On Community

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Today, I’m going to look at the idea of community. Like many words with political connotations, this is a slippery one.

 

My own definition is: “a group of people with something in common.” The dictionary, however, gives several different senses. These include a political state, a condition of owning goods jointly, and “society at large.” Even when the sense is similar to mine, it’s often qualified by extra conditions. Such as people living in a particular area, or a sub-group within a larger society.

 

For me, the word has two strands of etymology. First, from the same root as “common.” Thus, a community is a group of people bound together by common traits. And second, from the Latin com- (with) and munire, to fortify; so meaning sharing walls. Thus, I think of a community as defined by two aspects: binding forces, which hold the people of the community together, and walls, which separate them from those outside.

 

Levels of community

 

In a traditional view, community has three, or perhaps four, levels. First, marriage. Second, the family. Third – though not everyone counts this – the day-to-day world of work and friendships. And at the top, “society,” which many identify with the political nation or state. But I find this view over-simple. I see, not three or four levels, but six. From the bottom up:

 

  1. Individual.
  2. Partnership.
  3. Family.
  4. Marketplace.
  5. Societies.
  6. Civilization (convivial community).

 

Many people don’t think of the individual as a community. But it is; it’s an ensemble consisting of one person. And every human being has both walls and a binding force. Our walls are of two kinds. First, the physical body, and second, our human rights and personal life-space. And the binding force, which holds each of us together, is our individual personality.

 

The second level is partnership. The most obvious example is traditional marriage; but it’s not the only kind of partnership. And a partnership isn’t necessarily restricted to just two people. In a partnership, the primary binding force is usually love. But there are others; such as companionship, comfort when you’re down, and sexual pleasure. As to walls, a partnership is a contract between its members. So, the walls of partnership are walls of contract.

 

The third level of community is family or, much the same thing in the West today, household. The walls are the walls of a home, and the binding force is kinship.

 

The fourth level is the marketplace, the community of those with whom individuals interact in their daily lives. Your marketplace includes those with whom you deal regularly or occasionally. It contains your friends, workmates, business partners, clients and suppliers, those you serve and those who serve you. It often also includes extended family. Here, the binding force of your marketplace is you. And the marketplace as a whole is the aggregate of all individuals’ marketplaces.

 

The walls of your marketplace, however, are more subtle; they are walls of choice. Absent coercion, intimidation and fraud, you – like all others – have a free marketplace. You can choose whom you interact with. And where it’s practical, you can seek to avoid dealing with those you don’t like. However, a free marketplace needs at least a minimal framework of civilization – one that deters aggression, violence and fraud, at least – in order to keep it free.

 

The fifth level is societies (plural). A society is a group of people who choose to work together for a common aim; such as a musical ensemble, a football club, a business or a church. Each society has its own goals and purposes, and may in some sense be said to have a “will.” In almost every case, it will also have officers, some of whom are more powerful than others.

 

Here, the forces binding a society are shared desires, shared aims and objectives, and a shared sense of identity. In addition, the members of many societies are bound together by shared customs. The walls of a society, on the other hand, separate members from non-members.

 

One kind of society, which has physical walls as well as walls of membership, is the commune. The purpose of some communes is merely to make life easier for a group of people who live in close proximity to each other; for example, a gated community. Other communes allow people to live alongside others with similar attitudes. Thus those of a particular religious persuasion may choose to form a commune, such as a monastery. Socialists can live in socialist communes, if they wish. And libertarians can live in libertarian communes, and libertines in libertine ones.

 

In my earlier writings, I called the sixth and highest level Civilization. But I’m now coming to prefer convivial community or convivial order. The latter phrase was coined by Belgian philosopher Frank van Dun. He describes the convivial order as one in which “people live together regardless of their membership, status, position, role or function in any, let alone the same, society.” What binds convivial people together is a shared willingness to behave in a convivial manner. And our walls are the rules of convivial conduct. Which, as a friend opined in response to one of my earlier essays, can be summed up as “Don’t be an asshole.”

 

Thus, the convivial community is a framework for living together. And it supports a community of those who choose to behave up to the standards of convivial conduct. However, this community is not, and never can be, a society. It has no president or chairman. It has no officials, no goals as a group, and no politics. And it is (will be), by its very nature, world-wide.

 

Characteristics of each level of community

 

Each level has its own features. In some, individuals have to accept what is already there. In others, we have free choice. Broadly, at the odd numbered levels we have to play the hand we’re dealt, at least up to a point. Whereas at the even numbered levels, we have freedom to choose for ourselves.

 

As individuals, we have to accept what we’re born as. We have to make the best we can of our particular strengths and weaknesses. In contrast, we have (absent coercion) the right freely to choose a partner. Or partners, if that’s the way we’re inclined. Or to go through life as independent individuals, if that’s what suits us.

 

We have to accept the family we’re born into, at least for the first 20 or so years of our lives. And if we decide to have children of our own, we have to take the responsibility of supporting and educating them until they are independent. In the marketplace, on the other hand, we have (again, absent coercion) free choice of whom we will deal with.

 

As to societies, we have to accept the rules of any society we choose to join, provided they’re reasonable. And we should accept the people in power in a society we join, as long as they work honestly for the good of the society and of its members. But we always have the right to leave any society, and to join another, or many others. Or to form our own societies.

 

Finally, the convivial community is again a level of individual choice. It’s our own choice to decide to behave towards our fellows in a convivial manner. And we choose who we count as our fellows by judging how far their conduct is convivial. Thus, conviviality does not arise from any social group. Rather, community arises out of shared conviviality.

 

In the convivial community, the individual – and his or her conduct – is everything. Neither race, skin colour, gender, age, physical size or attractiveness, geographical location, cultural origin, sexual tastes, nor even disability, are bars to entry to that community. And as to religion, the only stipulation is that you don’t try to foist your religion others.

 

Political society and political community

 

Lastly for today, I’ll look at the ideas of political community and political society.

 

Many people, particularly those of a more conservative bent, seem to feel a strong attachment to something they call the community. When I probe as to what this may be, I find that what they have in mind is a political community. Further, it seems to be coterminous with, if not exactly the same as, a political state or nation. Others, when they talk about a political unit, prefer to call it society. The more collectivist among them go so far as to dignify it with a capital S, and to place it up on a pedestal, like some deity.

 

But both these groups share one view; their politics is top down. For them, the state, the nation, community or society is all important. It has the right to impose its agendas on people, and to tell them how to behave. And the individual human being, and his or her rights, are of little or no importance in comparison.

 

A political society, broadly defined, is a society that takes part in politics. And, per Webster’s, politics is “the art or science of government.”  A political party, then, is an exemplar of a political society. Its purpose is to seek power, and when in power to impose its agendas. And it favours its own leaders and their cronies, and the party’s followers, at the expense of everyone else. Such parties lead towards political government, with its ruling class, taxes, moral privileges, bureaucracies, wars, bad laws and more or less corrupt “justice” system.

 

Myself, I want nothing to do with political parties, political governments or any other political society. I regard the parties, and those that take an active part in them, as disconvivial. That is, as far away from us convivials as criminals are from honest, peaceful people.

 

Moreover, I feel little if any sense of political community. Oh, the walls of a political “community” are clear enough; they’re its, more or less arbitrary, borders.  But what binds such a community together? Who, precisely, belongs to it? Those who live in its territory? Those born inside its borders? Those of a particular nationality? Those who share particular customs, language or culture? Do they include, for example, short term visitors? Long term visitors? Resident aliens? Asylum seekers? Recent immigrants? “Illegal” immigrants?

 

Moreover, imposition of harmful policies at the behest of activist groups, which has become a major feature of politics in recent years, can only have the effect of dissolving what little fellow feeling is left between the victims and their supposed cohorts.

 

To sum up

 

I see six levels of community. In increasing size, these are: the individual, the partnership, the family, the marketplace, societies, and the convivial community.

 

At some of these levels – the individual, family, societies – we have to accept, to a greater or lesser extent, what is already there. In the others, we have free choice, within the limits of convivial conduct. And at the highest level, the convivial community forms a framework, in which people can live together peacefully and well. And in which there is no place for politics, or for arbitrary borders, ruling classes, bad laws, injustices, taxes, bureaucracies or wars.

 

Comments

Neil Lock Added Dec 2, 2017 - 2:42am
This is a special plaudit for The Burghal Hidage, who kindly provided an apt and very succinct summary of my previous article on convivial conduct, in these words: "Don't be an asshole." Thank you, TBH.
Maureen Foster Added Dec 2, 2017 - 5:25am
If there is one thing we should agree on as it relates to community is that it has to consist of at least two or more.  Anything less and we have an individual.  I don’t think the word has any slippery political connotations, as it can be used to link any group of people. 
The Burghal Hidage Added Dec 2, 2017 - 7:29am
Neil - another in a series of very sound pieces :) Thanks for the shout out.
 
Now if you are prepared to wade further out into the marsh we can discuss the rights of communities. It should come as little surprise to anyone who has read my material that I am no fan of government. At all.  This does not, however, make me an anarchist.  Even where there is no "governing" order communities tend to develop a spontaneous order. Does a community which has developed from spontaneous order have a right to assert its collective authority in order to maintain the homeostasis of their order? In a free society communities should, at least in theory if not in fact, develop as a result of free association. Commonality is both the seed and the cement of these communities. Do they not have the right to reject that which disrupts or threatens their order?
 
I think you see what I am setting up for you here. Choke up on the old wicket :)
Dino Manalis Added Dec 2, 2017 - 7:50am
Community begins with individuals and families who behave with certain morals and values that make up society.
Jeff Jackson Added Dec 2, 2017 - 9:34am
Neil, your political philosophy is quite sound, with very accurate perceptions of the institutions involved.
opher goodwin Added Dec 2, 2017 - 10:26am
In biology a community is a group of species interacting within a location. I think that applies to a human community too. A community to me is a group of people, with their pets, gardens and plants, living together in an area with all the amenities that are required for them and interacting with each other. That includes individuals, families, friends, colleagues, neighbours, officials, workpeople, business people, service people etc. The way they get along and the ethos of the place is the spirit of that community.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 2, 2017 - 11:46am
If I understand you correctly you try to express your discomfort with collectivism. I get it. I'm very individualistic myself and nothing drives me up the wall as much as sheep and sycophants.
 
But then we don't have all the same psychological conditions. Some people can't lead. Quite basically they can't think for themselves unless somebody tells them what problem they have to solve. It is not a matter of intelligence.
 
I think a newbie is currently floating an article praising 'consensus'. Some people do better thinking within the boundaries intellectual leaders set for them. We shouldn't judge them. The smarter of them hopefully don't judge us. Though, I understand that it is hard to be fair with them in light of all the witchhunts they take part in.
 
So I don't know how to make peace between community type followers and individualist leader types. The basic condition of mankind does not change. Ideas?
Neil Lock Added Dec 2, 2017 - 1:03pm
Maureen: On another thread, Benjamin mentioned you and me in the same sentence, as two relative newbies to WB who are "sane." (Whatever that means). So welcome!
 
But I can't agree with your position that there cannot be a community of one. When we talk of a "one man band" - even in the limited sense of someone who plays several musical instruments, sometimes at the same time - we are talking about an individual who is versatile, who has more than one skill and more than one trick. For me, it's OK to call such an individual a "band," if he can sound like one.
 
I don't know how well up you are in mathematics (that was my degree subject, long ago). But in mathematics there is something called a "group." It's a set of elements with a number of other features too technical to describe. But there is a smallest group; one which consists only of a single element, called the "identity." To be fair, it's a very uninteresting group in the scheme of things. But it's still a group. So, for me community consisting of only one individual is still a community.
 
As a third argument, in British political theory there is something called "the Crown." In essence, it's a one-person company, so also a one-person community. It's the thing that "legitimizes" the passing of power from one monarch to the next. Le roi est mort! Vive le roi! 
 
As to slippery use of the word "community," I gave the example of conservatives who refer to "the community" when they really mean the nation or state. I think that's slippery - singling out one particular candidate for community as the one, when as you rightly say the word can refer to any group of people linked by something.
 
When I started this reply, I didn't mean to go on so long. But many thanks for your comment.
Neil Lock Added Dec 2, 2017 - 1:19pm
TBH: The pleasure is mine.
 
I am indeed acutely aware that some kind of justice system is necessary for civilized living. I'm no more an anarchist than you are. And I'm working -slowly, gradually - towards some kind of solution to the problems you mention. Be patient, and if (when) I can get things clear enough in my own mind, all shall be revealed!
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 2, 2017 - 1:20pm
Neil: I find it funny how you go into algebra or set theory to come around to something trivial. Yes, mathematically a set can have one element. In English a community is usually understood to have more than one individual as Maureen correctly noted. I have not seen a conservative use the word community for the nation before. A nation is a community but not every community is a nation. I never saw a slippery slope use of the word that would lead to a misunderstanding. But everything has a first.
Neil Lock Added Dec 2, 2017 - 1:23pm
Dino: You're basically right, though I'd say that it's Civilization rather than society which is rooted in moral principles. Many societies, religious, political and other, and both past and present, have lost contact with moral principles. And the consequences are always bad.
Neil Lock Added Dec 2, 2017 - 1:26pm
Jeff J: Thank you.
Neil Lock Added Dec 2, 2017 - 1:35pm
Opher: No, I don't accept your idea of "ethos of the place." Places don't have an ethos. Only people can have an ethos. And it's hard even for the population of a particular area to have a shared ethos.
 
On another thread, you mentioned a city near you, which had embraced, if I may paraphrase you, "progress at any cost." You strongly disagree with that ethos, don't you? So how can you claim that any "place" - like your county, or England as a whole - which includes both you and that city, can have a shared ethos?
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 2, 2017 - 1:39pm
I think, there is a big disagreement whether an element of a group community is an identity element. If the operation is addition a conservative would argue that the community changes in nature by adding the element. A marriage is not the same with a second wife, adding to many foreign individuals to a culture changes the culture etc. I think this is were the left and the right fundamentally disagree.
Neil Lock Added Dec 2, 2017 - 1:41pm
Benjamin: I'm getting ahead of myself here, but there's an obvious example of a way in which people of your two different flavours, individualists and followers, can co-operate for the good of all.
 
And in that way, which I call true capitalism , individualists become entrepreneurs and highly skilled people, and followers become ordinary workers.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 2, 2017 - 2:24pm
Neil: Yes, this is one way.
 
I don't have the answers of the universe, either.
 
But I think already the American founding fathers pondered about how to avoid the tribalist nature of mankind. The American constitution is set up to avoid political parties. We all know that it does not do this perfectly.
 
One suggestion of mine would be that leaders make clear to their followers that other leaders and their followers are not attacked unfairly.
 
The rules by which conflicts are fought out must be clearly supported by leaders. We want debates instead of physical altercations. A market of ideas accessible to all must be guaranteed. Decisions that are not in favor of the own group (e.g. election results) must be accepted for a sensible time.
 
Every leader must ensure that the followers don't engage in purity spirals. This is risky because competitors can topple leaders who don't enforce his doctrine.
 
Here are two good videos on purity spirals and collectivism.
- purity spirals
- collectivism
opher goodwin Added Dec 2, 2017 - 3:34pm
Neil - I disagree with you here. My school had an ethos that persisted despite changes in staff and policy. Certain areas of cities, due to architecture and history, have a distinct ethos that actually changes the people who move into it. Architects design buildings to affect their ethos and inform the people who live or move through them. Some are intimidating. Some are friendly.
A ethos is more complicated that simply people.
opher goodwin Added Dec 2, 2017 - 3:35pm
Neil - I think that there is a prevailing ethos that affects everyone. One only has to look at certain eras to realise how that ethos prevails - the 1930s, the 1960s, the 1970s. They were all distinct.
Jeff Michka Added Dec 2, 2017 - 5:46pm
Maureen F sez: If there is one thing we should agree on as it relates to community is that it has to consist of at least two or more.  Anything less and we have an individual.-gotta agree with that "two or more" definition.  I've always thought that communities of any kind were also made up of neighborhoods, and within defining what those "neighborhoods" are, in turn defines the "community." AND opher states: Architects design buildings to affect their ethos and inform the people who live or move through them. Some are intimidating. Some are friendly.-some aren't, perhaps but not designed to be unfriendly, it just works out that way? Our communities can also be designed that way at many different levels from physical to spiritual.
opher goodwin Added Dec 2, 2017 - 6:35pm
Jeff - I think some buildings - like courts, palaces, parliament and councils are designed to intimidate individuals. Cathedrals, temples and mosques are designed to create awe. The ethos of those buildings is created by design.
Neil Lock Added Dec 3, 2017 - 4:06am
Opher: I suppose I could agree, cynically, that a building can have an ethos; in that it reflects the ethos of those who paid for it and/or designed it. I think of those 1820s-ish buildings in the centre of Vienna, for example, which have an intimidating air of Hapsburg power.
 
And, equally cynically, I suppose I could agree that, in places and at times where a particular political ideology is dominant, those places and times acquire some kind of ethos. Like the ethos of South Africa, for several decades, was apartheid. And of the Soviet Union, for several decades which overlapped the apartheid period, was (more or less dictatorial) communism.
 
For me, people who agree on an ethos (like a particular political ideology) should form a society, in which they can live according to that ethos. But beyond the basics of respecting others' rights and convivial behaviour, no-one should be subjected to anyone else's ethos.
opher goodwin Added Dec 3, 2017 - 4:16am
Why cynically Neil?
I am a believer in a zeitgeist - some psychological bond that operates between people. I think science has a lot more to discover on group psychology.
It is very hard in the modern world where people are packed together and movement is difficult for people to collect together under any ideology. We are all subjected to the prevailing ethos whether we like it or not.
I hate Brexit, for a variety of reasons, but it looks like I'm going to be subjected to it and the social state of mind that follows.
I'm sure a lot of Americans hate Trump and all he stands for but are going to be subjected to that prevailing ethos.
Back in the sixties various like-minded groups dropped out and naively set up communes with various degrees of success. It didn't last.
Neil Lock Added Dec 3, 2017 - 4:30am
Maureen: The reason I reacted as I did to your comment was that it said "you're wrong," but not why you thought I was wrong. That's actually a very difficult kind of comment to deal with. If you ignore it, you're in danger of later being told, "see, I said you were wrong, and you couldn't answer it." If you answer forcefully, you're in danger of getting into an unnecessarily heated argument. It's always good, when you disagree, to say as clearly as you can why you disagree. Watch the way Opher does it - he's a master at this.
 
My point, in placing the individual as a community, was that any sane system must see the rights of individuals as (at least) as important as the rights of larger social groupings. Those who see the individual as something different from, and less than, the group, will inevitably tend towards an authoritarianism that will, ultimately, strip away individual rights.
 
Benjamin: A nation is a community but not every community is a nation. Yes, spot on. Indeed, every society is a community, but not every community is a society. That's actually implicit in the way I put the article together; but I'll add that statement, and something to cover the other points raised, next time I revise the essay.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 3, 2017 - 5:04am
Neil, it just strikes me that you said your father used the expression 'meat loafer' for extremely gullible follower types. If meat is pronounced with a short vowal like in 'fit' that is actually the Berlin accent for the word 'Mitläufer'. The rest of Germany would pronounce it more like 'mit loyfer'.
opher goodwin Added Dec 3, 2017 - 7:29am
Thanks for the mention Neil. It's good to be considered masterful at something.
I too see the rights of individuals and minority groups as important. I think society has got better at that, don't you? I think one measure of how well a community functions is to assess how well it treats its eccentrics, critics, minorities and loners. If they are made welcome and accommodated then I reckon that community is high functioning.
Jeff Michka Added Dec 3, 2017 - 1:35pm
opher g notes: I think one measure of how well a community functions is to assess how well it treats its eccentrics, critics, minorities and loners. If they are made welcome and accommodated then I reckon that community is high functioning-Well put.
opher goodwin Added Dec 3, 2017 - 3:51pm
Thanks Jeff.
Dave Volek Added Dec 4, 2017 - 4:04pm
Another great article
 
[The political party's] purpose is to seek power, and when in power to impose its agendas. And it favours its own leaders and their cronies, and the party’s followers, at the expense of everyone else.
 
This bears repeating again (and I have just done so). In my book, I try to make the point very clear that a politician's first loyalty is to his party. Second is the society.
 
If we want to change this relationship, we have to construct a new system of governance without political parties.
 
Those who stand aside and only criticize are part of the problem.
 
-----
 
I ran into some research a decade or so ago that stated most of us are only able to keep track of about 150 people in our lives. People may move in and out of our "community," but we really can't expand it.
 
 
 
 
 
Neil Lock Added Dec 4, 2017 - 6:53pm
Dave: Thanks for your kind comment. Indeed, I'm planning to reference your TDG idea (though not in those words) in my next essay. It's a decent candidate for a way of organizing large societies. (Oh, and Trump owes his position to it... yes, that's a fact!)
 
As to the idea that each of us can only be bonded at one time to 150 people; the figure I heard was 250 to 300, but it's the same idea. I'm starting to wonder how big the "communities" we live in (towns and cities) should ideally be. Two levels of TDG? I'd value your thoughts on this.
Neil Lock Added Dec 4, 2017 - 7:03pm
Benjamin: Thank you for paying my father a huge compliment!
Jeff Michka Added Dec 4, 2017 - 8:27pm
opher said: If they are made welcome and accommodated then I reckon that community is high functioning-I actually got a chance to use your line when speaking with a local city councilguy that lives in the neighborhood.  He concurred with the statement in a context of something I'll have to raise a stink about, if I want to provide some temporary space for a few homeless folks on my property while they wait for more permanent and better-service space.  But a local Trumpist has decided to put up a stink, calling the homeless "criminals without a place to live," that will make the neighborhood "Unsafe." Hmmm.  I guess when they same folks crash in a gully in a local park, it's all different.  Homelessness is a community issue, needing the community to solve it, in part.  They're human beings, but can't necessarily say same thing about the Trumpist.
Neil Lock Added Dec 4, 2017 - 8:55pm
Jeff: It's your right to help those you care about. And no politician or bureaucrat has any right to tell you otherwise. If you want to help homeless people, and you have the resources to do it, then do it in whatever way you can!
 
The people caught in that situation aren't criminals, unless they commit real crimes - not just being "illegal" according to the whims of a bunch of politicians.
 
When you think about homeless people, ask: Who caused it? Hint: it isn't you. Or me.
Dave Volek Added Dec 4, 2017 - 9:10pm
Neil:
When I formulated the TDG some 25 years ago, I had set the size of each neighborhood in the TDG to less than 300. Any more than that, the citizens start losing too much touch with their elected neighborhood representative, and the credibility of government starts breaking down. Then I found that "150" research which sort of confirmed my insights. Each TDG will develop its own boundaries and size of neighborhood. There will be some experimentation to see what really works best. Could be anywhere from 25 to 250. 
 
Some of our "community" should encompass our geographical area. Unfortunately much of our community is outside of our area, so many of us don't know our neighbors well. I believe the TDG will help pull these local communities a little closer together.
 
The inspiration was when I was living in Edmonton. Next door to my house was a lady who was a friendly type. She managed to get about eight houses together and we socialized quite frequently. We had different religions, different ages, different incomes, different family structures, etc. We helped each other out with small tasks and errands. It was really nice. We need more communities like that!
opher goodwin Added Dec 5, 2017 - 3:43pm
Jeff - well thank you for using that line. I take it as a compliment.  I hope it was useful.
It is a great shame that people are so quick to apply a negative stereotype and display such a lack of compassion. A week or two sleeping rough might change their disposition and attitude somewhat, don't you think?
It is a community issue and people have so many genuine reasons for being homeless. I suggest that many people have a lack of empathy. Good for you in standing up for them.
opher goodwin Added Dec 5, 2017 - 3:44pm
Neil - I fully concur and second your statement.
opher goodwin Added Dec 5, 2017 - 3:44pm
Dave - that sounds amazing.
Jeff Michka Added Dec 5, 2017 - 5:48pm
opher g. sez: I suggest that many people have a lack of empathy. Good for you in standing up for them.- Well, even midst WBers, others have related doing things to really help the homeless, as did Donna, which sorta brought up what may well become a real confrontation.  Most neighbors know the Trumpist from his kid, who bullies other kids, in specific latinos, at school and on the streets.  When it came up last year at school, the school district bought into his dad's defense that his son was merely "expressing a popular political point of view," and if he was punished, gawd and Trumpists would fall on them.  A 12 YR old knows they are bullying when they pick on an 8 yr old girl by telling her she will be deported, her parents will be deported (they are citizens of the US) and physically pushing around another young latino boy of 9, and taunting him the same way.  That was on the road in front of my house, and it got broken up by a stream of cold water from a garden hose.  I think Trumpist human garbage who hate everyone not like them.  Now I've got to fight this guy who's going around to people telling them we're bringing "homeless people" into the neighborhood to "prey on them."  huh?
opher goodwin Added Dec 6, 2017 - 7:17am
Jeff - we have the same thing happening here following Brexit. It has given licence to every racist and fascist under the sun. They are going round telling everyone with a foreign accent or coloured skin to get out. It is really unpleasant.
You're doing great. Fight him. He's deplorable.
Jeff Michka Added Dec 6, 2017 - 3:11pm
opher g notes: You're doing great. Fight him. He's deplorable. -We'll see, and thanks for the thought.AND (Following Brexit) It has given licence to every racist and fascist under the sun. They are going round telling everyone with a foreign accent or coloured skin to get out. It is really unpleasant.-Trumpists won the presidency, but have not manage to silence or frighten everyone.  Yup, looks like this might become a knockdown drag out fight.  I don't think the Trumpist realizes he's pissed off a lot of people who just don't think like he does.  In fact, literally, he's surrounded by people that don't think like he does.  Folks need to speak up against the blind race and class hatreds being expressed.  Talking "nice and sweet" doesn't work.
opher goodwin Added Dec 6, 2017 - 4:07pm
Jeff - I agree. Talking sweet is seen as weakness. They need telling straight that what they stand for is complete crap. There are better ways of living.
Jeff Michka Added Dec 6, 2017 - 4:28pm
Dave Volek sez: We had different religions, different ages, different incomes, different family structures, etc. We helped each other out with small tasks and errands. It was really nice. We need more communities like that! -Sounds like a good, neighborhood foundation was built.  And that's how it starts. street by street, cul de sac by cul de sac.AND Jeff - I agree. Talking sweet is seen as weakness. They need telling straight that what they stand for is complete crap.-The Trumpist idiot was out right before it got dark yesterday afternoon strapped with a pistol in a holster and carrying a shotgun marching around the perimeter of his property, grunting and glaring...This is the kind of person that shouldn't legally be armed.  He's been convicted of domestic violence, so should be disarmed.  If his blustering continues, time for the cops to disarm him.  Also this is grist for the mill.  The folks were only going to be here until between Xmas and New Year when some more permanent housing options would become available, so time is running out.  So mentioning the armed "showing" may prompt quicker action.  These folks are no threat, all of them work, etc.  But the tag of "homeless" makes them supposedly dangerous, lazy and just waiting to pounce on people living nearby, and they all "chose" to live this way.  Based on?  The sorta crap that has populated WB from the rightist fan club.  Gee i's so much a "choice" to live in a tent in subfreezing weather...This situation is one reason I've ran short of patience here.  Enough!!!
Neil Lock Added Dec 7, 2017 - 5:14am
Barath and Jeff M: Can you turn the volume down a bit, please?
 
Barath, you're the one that started the insults. Jeff M was behaving perfectly reasonably when talking to others (for example Dave, Opher and myself) on this thread. I'm all in favour of spirited debate, and I recognize that sometimes it can get a bit heated. But insults without content are not acceptable on my threads.
opher goodwin Added Dec 7, 2017 - 7:22am
Seconded Neil - Barath is way out of order. Where did all that abuse come from?
opher goodwin Added Dec 7, 2017 - 7:25am
Jeff - that Trumpist guy sounds a complete nutcase. It seems to me that these people are driven by exaggerated fear. They see homelessness or immigrants as a threat out of all proportion to reality. They let their imagination run riot. They themselves then become the bigger threat both to themselves and everyone else.
Passion Blues Added Dec 7, 2017 - 7:39am
Neil- Look to writerbeat for examples....I kinda like the community we have developed here. A lot of what you gentlemen speak of plays out even in our little "community". And Ive always thought living on a commune could be fun!
opher goodwin Added Dec 7, 2017 - 8:35am
PB - I think in general writerbeat does function as a community. It does facilitate exchange of views between disparate individuals in a largely respectful manner (with a few exceptions). That's good.
Dave Volek Added Dec 7, 2017 - 9:06am
Opher
 
Yes, I have to concur that we do have a little community here.
 
I try to bring my Edmonton experience to my current geographical community. Unfortunately, it has a long ways to go. But we are civil to each other and stop for a little chit-chat when we see each other in the parking lot.
 
 
 
 
Jeff Michka Added Dec 7, 2017 - 10:55am
opher sez: They see homelessness or immigrants as a threat out of all proportion to reality-Yup, and now that the US has stuck its foot in it, I'm sure we can add Palestine to the travel ban, but wonder how long it will be before a terrorist attack "forces" a false flag to be waved over anybody not white as "terrorists," thereby justifying a removal of rights from ALL Americans, like "don't EVER say bad things about Trump, only terrorist don't like Trump, and as a result "there goes the neighborhood."  And yeah, it's all about fear.  It gets peddled on WB, elsewhere like water for the thirsty.  "I'm so scared!" should replace the "Land of the free, home of the brave." meme.  Land of the enslaved and home of the cowards is really where it's at.
Neil Lock Added Dec 7, 2017 - 10:58am
Passion Blues, Opher, Dave: Yes, we do have a kind of community here. I call it "Autumn's Coffee House." In fact,  I think the 18th century coffee house is actually a pretty good model for what we've got here.
 
In the terms I use in the article, this community is part of the marketplace (people you choose to deal with, but don't have any particular common purpose with). And maybe some geographical communities (but by no means all) have, as people have said here, something that binds the people together more than mere geography. I'll look to add something about these next time I revise the article. 
Jeff Michka Added Dec 7, 2017 - 11:18am
Neil L sez:  we do have a kind of community here. I call it "Autumn's Coffee House." In fact,  I think-That sounds a whole lot like Howie Rheingold's "Digital Community" stuff.  Howie has been touting this stuff for decades, claiming how digital communities should replace physical communities, etc.  We traded barbs about real communities vs digital communities over 30 years ago on "The Well."  I'm not a huge Howie fan, his ego seemingly outstripping his posed ambitions, but: http://rheingold.com/
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Dec 7, 2017 - 1:08pm
Back in the sixties various like-minded groups dropped out and naively set up communes with various degrees of success. It didn't last.
 
Because they rejected the ideology of profit and growth which is a dead-end anyway. But to change that is IMPOSSIBLE. Only all-out-war and ecologic catastrophies could turn that over but it's unlikely. Homo Sapiens is clearly NOT READY for a new kind of society which takes nature and mind into account.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Dec 7, 2017 - 1:14pm
BTW: Small communities work everywhere, because there is a certain "social control", and people tend to "behave", if not, exclusion of the community would be almost deadly. But this doesn't work in large communities, i.e. countries.
 
Africa had hundreds of small "kingdoms" - small in size and socially controllable.
 
The best example US people tell me: Direct democracy works in Switzerland, because it's SMALL. In the US - nope. Too big, too many different interests, too many people. In that respect, Billy Roper is right with his balkanization theory.
Neil Lock Added Dec 7, 2017 - 3:51pm
Barath: As governmental pressure toward unity becomes greater, so strife becomes more bitter as to whose unity it shall be. Yup.
 
But Justice (Jeff) Jackson has already commented on this thread! :-)
Jeff Michka Added Dec 7, 2017 - 6:21pm
I guess this thread died at the hands of Barath "The Avenger."  What an idiot.  Of course he voted for Trump. 
Neil Lock Added Dec 8, 2017 - 5:40am
Barath: I'm wading through your comments one by one. I'm still at the point before things between you and Jeff M got nasty (again).
 
You say: we cannot have 20,000 different legal standards, but one for the United States. Well actually, you do have 50 or so different legal standards in the US. Selling alcohol on a Sunday is illegal in Kentucky, for example, but perfectly OK in California. My own solution to this problem, for what it's worth, is to have a basic core of law that applies to everyone, and let individual societies impose further rules on their members if they want to.
Neil Lock Added Dec 8, 2017 - 5:49am
Barath and Jeff M: It seems that both of you are able to interact constructively with other people on this site, but for some reason you can't do the same with each other. I am loath to start deleting comments from either of you; as I've said elsewhere, they deserve to stand as a reminder of idiocy. It seems that your dispute is primarily about religion, so can I suggest that one of you sets up a new thread with a headpost that states your position, and you can fight each other there as you wish.
opher goodwin Added Dec 8, 2017 - 1:17pm
Wow - how things can degenerate!
Writerbeat is a community - there should be respect even if people do not agree.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Dec 8, 2017 - 5:24pm
What the fuck is this ?
 
Sorry for your thread, Neil.
 
Barath
 
Maybe a long dive in the Gangha would do you well.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Dec 8, 2017 - 5:27pm
Opher
 
Writerbeat is a community - there should be respect even if people do not agree.
 
That's what happens with people on the keyboard who know best. But frankly...I think Jeff has a point.....
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Dec 8, 2017 - 5:30pm
BTW: I've made that experience with anglophones which accused me being a little germanophone Swiss mountain goat of not having sufficient knowledge of English.
 
And funny...they all had no anglophone names.....like immigrants *blow bluster pretend*
 
Naja, was soll's fuck it - anyway, Neil, good article.
Jeff Michka Added Dec 8, 2017 - 10:03pm
Ain't free speech downright amazing? LOL
A. Jones Added Dec 9, 2017 - 1:23am
I prefer the more carefully drawn definitions of French Neo-Scholastic philosopher, Jacques Maritain:
 
"Community" is a concept ultimately rooted in biological nature: one is born into a particular community.
 
"Society" is a concept ultimately rooted in social contract: one agrees to join a society and agrees to remain in it.
Neil Lock Added Dec 9, 2017 - 5:12pm
Jeff Michka: I've taken a deeper look at what has happened on this thread, and I understand that you are not the guilty party. I plan to make a formal complaint to Autumn about the way Barath Nagarajan has behaved here.
 
You are welcome to comment on my threads going forward. But please keep it polite!
Jeff Michka Added Dec 9, 2017 - 5:34pm
Neil, thanks for the review.  But seems the thread has died, and Barath buried it. Barath tries: A point of view is the expression of a belief, which is content void( my edit) or without point of view preference, save he wanted to pick a fight, obviously can't quote a word to back his assertions, but felt the necessity to go ahead.  He even just pee'd on you, usually and "back home," it would be Barath peeing in the Ganges, THE MOST SACRED AND LARGEST PUBLIC RESTROOM IN India.  I don't think Autumn will take action, but go ahead.  Free Speech is also for all the hyperfrustrated Trumpists like Barath. These folks are turning themselves inside out "with all the wins".  Hah and LOL  Sorry, Neil.
Neil Lock Added Dec 9, 2017 - 5:44pm
To close the loop, here's the e-mail I sent to Autumn:
 
Hi Autumn,
 
An individual calling himself “Barath Nagarajan” has been disrupting my thread here: http://writerbeat.com/articles/19660-On-Community
 
I have dealt with the issue myself as well as I can. He seems to have a particular problem with another commenter called Jeff Michka. Initially I saw both as culpable, but having examined the evidence, I see that Jeff Michka was provoked. I’m not happy with how either of them have behaved, but I’ve already told Jeff Michka that I’m happy for him to comment on my threads in future.
 
But now I find that the same Barath Nagarajan is disrupting Opher Goodwin’s thread here: http://writerbeat.com/articles/19705-A-Perfect-Society---a-Vision-
 
In my view, it would probably be a good idea to ban Barath Nagarajan at this point. I’ll post a copy of this e-mail on Opher’s thread.
 
Cheers,
Neil
Jeff Michka Added Dec 9, 2017 - 7:50pm
Neil: Okay, and I couldn't remember where I had seen weird comments from "The Avenger of Amaritsar" before, but it was opher's other thread.
Neil Lock Added Dec 10, 2017 - 4:34am
All: Prompted by Autumn, I have deleted all Barath Nagarajan's comments on this thread, and those of Jeff Michka's which were purely responses to him and had no other content.
 
Oh, and Mr. Nagarajan need not fear about his comments being lost. I took a complete copy of the thread before deleting anything. :-)
Barath Nagarajan Added Dec 10, 2017 - 7:12am
Neil Lock:
   Please send a copy through Autumn to me for my records. I wrote them, they belong to me.
     I'm in fear of racist people who think everyone is here to serve White people. I'm in fear of liberals who think the way you do. I'm in fear of people who conspire against my rights. I'm in fear of injustice, torture persecution and I will never stop speaking out against injustice and the proven Devil and those that worship him, Neil.
     
Barath Nagarajan Added Dec 10, 2017 - 7:27am
Neil Lock and Autumn:
   It seems to me that, that is the speech that needs protection. The speech that people do not like. The speech that people like never needed protection. 
   A preacher preached about those who go to Hell on a Sunday, he called them garbage. My neighbors mother stopped going to church in 1996 her preacher said she would go to hell.
   And you can go to hell too with your racist liberal community.
Jeff Michka Added Dec 12, 2017 - 4:36pm
Hmm. Not sure if I should comment or call in exorcists, first.  However, the comment really belongs ob ophers thread about "Perfect Society," but whether changes by default in neighborhoods where the elements of community reside, or organize as Dave Volek advocates, we need the "smaller elements" to take root somewhere, so better/best outcomes mean our neighborhoods where elements of community reside and take root in a place we feel a measure of comminality and control, in our own neighborhoods.