Friday, January 04, 2013
  Black-boxing the Gramscians

Black-boxing is a common diagnostic technique for everything from electronics to cars to software to humans. It's difficult or impossible to 'get inside' such objects, and even if you could 'get inside', you probably wouldn't be able to understand the wiring or code or hydraulics or organs well enough to draw any conclusions. So you apply an external stimulus in two different levels or conditions, and watch how the object responds to each level. This still requires a fair amount of knowledge and wisdom to separate your stimulus from everything else that's happening, but it will often give you a usable picture of the internal workings.


We have two different stimuli applied to the same 'input terminal' of the British government right now. The government responds quite differently to these stimuli, giving us a nice usable picture of the internal logic.

Stimulus 1:
Foreign companies like Starbucks and Amazon which have avoided paying large corporation tax bills in Britain lack "moral scruples", David Cameron has said.

The Prime Minister said he was going to make “damn sure” that foreign companies like Starbucks and Amazon which have been found to avoid legally paying a large corporation tax in the UK paid their fair share.


Stimulus 2:
A new ruling by a High Court judge - the first on the issue in nearly a decade - says that Christians have no right to decline working on Sunday as it is not a “core component” of their beliefs.
This follows on a number of similar decisions forbidding Christians from wearing a cross in public, and forbidding Muslim girls from wearing the hijab in school.

= = = = =

Both stimuli involve foreigners, and both are applied to the 'morality' terminal of British gov't. The outputs are sharply opposite.

When the foreign morality is rapacious capitalism, perfectly exemplified by the satanic Amazon and Google ("Do nothing but evil") ... the gov't makes some fruitless squeaky noises but refuses to change any laws or even enforce existing laws. Satan can steal money from British taxpayers with impunity.

When the foreign morality is Christian or Muslim, the gov't comes down hard with full force to eradicate all symbols or actions that might represent God.

I'm not picking on Britain here. American, Australian and EU governments work the same way, but these two simultaneous 'readings' on the UK government happen to provide a nice neat picture of the Gramscian transfer function.
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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