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Tuesday 12 May 2009

Sarah McDermott | 17:39 UK time, Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Here's news of what's coming up in tonight's Newsnight:

Day five of the MPs expenses claims row, and Labour and the Conservatives are in a high speed race to seize the moral high ground.

Conservative leader David Cameron broke into a sprint this afternoon when he announced a series of measures for Tory MPs including a new expenses claims scrutiny panel and a ban on flipping houses.

And House of Commons Leader Harriet Harman says she is writing to the chairman of the cross-party members' allowances committee to see if any expenses money which has been paid out has been paid out wrongly, and that she to arrange for a system of repayments.

Tonight, David Grossman will take a look at just who is winning that race.

IMMIGRANT SONG CONTEST - ROUND TWO

Also tonight, it is day two of our Immigrant Song Contest. Afghan performer Hashmat and Zimbabwean band Mann Friday will be telling us their stories, giving us a taster of their music and performing a cover version of a famous Eurovision hit.

Do tell us what you think about their performances.

And of course join Jeremy Paxman at 10.30pm on BBC Two

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Sure these crokked MPs should pay all the money back but don't they realise that is not enough. They should not have claimed for them in the first place and the honourable thing to do is to resign. In the real world, they would all be sacked for fiddling their expenses, not given a second chance to continue their job.

  • Comment number 2.

    Ever since David Cameron talked about this disgrace today the media has latched onto the ridiculous notion of who is winning the race for the moral high ground...the plain answer is NOBODY....there is no race to win ..nobody is going to come out of this with any grace whatsoever

  • Comment number 3.

    THINKING CAPS ON:-

    Robert Mugabe doesn't look quite so bad suddenly. A reminder of some apposite NYC demographics (#5)....

  • Comment number 4.

    this whole sorry mess is summed up by the guy with the moat, he has a moat which means he must have a sort of castle so he must have something big to protect, you and I probably live in a semi but we have to fork out to clean his moat. Why? Most moats are dirty smell things made like that to keep the likes of you and me out so why have a clean one? Heli pads, manure, swimming pools, yet nothing beats the moat guy. He is from the thirteen ninties, I bet he has a priest hole and a cupboard where the plague ointment is kept, his name is Hogg and doesn't he live up to it.

  • Comment number 5.

    A role for the monarchy??
    Given poll evidence of an almost universal loss of public faith in parliament, and that the 'Swindler's List' goes beyond party politics, there must surely be a case for the monarchy acting to restore confidence. After all isn't it "Her Majesty's" Government and loyal opposition that is the source of this appalling business? So far a deafening silence from Buckingham Palace!

  • Comment number 6.

    Let's hear it for The Bhundu Boys ..... Zimbabwe's finest band who sought exile in Hawick in The Scottish Borders and who are missed:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sY4vvUiL2Y&feature=related

  • Comment number 7.

    A very nicely balanced Newsnight last night, I thought. Beginning with a 'stinking' picture and ending with Polly Toynbee having a go at the Prime Minister.
    It was good to hear from Shaun Woodward himself that he has not been claiming his salary. However, I wouldn't agree with his statement that Gordon Brown was hailed by the World leaders as the hero of the last World summit. If I remember correctly, quite a few of them had very different ideas on how to proceed with regard to excessive borrowing as opposed to sensible and prudent approach to managing individual national economies and it is them who finally won the day, the solution with which Barrack Obama graciously agreed.
    #26, 29 & 31
    Re: Immigrant Song Contest
    It seems like a brilliant idea to consider the immigration issue via the prism of immigrants' musical activities. In the modern world it is one of the main ways that young people not only get involved in at the emotional level but also get exposed to larger and deeper issues like comtemplative ideas, politics or problems facing the world. In the last few months I've been listening to a wide variety of immigrant groups(mainly French) and am amazed with the extent of the semantic profundity of some of their songs.
    Personally, I'm not all that interested in competition with regard to art and will not be particularly interested in who wins and who loses but am looking forward to hearing about the other groups in the contest and listening to the songs they're going to perform.

  • Comment number 8.

    mimpromptu (#7) "It seems like a brilliant idea to consider the immigration issue via the prism of immigrants' musical activities. In the modern world it is one of the main ways that young people not only get involved in at the emotional level but also get exposed to larger and deeper issues like comtemplative ideas, politics or problems facing the world. In the last few months I've been listening to a wide variety of immigrant groups(mainly French) and am amazed with the extent of the semantic profundity of some of their songs."

    I take it you are aware of the counter-argument, namely that it was rock n roll, jazz etc which helped corrupt youth in the 50s, 60s etc, and that gangsta-rap etc continued this in recent times. It was just cynical market creation/exploutation in some people's view. Hence radical Islam's proscription of 'western pop music'. Look into who (Greg Kirsten) writes and produces Lily Allen's material and yet how Newsnight Review feted her for her work.

    The same people who have warned about such 'corrupting' trends also tend to warn about other influences which show up if one looks at western demographics. Of course, they're best ignored, as they're probably on the LEAST WANTED list as 'terrorists' (aka bad for the free-market economy).

    Still, there's nowt as queer as folk eh?

  • Comment number 9.

    We know that salaries for MPs are necessary to make sure that it's not just people who are well off or from well-connected families who can stand for election. It is devastating to see that there are people who would abuse this principle for their own personal interests. It's time for political parties to remind people that politics is still about standing up for what you believe in, and about giving a voice to people who wouldn't otherwise have one.
    www.emily-bird.blogspot.com

  • Comment number 10.

    PERCEPTION IS NOT ALL, THOUGH SOME WOULD LIKE US TO THINK OTHERWISE

    It appears that the Parliamentary expenses rules invite corrupt behaviour. The behaviour is indeed corrupt and can't be excused simply because the self-serving rules themselves invited/legitimated corrupt behaviour. It's subterfuge to refer to public 'perceptions' of this corrupt behaviour, and politicians caught out know this, and have been spinning this same way for years as we have all seen.

  • Comment number 11.

    I hope Blears 13K cheque includes compound interest?

    Disgusting IMPO. Handing back the cash is not enough now. It is too little too late. The Public are very angry about this.

  • Comment number 12.

    How is it Blear's can just decide to pay her tax, can we just decide to pay tax?

    Current mood :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hzQ2htbYT0

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hYBgpZdbKM&feature=related

  • Comment number 13.

    LOOK-ALIKE OBSERVATION

    Is it me, or does a group of greedy individuals with a tame office stamping their evil-doings 'AAA' look very much like another group of greedy individuals, with a similar tame office stamping their bizarre allowance claims 'APPROVED'?

    Might there be some connection? I think we should be told.

  • Comment number 14.

    TONIGHT HE REALLY EARNED THE 'CRIKEY!'

    Crikey Crick said Cameron was the strongest he had seen. How can a leader be strong while making no reference to his personal fool/knave guilt in the matter. Either Cameron knew it was all going on or he didn't. But either way he stands disqualified as a leader - let alone a Prime Minister. (Prime something, perhaps.)

    I know this is a concept too far for Newsnight, but now that the punters have woken from their slumber, surely THEY realise?

    "So are they all - honourable men".

  • Comment number 15.

    Cameron almost has made a positive step by insisting that Conservative MPs repay any claims deemed to be excessive or be kicked out of the party.

    Suggestion:

    Give each individual 2 weeks to self-assess and repay any expenses that they themselves deem excessive. They can then each be audited and those MPs who repaid a materially smaller amount than the auditors recommend should be forced to leave. Clearly if their moral compass is not operating correctly then they are no use going forward.

  • Comment number 16.

    TEH EMPERORS' NEW EXPENSES

    barrie (#13) That's anarchism/de-regulation/freedom for you. It's their Human Right to behave this way (and they have a duty not to be caught for the sake of appearances too). Remember Rumsfeld during the Iraqi looting? Freedom is ....

    Is it really any wonder that Putin (and similar statist 'evil-dooers' elsewhere in the world) have caustically remarked that if this (cf Bremner on Iraq and the US dollars) is what the Americans are exporting as 'liberal-democracy', most people are better off without it?

    As Paxman's logic highlighted tonight, what we saw today as 'payback' was really just more PR. This counts on us not wanting to ask awkward questions, as we really don't want to hear the obvious, depressing, answers. Apply this principle of 'don't go there' to most of the rest of New Labour's, Conservatives', and Liberal-Democrats' policies - and then dare ask them about dumbing down and population shrinkage :-(

  • Comment number 17.

    Maybe politicians have behaved unethically over expenses. But senior bankers have been criminal. How about a demand for transparency on all expense receipts of bankers and senior executives in the banking industry over the last 5 years? Lets see how many obscene extravagances can be recovered and deducted from the bailout fund so that the common man does not have to foot a bill for illicit gratifications.

  • Comment number 18.

    I Love S Fry and hear what he is saying Butt, that big butt again aunti
    The Currant Clowns took US 2 WAR on a big Fat Porkie.
    Carnage?
    If they saw/seen what they had done/dun their bodily functions would lose control.

  • Comment number 19.

    Immigration Song Contest Day 2. MANN FRIDAY have by far been the best act on so far...I hand my vote to them!! Intellectual answers, loved the way they made "Waterloo" their own and the little bit of their original music that was played sounded spot on and could easily sell commercially. Would be great hear the first ever Zimbo band belting through my speakers on Chris Moyles's show...about time something positive came out of the country! Go Mann Friday!!

  • Comment number 20.

    #12 Streetphotobeing

    Thank you for ruining my evening. You should have been modded.

    Bad like Jesse James. Oh is that some weird (de)tuning on the guitar. Of course I haven't a guitar here to check, so much frustration. Thanks.

    King Snake? Well of course that lead me to The Doors. So its after 11, I have a shed full of work to do. An early start and a full day tomorrow. But I have this over whelming desire to open a bottle and put LA Woman on very loud and kick the lot into touch.

    Well I don't know about you but I'm going to get my kicks before this (out) house goes up in flames. Political corruption, ecological destruction, social decay.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1b26BD5KjH0

    Thanks.

    Leo Lion

  • Comment number 21.

    Did i hear Led Zeps immigrant song? i think i did. Whats Newsnight doing! Trying to attract the Jool hollands audience?
    I was gonna pay no attention to this but the Page guitar riff distracted me long enough to hear the Zimbabwe act (or were they S African?).Abba's eurovision 'Waterloo' sung in the style of Cat Stevens. Watching from clips of their musical efforts suggest they are a good act and quite tight, would have liked to have seen more from them. Vocalist has a hint of Gabriel... early Genesis, but only if you listen very carefully. Will this song win them whatever is to be won, i don't know, but for me, at least so far, the most promising act.

  • Comment number 22.

    I'M PHIL-ING UP TONY

    Did I observe correctly that 'Dr' (DPhil) Tony Wright was stripped of his degree by the time the caption made a second appearance? Had he, perhaps, had to return it? Indeed - was it bought with public money?

    In passing, there is a nasty outbreak of 'Doctorate flu' among MPs. are we supposed to be impressed? I have not noticed the relevance of philosophy to Westminster of late . . . As for the medical: all David Owen seemed to bring to governance was a pantomime posh voice - a gift to Spiting image though.

  • Comment number 23.

    Cookie Ducker

    Already got there a few days ago. It got modded. Seems it took 2 days for the BBC to decide whether they could have a link to Immigrant Song on a Immigrant Song site.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/fromthewebteam/2009/05/immigrant_song_contest.html

    But at last sense prevailed. It's a good version as well.

    Leo Lion

  • Comment number 24.

    11. At 10:01pm on 12 May 2009, tawse57 wrote:

    Putting aside violence, I'd presume that most times the law gets involved is when money ends up in pockets it shouldn't for reasons that are not acceptable.

    Until now, I have not been aware that 'putting it back' was deemed a solution smiled upon by the authorities, or society, in the much-loved manner of 'putting it all behind us'.

    I regret to inform the deluded ones that this will not 'regain my trust' in any way.

    And trying to pool guilt ain't going to do it for me either, so apologists from all sides trotted out still trying to peddle the 'we need to change the system' as an attempted 'solution' to a stupid, spun distraction that is their preferred notion of the 'real problem' are merely tarring themselves with their more venal colleagues' brushes. It fools no one.

    Apologies not enough. Actions not words. And MPs being dealt with in the same way as the public upon whom they have imposed, so poorly, for so long. End the hypocrisy.

    Yet to discuss this on BBC Breakfast with the £XXXkgrand inquisitors we get... Kevin Maguire? Again. And by way of 'balance'... Andrew Pierce. Again.

    It may tick boxes, but it doesn't help inform. What a set of metaphors.

  • Comment number 25.

    Nos20

    Your most welcome.

  • Comment number 26.

    GOTT IN HIMMEL

    barrie (#14) "Crikey Crick said Cameron was the strongest he had seen. How can a leader be strong while making no reference to his personal fool/knave guilt in the matter. Either Cameron knew it was all going on or he didn't. But either way he stands disqualified as a leader..."

    A typically astute observation/remark....

    My aren't they 'good' with their PR/Communications people/companies?

    Gott in himmel! Surely there should be a law other than caveat emptor ? ;-)

  • Comment number 27.

    Hazel and perception

    Imagine Hazel in her leathers - cowgirl Blears everybody

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&hl=en-GB&v=F9Jmo3yGrSg

  • Comment number 28.

    :o) More excellent Newsnight - Jeremy at his best! :p All the "holier than thou" politicians being exposed for their dodgy expense claims. Loved David's report & Michael with Jeremy too. :p best line " you ought to have briefed yourself on these things." Ha ha ha ha

  • Comment number 29.

    streetphotobeing (#27) Her lipstick matches her home's exterior paintwork.

  • Comment number 30.

    THE GREAT 'P' (PURGE/PR)

    Mistress76uk (#28) ":o) More excellent Newsnight - Jeremy at his best! :p All the "holier than thou" politicians being exposed for their dodgy expense claims"

    Did you notice Mr Paxman go just a little bit quiet when Tony Benn urbanely reminded him that the taxpayer/licence-fee payer is the source of Mr Paxman's salary and expenses? Is Newsnight going to call in independent auditors in the interest of solidarity and good public measure?

  • Comment number 31.

    so nn wasted 15ms on freak muzac?

    we could have had

    ..On the dusty plain 110 miles southwest of Islamabad, not far from an area controlled by the Taliban, two large new structures are rising, structures that in light of Pakistans internal troubles must be considered ominous for the stability of South Asia and, for that matter, the world.

    Without any public U.S. reproach, Pakistan is building two of the developing worlds largest plutonium production reactors, which experts say could lead to improvements in the quantity and quality of the countrys nuclear arsenal, now estimated at 60 to 80 weapons.

    What makes the project even more threatening is that it is unique.

    Pakistan is really the only country rapidly building up its nuclear forces, says a U.S. intelligence official,....

    http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm?aid=1747

    ...Tullow Oil Plc, the U.K. explorer with projects in Africa, said its Uganda oil fields potential crude resources are well in excess of 1 billion barrels after it drilled more wells in the region...

    how will ugandan oil affect the region?

    also there is a commodity bull run on again which is basically an inflation bet. profit taking on stocks being put into commodities. Some calling selling bonds [higher rates] the retirement bet.

    no?

    oh well if you can't beat them join them

    'congratulations boom bang a bang puppet on a string in waterloo '

  • Comment number 32.

    Thought the immigrant song contest does show how the UK is content as a multicultural society - obviously there are still a few saddos but they tend to be on the lunatic fringe of the far right. Walls have ears.

    Is Blears not lucky to be done for tax evasion and required to pay interest? If so will Newsnight check that she does not get favourable treatment?

    Where is McBride and is he being paid to stay away and if so by whom? Is he actually OK, I want him to answer questions to the HoC but I do assume that he just ducking that?

    Is this the time for people to consider that the reason there is corruption, sloth and incompetence in the Houses of Parliament is because of the two party system. Lets be done with men in tights, the two party system and the monarchy and embrace a Republic where elections are on merit via proportional representation. I am surprised the Lib Dems are not highlighting the issues - though I don't believe they are for a Republic.

  • Comment number 33.

    #8 Jaded_Jean

    "I take it you are aware of the counter-argument, namely that it was rock n roll, jazz etc which helped corrupt youth in the 50s, 60s etc, and that gangsta-rap etc continued this in recent times"

    Do you classify "Springtime with Hitler" as corrupting or inspiring?

    Music has always been seen as "corrupting" so why stop at the 50's. Was the music they played to Hitler Youth corrupting? Did Wagner contribute to Hitlers mindset and the murder of millions?

    As ever you set yourself very low standards and fail to live up to them.

  • Comment number 34.

    Is the BBC going to try and get Griffin of the odious BNP to say whether - if he believes there was no Holocaust, or "very few" died - he will be trying to give evidence to the Djemjanjuk trial as he must have reason and evidence?

  • Comment number 35.

    With great power comes great responsibility (hat tip: Stan Lee). And with those, above all, comes accountability. Why, at the moment, when one asks who is in charge here? (and has been for over a decade - wheres Al Haig when you need him?), do I suspect sets of digits, and a few stumpy ones, will suddenly mutely point in every direction save one.

    Also noting the spotlight swinging around some other areas, like Sauron's gaze, with Channel 4 staff attacked for grossly excessive pay

    Market rate talent requiring public subsidy as the money model doesnt add up. Interesting. As was their reply.

    Because I do rather think that pointing wherever else possible in comparison in a two wrongs make a god given right isnt working too well at the moment in the public domain at the mo. Including £multi-grand inquisitors.

  • Comment number 36.

    30

    yes, when even formula 1 is cutting back, waspish mps may decide to tighten up on the licence fee and what are seen by the public as pre credit crunch banker style wages and gold plated executive pensions?

    maybe the 'golden age' in bbc t&c for a few is over?

  • Comment number 37.

    Newsnight does the Swat crisis and renewed Pakistani vigour combined with a new US general on the ground, Gen Stanley McChrystal (previously a director of special operations forces), suggest that they are discussing inserting special forces at the border and possibly to take out al Qaeda and Taliban bases?

    Lets worry Osama with the thought.

  • Comment number 38.

    The writing was on the wall with regard to expenses months if not years ago and the politicians applied the breaks just after they had crashed through the wall.

    We have the economic crash and now we will get regulation (though I have heard only words and not seen actions to date).

    There is a referendum in Scotland in 2010 for independence and you would hope that all of the thinking with regard to the divvy-up and security (including Faslane and nuclear weapons) would have been done well before that.

    Probably the Scots will stay in the Union but if not will Wales stay and what will happen in Northern Ireland? Will this destabilize the peace process at, hopefully, the last delicate stage where residual violent republicans seek to wreck the peace process.

    Lets try breaking before we hit things. The big new idea?

  • Comment number 39.

    thegangofone (#33) "Do you classify "Springtime with Hitler" as corrupting or inspiring?"

    Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom were New York scammers were they not?

  • Comment number 40.

    ...the UK is content as a multicultural society ..

    how many billions are now being spent on internal security?

    equality is not the highest idea of the mind. it is not the highest good because it is limited to certain fields of human behaviour only. so one cannot extends a limited term and pretend it is the highest universal term.

    there is no multi culture. it is a hallucination. there is a hierarchy of culture ranked by the amount of good they have in them. they are not equally good. which is why people come here and no one is rushing to somalia. people naturally rank culture. i understand some have an idealogical block to that fact.

  • Comment number 41.

    bookhimdano (#40) We have a 'multicultural society' because we (lime the rest of Europe) have had a below replacement level birth rate for decades, and it was naively thought that importing people from The Commonwealth would compensate, reversing falling school rolls and the extra burdens which an ageing population would impose viz pensions, health-care etc. I say it was naive because it didn't take into account that ability is largely hereditary, that people assortively mate, and that the birth rate is higher amongst the lower ability than amongst the higher ability. It's never had anything to do with skin colour per se or cultures, although such phenotypes also figure in assortive mating/bonding. How many teachers do you know who honestly believe that they can bring out hidden abilities in kids? The answer is lots. We like to think that way, as it's romantic and apsirational. But it's empirically wrong, and worse than that, it's also damaging, raises false hopes and leads to lowering standards. It is one thing to undo some of the damage which some parents cause (rare) and quite another to make out that alchemy can be done. Today we have too many alchemists. They urgently need to be 'purged'. We have it all the wrong way round. We reward the wrong people and punish the wrong people. It's a formula for economic and social decay.

  • Comment number 42.

    bookhimdano(#40) wrote:

    there is a hierarchy of culture ranked by the amount of good they
    have in them. they are not equally good. which is why people
    come here and no one is rushing to somalia.

    Based on your logic, people should also be rushing to Georgia or Chechnya, as they clearly come in at the top of your culture hierarchy, with a white community following Christianity and all. But you dont see that, do you? Equally, there are rich countries not located in Western Europe, that attract a large number of immigrants and overseas business investments.

    The attractiveness of a country is judged based on its wealth, openness to the outside world, and political stability. On a completely different note, it is perhaps no surprising that silly and racist comments are often statistically linked with a lack of education and/or life experiences.

  • Comment number 43.

    The Gang of uno
    are you A recruiting SGT for the BNP

    Good Job Mate (take yesterday off)

  • Comment number 44.

    These are my personal opinions, and should be read and treated as such.

    Restoring Confidence

    Can I say I thought it was very telling of the Labour and Lib Dem MP's asking the Conservatives to accept the Kelly report even before it's written or published , what no one mentioned was that this "Whole Package" will also include a pay rise system ? , I personally suggest to compensate MP's for losing some of their expenses ?

    Report on MPs' pay and perks by end of year

    If my understanding of this Committee is correct , members on it have to be approved by the Prime Minister and it is funded by the Cabinet Office ?

    And if you consider what has been written about Elizabeth Filkin time in the job , I am not 100% reassured.

    f you think the media can hold MP's to account I would suggest the media are out of their depth, because they don't have the authority to do so.

    This is why I would suggest the only way to hold MP's accountable is by calling a general election and allowing each MP's constituency consider their own MP's words with their alleged deeds, in a normal election manner.
    The media could win this battle because the public would support it.

    There endif my two penny's worth.

  • Comment number 45.

    42

    clearly come in at the top of your culture hierarchy, with a white community following Christianity and all....

    why do people bear false witness? where do i talk about white christianity at the highest ideal of culture?

    if people have not thought the good society through let me offer a starting point.

    if the Good is the highest idea of the mind then what follows?
    How can we unpack what is good? One way is to start in a thesaurus and look at all the words in there relating to the good [50 plus]. So we can start to make up lists of terms by which we can judge how good something is. And then we can rank them as to which has more of fewer terms etc.


    So the good society is that which through its law and customs is most like the good as expressed by our set of terms.

    so less of the hysterical bearing false witness. thanks.

  • Comment number 46.

    the reason some rail at the good being the highest idea of the mind is because the uk education system and media have been brainwashed by relativists who say there is no good. their highest idea is that everything is relative. which as parmendes shows leads to nihilism.

    the idea of multiculture is not a neutral idea but an outcome of the belief system of the relativists who like to install a curfew on any pointing out its nonsense by calling people names and bearing false witness.


    by promoting 'multiculture' they say there is no such thing as the good. if there is no good then you can promote any nonsense.

    in this compo they are using the idea of the good. We are asked to judge which is the best and so rank them. But if everything is relative how can that be? In a relative world there is no standard of the good to measure by- only relativity. So the multiculturists deny the idea of the good then invite us to use a judging system which implies there is a good. Who is the more confused about demonstrating there is a Good and that it implies ranking? Are not the relativists lost in a hallucination? ;)


  • Comment number 47.

    bookhimdano (#45;#46) I think what you are referring to as 'the good' is probably what I am referring to when I talk of 'g'+'conscientiousness'.

  • Comment number 48.

    THE STUFFER STUFFED (#30)

    "Did you notice Mr Paxman go just a little bit quiet when Tony Benn urbanely reminded him that the taxpayer/licence-fee payer is the source of Mr Paxman's salary and expenses?"

    'A little bit' JJ? I felt poor Paxo's discomfort come flooding out of the (deeply atypical) silence. I was on the edge of my seat expecting a cheeky dig from the old flapper. Now that WAS edgy broadcasting! No wonder the call him 'Wedgie'.

  • Comment number 49.

    bookhimdano(#45-46)
    there is a hierarchy of culture ranked by the amount of good they have in them.

    This sentence doesnt mean anything factually. Your later posts dont shed any further light on this point either. I suspect it was left sufficiently ambiguous on purpose to avoid a rebuttal like mine. So, enlighten me, because I want to understand properly this time. What are the criterion in order for a society to have the good or the highest idea in your words?

  • Comment number 50.

    mademoiselle_h (#49) addressing bookhimdano(#45-46):

    "What are the criterion in order for a society to have the good or the highest idea in your words?"

    My 2p worth:

    Read this (ideally the book), watch the ETS video 'America's Perfect Storm' and most importantly, include the personality factor 'conscientiousness' as well as 'g'. These are, alas, normally (Gaussian) distributed.

    Finally, any thoughts which you may have have about your not believing all of this, translate for heuristic purposes, as not knowing/understanding this well enough, ironically perhaps, through egregious aversive conditioning in favour of free-market neo-liberal economic anarchism.

  • Comment number 51.

    49


    there is no ambiguity. The good is not about sophistry but demonstration. its not my words. this idea that there is a hierarchy goes back to parmenides, socrates, plotinus and proclus if not before homer. there are lots of lectures by people like Dr Pierre Grimes on ytube. some say the origins go back to the ethiopians [in the book called Black Athena].

    the explanation given is as clear as the summer sun. If not- did you look up good in a thesaurus to give you a set of terms by which to judge things? write them out and then examine the thing to be judged as to how much it participates in those terms related to the good. That which participates more is closer to the good. This method of demonstration can be done with anything from baked beans, to songs, to character, to cultures [be they pub culture, drug culture, canteen culture etc]. naturally you end up with a hierarchy.

    for an introduction try

    http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=0B731E0DDCDEFBCA



  • Comment number 52.

    #50 JadedJean

    I know what a Gaussian distribution is. I had to write down its PDF(probability density function) and use it all the time when I was studying at university. What I can say to you is that almost nothing in real life follows a normal distribution. Instead, it is used to test the residuals produced by a statistical model to see how good the estimation is. Therefore I have my reservation as to how it plays into the context of the goodness of a society.

    I saw your post earlier on when I was writing mine, and you were referring to 'conscientiousness' and 'g'. Maybe that is how the guys call normal distribution in the culture world, sorry if I am slow to catch on.

    But I stand by my original view. Conscientiousness is a symptom of a wealthy, free society and not the cause of it. As nice as the notion of "the highest idea" sounds, human beings are primarily driven by survival instinct, which means it is only when people's needs and aspirations are statisfied, that they will start thinking about others.

    A good society generates its goodwill from the way people behave and treat others, simply because its citizens are wealthy and affluent enough to afford to do so. Take away some of its economic capital, or have more people share the stuff, behavioural standards will fall and civil unrest will become more frequent. It then follows a good society will not be able to remain good if it cannot sustain its wealth, stability, freedom and openness etc. and bears little relation to the people themselves.

  • Comment number 53.

    #51 bookhimdano

    Why is it everytime I ask you to elaborate on your point, you respond by asking me to google or look up in theasaurus? Does any sane person expect to get a satisfying answer by searching the word GOOD in a web dictionary? I bet it is going to give me a million returns, but it still wouldn't help me understand any better what you are on about. If you truly understand the subject, you should have no problem putting them in your own words - this also comes from a great philosopher by the way and not me.

 

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