Must reads for any free person

Discussion in 'Politics' started by D_chris anthemum, May 3, 2009.

  1. D_chris anthemum

    D_chris anthemum New Member

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    Three titles. Brave New World, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Farenheit 451.

    Although the stories are far fetched, they are good reasons to keep your government in check never allow anyone to take your civil liberties away.

    The spirit of a free society will never be crushed, unless they get lazy and slowly allow their freedom to be eroded.

    I highly suggest these titles to anyone who didn't have them as required reading in school.

    There are other titles along the same path as these, feel free to mention them.
     
  2. B_Nick4444

    B_Nick4444 New Member

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    reading two articles on Barack Obama brought a certain book to mind

    the first article was: The moves, which will almost certainly draw protests from human rights advocates who supported President Barack Obama because of his promises to abolish the tribunals, are being made necessary by major obstacles to trying some terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in U.S. federal courts, unnamed sources told Saturday's New York Times.

    so, more empty promises from Obama

    U.S. looking to keep Gitmo tribunals - UPI.com

    the second was on the sources disclosing how Obama would select the successor to Justice Souter -- he would be looking for a specific gender, with possible emphasis on a non-white ethnicity -- ascribed traits, not talent

    couple that with the extensive reach of Obama into some of our largest corporations' decision-making,
    and their massive governmental support, the dictates of federal hate crimes legislation as to what limits of thought and behaviour are permitted, reminds me of a corporate State

    reminded me, specifically, of the Singaporean corporate State:


    Singapore, under the leadership of the PAP, possesses a distinct political culture: authoritarian, pragmatic, rational and legalistic. Singapore's power structure is highly centralized, characterized by a top-down style. It features appointment rather than election to most offices. Economic growth and political stability were maintained by the paternal guidance of the PAP.

    Furthermore, Singapore has a multi-racial and multi-religious focus, giving fair treatment to all races in education, housing and health. As such, the minorities are assured of equal representation in Parliament through the Group Representation Constituency or GRC system.

    Singapore's Political System - An Introduction

    so decisions and allocations are made on the basis of ascribed status, not individual merit -- categories are now the basis of decision-making

    "I vote, You Vote, He/She Votes -- THEY decide"

    the American republican democracy has now been destroyed from within

    the book?
    George Orwell's Animal Farm

    The novel describes how a society's ideologies can be manipulated and twisted by those in positions of social and political power
    , including how Utopian society is made impossible by the corrupting nature of the very power necessary to create it.
    The novel addresses not only the corruption of the revolution by its leaders but also how wickedness, indifference, ignorance, greed and myopia destroy any possibility of an Utopia. While this novel portrays poor leadership as the flaw in revolution (and not the act of revolution itself), it also shows how ignorance and indifference to problems within a revolution allow the horrors to happen.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_Farm
     
    #2 B_Nick4444, May 3, 2009
    Last edited: May 3, 2009
  3. dong20

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    Isn't that [at least in part] the standard M.O. for nominations for the bench? In a sense, being up front about it while not making it right, represents improved transparancy, no?



    What doesn't ...:tongue:



    An extension of affirmative action? I must add that I think any form of state sponsored discrimination, 'positive' or otherwise is risky.



    Well, of course. As you say, the US isn't a democracy, it's a republic.

    The people don't make the decisions, they elect people to make the decisions for them. Until such time as citizens are willing to participate fully in the process, they [largely] reap what they sow.

    If so, that the 'American republican democracy' [???] has been destroyed then it's been done so from without, not within. Furthermore, to suggest this has happened in just the last 100 days is puerile, even for you.
     
  4. B_Nick4444

    B_Nick4444 New Member

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    actually, we agree with Bertram Gross and others, who trace the emergence to Franklin Delano Roosevelt's interventions (Obama is just putting the finishing touches, the nails on the coffin):

    a slow and powerful drift toward greater concentration of power and wealth in a repressive Big Business-Big Government partnership. This drift leads down the road toward a new and subtly manipulative form of corporatist serfdom. The phrase "friendly fascism" helps distinguish this possible future from the patently vicious corporatism of classic fascism in the past of Germany, Italy and Japan.

    which brings me to another (non-literary) title I believe every American should
    read:

    Friendly Fascism: The New Face of ... - Google Book Search
     
    #4 B_Nick4444, May 3, 2009
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  5. dong20

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    I don't know that we do. But once again you're entirely selective in your condemnation, if you believe Obama is simply 'putting the final nails in', explain your position more fully, it may aid reader understanding.

    The thing is, Gross' book was centered on a dichotomy [of trends]. It's interesting, and telling that you cite only the strand which supports your own argument - not that it's without validity of course.

    But to return to Gross; evidence of each trend has [arguably] been demonstrated by an insidious and simultaneous erosion of individual freedoms and expansion of the IMC under Bush (or more accurately the Republican right) and the subsequent installation of Obama, repsectively. What Gross might deem a 'reaction against authoritarianism'.

    I'm not saying I'd fully support such a conclusion, in no small part because campaigning on a platform of 'change' was [perhaps intentionally?] so nebulous as to provide a mandate for whatever subsequent policies Obama chose to persue. Change isn't a policy.

    That doesn't necessarily mean that [for most] a desire for greater participation in the 'political' process wasn't a major motivation for his election (although, I doubt it was) so much as a rejection of 'Politics as usual'. But I can't deny the validity of such an argument either, I simply don't have the information.

    To go back to the above, it wasn't just Bush of course ... and Gross was writing this almost thirty years ago.

    While I don't fully agree with Gross, I can't deny there are elements within contemporary US power structures that align with a broad brush interpretation of his thinking. I do agree with him about the relative strengths of the major trends upon which his book was predicated.

    It's somewhat unfortunate for Obama that his election coincided (some would deny the use of coincidence here) with the most severe economic downturn in decades. This affords many a perfect vehicle for their bitterness in both losing, and resentment at having a 'socialist' in the Whitehouse.

    But it's amusing too, because at the same time many paint Obama as a socialist for expanding Government reach - others use the bailouts [inter alia] to accuse him as seeking to establish some form of psuedo [to use Gross) 'friendly fascist' state. I'd include you among the latter?

    I say amusing both because 'friendly fascism' is something of an oxymoron and because so few Americans have any real understanding what socialism/fascism actually means; thus it's an easy and divisive tactic to use.

    As evidenced on this forum every day; it's borderline hilarious, even as it's becoming a little tedious.

    Of course, in Europe, as a continent of closet communists (many of whom secretly yearn to be fascists), the debate is somewhat more ... subtle.

    For me, it's far too early to render an meaningful assessement, sadly, I suspect it's a case of 'the more things change ...' Time will tell. Not that my opinion matters of course, but that won't stop me voicing it!

    Were it not for the convenience of the recession, I wonder, where would all this hate be directed ...
     
  6. D_chris anthemum

    D_chris anthemum New Member

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    One more I can't believe I forgot.. Ayn Rand's Anthem.
     
  7. voinyy

    voinyy New Member

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    I'm currently reading Fahrenheit 451!
     
  8. midlifebear

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    Then you had better memorize it word for word.
     
  9. red7.5

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    I've read them all. All three are great dystopic lit. HG Wells's "The Time Machine" is another favorite of mine.
     
  10. faceking

    faceking Active Member

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    ..much less a check on government running your lives... vs. supporting each other.
     
  11. Bbucko

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    Since we're discussing important works of fiction revolving around the fascistic annihilation of the value of the individual by those in a position of authority, may I suggest The 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade? It's still considered so subversive that it's almost inevitably banned.

    It's been argued that no freer-thinking person has ever been born, despite having lived nearly all of his adult life in prison (under the Ancien Régime, the Terror and Napoléon) not for what he did so much as his unwillingness to conform to society's standards of acceptable thought.
     
  12. faceking

    faceking Active Member

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    Mein Kampf is offended by the above, despite lack of tenure.
     
  13. Bbucko

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    Bbucko is not offended by mightily confused by the reference. Have you ever read The 120 Days?
     
  14. HazelGod

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    More to the point, have you actually read Mein Kampf?

    The true struggle is in wading through the horrid construction and elliptical reasoning.
     
  15. javyn

    javyn New Member

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    Funny, all three of those books were banned by the Bush administration.

     
  16. Mark_UK

    Mark_UK New Member

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    Personaly I am sick of hearing right wing evangelical christian american wingnuts whining about their loss of civil liberties.
    The sooner they all drink the poison fruitjuice the better.
     
  17. sparky11point5

    sparky11point5 New Member

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    I don't think the OP limited the question to fiction, so I would add

    -- The People's History of the United States, Howard Zinn
    A People's History of the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    A progressive and radical version of our history that you won't find in your 9th grade 'history' (sic) book. Extraordinarily challenging to our understanding of the American Experience.

    -- The Age of Reason, Thomas Paine
    Thomas Paine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    If Glenn Beck actually *read* Thomas Paine he would not dress up as this radical (and almost Socialist) thinker.

    As for fiction, I like the OP's choices, but would consider these 'warnings' and not far-fetched at all. I particularly think the abuse of language under Bush (e.g. "enhanced interrogation, "War on Terror") was Orwellian. Orwell wrote a lot of other good books too, though a bit stiff. I might add Gulliver's Travels, which was a searing indictment of class politics of the 18th century, but still resonates today.
     
  18. sparky11point5

    sparky11point5 New Member

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    Ayn Rand was a bad writer, misunderstood the nature of creativity, and did not even understand private enterprise. Plus, 14 year olds read her, then act like assholes. Perhaps she had some use as an antidote to socialism, but her views are so humorless, and hostile to any human community that she deserves the ash-heap of history.
     
  19. D_Fiona_Farvel

    D_Fiona_Farvel Account Disabled

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    The suggestions in this is thread remind me of the old Freud quote "the [long] dead are mighty rulers".

    Anyway, some contemporary texts I'd recommend -

    Between Facts and Norms by Jurgen Habermas
    The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
    Limits to Growth by Donetella Meadows
    The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria
    Disturbing the Peace by Vaclav Havel
    Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond
    Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan Jacoby
    Secrets: On the Ethics of Concealment and Revelation by Sissela Bok


    :tongue: I really disliked that book - the dog, the "family", the neurotic wife *bleh*, but loved Bradbury's concept of the memory keepers. If worse comes to worst, I, too, am Jonathan Swift and Plato. :smile:

    The Marquis de Sade is a favorite author of mine, have never read this text, but will be glad to on your recommendation, B. :)
     
  20. Bbucko

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    Thanks for the reading list, SA. When my tax refund (finally) arrives, I'll have an order to place at Amazon.

    FWIW, The 120 Days is the ultimate Sade: even Juliette pales in extremity. I have often referred to it as the best-written unreadable book ever written.
     
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