isn’t it political?
However, this year was special. The favorite didn’t win. The best song didn’t win. It was the emotionally strong story of the song that won. Before the Finals I didn’t intend to think that Ukraine could win but something happened in one moment during Jamala’s singing.
When she screamed in the time from 2:25 it was like hearing all of the 230 000 of Crimean Tatars who were forcibly deported by Stalin or the circa 100 000 of those of them who died because of it. In that moment I was sure that I will vote for Ukraine. And it was political. Not in the conspiracy way of the Russian propaganda. It was my free authentic and conscious choice. Something what I hope even Russian people will some day know.
Anyway, the Putin’s propaganda went crazy after the results. Russia won the heart of the European people. Ukraine could win only because of the votes of the special jury, as it is always done. People began to argue that Russia won but it’s corrupt because it’s political and Ukraine won only because the political goal was to support Ukraine against Russia. No evidence of that but a good conspiracy. However, I suppose that we all have a lot of these pseudo-news websites in our countries full of the Kremlin propaganda and we know they are good at it.
Maybe they are too good. Jamala said that she thanks to Europe. But I am skeptical about Europeans in this. The popular vote was won by Russia. And why? Their song really wasn’t the best, maybe the special effects. Are we Europeans really so superficial that we prefer this over the strong story of historical and international in/justice?
And most of the people, who began to argue that the Ukraine’s victory wasn’t fair because it was political and so on, weren’t the paid staff of the Russian propaganda. Mostly, they were only the naive Europeans. No offence, but we could call them useful idiots. And it is very problematic how so many Europeans aren’t immune to Putin’s propaganda. The Dutch people showed it to us a few weeks ago in their referendum.
However, back to the Eurovision. I don’t understand why the organizers chose this way of the results announcement. It was really stupid. Now it seems we have three winners. Of the jury – Australia. Of the people – Russia. And the real winner – Ukraine. And it’s weird.
I am not against announcing the results both from the jury and from the people. But it should have been done in another way. I would prefer if the correspondents from each country in the live entry said first the points from the jury and add the points from the popular vote. We would get all three information from every country and we would know the only one winner in the end as it always used to be.
Another problem is that this year Australia could win. It is European contest and it might be logical that there are countries such as Israel, Russia, Turkey or Georgia, but it makes no sense to have there Australia. But maybe our need to have it there shows that there might be a need for a global song contest.
Last thing I would like to mention is that we should realize how we decide who will receive our votes. Some people say that neighboring countries always support each others. If we look at the winners it doesn’t seem to be truth. Sometimes even the best special effects or the best music doesn’t win. What wins, in my opinion, is the message. And it is often very political and it is perfectly fine.
You can also read this article in Czech here.
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The motto: “Who is not left-wing in youth, has no heart,” is meant literally at my host faculty in Marburg, Germany. Primarily it’s funny because we, the young people from Central and Eastern Europe, often see it a little bit differently.
In the era when the Czech Social Democrats were led by Jiří Paroubek (around 2005-2010), it wasn’t cool to call yourself left-wing among young people at all. Although it was pretty superficial, but almost every young person was against this kind of left-wing populism and we also saw the threat that our free land could once again be ruled by Communists.
Many of us are also from families that have a direct personal experience that the regime under the leadership of the Communist party oppressed them, made it impossible for them to live freely, to develop their talents and so on. It is natural for us to be anti-communist, and we tend to consider this ideology as equally bad or maybe even worse than Nazism or fascism.
But in West Germany they do not have this kind of experience. For young people there, the role of the authoritarian and reactionary evil is played by conservative, christian-democratic or right-wing liberal ideologies and parties. For them these are associated with the evil Western and global capitalism, imperialism, (neo)colonialism and so on. Professionally, it is then called for example neoliberalism. And the worse are only nationalists or Nazis.
The funny point is that Marxism or neo-Marxism are regarded as an intellectual paradigm there. If a person is centre-right, so he or she feels like inappropriately as well as the radical left-wing students must feel like at our universities in Czech lands.
Generally, one has a feeling that even Bernie Sanders in such an environment would be condemned as a radical right-winger, and it is unlikely to meet there someone who would have another favorite in contemporary America.
However, it seems that the situation that Czech (but also probably other Central and Eastern European) departments of Political Science/Philoshophy or social science faculties are very often right-wing/centre-right, is quite rare in the global context.
I hope it will not be a problem to publish here some photos. The mixture of radically left-wing anarchism, Marxism and neo-Marxism, in which one doesn’t know if it is still a revolt of youth, or already a uniform setting of everyone who do not want to be labeled a neo-Nazi, is in the context of the historical experience of my country very interesting. And there are a lot of more of these signs and stickers on the faculty and around the city.
Does BFE mean this?
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Not only Trump, and not only House of Cards. The dirty of politics, the corruption through campaign financing, the injustice inequalities.
It all made us realize that something is wrong with American democracy, society and political process. And the ruthless personality of Frank Underwood made us prepared that even the most known clown in the World and the rudest candidate could become the President.
We all got use to that politics must be a massacre. I said that not only House of Cards. Another one I mean is Game of Thrones. And I mentioned not only Trump. It could gave us also Sanders or ISIS.
There is not such a direct link as with The Donald, but if there exists some kind of a holistic spritual collective spirit, and all our minds our somehow connected, then what if – meanwhile we are watching, they are doing?
This is a big question. It is clear that now we still have to work because we do not have such developed machines which would be able to do everything for us. It is also true that most of us can change their jobs and that people who really want to do their dream job which they consider as their purpose probably mostly can. And it is also true that we can do some systematic improvements to make the lives of average workers or entrepreneurs better.
However, I would like to believe that one day all people will be able to live their real free lives as Lukas from the third story could. That we will be very developed society where most individuals will want to live like real aristocracy and they will want to devote their time to some voluntary work which would still be improving the lives of all people. And that they will still have a lot of free time to do what they really want to. I suppose that also our relationships and our laws would be better if people have more time for them and for politics.
So let’s create the robots which will be able to do the necessary and unpopular work for us. Let’s educate all people in the way of better humanity and let’s develop the necessary habits to be able to live truly free lives. Let’s teach our machines how to work, how to do business, how to invest money. Let’s become a society of rich capitalists who will be able to live their dream lives not from the real added values and from surplus created by other people, but from them, created by machines and robots. And keep in mind that if we want it, we cannot give them human rights.
This essay was originally written with a title “The ideology in sci-fi genre and the future of work, freedom and inequality” and it was done for a course lead by Aleš Debeljak at the University of Ljubljana during my Erasmus exchange programme. I give thanks to him for the possibility to creatively write what I wanted and also to my high school English teacher Lucie Adamusová for her useful grammar tips.
Part 9: Will we work in the future?
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It brings us to this important question. Someone answers that having a lot of money. Someone else would say to be happy with what you have no matter how much it is. I don’t believe it. I think that being really rich means that you can spend your time in the way you really love, on a place which you really choose, and only with those kinds of people you really like, and still be able to feed yourself and to have your needs sufficiently fulfilled at the same time. Not doing a job which you hate just to have more money for some free time to enjoy. Not doing a job which you love but making a huge compromise with your desired lifestyle. Of course, the second would still be better but we have to find better ways.
I really find it problematic that many people today do not do what they love, they have to spend a lot of hours in their jobs, sometimes even overtime, sometimes they have to take their work home, or have to have more jobs, or cannot have enough time for lunch, or cannot choose the place of their work and so on. They also do not have enough sleep, are much stressed, use synthetic stimulation to be awake and focused, and that all just to be able to feed themselves and their families. I doubt it that they could feel as really free people.
However, they are still much freer than in other political or economic systems. They do not have to be members of the “right” party to keep their jobs or to stay alive. They do not have to do the jobs which government forces them to do. It is only nature, their willpower and their habits which decide. Almost everyone was born with some potential, with some abilities and in our societies we also have an opportunity to develop our skills or knowledge through mostly free education and if not, then on the internet.
Liberal capitalism is individualistic in the way that it can make us free from the government or from other individuals and it can let us live our free lives with the money which we are able to get from our work, our enterprise, our investments or from any other form, and to choose to fulfill the variety of our needs. On the other hand, liberal capitalism is still very collectivistic because it forces us to cooperate and compete with other people, to use our skills, knowledge, time, work and effort to do the activities which fulfill the needs of our whole society.
Part 9: Will we work in the future?
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