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Debates Forum

  1. 21 Feb '13 02:33 / 1 edit
    Given the countless Democratic vs Republican Party political arguments between
    extremely partisan American writers in this forum, let's pause to consider this:

    "In political activity, then, men sail a boundless and bottomless sea: there is
    neither harbour for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting-place nor
    appointed destination. The enterprise is to keep afloat on an even keel; the sea
    is both friend and enemy; and the seamanship consists in using the resources of
    a traditional manner of behaviour in order to make a friend of every hostile
    occasion."
    --Michael Oakeshott (1950, inaugural lecture at the London School of Economics)

    "A limitation of view, which appear so clear and practical, but which amounts to
    little more than a mental fog, is inseparable from political activity. A mind fixed
    and callous to all subtle distinctions, emotional and intellectual habits become
    bogus from repetition and lack of examination, unreal loyalties, delusive aims,
    false significancies are what political action involves."
    --Michael Oakeshott (September 1939, on the eve of war)

    "I'm a member of no political party. I vote--if I have to vote--for the party
    which is likely to do the least harm. To that extent, I am a Tory."
    --Michael Oakeshott

    Michael Oakeshott has been wrongly described as the 'eminence grise' behind
    Thatcherism, when Margaret Thatcher's policies actually were more influenced
    by Friedrich Hayek. Declining her offer of a knighthood, Michael Oakeshott
    retired (with his third wife) to his cottage in Dorset, dying in 1990.

    Could any politician who consistently took seriously Michael Oakeshott's views
    expect to succeed in today's political arena (in one's country of choice)?
  2. 21 Feb '13 02:43
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    Given the countless Democratic vs Republican Party political arguments between
    extremely partisan American writers in this forum, let's pause to consider this:

    "In political activity, then, men sail a boundless and bottomless sea: there is
    neither harbour for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting-place nor
    appointed destination. The ent ...[text shortened]... views
    expect to succeed in today's political arena (in one's country of choice)?
    Was Michael Oakeshott a serious politician in his day?
  3. 21 Feb '13 03:07
    Originally posted by normbenign
    Was Michael Oakeshott a serious politician in his day?
    Why ask me, given that Normbenign's just been boasting of his incomparably
    greater intelligence, knowledge, and literary ability?

    If Normbenign were not completely ignorant of Michael Oakeshott (who has
    been the subject of some journalistic coverage as much academic study),
    then he already should know the answer to his own question.
  4. 21 Feb '13 19:02
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    Why ask me, given that Normbenign's just been boasting of his incomparably
    greater intelligence, knowledge, and literary ability?

    If Normbenign were not completely ignorant of Michael Oakeshott (who has
    been the subject of some journalistic coverage as much academic study),
    then he already should know the answer to his own question.
    My question was a humble request for information.
  5. 21 Feb '13 23:07
    Originally posted by normbenign
    My question was a humble request for information.
    In another thread, Normbenign already has expressed his absolute disdain for me.
    When one person has done that, one should not expect any assistance at all from
    the other person under ordinary circumstances. Under some extraordinary
    circumstances, such as (hypothetically) if Normbenign were struggling to stay
    afloat and begged for my help, I (being personally unqualified for that task)
    would contact the emergency services to attempt to save him from drowning.

    Earlier I quoted this:
    "I'm a member of no political party. I vote--if I have to vote--for
    the party which is likely to do the least harm."
    --Michael Oakeshott

    Then Normbenign, who has just apparently confirmed that he asked this question
    *without any sarcasm intended*, asked:
    "Was Michael Oakeshott a serious politician in his day?"

    If Normbenign's poor reading comprehension was not again in evidence,
    he should have been able to make a reasonable inference from Michael
    Oakeshott's statement about whether or not he was a 'serious politician'.
  6. 23 Feb '13 04:16
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    In another thread, Normbenign already has expressed his absolute disdain for me.
    When one person has done that, one should not expect any assistance at all from
    the other person under ordinary circumstances. Under some extraordinary
    circumstances, such as (hypothetically) if Normbenign were struggling to stay
    afloat and begged for my help, I (being p ...[text shortened]... rom Michael
    Oakeshott's statement about whether or not he was a 'serious politician'.
    Good form. You would rather trade barbs than give informational answers. In that case, FO.
  7. Standard member Soothfast
    0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,
    23 Feb '13 05:20
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    In another thread, Normbenign already has expressed his absolute disdain for me.
    When one person has done that, one should not expect any assistance at all from
    the other person under ordinary circumstances. Under some extraordinary
    circumstances, such as (hypothetically) if Normbenign were struggling to stay
    afloat and begged for my help, I (being p ...[text shortened]... rom Michael
    Oakeshott's statement about whether or not he was a 'serious politician'.
    This is a rough-and-tumble forum, to be sure, so you better start developing a thicker hide or come summer you'll only be on speaking terms with yourself and maybe two others who never speak to you.
  8. 23 Feb '13 09:06
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    Could any politician who consistently took seriously Michael Oakeshott's views
    expect to succeed in today's political arena (in one's country of choice)?
    To be a good politician you have to believe in your own lies, I reckon.
  9. 23 Feb '13 09:36
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    To be a good politician you have to believe in your own lies, I reckon.
    I would say:
    A good politician doesn't believe in anything. That seems to be Oakeshott's position.
  10. 23 Feb '13 09:58
    Originally posted by dryhump
    I would say:
    A good politician doesn't believe in anything. That seems to be Oakeshott's position.
    I don't think so. Didn't Reagan really believe in supply side economics, or Hitler in the superiority of the German people?
  11. 23 Feb '13 19:49 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Soothfast
    This is a rough-and-tumble forum, to be sure, so you better start developing a thicker hide or come summer you'll only be on speaking terms with yourself and maybe two others who never speak to you.
    I don't recall that I asked you (Soothfast) for any advice. And I don't believe
    that you are qualified enough to speak for almost everyone else in this forum.

    "Normbenign is weird, quite possibly a bigot trying to sugarcoat his bigotry, and
    now he might be racist as well, so maybe we would be better off ignoring his
    views."
    --Zahlanzi (23 February 2013)

    You (Soothfast) seem to have criticised me now for not being nice enough to
    Normbenign. I am far from the only writer here who has some serious objections
    about how Normbenign has behaved in this forum. As I recall, No1Marauder
    characterised Normbenign as either extremely ignorant or a 'deliberate, persistent
    liar'. Rwingett wrote that it was a complete waste of his time to attempt to enter
    into any discussion with Normbenign.

    Now if you (Soothfast) were really interested in helping Normbenign rather
    than in just putting me down, you might have attempted to help explain Michael
    Oakeshott's statements to him. Do you (Soothfast) have anything to contribute
    about this thread's subject, Michael Oakeshott and politics? I did not think so.

    Given that you (Soothfast) seem to regard me with personal disdain and to have
    been seeking (in another recent thread) to provoke a personal fight with me,
    you are welcome to put me in your ignore list. Perhaps you would feel more
    comfortable engaging in friendly discussions with Normbenign.
  12. Standard member Soothfast
    0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,
    23 Feb '13 22:55
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    I don't recall that I asked you (Soothfast) for any advice. And I don't believe
    that you are qualified enough to speak for almost everyone else in this forum.

    "Normbenign is weird, quite possibly a bigot trying to sugarcoat his bigotry, and
    now he might be racist as well, so maybe we would be better off ignoring his
    views."
    --Zahlanzi (23 February ...[text shortened]... rhaps you would feel more
    comfortable engaging in friendly discussions with Normbenign.
    I don't use ignore lists. I think they're rather silly, like the little kid who covers his ears and hums real loud to block undesired auditory input. The old maxim is ever true: If you can't take the heat then get out of the kitchen.

    You'll note that most here who have "serious objections" to Normbenign still talk to him, including me and including you. I'm just pointing out that it's absurd to give Normbenign the silent treatment now, in this thread, because you're butt-hurt over his knocking your ice cream cone out of your hand the Tuesday before the last harvest moon. It's just kind of childish, you know? I mean, why are you on an Internet debate forum again? To impress us all with your "scholarly books" and encyclopedia sets?

    Get a grip.
  13. 23 Feb '13 23:17
    Originally posted by Soothfast
    I don't use ignore lists. I think they're rather silly, like the little kid who covers his ears and hums real loud to block undesired auditory input. The old maxim is ever true: If you can't take the heat then get out of the kitchen.

    You'll note that most here who have "serious objections" to Normbenign still talk to him, including me and including y ...[text shortened]... o impress us all with your "scholarly books" and encyclopedia sets?

    Get a grip.
    I already had posted enough information (Michael Oakeshott's statements)
    for Normbenign to arrive at a reasonable answer to his own question.
    I am not responsible for teaching (not that I would expect him to listen to me)
    basic reading in English to Normbenign. I would make more allowance if he
    were not a native speaker of English, which he has not claimed to be.

    Look, Soothfast, if you are so concerned about Normbenign, then why don't
    you write a post to spoon-feed him the facts that you suppose that he needs?
    But isn't it more fun for you to keep aiming barbs at me?

    I know that I have wasted too much time here. At times, it has become hard to
    resist writing just one more comment, which leads to another, and so on (sigh).
  14. 23 Feb '13 23:39
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    To be a good politician you have to believe in your own lies, I reckon.
    Michael Oakeshott (1901-1990) was an important British political philosopher.
    Put it as simply as I can, Michael Oakeshott did not believe in a historical
    determinism driving a political process toward any predestined utopia, whether
    that utopia would belong to the Marxists or to the free market fundamentalists.
    Like a productive conversation, a political process's existence should not depend
    necessarily upon keeping a fixed objective in mind.
  15. Standard member Soothfast
    0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,
    23 Feb '13 23:55
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    I know that I have wasted too much time here. At times, it has become hard to
    resist writing just one more comment, which leads to another, and so on (sigh).
    I waste too much time on the Internet as well. Join the club. Sometimes it's a blessing to find a restaurant without wi-fi, so that I get some actual work done.

    Really, I don't have any heartfelt antipathy toward you. Clearly you know your stuff. But then there was that row you had in another thread (not with Norm) that kindled the conflict junkie within me and, well, here we are.