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 Critics - Their place and effects in Society

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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Critics - Their place and effects in Society    Sat 08 Aug 2015, 00:34

The right to express opinion is an interesting concept. Just now I have read that a critic of the Thai king is on trial. Guarding opinion for ones safety mercifully rarely touches us and it has been a right bought with the blood of millions. 
In the arts world it is a more woolly right. Vladamir Horowich did not play in a public concert for 5 years after a bad review; the irony of that is that he was so appreciated when he did thereafter that when in later life his playing did deteriorate - so it is said - he received nothing but praise.
Not that I am any judge - the man seemed to have at least 4 hands it seems to me from the circa 1933 recordings I have.

So how have critics in history affected circumstances? There must be a breadth of interesting instances.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Critics - Their place and effects in Society    Mon 10 Aug 2015, 07:28

Gosh, a good thread. Must have my porridge first.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Critics - Their place and effects in Society    Sat 15 Aug 2015, 21:58

@Priscilla wrote:
The right to express opinion is an interesting concept. Just now I have read that a critic of the Thai king is on trial. Guarding opinion for ones safety mercifully rarely touches us and it has been a right bought with the blood of millions. 
In the arts world it is a more woolly right. Vladamir Horowich did not play in a public concert for 5 years after a bad review; the irony of that is that he was so appreciated when he did thereafter that when in later life his playing did deteriorate - so it is said - he received nothing but praise.
Not that I am any judge - the man seemed to have at least 4 hands it seems to me from the circa 1933 recordings I have.

So how have critics in history affected circumstances? There must be a breadth of interesting instances.

Priscilla,

my first approach...

Throughout history the critical stance was the driving force for change...and mostly for a "better" (in our nowadays! values perception) evolution.
Of course I speak here about the fundamental critics on society and not the nit picking of some one, who makes a profession of being contra whatever he meets.
And then you have open societies, where critics on the society are seen as a tool to modify that said society and mostly these societies seems to evoluate more smoothly into a better (for the society as a whole) society. And I am aware about the tricky perception of "better"...
And then the authoritarian dictatorships (oligarchies), which by the nature of their society are obliged to repress the critics that not suit with their policy.
 
Priscilla, tomorrow I will seek for examples and a more concrete elaboration, but today I want to discuss about the question: to what degree can a society within the borders of their specific country tolerate the critics for change within that particular country. The "Antigone" that we already discussed overhere.
This week I was watching the recent history of China with the Cultural Revolution, the Deng Xioping era, Tiananmin Square and the latest years of the emerging China.

As I saw the reactions of the Chinese on all this events (in a three tomes excellent documentary on ARTE channel) it is not easy to have clear cut opinions. In my opinion as I see it is Singapore for instance not that very different from the Peoples Republic of China.
Another thought from last week. Read in the daily press that we have a Belgian student at a North Korean university. That student said that he was surprized how patriotic the Koreans were...to defend their country to the outside ennemies...if the borders are closed...and people from their childhood on are educated (indoctrinated?) with only one truth...

Tomorrow more...

Kind regards, Paul.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Critics - Their place and effects in Society    Sun 16 Aug 2015, 14:37

Societies which penalise criticism of the powers that be within them are forced to define the concept legally, and the result is inevitably petty - be it labelled blasphemy, treason or, as in Singapore, unconstitutionally anti-social (I kid you not) it is almost always a rather transparent effort at deflecting criticism from a particular power sect that has a huge vested interest in silencing attempts to point out its actual character and function. Yet it is undeniable that this approach, pettiness and all, is still enough to at least forestall the development of revolutionary movements whose more realistic criticisms directed against the same powers that be would be used to remove them.

For vested power interests that wish to avoid being at least overtly so petty the real trick seems to be to allow criticism, but to present straw man targets towards which any criticism can be almost imperceptibly (but effectively) redirected. In the UK for example the monarchy and a parliament presented as pantomime in the popular media achieves this goal tremendously well.

In that sense I would tend to disagree with your simple distinction between oligarchies and "more open" societies, Paul. In terms of how either accommodates internal criticism and dissent the rules and machinery may differ but the ultimate effect can be quite similar.

Answering Priscilla's final question above is also rather difficult as any person who can be said to have effected some change in their society can also implicitly be judged therefore to have been an overt, covert or assumed critic, depending on the circumstances. So yes, there is indeed a breadth of circumstances that fits the bill, the problem being that the same circumstances encompass almost every human action ever recorded that has also impacted on social development.

It is always those dissatisfied - the inherently critical - who move things on, especially for the better. It is never those complacent within their allotted place and role in society.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Critics - Their place and effects in Society    Sun 16 Aug 2015, 22:54

Nordmann,

thank you as ever for your clear and understandable reply.

"For vested power interests that wish to avoid being at least overtly so petty the real trick seems to be to allow criticism, but to present straw man targets towards which any criticism can be almost imperceptibly (but effectively) redirected. In the UK for example the monarchy and a parliament presented as pantomime in the popular media achieves this goal tremendously well.

In that sense I would tend to disagree with your simple distinction between oligarchies and "more open" societies, Paul. In terms of how either accommodates internal criticism and dissent the rules and machinery may differ but the ultimate effect can be quite similar."

"For vested power interests that wish to avoid being at least overtly so petty the real trick seems to be to allow criticism, but to present straw man targets towards which any criticism can be almost imperceptibly (but effectively) redirected. In the UK for example the monarchy and a parliament presented as pantomime in the popular media achieves this goal tremendously well."

I studied for another forum the in between the wars period in Belgium. As a bit everywhere in Europe and even in the world there were tendencies to denigrate the work of the parliaments, those "talking shops". Even our king Leopold III was a fervent adept of the authoritarian rule. A parliament that he was imposed to endure through the constitution. But even that "talking shop" parliament was able to avoid after a while by the will of the voters the emergence of the Fascist parties as the VNV on Flemish side and the Rex party on the Francophone side.
I agree that a lot is still to be done better, but in an open society, the government can't be always lying or mistifying events as the media with all their trivia let filter through, perhaps without purpose or really knowing it, what is really going on.
For instance in my view and that of many others the war in Vietnam did not fail militarily but due to the home front, the voters, the body count from the fallen soldiers and the open resistance from an increasing public opinion.

No the governments, and I agree the authoritarian too, have to be more and more inventive and ingenious to deceive the man in the street.
But they can still as in the old days reckon on the basic group's sentiments perhaps inherited from the dawn of humanity
as jingoist feelings, my country nothing else and if the "patria" is in danger...
as the dogmatic sectarian religions, we the true believers and the others the "infidels" that have to be convinced

Or more recently the struggle of the several social classes within society...
As the Socialist are last years in every poll are loosing the party is looking for a more leftist character defending the lower strata of society against the bourgeois mentality and especially the super rich...

I was always a bit for a society where the performing people share with the ones who for different reasons aren't that performant as the others. And the Socialists want to implement that by state intervention (a Socialist government in the state).
And in principle I am not against it, but one can't deny that for a good running of wathever business, work, one needs a kind of meritocracy, who has most personal gifts or do most his best for the working of the business has to earn more for that than the others. One who succeeds in his business has to be compensated for that success.
If there is no compensation of the effort people don't do it anymore. If for instance, the government by all kind of regulations intervenes on the free hiring market to compensate for their own deficient and subsidized govenment ruled hiring market, then if the return isn't high enough anymore I stop the business and with me thousands of others and the hiring market implodes

The Socialists have to understand that the State is we, and even a State has to be runned as a business and can't loose money. Not to say that the capitalistic system of the global free market economy is the ultime good either. There is still too less regulation and a lot of shady groups can still act without government control. And that government control cannot be implemented while the several governments are still divided allover the globe and even a constellation of the size of a European Union isn't big enough to counter the abuses of for instance the banking sector, as the hedgefunds  and other hocus pocus.

And even with that global regulated banking system one has still the big differences in society in the several countries of the globe, even in a so close comparable circle of the "Western" society, where the US system seems still ultra liberal in comparison with the more "socialist" European Union.

Nordmann, excuses for the deviation, tomorrow back to the subject Wink ...
As you see there is still a lot of work to do and there will always be something to critizise Wink ...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Critics - Their place and effects in Society    Mon 17 Aug 2015, 21:34

Nordmann and Prisicilla,

"Answering Priscilla's final question above is also rather difficult as any person who can be said to have effected some change in their society can also implicitly be judged therefore to have been an overt, covert or assumed critic, depending on the circumstances. So yes, there is indeed a breadth of circumstances that fits the bill, the problem being that the same circumstances encompass almost every human action ever recorded that has also impacted on social development."

Yes, Nordmann, as ever you are right and I could think of a hundred highlights of "critics" having impacted on social development, but I fear that that will end in a "sterile" list and also asking for a ranking...and on the  Historum forum one has already a myriad threads as who is the best of, the worst of...where I never contribute as it is always an individual value judgement, which differs from person to person...threads on Historum as..."Churchill another Milosevic" I don't even start to read the first sentence...

PS: as I was yesterday in a hurry and my last message wasn't already clear:

"As the Socialist are last years in every poll are loosing the party is looking for a more leftist character defending the lower strata of society against the bourgeois mentality and especially the super rich..."

Of course it had to be:

"As the Socialists in Belgium the last years in every poll are loosing, the party is looking...

Kind regards and with esteem to both, Paul.
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