Update: You can't see the comments on D-squared's post on the individual link for some reason - only visible from the main page - or by clicking here:It is so rare for a negativist to actually come out and explain themselves, that I think he deserves the courtesy of a point-by-point reply. And I'm a bit flat out at the moment, so I'll do it in a series of posts starting soon. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, if you have your own observations, please make them. There's nothing there that is very hard to refute, and remember, if you keep saying 'post-hoc rationalisation' to almost every point, readers will begin to understand where he is coming from.
I’ll just cover his introduction for now. His first point is that I protest too much and that I appear to be a hippy after all. From his comments on Chickyog:
"At the end of the day, as far as I can see, Paulie’s point of view is that all this arguing about specific politicians and laws is not the real point and that what we really need to do is change people’s consciousness so that we can all work together in a respectful way to make the world a better place. I’m sorry, who exactly is the hippy here? maaaan?"
What dear, me dear? Hippy dear? No dear! How VERY dare he? etc.
It is, of course, a cheap snipe, and one that serves to recast my views in an insulting light (which I don't mind) while avoiding addressing them (which I do). For the record, I don't have much interest in changing people's consciousness in the way I suspect Mr Dsq suggests here.
I am interested in changing their understanding of how power is held and exercised. This is, I would have thought, a legitimate aim, and the basic starting point for any commentator? My suggestion is that, when we discuss society's ills, politicians are not the disease. They are simply one of the many symptoms.
And, for the hard of thinking, if you still believe that politicians have anything by the way of untrammelled power or that screaming at them achieves anything other than providing some sort of personal catharsis, I would respectfully suggest that you read almost any book on the subject of 'where power resides'. Try one that falls outside of the 'popular simplification' genre.
So maybe it's worth avoiding the 3 for 2 table in Waterstones.
If anyone can point me to a well-argued and referenced text that makes the case that politics - as it is popularly discussed - is genuinely relevant to the way power is actually exercised, I'd love to read it. It'd make life easier, and much more fun. There are so many exciting circle-jerks that I'd be able to take part in.
Mr Dsquared seems to have quietly conceded this one anyway. In his lengthy post, there is no further attempt to defend his previously stated view that...
"...my way of “making our political culture better” would be to harass and bully the likes of Campbell, Clarke and Prescott out of it..."
Messrs C, C & P have had to go into a protection programme following this statement, so it's probably a good job that it hasn't been repeated. But you'd think that such a central plank to his argument - the opening statement - would have been defended? And, despite Mr D-Squared's little sneer at it, I doubt if anyone has contributed to this argument much as much wit or insight as Pootergeek did at the expense of Devil's Kitchen - here.
Finally, from the introduction, I'm accused of 'communitarianism' - a label so transient, imprecise and simplified that it is impossible to respond to one way or the other. I'm guessing that I'm guilty of the bad bits of communitarianism? Just to be clear.
Anyway, I'll back to address the substantial points soon-ish.