Tallman Trask

Someone is shy

Tallman hasn't completed a profile. Should we look for some other people?

Comments & conversations

Noface
Tallman Trask
Posted 10 months ago
How we can fight the corruption in developing nations?
It seems to me that this whole question is based on the idea that corruption is localized. I would argue, however, that it is anything but this. In a globalized (or at least globalizing) world, nothing, particularly not something as complex as corruption, can be conceived of so simply. Perhaps, in order to actually answer the question, I ought to break it down into two related questions: what can those of us in the developed world do to combat this corruption and what can the developing world do? (I really loathe the terminology I feel forced to use there, and will likely fall into the trap of again, and wish to clarify that if it reads, in any way, as paternalistic, it was far from my intent.) So, dealing with those in order, those of us on the outside can help by being insistent in our lack of support for such practices. I don't mean simply saying that we do not approve of them; what I am suggesting is something larger and actual. It seems to me that a good bit of the desire (or the incentive) to be corrupt comes from external influences, particularly economic ones. What those of us in the developed world ought to do, if we are serious about combating corruption, is get out of the way of local leaders and local developments, as fully as possible without doing undue damage to the population as a whole. However, this is only half of the coin. Local efforts must be made too (and this is surely not limited to the developing world, the lack of wide-spread active resistance to campaign financing practices in the United States also serves to express it). The historical solution has been, eventually, revolution. I am unsure that this is the most applicable or productive solution today. Refusal is a good option, though perhaps ineffective. The best option, though nearly impossible, is perhaps total economic restructuring and a full separation of economic powers and governing powers.
Noface
Tallman Trask
Posted 10 months ago
What is the difference between happiness and satisfaction?
When I struggle to see the difference between similar words, I often times find it useful to look towards associated words to more fully flesh out my conception. I would say that satisfaction, as a word and concept, is related to fulfillment. It requires that one feels as if an act/event/period has been appropriately finished, preferably successfully and to completion (though I am not sure that either is required). Happiness, on the other hand, is closer to joy. Thus, it is more free-form and less defined. Perhaps it would be useful to put it more concretely (though my example obviously requires subjective adjustments); one can feel fulfilled (but might not) after painting a beautiful field of flowers, but one can feel happy (but might not) sitting in that field. On a personal level, I find that happiness makes me feel as if I would like to move and laugh without reason, while fulfillment leads to me sitting down with a grin.
Noface
Tallman Trask
Posted 10 months ago
Is democracy is the last hope for the peace in the world? What is the ideal form of government?
While it is perhaps true that other sorts of government ought to be given a fair try, it was also either Churchill or someone I know misquoting Churchill who described democracy as "the worst form of government except all the others." I would argue (and have other places where character limits are less stringent) that such a statement generally holds true. The issue of how to resolve the problems of democracy seems to be best solved by actually democratizing democracy, which would probably end up in a situation awfully similar to that described in earlier comments about a government-less soicety. When we describe corruption and the disrespect of basic rights, what we are really talking about are undemocratic practices. We are talking about things which are inherently against the fundamental premise of democracy (decentralized power shared among the populace). Let us assume that all of these were removed, what would government look like? To be honest, I haven't the faintest idea; nowhere in history do we see anything of the sort, not even in the oft-cited Greek variety. Moving on, in order for democracy to truly flourish in less developed places, the same sort of things must occur (though globally as the local conditions in such places are simply too poor for actual flourishing without global input and interaction). I would argue that democratized governance does not currently flourish in such places because, if one does an honest cost/benefit analysis, leaders have more incentive to act undemocratically than otherwise. A discussion of an ideal form of government, however, is essentially foolish and useless, both for the utopian problem noted below and as such an idealization assumes, by its very nature, that actual and real ("on the ground") conditions have no influence on what is best for a certain group of people, in a certain location, at a certain time. Those are of paramount importance (hence why Pasha/Ataturk managed to do some good while other less or none).
Noface
Tallman Trask
Posted 10 months ago
Future of colleges
I think that if we are to assume the value of a college education is purely within an objective set of knowledge gained, than on-the-job training would, in almost all cases, be more effective and could replace college requirements. However, this knowledge is not the only (nor the primary) benefit of a college education. The true primary benefit lies in the exposure to and critical evaluation of differing views. This is simply not replaceable, due to constraints of time and training, within the confines of on-the-job training, nor can it truly be done through online courses, particularly the massive and open kind. It seems to me that there were many a good reason why we moved away from apprenticeships and toward an educational system (uninformed citizenry, lack of job change potential, exploitation, etc.). In short, could it? Yes, it has before and could again. Should it? No, that would be foolish. Will it? In some case, probably so, and this will be a bit of a tragedy, but in others the trend will likely go the other way and education requirements will become more stringent (in higher-end jobs and fields, knowledge bases and skill sets will need to increase in order to offset the losses, both in number of qualified individuals and the quality of those individuals, at other levels).
Noface
Tallman Trask
Posted 10 months ago
What's more beneficial: Revolution or Evolution?
I think that, perhaps, the question itself is based on a bit of a misattribution and a small oversight. First, Marx never wrote on the ideological state apparatus, that concept came around a century later with Althusser. Here, however, we run into another little problem. While Althusser likely would have been fine with adding media to the top of a list of apparatuses, for him it was never primary (the church was primary, but with the decentralization of religion education became primary). Excepting that, the understanding of the concept expressed in the question is fine. But now to an actual answer. I think that, if we are looking at Marx and purely political evolution, the two terms are essentially synonymous. Just a very basic review of historical materialism and ideology ought to clear that up a bit. For Marx, the history of humanity is that of movement toward freedom, as expressed through various organizations of labor and power. Ideology is (at a simple level, I haven't the space to fully explain it here) the ideas perpetuated by power as a means of control, generally through some process in which the ideas that serve power come to be believed by the masses as in their own interest; it is the ideas which fight against the movement of history. So then, what would political evolution be? If we are to assume that politics are merely contests over power and resources carried out under a predetermined set of rules, it seems that evolution would suggest a redistribution of both (which is perfectly in line with historical materialism). However, this is inherently against the interests of power and the required change is resisted by ideology. Generally, ideology wins out between the two (this is why we see so few revolutions that do not express that values and desires of some ruling class somewhere; contemporary liberal revolutions are generally a great example of this). For true political evolution to occur revolution is necessary and the later is the more beneficial.