Monday, 20 May 2019

HONG KONG AND THE EVIL HAN CHINESE RACE - a cautionary tale.


Alright, friends. What the Evil Han Chinese Race has done to Hong King is a cautionary tale of the fate that awaits us and the rest of humanity unloess we destroy and extirpate this most hideous, truculent, genocidal and vile of human races. This story just in from The Wall Street Journal.
When a Hong Kong Legislative Council meeting ended in a brawl a week ago Saturday with one lawmaker hospitalized, the Hong Kong government denounced the ”unprecedented” fight. But what did it expect? The weekend scuffle concerned a proposed extradition law that would allow the transfer of local residents from Hong Kong to Mainland China and eviscerate Hong Kong’s legal independence.
In the 1997 handover from British to Chinese rule, Beijing promised Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy under “one country, two systems” until 2047. But China has gradually increased its control over Hong Kong law and politics. It has pressed the city to remove pro-democracy lawmakers from office, outlaw the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party, refuse a visa to a foreign journalist who had moderated an event featuring the HKNP founder, and last month imprison leaders of the 2014 pro-democracy protests.
An extradition law could be the knockout blow. It would compromise Hong Kong’s independent legal system by allowing case-by-case extradition to Mainland China and elsewhere. Beijing could accuse anyone living in Hong Kong of one of 37 eligible crimes and demand he be sent to a Mainland court for trial, where the legal system is under control of the Communist Party. In 2018 China’s Jiangsu province acquitted 43 people while convicting 96,271.
A Hong Kong court would have to approve the extradition request, an ostensible safeguard against political charges. But it’s not clear how judges could validate evidence underlying a request, and few believe the city would refuse a demand from Beijing.
The Hong Kong government says the bill is closing a loophole. It wants to extradite a Hong Kong man to Taiwan, where he is accused of murdering his girlfriend. But Taipei wants nothing to do with the bill, which it fears would allow Taiwanese living in Hong Kong to be extradited to the Mainland. Taipei wants the “relevant suspect to face justice,” said Chiu Chui-cheng, the deputy minister of the island’s Mainland Affairs Council. But “we have to ask whether the amendment proposed by the Hong Kong government is politically motivated.”
The worry is global. Last week’s report from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission notes that “one major concern is that the bill could allow Beijing to pressure the Hong Kong government to extradite U.S. citizens under false pretenses.” There are 85,000 Americans in Hong Kong.
Politically charged arrests of foreigners in China are increasing. After Canada arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou at American request, two Canadians in China were arrested and charged with spying. Journalists and Chinese dissidents who have settled in Hong Kong could be similarly vulnerable.
Hong Kong has prospered because its laws protect investors on the shores of China’s massive market. The International Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong warns the extradition risk would “lead people to reconsider whether to choose Hong Kong as their base of operations or the regional headquarters.”
Pro-Beijing lawmakers have a legislative majority and could pass the bill by July. But tens of thousands of Hong Kongers protested it last month. The U.S. and the West should join them in denouncing the effort to ensnare the Fragrant Harbor—and perhaps their own citizens—in a Chinese trap.

EVIL HAN CHINESE! YOUR TIME IS UP! WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU! AND OUR JUSTICE SHALL BE INFLEXIBLE, INFALLIBLE, AND RUTHLESS!


The Han Chinese are a brutal Evil Race that we must bring to its knees and destroy to save the rest of humanity. And thank God we are beginning to do just that! The crude evil Chinese saying is “Kill the chicken to scare the monkey”. Well, in the face of this unprecedented Evil Race, the likes of which this world has possibly never known, we shall change that evil saying with an even more atrocious one: “No need to kill the chicken or scare the monkey. We will kill ALL of you beastly Han Chinese instead!”
This story just in from the Financial Times.

Google has dealt a blow to Huawei’s fast-growing consumer smartphone business by suspending the delivery of key software and technical services to the Chinese company, according to two people familiar with the situation. Huawei, which overtook Apple to become the world’s number two smartphone maker in the second quarter of last year, according to Gartner, relies on Google’s Android operating system for its phones — of which it shipped more than 200m last year. Google’s move means Huawei would only have access to the basic, publicly available version of Android.
The suspension, first reported by Reuters, comes after Washington last week added Huawei to a list of 44 Chinese entities subject to US export controls because they pose a “significant risk” to US national security. Adding Huawei to the so-called entity list — which means US groups will be required to secure a licence from the US government before selling any parts or components to the Shenzhen-based company — was the latest salvo from the Trump administration. The US has long fretted about the threat to national security posed by Huawei.
Google said on Monday: “We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications” but added that Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect would continue to function on existing Huawei devices. Huawei said that, as one of Android’s key global partners, it had worked closely with Google’s open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefited users and the industry. “Huawei will continue to provide security updates and aftersales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products covering those have been sold or still in stock globally,” it said.
In a research note to clients, Citi analysts said the potential software ban “could paralyse Huawei’s smartphone and equipment business”. Richard Windsor, an independent analyst, added that losing the Google ecosystem “is very likely to cost Huawei all of its smartphone shipments outside China” — which, according to data consultancies including Counterpoint Research, is roughly half its total.
Huawei does not break out its smartphones business but it said last year that the consumer business contributed 48 per cent of company revenue. In the US, Huawei is also seen as a lightning rod for broader concerns, including theft of intellectual property and China’s rising tech prowess. It has become entangled in the US-China trade war with the effective ban coming just days after US President Donald Trump raised tariffs on Chinese imports to 25 per cent and Beijing retaliated in kind. While the Android operating system is open source and publicly available, Huawei will no longer be able to access proprietary apps and services from Google, according to one of the people familiar with the move. Huawei, which uses Microsoft’s Windows on its laptops and tablets, has sought to develop its own operating systems.
In an interview with Germany’s Die Welt, and subsequently confirmed by Huawei, chief executive of the consumer division Richard Yu said the company would “be prepared” in the event of any blacklisting. “That’s our Plan B. But of course we prefer to work with the ecosystems of Google and Microsoft,” he told the German publication in March. Microsoft declined to comment on the matter on Monday. Recommended Lex: premium commentary Google/Huawei: androids and aliens NEW 14 MINUTES AGO
Other device makers have similarly sought to develop their own operating systems, but few have made much headway. Alibaba, which runs China’s biggest ecommerce platforms, tried to build “China’s Android” but ended up locking horns with Google over just how different its Aliyun OS was from Android. Its successor, AliOS, is based on Android. Similarly, Samsung has failed to gain much traction for its Linux-based Tizen operating system.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

A CRISIS OF IDENTITY

As friends who join us on this Blog in ever-greater numbers would know, we have long been vitriolic critics of the "identity politics" that is slowly but surely destroying the historically progressive role of the Left across the globe, but especially in advanced countries. Anybody with an ounce of intelligence will find it all too easy to identify (pardon the pun) the calamitous flaws and faults with identity politics. In a nutshell, by exasperating the notion of identity (racial, sexual, religious) the rabid morons and imbeciles who misguidedly - albeit with perhaps less contemptible intentions - push this creaking wheel-barrow of forlorn utopian idiocies forget most damnably that political power comes only to those who can unite rather than divide! And identity politics, by definition, does nothing so well as to divide! It is divisive by definition because although gays may join lesbians in seeking political emancipation, and Muslims join Confucians in seeking religious freedoms, the fact remains that the interests of each of these "interest groups" are fundamentally divergent because they seek to exasperate a one-sided part of social life and foolishly believe that it can be extended to encompass every aspect of social life! (E.g., gay travel, lesbian sisterhood, vegan environmentalism, and so on ad libitum.)

The ultimate folly is that these wretched self-seekers - in their craven attempt to pervert, er, convert, the rest of society (the vast majority) to their particular and peculiar perversions or transgressions, do nothing in the process other than seek the tutelary protection of the one entity which they accuse of instigating and being the source of all their misery - the State! So here are people who wish to change the rest of society, the status quo, to their own one-sided, partisan lifestyle choices - here are these people seeking the partisanship of (wait for it) the State (!) to legislate so that the particular can become the universal! Small wonder, then, that bit by bit, far from turning progressive, most Western electorates are veering sharply to - the Right! The disastrous outcomes, the bitter fruit of identity politics can be seen everywhere from Trumpian America to Macronite France to increasingly neo-fascist tendencies in Eastern Europe - right down to the electoral triumph of the Liberal-National Conservative Party in Australia yesterday, and the troubling resurgence of Nigel Farage in Britain.

These themes we are painstakingly pursuing in our current series dedicated to political philosophy called "The Concept of Freedom". The next instalment is coming soon. We thank our friends for their continued support.

Friday, 17 May 2019

RECEP ERDOGAN, the Evil Sultan Assassin - A RECIPE FOR DISASTER.

We have taken much time to confront the murderous genocidal Han Chinese Rats - they leave German Nazis in the dust! - recently. But we ought not to forget the Turkey of Recep Erdogan. This is yet another illustration of the reality that if you wish to destroy a totalitarian regime, first you have to bring "its people" to their knees! - Which is what is happening in the miserable "Sultanate" (hahaha! like the Han Chinese miserably poor "Celestial Empire"!) of Muslim Turkey! Enjoy this story today in The New York Times - which is not to say that we don't feel sorry for that half of Turkey that is slowly coming to see that Recep Erdogan was always A RECIPE FOR DISASTER!


ISTANBUL — Even before the Turkish authorities took the extraordinary step of undoing an opposition victory and calling a new election for mayor of Istanbul, the government had spent billions to prop up the country’s flagging currency over the last year and bolster its candidates.
But since last week, as the political turmoil rattles investors, it is spending sometimes a billion a day, even on the sly, to support the currency, the lira, as well as the waning aura of invincibility around President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Mr. Erdogan, 18 years in power, was re-elected last year for a new five-year term to a presidency with vastly expanded powers. He has already trimmed civil liberties, purged and jailed political opponentsafter a failed 2016 coup, and brought a free press to heel.
Increasingly, the president has also taken over management — critics say, mismanagement — of the economy to sustain the nearly unbroken growth that has brought him a loyal following.
For many Turks and foreign investors, the spending to prop up the lira is the latest example of Mr. Erdogan placing his political and personal fortunes ahead of those of his country, this time to regain control of Istanbul, the most important base of his power and prestige.
Even if the government can stave off an economic crisis before the new election, scheduled for June 23, many fear that the profligate spending will increase the likelihood of a collapse that could ripple well beyond Turkey. European banks own billions in Turkish debt.
Last year, the lira lost 30 percent of its value, and it is down 14 percent so far this year.
The loss of the March 31 mayoral election in Istanbul was the most significant sign that support for Mr. Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, or A.K.P., has become vulnerable as the economy has weakened.
Even before the loss, Mr. Erdogan had used the government budget, the central bank and government-controlled banks to defend the currency, forestall a credit crunch, and even to pay for stands selling subsidized vegetables in the hopes of keeping voters on his side.
But the economic duct tape that the government has used to maintain the support of working-class voters is beginning to come undone, economists say. It looks increasingly unlikely to hold until June 23.
The decision to nullify the Istanbul election — made by a body beholden to Mr. Erdogan, which found that some election officials had been appointed illegally — may ultimately backfire on the president by adding to the economic distress that caused him to lose Istanbul in the first place, analysts say.
“They voted because the economy sucks,” said Atilla Yesilada, an Istanbul-based consultant at Global Source Partners, referring to Turks who switched to the opposition. “And now it sucks even more.”
Among the small businesses that underpin the economy, desperation is already palpable.
Yasin Sahinoglu, who owns two shoe stores in Istanbul’s affluent Etiler and Nisantasi neighborhoods, said that sales had shrunk by half in the days after the election results were thrown out.
That was on top of a 60 percent decline in the previous year, he added. “Everyone is concerned about the future so they prefer to keep the money in their pockets,” Mr. Sahinoglu said.
Durmus Yilmaz, former governor of Turkey’s central bank and co-founder of the opposition IYI Party, said it had been at least 20 years since officials had made a similar attempt to prop up the lira — and it had backfired then.
“Turkey has mortgaged its future,” said Mr. Yilmaz, who spent 32 years at the central bank.
The central bank’s net reserves have been declining since September as the government has sought to bolster the lira. Foreign currency reserves were $74 billion at the end of March, a decline of 5 percent from February, according to central bank figures.
 “It seems questionable whether Turkey’s war chest of foreign reserves is strong enough to withstand anything that even vaguely resembles a currency attack,” Bart Hordijk, a market analyst at Monex Europe, a currency trading firm, said in a note to clients last week.
Importantly, since March, analysts say they have found discrepancies in the central bank’s figures on the state of the national reserves, according to Selva Demiralp, an economics professor at Koc University in Istanbul.
Some analysts suspect that the government is discreetly transferring funds to public banks, which are then selling dollars to prop up the lira.
Ugur Gurses, an economic analyst who worked at the central bank in the 1990s, described the government’s action as a “backdoor policy.”
Professor Demiralp said it was unprecedented for the government to hide its actions in this way. The director of the central bank had been asked to explain at a news briefing on April 30, she said, but he could not.
“They want to create the impression that the lira is strong enough,” Professor Demiralp said.
If the central bank runs low on dollars and can no longer prop up the lira on financial markets, Turkey’s economy could face a real collapse.
Oxford Economics, a consultancy in London, ranks Turkey just behind Argentina among countries most likely to suffer a currency crisis.
In a statement on April 30, the central bank said the decline in stocks of foreign currency was temporary, and that the reserves would recover as a cheaper lira made vacations in Turkey and Turkish exports more appealing.
In response to written questions on Tuesday, the central bank showed no signs of backing down from its spending to support the currency.
 “The Central Bank will go on using all the means in its hands for the aim of price stability,” the statement said.
It also promised that inflation would fall to 5.4 percent at the end of 2021 from almost 20 percent now.
Yet some signs of economic collapse are already manifest, including rising unemployment, a surge in bad loans and corporate bankruptcies. Perhaps most important is the collapsing confidence of foreign investors, evident in the plunge in the lira.
The China-like growth rates that Mr. Erdogan has delivered until recently would not have been possible without the money from investors attracted by Turkey’s high interest rates.
The sagging lira is a sign that foreign investors are turning away. The impact is felt acutely among Turkish businesses and banks whose debts are valued in dollars, and therefore become harder to pay as the lira falls.
Turkish banks need to roll over as much as $45 billion in loans that must be paid in dollars, Fitch Ratings estimates.
Yet Mr. Erdogan has been seemingly unfazed by the signs of weakness. He was back out campaigning last weekend, riding a vintage red tram along Istanbul’s busiest shopping street and shaking hands with supporters.
It was an unusually low-key approach for the veteran politician, mingling with the people with minimum security, which may have been borrowed from the opposition candidate, Ekrem Imamoglu, who won the most votes in the March election with an all-embracing, grass-roots appeal.
Yet Mr. Erdogan, determined to retain Istanbul under his party’s control, does not otherwise seem ready for change.
Last week Mr. Erdogan promised structural economic reforms, but he has made such promises before. Economists say that his government is tinkering with the symptoms and not addressing the underlying problems.
Those include an overreliance on foreign credit, and too much money spent on construction projects and not enough on schools and universities to produce a more skilled work force.
Even disaffected members of Mr. Erdogan’s party say that the president has moved away from the sound economic management of his early period in government.
“Confidence in the data released in decisions related to the economy is an absolute must,” Ahmet Davutoglu, a former prime minister who was once a close ally of Mr. Erdogan, wrote recently. “Unfortunately, certain recent practices have shaken that confidence.”
Business groups have also become more openly critical.
“We are asking for tighter monetary policy, tighter budgetary policy, a coherent anti-inflation policy,” Bahadir Kaleagasi, the secretary general of Tusiad, Turkey’s leading business association, said in an interview.
As important, he added, were reforms to the rule of law and better relations with Europe. Yet many fear that true change is unlikely as Mr. Erdogan casts out as much economic line as possible to reel in voters in Istanbul.
Just how long the economy will hold together, and what would happen if and when it sours, have now become the most urgent questions before the country.
Mr. Erdogan still controls a formidable patronage machine, and his base of support has endured economic turmoil before.
“Regimes and central banks can always manage a little bit longer,” said Charles Robertson, global chief economist at Renaissance Capital, an investment bank that focuses on emerging markets.
But Mr. Erdogan “is trying to have politics keep primacy over economics and his scope to do that is getting weaker by the day,” Mr. Robertson said. “Those bills still come due.”

Free Will and Judgement – on Liberum Arbitrium as the Foundation of the Res Publica.

The gradual but inexorable implosion of nation-states that we are witnessing right now - with Venezuela the most tragic example, but also Iran, Zimbabwe, Yemen, Sudan, Congo,and pretty soon Turkey, South Africa, Russia and China, though not necessarily in that order - brings dramatically to the fore of our attention the question of the Free State or Republic. Here we are proposing the latest instalment in the series "The Concept of Freedom". Hope friends enjoy this. Cheers.



We open to the very first page of Spinoza’s Tractatus Theologico-Politicus where the Dutch philosopher lays down the fundamental conditions of human freedom, beginning with freedom of thought. And immediately we find the link that is requisite for the definition of freedom:

[1] If men were always able to regulate their affairs with sure judgment, or if fortune always smiled upon them, they would not get caught up in any superstition. But since people are often reduced to such desperate straits that they cannot arrive at any solid judgment and as the good things of fortune for which they have a boundless desire are quite uncertain, they fluctuate wretchedly between hope and fear.
[2] I think that everyone is aware of this, even though I also believe that most people have no self-knowledge.
[7] It may indeed be the highest secret of monarchical government and utterly essential to it, to keep men deceived, and to disguise the fear that sways them with the specious name of religion, so that they will fight for their servitude as if they were fighting for their own deliverance, and will not think it humiliating but supremely glorious to spill their blood and sacrifice their lives for the glorification of a single man. But in a free republic (respublica),5 on the other hand, nothing that can be devised or attempted will be less successful. For it is completely contrary to the common liberty to shackle the free judgment of the individual with prejudices or constraints of any kind.

For freedom to obtain in a society – for that society to be governed as a “free republic”, as a res publica, as a public concern -, this freedom must be founded not on “superstition” and all forms of distorted beliefs, but rather on sound “sure and solid judgement”. Because freedom as we have defined it – and as Simone Weil reminds us – is most certainly not the ability to fulfill effortlessly one’s every desire or caprice. Freedom is not caprice; it is not a whimsy. For freedom to have any sense and any value, it must be faced by the twin diametrical ne-cessities (the nec-cessare, no retro-ceding, the nec plus ultra), by the boundaries of nature on one side and society on the other. Freedom requires these outward constraints, as well as the inner self-restraint – that is to say, both the containment (by the life-world) and the contentment (of the self) – that we know in common as in philosophical parlance as judgement. For Spinoza as for Simone Weil, freedom and judgement go hand in hand. The restraint and constraint of human freedom involves judgements as to our ability to carry out our thoughts into action:

Tout jugement porte sur une situation objective, et par suite sur un tissu de nécessités. L'homme vivant ne peut en aucun cas cesser d'être enserré de toutes parts par une nécessité absolument inflexible ; mais comme il pense, il a le choix entre céder aveuglément à l'aiguillon par lequel elle le pousse de l'extérieur, ou bien se conformer à la représentation intérieure qu'il s'en forge ; et c'est en quoi consiste l'opposition entre servitude et liberté. Les deux termes de cette opposition ne sont au reste que des limites idéales entre lesquelles se meut la vie humaine sans pouvoir jamais en atteindre aucune, sous peine de n'être plus la vie. Un homme serait complètement esclave si tous ses gestes procédaient d'une autre source que sa pensée, à savoir ou bien les réactions irrai-[60]sonnées du corps, ou bien la pensée d'autrui ; l'homme primitif affamé dont tous les bonds sont provoqués par les spasmes qui tordent ses entrailles, l'esclave romain perpétuellement tendu vers les ordres d'un surveillant armé d'un fouet, l'ouvrier moderne qui travaille à la chaîne, approchent de cette condition misérable. (Reflexions, pp.60-1)

The exercise of judgement requires the presence of a formal or logical negative element – that of rationality or ratiocination – and a substantive or positive or ethical element. The rational element can only be negative in the sense that it can only inform against actions that are evidently contradictory. This is purely a formal requirement because logic and rationality cannot dictate or indicate what choices we make: they can only alert us to the fact that our proposed choices are inconsistent with or contradictory to the premises upon which those choices were founded.

Arbitrary actions not founded on logic and rationality (on the principle of non-contradiction) cannot be free because the agent is quite obviously acting pursuant to a force or motive that is either imposed by an external agent – acting upon dictation – or else pursuant to contradiction, which will result in the action not yielding the expected result. (Einstein was entirely wrong in pressing the oft-repeated definition of madness as “repeating the same action expecting a different outcome”. Madness is rather pursuing an action by adopting contradictory means, knowing them to be so or not being in a condition to appreciate the contradiction between means and ends. Sometimes even geniuses are totally and emphatically wrong!) Logic and science cannot tell us what to do; they can only warn us about contradictoriness of the means we are adopting to achieve a premeditated goal. Those scientists who pretend to tell us what to do by means of their “science” neglect to mention or forget that “science” itself does not exist because there are only “scientific activities” that are themselves a positive ethical goal that human beings choose to pursue!

Similarly, but perhaps more culpably, those late-romantics who discard the negative warnings of logic and science when pursuing their activities in the name of “freedom” (!) forget that the indispensable condition for the exercise of freedom is formally rational judgement! As Weil puts it, to exercise freedom is to dispose of one’s actions in accordance with rational judgement: -

Et disposer de ses propres actions ne signifie nullement agir arbitrairement ; les actions arbitraires ne procèdent d'aucun jugement, et ne peuvent à proprement parler être appelées libres.

Here Weil is reiterating a thought central to Max Weber’s methodology of social science which was concerned centrally with the distinction between scientifically rational means and ethical values (between Zweck-Rationalitat and Wert-Rationalitat). But how do we know when a decision is “arbitrary” and not a proper “judgement”? And so also whether the actions it prompts are “free” or “spontaneous” instead of induced or even “irrational”? This was the crucial question, the stumbling block, on which Weber’s entire methodology of social science ultimately hurtled! True, we may be able to determine logico-scientifically what proposed actions are contradictory or counter-productive: the choice of means is open to rational evaluation. But this is only a negative use of reason: what comes into play when we apply logic and scientific evidence to a projected course of action is not substantive Reason itself; rather, it is only instrumental reason or rationality. (On Weber, we refer to our “Weber and Liberum Arbitrium”.) The choice of ends, by contrast, involves the exercise of substantive Reason, which determines positively the free choice of our course of action not purely in terms of the application of existing means but also in relation to the discovery and development (“scientific research”) of future means! Clearly, that is a political problem where “the clash of wills” and “the meeting of minds” between individuals is concerned. A form of political organization is needed that minimizes conflict whilst encouraging consensus, all the while preserving as much as possible both freedom of thought and of speech as well as of action.

Given the much easier task of discerning the negative definition of freedom and judgement through logic and scientific evidence, what we call the intellect or the understanding or better still instrumental reason, it is not surprising that both Spinoza and Weil turn preliminarily to this instrumental reason as the building block for the wider definition of freedom. Here is Weil:

Quant à la liberté complète, on peut en trouver un modèle abstrait dans un problème d'arithmétique ou de géométrie bien résolu ; car dans un problème tous les éléments de la solution sont donnés, et l'homme ne peut attendre de secours que de son propre jugement, seul capable d'établir entre ces éléments le rapport qui constitue par lui-même la solution cherchée.

The problem with this negative definition of freedom is dual: first, it says nothing about what to do; second, it involves the operability or feasibility of our own decisions, but it does not involve consideration of other human actors, as Weil herself concedes:

Les efforts et les victoires de la mathématique ne dépassent pas le cadre de la feuille de papier, royaume des signes et des dessins ; une vie entièrement libre serait celle où toutes les difficultés réelles se présenteraient comme des sortes de problèmes, où toutes les victoires seraient comme des solutions mises en action. Tous les éléments du succès seraient alors donnés, c'est-à-dire connus et maniables comme sont les signes du mathématicien ; pour obtenir le résultat voulu, il suffirait de mettre ces éléments en rapport grâce à la direction méthodique qu'imprimerait la pensée non plus à de simples traits de plume, mais à des mouvements effectifs et qui laisseraient leur marque dans le monde. (Reflexions, p.61)

For it is only when, first, we decide on a goal to pursue and concomitantly, second, we have to consider the effects or “mark” of this pursuit on the surrounding world which includes other humans and the environment – it is only then that the ambit of the intellect ends and the judgement of substantive Reason begins! The very notion of “free will”, in its Latin version as “liberum arbitrium”, reflects the “arbitrariness” of the will in the ambi-valent sense that the “free” will can be interpreted both as “arbitrary” (capricious) and as an application of “rational judgement”. The arbiter, the referee, is the person who decides on the validity of a course of action based, yes, on “judgement” – but ultimately on an “auto-nomous” (self-ruled) decision! It is the arbitrariness of this autonomy that raises all the difficult political questions involving decision-making. An arbiter or referee whose arbitration is pre-determined from the outset cannot be “free” – and therefore neither can the will be “free” as “liberum arbitrium”. As Carl Schmitt reminds us, “Sovereign is he who decides on the exception”! The exception is precisely that part of the ambit of freedom that is not “negative”, that does not involve logic or science, and is therefore not technical but political because the very boundaries and limits of the will are involved due to the existence of other autonomous wills!

It is not just Simone Weil who makes the grave error to mistake “judgement” as the hallmark of freedom with the “negative” faculty of the intellect, rather than substantive Reason. Long before Weil, even as acute a philosopher as Baruch Spinoza fell into the same metaphorical trap:

 [10] Perhaps someone will think that in this way we are turning subjects into slaves, supposing a slave to be someone who acts on command, and a free person to be one who behaves as he pleases. But this is not true at all. In fact, anyone who is guided by their own pleasure in this way and cannot see or do what is good for them, is him or herself very much a slave. The only [genuinely] free person is one who lives with his entire mind guided solely by reason.

Thus far, then, we have Weber and Weil join Spinoza in making the exercise of the will as freedom dependent upon the guidance of the will by “judgement” or “reason”. But that Spinoza also confuses instrumental and substantive Reason is made explicit in all his argumentation in the Tractatus, of which we have found incontrovertible proof in the sentences that follow the previous quotation:

Acting on command, that is, from obedience, does take away liberty in some sense, but it is not acting on command in itself that makes someone a slave, but rather the reason for so acting. If the purpose of the action is not his own advantage but that of the ruler, then the agent is indeed a slave and useless to himself.

Quite unmistakably, Spinoza here makes the content and exercise of reason coincide with the utilitarian calculus of by an agent of “his own advantage”. What makes a society and a State “free”, then, according to Spinoza is the ability of the State to safeguard the private individual interest of its “subjects” so that they may accept the contractus unionis as a contractus subjectionis whilst at the same time remaining “free” simply and entirely because this “contractual subjection” (an obvious oxymoron) happens to coincide with their own selfish “advantage" – and specifically with the preservation of their utilitarian natural rights acquired from the state of nature into the new civil or political State.

But in a state and government where the safety of the whole people, not that of the ruler, is the supreme law,6 he who obeys the sovereign in all things should not be called a slave useless to himself but rather a subject. The freest state, therefore, is that whose laws are founded on sound reason; for there each man can be free whenever he wishes,7 that is, he can live under the guidance of reason with his whole mind. (Tractatus, P.201)

The definition of freedom as dependent on judgement or Reason is therefore for Spinoza fundamental to the constitution of a free human society as a status civilis, as a State, as against the status naturae, the pre-political “state of nature”. But the entire raison d’etre of the status civilis, of the State or Common-wealth, is not simply and merely the preservation of the status quo ante that prevailed in the status naturae! The legitimacy and purpose of the State cannot be, therefore, “the safety of the whole people”, the salus publica, the mere “policing” of “natural rights” that individuals presumably enjoyed in the state of nature. And the reason why the State cannot be confined to this role as Police is that a human society can never be static, because the interaction of its human members not just inter se but also with their environment will determine a constant change in their relations and in their social status through economic and other exchanges. In conceiving of the State (“the ruler”) as mere Police, as the enforcer of the salus publica, Spinoza completely misconceives the entire nature of human society and thence of the State. (Similarly does Schopenhauer, in Part 4 of The Will.) Therefore he also misconceives the entire role and nature of freedom and judgement (or Reason) in the formation and constitution of the State. It is the dynamic nature of human relations and interaction that doom Spinoza’s reduction of “reason” as the foundation of the State to mere instrumental reason, to sheer selfish calculation! A State or re-public is not just the status quo, a constitution etched in gold or chiseled in concrete: a constitution is either “living” or it is dead and buried, a museum piece. 

The difficulty with Spinoza’s account of the constitution of the res publica is that he cannot explain how the selfish utilitarian agents who inhabit the status naturae can ever overcome their instrumental reason – the negative utilitarian calculus of profit and loss or “advantage” – so as to be able to erect a “public thing” that must be founded obviously on a common interest that cannot be merely “the preservation of their pre-existing natural rights in the state of nature”, that is, their “safety” as Spinoza styles it. A State that is mere Police is no state at all! Something more than instrumental reason or intellect must be involved in the formation and constitution of a free State. And this something more is substantive Reason.

Of course, in outlining his theory of the constitution of a State – a State by institution and not by acquisition because he allows of a state of nature, unlike Locke where the state of nature already contains ready-made all the ingredients for the formation of the liberal State -, Spinoza is simply regurgitating the political theoretic principles that Hobbes had outlined much earlier. With a fundamental difference: - that the Englishman’s political theory is vastly superior in its consistency and elaboration than that of the Dutchman. Whereas Spinoza assumes quite erroneously that instrumental reason suffices to establish the terms of a contractus unionis as well as subjectionis , Hobbes’s greatness lay precisely in denying that Reason – instrumental or least of all substantive – has anything at all to do with the institution of the status civilis or politicus from the status naturae! Hobbes was too fine a dialectician and too refined in matters political (as Descartes conceded to highlight the contrast with his gaps in scientific and mathematical knowledge) to overlook the evident contradiction in founding the Common-wealth purely on self-interest. As we know, Hobbes’s State is founded when self-interested individuals seek to protect them from the anarchy of the state of nature not pursuant to their Reason, however conceived, but – precisely! – owing to their fear! And specifically “fear of violent death” at the hands of other self-interested human rivals! It is the irrational instinctual metus mortui that founds the Hobbesian Leviathan – this deus mortalis, opposed to the strong theological slant of the Dutchman -, once the individuals of the state of nature decide through fear to alienate their original anarchical free-dom they possessed in the bellum omnium contra omnes (the war of all against all) of the state of nature.

In this regard, among many others, Spinoza’s political theory is of a disarming simplicity when compared with Hobbes’s. Yet, Spinoza – the philosopher of Love, of the amor intellectualis Dei – is entirely right to seek in Reason, not in fear, the cement that binds human beings together. Because fear – the most negative of instincts – can only lead to flight or fight; it can never lead to a human community worthy of the name – least of all a res publica. The reason why Spinoza cannot go beyond instrumental reason as the foundation of the State is quite simply that – like all philosophers before and many after him – he sees human beings from an ontogenetic perspective as against a phylogenetic one.

So far, as we have seen, both Weil and Spinoza envisage a negative definition of freedom and of the social bond – one in which (a) human beings are taken as self-interested individuals, (b) freedom is as devoid of the necessity of collaborative labour as is conceptually possible, and therefore finally (c) human beings need other human beings as little as possible. (In Hobbes, of course, freedom ceases to exist as a political category, in foro externo, because the contractus unionis becomes instantly a contractus subjectionis that shrivels freedom into a purely psychological internal state, in foro interno.) 

It is this last aspect of freedom in human society, in the status civilis, that Spinoza tackles with greater attention. We have seen already that Spinoza’s political theory tends to assume away – let alone even explain away! – all the conflicts that are evident in human society and therefore in the formation and constitution of a res publica. That is at least one reason why Bertrand Russell justifiably called him “the most lovable of philosophers”! The same could not be said of his coeval Thomas Hobbes, of course, or of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, for whom the “clash of wills” - the will to power, the universal Eris or Heraclitean polemos – is absolutely central not just to political philosophy but indeed to the very understanding of ontological reality – to the very essence of the life-world, of physis, of nature itself!
We shall deal with this aspect of Spinoza’s work next.

HAN CHINESE RATS SQUEAKING WITH PAIN!


This story just out from Reuters had me shrieking with laughter! Note two absolute belly-busting beauties: - the first comes from Lu Kang at China’s Foreign Ministry. Now, if there is one – I say one! – human being who does not deserve to waste the air left on this planet with us and whose brain must be riddled with at least 50 bullets so it cannot be reconstructed with existing neurological surgery, it is this venomous lying Rat! And look what slithers through his mendacious teeth: “we believe if there is meaning for these talks, there must be a show of sincerity”. A show of sincerity! The filthy clumsy Rat still can’t see the difference between “show” and “sincerity”, of course!
The other rib-tickling bit comes further down from The People’s Daily, another “show of sincerity” Rat rag: "The trade war can't bring China down. It will only harden us to grow stronger," it said. Hahahha! Straight from Nietzsche’s mouth! They can’t help themselves copying Westerners - after 5000 years of slavery and torbid lies! - these ugly sodden Rats, can they?!
Enjoy the piece. The Rats are truly hurting now!

Beijing | China struck a more aggressive tone in its trade war with the United States, suggesting a resumption of talks between the world's two largest economies would be meaningless unless Washington changed course.
The tough talk capped a week that saw Beijing unveil fresh retaliatory tariffs, US officials accuse China of backtracking on promises made during months of talks and the Trump administration level a potentially crippling blow against one of China's biggest and most successful companies.

We believe if there is meaning for these talks, there must be a show of sincerity
— China's foreign ministry
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang, asked about state media reports suggesting there would be no more trade negotiations, said China always encouraged resolving disputes with the United States through dialogue and consultations.
"But because of certain things the US side has done during the previous China-US trade consultations, we believe if there is meaning for these talks, there must be a show of sincerity," he told a daily news briefing.
CNBC, citing sources, said the trade talks had stalled and the next round of discussions was "in flux".
The United States raised Beijing's ire this week when it announced it was putting Huawei Technologies, the world’s biggest telecoms equipment maker, on a blacklist that could make it extremely hard to do business with US companies.
China has yet to say whether or how it will retaliate, although its state media is sounding an increasingly strident note. The ruling Communist Party's People's Daily published on Friday a front-page commentary that evoked the patriotic spirit of the country's past wars.
"The trade war can't bring China down. It will only harden us to grow stronger," it said.
The increasingly acrimonious trade dispute has rattled investors who fear that the countries are careening dangerously down a track that will badly damage global supply lines and put the brakes on an already slowing world economy.
The South China Morning Post, citing an unidentified source, reported that a senior member of China's Communist Party said the trade war could reduce China's 2019 economic growth by 1 percentage point in the worst-case scenario.
"Both sides might need some prodding, but we’ve had a very clear opportunity for one side or the other ... to say this isn't going to work ... and neither side did," said Derek Scissors, an expert on Sino-US economic relations at the American Enterprise Institute think tank, who put the chance of a deal this year at over 50/50.

THE RAT CURRENCY IS SINKING LIKE LEAD

Amongst the most galling aspects of how Western capitalism has betrayed Western democracy and its values is the stubborn insistence of our “economists” to spread Han Chinese lies and misinformation as if they were revealed truth - like, for instance, the utter falsehood of GDP growth in Ratland of 6.5% for the last ten years! Just for that, we should line up these hideous abominable traitors against a wall and shoot them without a hint of compunction. - Which is what will happen soon enough, now that Western people begin to wake up to the scale of the betrayal that the bourgeoisie has foisted on us.
Another leg of this bourgeois deception is the absurd suggestion that the Han Chinese Rats can sell US Treasuries “to punish” the US - when it must be entirely translucent to these cowardly traitors that the reason why the Rats must sell Treasuries is - to stop the Rat currency from collapsing altogether! Of course, this is something we have reminded readers of this Blog for years! 
Here is today’s Financial Times:

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https://www.ft.com/content/13bd4936-7879-11e9-be7d-6d846537acab

Philip Georgiadis in London YESTERDAY Print this page China’s offshore renminbi has weakened to its lowest level since November on escalated trade tensions, in the worst week for emerging market currencies since the Turkish lira crisis last summer. Emerging market bond and equity funds have also experienced significant outflows this week, as talks between the US and China have stalled. Washington has accused Beijing of reneging on trade commitments, while China on Monday announced it would impose tariffs on $60bn of US imports starting on June 1, knocking investor sentiment further. China’s offshore renminbi, which is widely traded in London, stood 0.1 per cent weaker at Rmb6.9400 per dollar around the start of full European trade. It has weakened nearly 3 per cent over the past two weeks as economic hostility between the world’s two largest economies have weighed on the currency. The offshore renminbi is the “focal point” for trade tensions, analysts at ING said. “Were it to hit 7.00, alarm bells would ring even louder around the world.” MSCI’s broad index of emerging market currencies has fallen 0.9 per cent since Friday, its biggest weekly fall since August last year when Turkey’s currency was in free fall, and fifth consecutive week of declines. It slipped 0.4 per cent to 1614.22 on Friday morning in London. The uncertainty is also spreading through many of Asia’s trade-sensitive economies. The Singapore dollar has suffered its worst week since October, as the island state’s economy has shown signs of weakening, while the New Taiwan dollar has notched its biggest one-week declines since the same time. Amid the risk-off sentiment, emerging market bond funds recorded their largest outflows since June 2018 in the week to May 15, according to Barclays. Passive funds largely drove the moves, but active funds also saw outflows for the first time since February. “The resilience of inflows by institutional investors into EM bond funds may be tested over the next weeks,” the bank’s strategists said. Overall, flows into dedicated bond and equity emerging market funds fell around $5bn, Barclays said. Aside from the trade tensions, “the aggregate growth picture in emerging markets has not been particularly positive,” said Paul Fage senior emerging markets strategist at TD Securities, pointing to recent data including weakening industrial production. “Probably the most important thing for emerging markets whether they can generate in aggregate a decent pick-up in growth to the developed markets and particularly the US, that has been one of the weaknesses coming into this year,” he said.