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  1. #1
    @hibs.net private member Mibbes Aye's Avatar
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    The civilisational state

    Iím on holiday and have a few internal flights in Europe. I subscribe to the New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books, both heartily recommended, especially the NYROB, but the only time I buy magazines otherwise is for reading on flights or trains.

    At the airport yesterday I had a choice between the New Statesman and The Economist. Plumped for the New Statesman instinctively. It is variable though and while The Economist is philosophically on a different page from me, it is always good to challenge oneís thinking and read an alternative point of view.

    Anyway, I would usually take The Economist but went for the New Statesman on a whim and read an article by Adrian Pabst, an academic and writer. Iím not sure what to make of it and will probably need to read it again but I found it fascinating. Pabst is soft-left and it shows in his writing but I genuinely found it thought-provoking.

    As I say, not sure yet what I make of it and I need to read it again but the first read caught my attention and I think it is worth sharing for discussion.

    https://www.newstatesman.com/2019/05...sational-state
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  3. #2
    @hibs.net private member speedy_gonzales's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mibbes Aye View Post
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    As I say, not sure yet what I make of it and I need to read it again but the first read caught my attention and I think it is worth sharing for discussion.

    https://www.newstatesman.com/2019/05...sational-state
    I gave that a very quick, cursory read.
    Two points of note, firstly, I just realised I havenít had to use a dictionary for a very long time, secondly, I donít really understand global socio-politics as well as I thought I did.

    Looks like Iíll be buying the Beano or the Dandy next time Iím after reading material at the airport :)

  4. #3
    @hibs.net private member Mibbes Aye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by speedy_gonzales View Post
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    I gave that a very quick, cursory read.
    Two points of note, firstly, I just realised I havenít had to use a dictionary for a very long time, secondly, I donít really understand global socio-politics as well as I thought I did.

    Looks like Iíll be buying the Beano or the Dandy next time Iím after reading material at the airport :)
    It is a bit intense and wordy

    My head was sore after the first few paragraphs.

    Worth it though, I think
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  5. #4
    @hibs.net private member Fife-Hibee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by speedy_gonzales View Post
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    I gave that a very quick, cursory read.
    Two points of note, firstly, I just realised I havenít had to use a dictionary for a very long time, secondly, I donít really understand global socio-politics as well as I thought I did.

    Looks like Iíll be buying the Beano or the Dandy next time Iím after reading material at the airport :)
    It's basically suggesting that Western neo-liberal systems are losing power to the likes of China and Russia and that we are heading more towards a collective surveillance system.

    Personally I don't think it has anything to do with Russia or China and that we were heading this way anyway. Both the UK and the US have major surveillance programs in place. They just haven't been as open and honest about it with the general public. They've attempted to maintain a false illusion of liberty and freedom, while stripping it away in the background.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Mibbes Aye View Post
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    I’m on holiday and have a few internal flights in Europe. I subscribe to the New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books, both heartily recommended, especially the NYROB, but the only time I buy magazines otherwise is for reading on flights or trains.

    At the airport yesterday I had a choice between the New Statesman and The Economist. Plumped for the New Statesman instinctively. It is variable though and while The Economist is philosophically on a different page from me, it is always good to challenge one’s thinking and read an alternative point of view.

    Anyway, I would usually take The Economist but went for the New Statesman on a whim and read an article by Adrian Pabst, an academic and writer. I’m not sure what to make of it and will probably need to read it again but I found it fascinating. Pabst is soft-left and it shows in his writing but I genuinely found it thought-provoking.

    As I say, not sure yet what I make of it and I need to read it again but the first read caught my attention and I think it is worth sharing for discussion.

    https://www.newstatesman.com/2019/05...sational-state
    Patrick Cockburn in Saturday's i was hinting at a little of the same when he was arguing that The West repeatedly misunderstands conflicts in the Middle East because it thinks in terms of the nation states there, whereas people on the ground identify by religion rather than the colour of their passports.

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by lapsedhibee View Post
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    Patrick Cockburn in Saturday's i was hinting at a little of the same when he was arguing that The West repeatedly misunderstands conflicts in the Middle East because it thinks in terms of the nation states there, whereas people on the ground identify by religion rather than the colour of their passports.
    Not necessarily religion, eg. the areas of central Iraq around Baghdad are largely sunni and so are the Kurds. It is absolutely true, however, that the "nationalities" with which we are familiar in the Middle East (Iraqi, Syrian, Lebanese, Jordanian, etc) are mostly the legacy of an imperial carve up by France and Britain and are usually trumped by older loyalties.

  8. #7
    I think the article was interesting and it will be interesting to see how China and Russia get on in their attempt as mediators in the world's trouble spots where the west have collectively failed. I can't see the US winning the trade war and the rise of China as the world's strongest economy seems inevitable. Throw in the populism that has become standard fayre in the west and there are some very interesting times ahead indeed.

  9. #8
    @hibs.net private member Mibbes Aye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lapsedhibee View Post
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    Patrick Cockburn in Saturday's i was hinting at a little of the same when he was arguing that The West repeatedly misunderstands conflicts in the Middle East because it thinks in terms of the nation states there, whereas people on the ground identify by religion rather than the colour of their passports.
    I think thatís an interesting point. Western notions of liberal democracy seem inextricably intertwined with the idea of the nation state, as it manifests itself in the West.

    Iíve posted this before but when you look at the higher principles that inform the concept of liberal democracy they arenít massively different from the higher principles of something like Shiaíism.

    What makes it more interesting yet is that the nation state, at least in terms of how it is socially constructed and defined in the West, must surely be past its peak and increasingly on the wrong side of history.
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  10. #9
    @hibs.net private member Mibbes Aye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeMeSouviens View Post
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    Not necessarily religion, eg. the areas of central Iraq around Baghdad are largely sunni and so are the Kurds. It is absolutely true, however, that the "nationalities" with which we are familiar in the Middle East (Iraqi, Syrian, Lebanese, Jordanian, etc) are mostly the legacy of an imperial carve up by France and Britain and are usually trumped by older loyalties.
    What interests me is the difference in power relations. If one controls the narrative one can define peoples according to any category one chooses and it almost doesn’t matter what the reality is because controlling the narrative sets the reality. And then people adopt whatever behaviours and identity as a consequence.

    I think
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  11. #10
    The article seems to suggest that the prosperous countries and regions are the ones that are nationalistic (China, Russia & India) and they have held onto their traditional cultures. The West has abandoned it's traditional culture and is intent on destroying the idea of nations through globalization that has lead to decline in the West.

  12. #11
    Hmmm, I'm not so sure I agree with the assumptions that seem to underpin this. Or maybe it's the definitions.

    Anyway, the concept of the nation state as per the 19th century - essentially uniting ethnic/linguistic groups as the basis for political organisation at the state level - is really neither here nor there with respect to liberal democracy. To go straight to the extreme Nazi Germany, incontrovertibly a nation state but not exactly liberal or democratic (shudders). Even now, Turkey fits the nation state model without being particularly liberal or democratic, and is getting less so for both.

    And today's Russia is really an empire, albeit one consisting of a core nation state, the European mainstream Russian part, with various bits it was still powerful enough to hang onto through the collapse of the USSR.

    cf, the USA, which is very multi-ethnic but has almost total buy in from all its citizens.

    I think to run a successful liberal democracy you need the vast majority of the citizens to feel that they belong to the country and the country belongs to them. Where you don't have this, you can build it (MA's power to set the narrative) but it's time consuming and involves trade-offs. Where there are already well bedded in identities, they are extremely stubborn to shift. eg. Tito didn't get rid of Slovene, Croat, Serb identities. Most illiberal power crazed dictatorships find subjugation is a far easier shortcut to their megalomaniacal desires.

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