Prisons and Unemployment

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Prisons and Unemployment

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Tue Dec 25, 2018 6:29 pm

While the US is busy congratulating itself on having full employment these days (3.7% unemployment last June), I did a back-of-the-envelope computation on the effect of our prison system in reducing unemployment. The American incarceration rate is 0.724%. The rate in England and Wales is 0.145% (which is about mid-range among nations). To get to that modest rate (surely not an absurd goal) we'd have to release from prison 0.579% of the population (slightly under 2 million people, or 1.25% of the work force of 160 million), all of them adults, who presumably would then have to look for work, which would drive our unemployment rate close to 5%. Just another reason why I don't trust the unemployment figures.

My takeaway: Never forget that 1.5% of the American work force is incarcerated at any given time. Add that to the official unemployment rate.
“It is certainly sad and regrettable that so many innocent people died…Stalin was absolutely adamant on making doubly sure: spare no one…I don’t deny that I supported that view. I was simply not able to study every individual case…It was hard to draw a precise line where to stop.”

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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by ElectricMonk » Tue Dec 25, 2018 6:45 pm

You are forgetting how many prisoners are next to unpaid labor for the profit of the companies running the prison.

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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by Poodle » Tue Dec 25, 2018 6:51 pm

Two million pairs of hands would have THAT wall up in no time.

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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:17 pm

More insightful have been recent presentations calling the American Prison System: "Slavery by Another Name"...and the analysis is quite striking.

America: founded on a Crime. Ha, ha...............the debate: which of the several do you mean?
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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:29 am

Poodle wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 6:51 pm
Two million pairs of hands would have THAT wall up in no time.
Yeah, that was Stalin's solution to the problem of building infrastructure, like the White Sea Canal. Maybe time to bring it back.
“It is certainly sad and regrettable that so many innocent people died…Stalin was absolutely adamant on making doubly sure: spare no one…I don’t deny that I supported that view. I was simply not able to study every individual case…It was hard to draw a precise line where to stop.”

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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:32 am

I have always thought that any kind of "Civilian Conservation Corp" "Volunteers for America"///Jobs Program/// was/is/would be money well spent. Get the kiddies into a new environment: the World is more than what you have been shown so far. Payment to be minimal: learning to the max. Make em read books if they are capable.....play sports or go dig another hole if not.........
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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by TJrandom » Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:32 am

Poodle wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 6:51 pm
Two million pairs of hands would have THAT wall up in no time.
I'll need to find my CD of chain gang work songs. Surely they need to be dusted off and re-worded to bring them up to date.

I hear somethin' sayin'
That's the sound of the men working on the chain ga-a-ang
That's the sound of the men working on the chain gang
All day long they're singin'
(Hooh aah) (hooh aah)
(Hooh aah) (hooh aah)
That's the sound of the men working on the chain ga-a-ang
That's the sound of the men working on the chain gang
All day long they work so hard
Till the sun is goin' down
Working on the highwalls and bywalls
And wearing, wearing a frown
You hear them moanin' their lives away
Then you hear somebody sa-ay
That's the sound of the men working on the chain ga-a-ang
That's the sound of the men working on the chain gang


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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:15 pm

TJrandom wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:32 am
Poodle wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 6:51 pm
Two million pairs of hands would have THAT wall up in no time.
I'll need to find my CD of chain gang work songs. Surely they need to be dusted off and re-worded to bring them up to date.

I hear somethin' sayin'
That's the sound of the men working on the chain ga-a-ang
That's the sound of the men working on the chain gang
All day long they're singin'
(Hooh aah) (hooh aah)
(Hooh aah) (hooh aah)
That's the sound of the men working on the chain ga-a-ang
That's the sound of the men working on the chain gang
All day long they work so hard
Till the sun is goin' down
Working on the highwalls and bywalls
And wearing, wearing a frown
You hear them moanin' their lives away
Then you hear somebody sa-ay
That's the sound of the men working on the chain ga-a-ang
That's the sound of the men working on the chain gang

Thanks! I LOVED that piece. The rhythms have a relentless energy that penetrates. In a way it conveys the same message of despair as that of the Volga barge-pullers (men in harness on the shore, pulling barges along the Volga), even though those were not necessarily serfs and were mostly not prisoners. "Hooh-ahh" is even a good echo of what the old Russian piece has, much better than "Yo heave ho," which is the traditional translation of "Ehhh UKHnem" ("Ukhnem" just means roughly, "let's grunt!" that is, Let's say "OOKH!")

Later edit: I listened to it again after many years and found my memory needed a bit of correction. Here's what it sounds like (and looked like)



Эй, ухнем! Эй, ухнем!
Ещё разик, ещё да раз.

Разовьём мы берёзу,
Разовьём мы кудряву.
Ай да, да ай да,
Ай да, да ай да,
разовьём мы кудряву.

Мы по бережку идём.
Песню солнышку поём.
Ай да, да ай да,
Ай да, да ай да,
Песню солнышку поём.

Волга, Волга мать-река,
Широка и глубока.
Ай да, да ай да,
Ай да, да ай да,
Широка и глубока.

Ey, ukhnem! Ey ukhnem!
One more little time,
And one more time.

Let’s unwind the birch,
Unwind the gnarly.
Ay, yes, yes, ay, yes.
Ay, yes, yes, ay, yes.
Unwind the gnarly.

We're walking along the riverbank,
Singing a song to the sun.
Ay, yes, yes, ay, yes.
Ay, yes, yes, ay, yes.
Singing a song to the sun.

Volga, Volga, mother-river,
Wide and deep.
Ay, yes, yes, ay, yes.
Ay, yes, yes, ay, yes.
Wide and deep.
Last edited by Upton_O_Goode on Wed Dec 26, 2018 10:28 pm, edited 4 times in total.
“It is certainly sad and regrettable that so many innocent people died…Stalin was absolutely adamant on making doubly sure: spare no one…I don’t deny that I supported that view. I was simply not able to study every individual case…It was hard to draw a precise line where to stop.”

Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Skryabin (“Molotov”)

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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by Gord » Wed Dec 26, 2018 6:33 pm

Poodle wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 6:51 pm
Two million pairs of hands would have THAT wall up in no time.
Not if they all just stepped a few feet southward.
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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Thu Dec 27, 2018 12:32 am

It turns out to be a bit more complicated than I thought, as I had not considered the fact that America has privatized many of its prisons. This puts us roughly in the same class with the French system so eloquently described by Victor Hugo in Les misérables, where the forçat Jean Valjean is released after 19 years in prison, having earned, during that time au bagne, 178 francs. Even Hugo's villain Javert, on the last day of his life, comes to realize that people who get arrested are exploited for private gain and writes a note decrying this abuse.

So, America's incarcerated population is fully part of the work force, just not fully part of the paid work force.

It gets to be very discouraging. Every rock I turn over in the American social and political system seems to reveal some slimy reptile serving the interests of the wealthy few.

So, if we can privatize the prisons, why not also the police, the fire fighters, the judges,....? Is there ANYTHING the neocon/libertarian freaks will admit is a responsibility of the GOVERNMENT, to be paid for out of TAX revenues, and available on an equal basis to EVERYONE?
“It is certainly sad and regrettable that so many innocent people died…Stalin was absolutely adamant on making doubly sure: spare no one…I don’t deny that I supported that view. I was simply not able to study every individual case…It was hard to draw a precise line where to stop.”

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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Dec 27, 2018 1:24 am

Privatizing is one issue probably more EVIL than the unrelated (other than the concomitant motivation of greed) issue of involuntary slave labor. Its illegal in most of the world?

Yay America!!!!
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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Thu Dec 27, 2018 11:59 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 1:24 am
Privatizing is one issue probably more EVIL than the unrelated (other than the concomitant motivation of greed) issue of involuntary slave labor. Its illegal in most of the world?

Yay America!!!!
Preface. I know you don't like quotations, bobbo, but after many decades of reading, there are so many passages that struck me and are now stuck in the bottom of my brain (brain sludge), that I can't resist using them. (Even as I write this sentence, I can't help remembering something I read in Emerson, making your point: "I know what the great men have thought. Now tell me what you think." And, by the way, I don't enjoy this compulsion. I have long maintained that it is not possible to write worse English prose than Emerson wrote. So why do some of his utterances stick in my mind like an aspirin commercial?)

OK, preface now out of the way, here's my quotation of the moment:
Henry Thoreau wrote:I sometimes wonder that we can be so frivolous, I may almost say, as to attend the somewhat gross but somewhat foreign form of servitude called Negro Slavery, there are so many keen and subtle masters that enslave both North and South.


Thoreau spoke more truth than he knew. He died during the Civil War and did not live to see the age of the robber barons. His point of view was the Stoic/Buddhist idea that one should develop inner resources to resist the external pressures of life that cause so much unhappiness. That was what he would have preferred to do, but he wound up protesting the Mexican War and slavery and defending John Brown and helping runaway slaves to escape. The "keen and subtle" masters that he meant were not the ones I have in mind, that is, the kleptocrats and kakistocrats who now rule over us.
“It is certainly sad and regrettable that so many innocent people died…Stalin was absolutely adamant on making doubly sure: spare no one…I don’t deny that I supported that view. I was simply not able to study every individual case…It was hard to draw a precise line where to stop.”

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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by Gord » Thu Dec 27, 2018 5:20 pm

Upton_O_Goode wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 11:59 am
...I have long maintained that it is not possible to write worse English prose than Emerson wrote....
Challenge: accepted.
...some of his utterances stick in my mind like an aspirin commercial....
Dammmmn! That one'll be hard to top! :P
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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Dec 27, 2018 5:49 pm

What do you mean I don't like quotes? I would confidently guess a textual analysis would show I use them more than most if not supremely???? No....I'm thinking of ?????? and .......... and >>>>>>>. Quotes would only be more than most. I note only in passing the quote symbol repeated just has no attraction for me as the others used do. I even think I overuse them as most do the possessive? I'm doing all I can to avoid them right now to avoid any whiff of sarcasm which is a filter the on and off of which can be a voluntary action. I had no fear of this until informed you added an "e" to your nom de flame. My sense of reality: swirls.

I visited Walden's Pond. Still Idyllic a Century later. Don't know about now.........I assume so being a park and what not?

I do like "the idea" of Henry, but like many famous people, the basis for their fame does not stand up. THAT quote for instance is odious in itself. Unless words have changed meaning in the last 200 years so as to become their opposite.......there is nothing "frivolous" about "Negro Slavery" just because the North has some unidentified injustice going on as well (indentured servitude no longer but the Iron Fist of Economics always on full display). Now, "somewhat" gross in my understanding diminishes the "completely" gross institution that Negro Slavery was at the time. Seems like he is equating slavery with ........what you call thievery and the Republican Party and what I called inclusively simply greed? While both are bad, they are so very different.....not equated by frivolity of labels. BUT HEY!....he's a poet, probably lost in private reverie?

Why poo poo Emerson and then quote Thoreau? Is it a trick??? Thoreau is much more quoted. Path less taken, lives of quiet desperation, prison for righteous men ...etc. The human condition: never changes.
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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Thu Dec 27, 2018 10:03 pm

Let's take these things one at a time:
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 5:49 pm
Why poo poo Emerson...?
Ahem! I offer the following RANDOM selection of a few consecutive sentences from Emerson's 1841 essay on "Self-reliance" (the first Emerson work I came across in my search, confident as I was that he would not disappoint):
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote:To believe our own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, -- that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost,--and our first thought, is rendered back to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment. Familiar as the voice of the mind is to each, the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton is, that they set at naught books and traditions, and spoke not what men but what they thought. A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize majesty. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else, to-morrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another.
Is this not unspeakable? One bombastic, florid declamation after another, invoking the Last Judgment, Moses, Plato, and Milton all within the space of a few lines. And "the inmost in due time becomes the outmost", "the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages." What the hell do those things mean? He doesn't define what a work of genius is, except to tell us that we'll see majesty in it. He does say that "genius is believing that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men." By that definition, Donald Trump is truly a genius.

I think he actually believed this paragraph was majestic. It wasn't and isn't. Granting that syntax and good word order was different in 1841, I'll pass over what now appears to be the awkwardness of the phrase "abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side." The poor soul is trying to say in one Brobdingnagian sentence that when the weight of expressed opinion is against you, you should be unyielding. (Why? shouldn't you maybe LISTEN and consider whether it might not, after all, be wisest to yield because you were WRONG?) But you should keep a good sense of humor in your inflexibility. Oh, OK. Always good to remember to keep oneself in good humor.
“It is certainly sad and regrettable that so many innocent people died…Stalin was absolutely adamant on making doubly sure: spare no one…I don’t deny that I supported that view. I was simply not able to study every individual case…It was hard to draw a precise line where to stop.”

Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Skryabin (“Molotov”)

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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Thu Dec 27, 2018 10:26 pm

Resuming the analysis,...
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 5:49 pm
What do you mean I don't like quotes? I would confidently guess a textual analysis would show I use them more than most if not supremely???? No....I'm thinking of ?????? and .......... and >>>>>>>. Quotes would only be more than most. I note only in passing the quote symbol repeated just has no attraction for me as the others used do. I even think I overuse them as most do the possessive? I'm doing all I can to avoid them right now to avoid any whiff of sarcasm which is a filter the on and off of which can be a voluntary action. I had no fear of this until informed you added an "e" to your nom de flame. My sense of reality: swirls.
Well, you may recall that you recently wrote this back at me:
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Hmmmm....didn't you have a signature line that said some people think they are accomplished merely when quoting someone ELSE who was? Anyway, I don't want to fall into that truism......by filtering google for whatever may support my position. Its too shallow..............what to do?
So, if it was, after all, OK for me to use quotes, what was the point of this reply? It surely was intended to be a put-down, even though you later denied that you were accusing me of "filtering google for whatever may support my position" and being "shallow." I didn't believe your denial. The evidence that you did accuse me of those things is right here in black and white.

Oh, by the way, the answer is no. I never had any such signature line.
“It is certainly sad and regrettable that so many innocent people died…Stalin was absolutely adamant on making doubly sure: spare no one…I don’t deny that I supported that view. I was simply not able to study every individual case…It was hard to draw a precise line where to stop.”

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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by OlegTheBatty » Thu Dec 27, 2018 10:39 pm

Now I feel slightly slighted. :mrgreen:
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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:27 am

Boy Upton......what are you doing? Hunting Me like some African?? "I am no 'buffalo."" You should take people/statements at face value unless the evidence really is overwhelming. When words can fairly be taken two or more ways, take the authors word for it. I will note I have quoted other people before.....most often Vonnegut or Sarte but others as well but my most common use of quotes is not to quote anyone else but rather to highlight my own use of "words." I don't recall "freshly" the thread you are copying and pasting but "Shirley" I have the track record and history that I will disagree with you when I do.........so when i say I'm not.........seems to me any reasonable person would take the face?

Oleg: are you ASKING for a stalker??? Just more evidence I don't make things "personal" but I do remember "what is said." "Know what I mean?"
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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by Gord » Fri Dec 28, 2018 8:44 am

OlegTheBatty wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 10:39 pm
Now I feel slightly slighted. :mrgreen:
Have you tried eating more?
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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Fri Dec 28, 2018 11:15 am

Conclusion of the analysis:
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 5:49 pm
I do like "the idea" of Henry, but like many famous people, the basis for their fame does not stand up. THAT quote for instance is odious in itself. Unless words have changed meaning in the last 200 years so as to become their opposite.......there is nothing "frivolous" about "Negro Slavery" just because the North has some unidentified injustice going on as well (indentured servitude no longer but the Iron Fist of Economics always on full display). Now, "somewhat" gross in my understanding diminishes the "completely" gross institution that Negro Slavery was at the time. Seems like he is equating slavery with ........what you call thievery and the Republican Party and what I called inclusively simply greed? While both are bad, they are so very different.....not equated by frivolity of labels. BUT HEY!....he's a poet, probably lost in private reverie?
Back up and read that quote again. Thoreau says, "I MAY ALMOST SAY frivolous." What could be a clearer indication that he knows it's NOT frivolous? He was there, and he put himself on the line to help slaves escape and to protest the Mexican War. To quote him again, "This country must cease to hold slaves and make war on Mexico, though it cost it its existence as a nation." And he wrote a very moving defense of John Brown. Pretty strong words. But Walden is about the inner spiritual life, not politics. His point is that even the most serious social causes are still not the whole of a person's life, unless one chooses to make them so.
“It is certainly sad and regrettable that so many innocent people died…Stalin was absolutely adamant on making doubly sure: spare no one…I don’t deny that I supported that view. I was simply not able to study every individual case…It was hard to draw a precise line where to stop.”

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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Dec 29, 2018 1:00 am

Upton_O_Goode wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 11:15 am
Conclusion of the analysis:


Back up and read that quote again. Thoreau says, "I MAY ALMOST SAY frivolous." What could be a clearer indication that he knows it's NOT frivolous? He was there, and he put himself on the line to help slaves escape and to protest the Mexican War. To quote him again, "This country must cease to hold slaves and make war on Mexico, though it cost it its existence as a nation." And he wrote a very moving defense of John Brown. Pretty strong words. But Walden is about the inner spiritual life, not politics. His point is that even the most serious social causes are still not the whole of a person's life, unless one chooses to make them so.
"What could be a clearer indication...........?" //// Gee Upton, what are you doing? Feeding me candy as if I were a baby???? What could be clearer is: "The issue of Slavery IS NOT FRIVOLOUS." I know: being DIRECT. Hard for lots of "poets" and others pushing one philosophy or another, or otherwise lost in reverie. Beyond the directly obvious, lets turn to the dictionary?====>always my first choice for warehoused wisdom, like Rosebud and other recollections, lost to the flotsam of good intentions. May. May is a term of granted permission, not a rejection of what follows. it really "should not" be read any other way. I would have said "cannot be read any other way".....but being able to read what is right in front of me, you turn that universal recognition into an "almost."

You post like too many that a person, especially a great person like Thoreau can't carry two ideas at once. Slavery is Bad but Thoreau doesn't want that fact to let the ENTIRELY COMPLICIT North off the hook either. I take any writing as a draft. I'm sure Thoreau would do better if given another chance? Standing on his shoulders, "we" certainly should.

Rereading a bit: yes.....that quote from Emerson is excruciating even while reading it. Worse on reflection. JOKE: I was recalling my favorite Emerson quote, but found out it was from Walt Whitman. What ya gonna do?
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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Sat Dec 29, 2018 11:28 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Sat Dec 29, 2018 1:00 am
Upton_O_Goode wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 11:15 am
Conclusion of the analysis:


Back up and read that quote again. Thoreau says, "I MAY ALMOST SAY frivolous." What could be a clearer indication that he knows it's NOT frivolous? He was there, and he put himself on the line to help slaves escape and to protest the Mexican War. To quote him again, "This country must cease to hold slaves and make war on Mexico, though it cost it its existence as a nation." And he wrote a very moving defense of John Brown. Pretty strong words. But Walden is about the inner spiritual life, not politics. His point is that even the most serious social causes are still not the whole of a person's life, unless one chooses to make them so.
"What could be a clearer indication...........?" //// Gee Upton, what are you doing? Feeding me candy as if I were a baby???? What could be clearer is: "The issue of Slavery IS NOT FRIVOLOUS." I know: being DIRECT. Hard for lots of "poets" and others pushing one philosophy or another, or otherwise lost in reverie. Beyond the directly obvious, lets turn to the dictionary?====>always my first choice for warehoused wisdom, like Rosebud and other recollections, lost to the flotsam of good intentions. May. May is a term of granted permission, not a rejection of what follows. it really "should not" be read any other way. I would have said "cannot be read any other way".....but being able to read what is right in front of me, you turn that universal recognition into an "almost."

You post like too many that a person, especially a great person like Thoreau can't carry two ideas at once. Slavery is Bad but Thoreau doesn't want that fact to let the ENTIRELY COMPLICIT North off the hook either. I take any writing as a draft. I'm sure Thoreau would do better if given another chance? Standing on his shoulders, "we" certainly should.

Rereading a bit: yes.....that quote from Emerson is excruciating even while reading it. Worse on reflection. JOKE: I was recalling my favorite Emerson quote, but found out it was from Walt Whitman. What ya gonna do?
I dunno, bobbo. Now that I think of it, I'm not sure my quote about "what great men think" was from Emerson. I'd have to look it up.

As for the "frivolous" part, I wrote:

"Thoreau says, "I MAY ALMOST SAY frivolous." What could be a clearer indication that he knows it's NOT frivolous?"

And to that you replied: "What could be clearer is: "The issue of Slavery IS NOT FRIVOLOUS."" I don't see why Thoreau was in any way obligated to make such a statement, especially considering the outrage against slavery that he expressed in "Slavery in Massachusetts," "A Defense of Captain John Brown," and "Civil Disobedience." The man is entitled to write about other things once in a while. You are getting carried away with political correctness and insisting that ANY mention of slavery may not take for granted that slavery is an abomination, but must say so explicitly. Come on, now! Thoreau USED slavery in this context as a form of hyperbole, to make his readers see that there are other aspects of society that restrict their freedom unnecessarily. I see no reason why he shouldn't do so. We often talk about "bloody massacres" on the stock market, without having to mention that actual bloody massacres are not to be taken lightly.

Finally, I'm not following your reasoning here: "You post like too many that a person, especially a great person like Thoreau can't carry two ideas at once." Huh, what in the world did I say that would lead you to that conclusion??
“It is certainly sad and regrettable that so many innocent people died…Stalin was absolutely adamant on making doubly sure: spare no one…I don’t deny that I supported that view. I was simply not able to study every individual case…It was hard to draw a precise line where to stop.”

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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Dec 29, 2018 7:33 pm

Sorry Upton....but you jump horses with each counterpoint you make. I could ask you to redraft being more careful, but that might be taken as a fob. So, I'll be a little bit more didactic.....but not as much as i could be?

1.I dunno, bobbo. Now that I think of it, I'm not sure my quote about "what great men think" was from Emerson. I'd have to look it up. /// You did that from memory? Wow!! Ha, ha....I have found some of my favorite quotes have switched authors over time....always good to confirm.......Like I used to credit Archibald MacLeash with "....and the Priests in Black Gowns, were making their rounds, and binding with briars, my joys and desires." The pinnacle of craftsmanship.......but I don't think Archie wrote that......he wrote the poem on the facing page. Memories get stuck sometimes? ((Google: yep that line is from Garden of Love by William Blake. I should re-read Blake, Archie too..........ha, ha........why not all the Romantic Poets?))

2. Your main grouse: " I don't see why Thoreau was in any way obligated to make such a statement, especially considering the outrage against slavery that he expressed in "Slavery in Massachusetts," //// He wasn't but your question to me was "how could he have made it clearer? You did more than jump horses there, you went from horse to goat, if not right into the stream.

We both agree Thoreau was anti slavery as well as other institutions that were a blight on mankind. THIS is about: the right word at the right place. ""I MAY ALMOST SAY frivolous." IS TOTALLY WRONG. Change "may almost" to "cannot" or "frivolous" to "a secondary concern" and we are much closer to what Thoreau was trying to communicate. HE BLEW IT. And so are you for not seeing it once pointed out. ((Blowing horses is floating around in my mind, but I won't go there..........))

3. "You are getting carried away with political correctness and insisting that ANY mention of slavery may not take for granted that slavery is an abomination, but must say so explicitly." /// Moi? Politically correct????? Go blow a horse (sic--now stated, its out of my mind==>Its a Joke and NOW, I am being political correct as I actually have no desire to hurt anyone's feelings.....not even the dead, or other horses.) No, I was/am just responding to the point/question you actually made rather than what you are fabricating now.

4. Still off track, but lets give it a try?????? " "I MAY ALMOST SAY ITS A BLOODY MASSACRE what happens in the Stock Market on average every 8 years." Gee......I'm ok with that statement....of course, depending on what else is said. I don't carry with me a lot of details and context to make "bloody massacre" a very concrete evil as I do with slavery. (Ftn*1) Thats not making slavery pc.....just keeping cultural references rank ordered. I also see bloody massacre as hyperbole........but not the reference to slavery. The first is hyperbole, the second is the wrong construct. Third time stated: you are free to disagree with my own reaction/sensitivities: BUT ITS STILL NOT THE QUESTION YOU ASKED.

You see the difference? /////////////(Ftn*1): Bloody Massacre is too vague. Slavery is very specific. Bloody Massacre I wouldn't even first think of PEOPLE being massacred but rather financial instruments. Your concern is a shambles.
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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:27 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Sat Dec 29, 2018 7:33 pm
Sorry Upton....but you jump horses with each counterpoint you make. I could ask you to redraft being more careful, but that might be taken as a fob. So, I'll be a little bit more didactic.....but not as much as i could be?

1.I dunno, bobbo. Now that I think of it, I'm not sure my quote about "what great men think" was from Emerson. I'd have to look it up. /// You did that from memory? Wow!! Ha, ha....I have found some of my favorite quotes have switched authors over time....always good to confirm.......Like I used to credit Archibald MacLeash with "....and the Priests in Black Gowns, were making their rounds, and binding with briars, my joys and desires." The pinnacle of craftsmanship.......but I don't think Archie wrote that......he wrote the poem on the facing page. Memories get stuck sometimes? ((Google: yep that line is from Garden of Love by William Blake. I should re-read Blake, Archie too..........ha, ha........why not all the Romantic Poets?))

2. Your main grouse: " I don't see why Thoreau was in any way obligated to make such a statement, especially considering the outrage against slavery that he expressed in "Slavery in Massachusetts," //// He wasn't but your question to me was "how could he have made it clearer? You did more than jump horses there, you went from horse to goat, if not right into the stream.

We both agree Thoreau was anti slavery as well as other institutions that were a blight on mankind. THIS is about: the right word at the right place. ""I MAY ALMOST SAY frivolous." IS TOTALLY WRONG. Change "may almost" to "cannot" or "frivolous" to "a secondary concern" and we are much closer to what Thoreau was trying to communicate. HE BLEW IT. And so are you for not seeing it once pointed out. ((Blowing horses is floating around in my mind, but I won't go there..........))

3. "You are getting carried away with political correctness and insisting that ANY mention of slavery may not take for granted that slavery is an abomination, but must say so explicitly." /// Moi? Politically correct????? Go blow a horse (sic--now stated, its out of my mind==>Its a Joke and NOW, I am being political correct as I actually have no desire to hurt anyone's feelings.....not even the dead, or other horses.) No, I was/am just responding to the point/question you actually made rather than what you are fabricating now.

4. Still off track, but lets give it a try?????? " "I MAY ALMOST SAY ITS A BLOODY MASSACRE what happens in the Stock Market on average every 8 years." Gee......I'm ok with that statement....of course, depending on what else is said. I don't carry with me a lot of details and context to make "bloody massacre" a very concrete evil as I do with slavery. (Ftn*1) Thats not making slavery pc.....just keeping cultural references rank ordered. I also see bloody massacre as hyperbole........but not the reference to slavery. The first is hyperbole, the second is the wrong construct. Third time stated: you are free to disagree with my own reaction/sensitivities: BUT ITS STILL NOT THE QUESTION YOU ASKED.

You see the difference? /////////////(Ftn*1): Bloody Massacre is too vague. Slavery is very specific. Bloody Massacre I wouldn't even first think of PEOPLE being massacred but rather financial instruments. Your concern is a shambles.
Well, I'm not going to wade into this morass. I think we've both made our points, and I'll leave it to readers (if we have any) to judge for themselves. I did look for Emerson's dictum against quoting and found one that says exactly the opposite:

"A great man quotes bravely, and will not draw on his invention when his memory serves him with a word just as good."

So, could he have said two very opposite things? Oh, very easily. As he said, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."
“It is certainly sad and regrettable that so many innocent people died…Stalin was absolutely adamant on making doubly sure: spare no one…I don’t deny that I supported that view. I was simply not able to study every individual case…It was hard to draw a precise line where to stop.”

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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by Gord » Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:44 pm

Upton_O_Goode wrote:
Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:27 pm
...I'll leave it to readers (if we have any) to judge for themselves....
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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Dec 29, 2018 10:21 pm

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."//// That is a great quote although it suffers from being more misapplied as a general rebuke than any insightful identification of foolishness.

I MADE my point with supporting argument and REBUKED your points that were not supported by your arguments. No morass. Rather: a vanquished field.

Words...........have meaning. So do colloquial idioms. We start with the small stuff and build the comedy pyramids as high as we can.
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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by TJrandom » Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:34 am

Gord wrote:
Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:44 pm
Upton_O_Goode wrote:
Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:27 pm
...I'll leave it to readers (if we have any) to judge for themselves....
I gave up a while ago and got lit on brandy chocolates from the dollar store instead.
Yer supposed to share them...

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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:15 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Sat Dec 29, 2018 10:21 pm
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."//// That is a great quote although it suffers from being more misapplied as a general rebuke than any insightful identification of foolishness.

I MADE my point with supporting argument and REBUKED your points that were not supported by your arguments. No morass. Rather: a vanquished field.

Words...........have meaning. So do colloquial idioms. We start with the small stuff and build the comedy pyramids as high as we can.
Ah, bobbo! Sometimes holding a discussion with you is like shaking hands with an empty glove. If only you could stop proclaiming yourself the winner (litigants in a lawsuit are not allowed to be the judge)…..(sigh!)
“It is certainly sad and regrettable that so many innocent people died…Stalin was absolutely adamant on making doubly sure: spare no one…I don’t deny that I supported that view. I was simply not able to study every individual case…It was hard to draw a precise line where to stop.”

Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Skryabin (“Molotov”)

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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:16 am

TJrandom wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:34 am
Gord wrote:
Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:44 pm
Upton_O_Goode wrote:
Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:27 pm
...I'll leave it to readers (if we have any) to judge for themselves....
I gave up a while ago and got lit on brandy chocolates from the dollar store instead.
Yer supposed to share them...
Well, Gord is entitled. He made a very wise decision.
“It is certainly sad and regrettable that so many innocent people died…Stalin was absolutely adamant on making doubly sure: spare no one…I don’t deny that I supported that view. I was simply not able to study every individual case…It was hard to draw a precise line where to stop.”

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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by Gord » Sun Dec 30, 2018 2:07 pm

Upton_O_Goode wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:16 am
TJrandom wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:34 am
Gord wrote:
Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:44 pm
Upton_O_Goode wrote:
Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:27 pm
...I'll leave it to readers (if we have any) to judge for themselves....
I gave up a while ago and got lit on brandy chocolates from the dollar store instead.
Yer supposed to share them...
Well, Gord is entitled. He made a very wise decision.
Not enough to share. There were only... (counts the empty slots) ...twenty of them!


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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by TJrandom » Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:15 pm

Ah, well.. Iffin there was only 20 pints of it, I suppose you can’t be faulted fer hoarding it.

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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by Matthew Ellard » Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:59 pm

ElectricMonk wrote:
Tue Dec 25, 2018 6:45 pm
You are forgetting how many prisoners are next to unpaid labor for the profit of the companies running the prison.
My father, a RAAF psychiatrist, was commissioner of corrective services in NSW in the 90's. Mum was the female member of the NSW Parole board. The prison population was only about 11,000. It cost roughly $70,000 per prisoner per year to keep them interned.

The aim was to, get them off drugs & alcohol or assist with any personality disorders, while incarcerated and return them to the work force, so the government would reap normal tax revenue from their work efforts and save $70,000 per prisoner. There were no private gaols back then.

Interestingly recidivism is about 37.4 for NSW. The USA is roughly 66%.


One thing I do object to, is that smoking has recently been banned in NSW gaols. Cigarettes are a form of currency, but also an incentive to do voluntary paid work in goal.....to buy cigarettes. I think the idea is to make gaol similar to the outside world so that the prisoners are ready to work upon release.

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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:18 am

Upton_O_Goode wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:15 am
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Sat Dec 29, 2018 10:21 pm
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."//// That is a great quote although it suffers from being more misapplied as a general rebuke than any insightful identification of foolishness.

I MADE my point with supporting argument and REBUKED your points that were not supported by your arguments. No morass. Rather: a vanquished field.

Words...........have meaning. So do colloquial idioms. We start with the small stuff and build the comedy pyramids as high as we can.
Ah, bobbo! Sometimes holding a discussion with you is like shaking hands with an empty glove. If only you could stop proclaiming yourself the winner (litigants in a lawsuit are not allowed to be the judge)…..(sigh!)
Demeaning the winner for stating the obvious.............well done. My intent was to be more analytical, but it does come out to the same place. i don't think I proclaim winning and losing ((all that much))..........but then, I'm only hooman.

Thoreau used the wrong construct. Thats all I want to "have known." aka: Words have meaning......and even the greatest can misspeak....or get misquoted themselves. Slavery is not a frivolity..........regardless of any mechanics applied to it.
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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:10 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:18 am
Demeaning the winner for stating the obvious.............well done. My intent was to be more analytical, but it does come out to the same place. i don't think I proclaim winning and losing ((all that much))..........but then, I'm only hooman.

Thoreau used the wrong construct. Thats all I want to "have known." aka: Words have meaning......and even the greatest can misspeak....or get misquoted themselves. Slavery is not a frivolity..........regardless of any mechanics applied to it.
Well, bobbo, I know it's not an ideal world. These discussions are supposed to be informative, win-win situations where we correct each other's misinformation. But you seem to be always "on" about LOGIC. You get out your dictionary and analyze the "official" meaning of words. I will give you two bits of information in that regard: (1) The meaning of words is determined by common usage, NOT by some oracle in print; (2) the unit of human thought is the sentence, not the word. When you chop a sentence into words and analyze each one, then reassemble it, you get an entirely new sentence, which generally resembles the original as a scarecrow resembles a human being (as in the final sentence I just quoted from you).

In general, the issues discussed here are all about people and society, with all their irrational emotions and prejudices. Logic is far too flimsy a tool for working with such issues. And since it is inadequate to the task and there is no other source of high confidence, it is not appropriate for anyone to attach too high a level of confidence in his convictions.

In summary, this board is most useful for getting the facts right, not trying to teach logic. And, it's a discussion, not a boxing match. But in any case, you are certainly not the best judge of whether you "won" or not.

And, as you say, we are both only human, and competitiveness sometimes comes out. I doubt if any of us would care to look very closely at our motives for posting here, but others can speak for themselves about that. Speaking only for myself, I probably wouldn't find that I'm motivated by a desire to improve society. It's simply fun to do it, and life is too short to waste time analyzing motives for something that is so innocent and harmless.
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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:07 pm

Upton: some good words and ideas there, but, I do wonder who you are engaged with? Moi ou toi? I keep wanting to "talk" about what Thoreau actually wrote. We discussed it back and forth and THEN you simply said we disagreed .... as if there was no more objective way to assess who was more likely correct or not? NOT for the purposes of winning or losing, but for the purpose of UNDERSTANDING WHAT THOREAU WROTE. Not what we might guess or want him to have meant, but rather what he wrote means. I tried to meet you half way by agreeing that wanting to examine the record of what words clearly mean, we can often get to the same place as trying to win. But how do you win if you are wrong? Transmuting a conversation from best understanding of what Thoreau actually wrote to one of winning or losing an argument is ab hominem and a dodge.

YOU have introduced the concept/subject/WORDS of "winning vs losing" into this discussion. Not me. Now........am I trying to "win" this side dispute or reference ab initio: just addressing the best evidence of what has been WRITTEN? Same as Thoreau. If you think I am trying to WIN, how do you check yourself that it is not YOU trying not to lose by all the same metrics. It can be a puzzle....but perhaps a cure? INSIGHT....often comes by recognize a personal error/foible/habit pattern/resistance. We have all experienced that. I'm sure YOU have experienced that..........how long ago? ((ahhhh...sweet sarcasm!)))

The above is my first gut reaction from memory. Guts and memory are faulty. I will now actually review...............what was written. Do you see a pattern yet? I DO LOOK FOR: my own errors. Its how I do better next time. Add all those times up.......I am hard to beat. not a presumptive claim of victory, just recognizing my own history/loves/predilections. I could be egotistically wrong.......but .....maybe not?

I will add I was/am/hope to enjoy the sidetrack on Emerson and the other greats more than I was Thoreau. Its rare to find anyone who has read those dead white men. It ain't fashionable anymore. Are all the authors "of color" given kudo's today in multi-cultural studies just as good? I haven't really read much of them.........too many books/ideas to review. I assume there are some REAL gems that would be worth the read. A dilemma: re read what I know is good, or stretch to a whole new context? Dilemmas ......... are fun.

//////////////////// Well, scrolling up to the quote in question and the gravamen, I see I did say your arguments did not support your points and declared "a vanquished field." I could quibble.......a vanquished field does not declare me a winner.....only that you have left. BUT, as winning or losing isn't the issue..........I can agree such verbiage is close enough.........and if anyone is "sensitive" to winning or losing characterizations, that could be a sufficient trigger. Onward and upward to the quote.
OK, preface now out of the way, here's my quotation of the moment:

Henry Thoreau wrote:
I sometimes wonder that we can be so frivolous, I may almost say, as to attend the somewhat gross but somewhat foreign form of servitude called Negro Slavery, there are so many keen and subtle masters that enslave both North and South.



Thoreau spoke more truth than he knew. He died during the Civil War and did not live to see the age of the robber barons. His point of view was the Stoic/Buddhist idea that one should develop inner resources to resist the external pressures of life that cause so much unhappiness. That was what he would have preferred to do, but he wound up protesting the Mexican War and slavery and defending John Brown and helping runaway slaves to escape. The "keen and subtle" masters that he meant were not the ones I have in mind, that is, the kleptocrats and kakistocrats who now rule over us.
textual analysis: looking at the actual words used, not our general feelings/track record of the author.

Thoreau is setting up a dichotomy/comparison of slavery to other "masters that enslave both North & South." It does VIOLENCE to the plain meaning of words to apply the term slavery to any other institution that is "not" slavery. A very close example would be a term that I use and agree with: "wage slaves." It like Thoreau calls out odious societal conditions. I would rather be a wage slave than a (real/actual) slave. Wage slave means poor wages BUT said folks still have an option to search for, or dream about, better opportunities. Real slaves have no such options. That is the key difference......AND IT IS NOT FRIVOLOUS. To say it is frivolous.......is an error.

But....lets continue. Are there more words before or after the quote that will save it? Lets google: 13K hits on the quote. Not many for such an important subject....but how to appreciate what google offers without cherrypicking? I'll just use the first 3 for a taste of what might be out there?

1. How do you interpret this quote?I sometimes wonder that we can be ...
https://www.enotes.com › Homework Help › Walden /// WTF???? "What the quote is saying is that black slavery is just the most obvious kind of slavery, even if it is not the worst. He says there.../// and then it goes to paid content. Well....actual slavery is not the "worst" kind of slavery? Ha, ha........obviously spoken by one who has not been a real slave? Like Ivan Denisovitch..."free" to contemplate fields of wheat rippening in the field even while he is in gulag? That kind of freedom? Still....it doesn't say that such comparisons trivialize anything....just a dubious (aka I DISAGREE) that "black slavery" is not the worst kind of slavery? Too many poets, not enough ex-slaves. But.....this is a vote that "tends" to support the frivolity notion....distant though it still is.

2. Antebellum Period Quotes - Shmoop
https://www.shmoop.com › ... › Quotes › Visions of America: Antebellum Period //// Hmmmm....another paid content website. Whats with Google? they are acting like some kind of for profit enterprise? I'm feeling enslaved right now........may have to go to page 10 of the hits to get any depth?

3. Page:Walden, or, Life in the Woods.djvu/14 - Wikisource, the free ...
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Page:Wal ... ds.djvu/14 //// Good old wiki. The free mans resource. ..... no, its just the quote itself, no discussion or analysis. So, lets read what does follow the quote?....
It is hard to have a southern overseer; it is worse to have a northern one; but worst of all when you are the slave-driver of yourself.
Sad to see this. This observation is also: WRONG. The evil of black slavery is exemplied by the overseer whipping the skin off your back, cutting your Achilles tendon, having another slave {!#%@} in your open mouth, having your life mate raped in front of your and your half children taken from you. Not in the same category at all of whatever "northern one" can do. Poetic excess.

Well...........I am tired of this exercise....My "real" goal was to ultimately get to your notion that sentences are more important than words? I disagree. both are important, I don't know how to rank order them? Might depend on what words and what sentences? But I think the relevant issue is actually a bullet point that avoids that definitional morass: using the WRONG word in a sentence certainly affects the meaning of that sentence? Can we agree on that? If the sentence is "Turn Right at the Light" and I say "Turn Left"....shirley the wrong word is the key to which way the sentence will turn you?

Same with frivolity. Masters of the North, being your own slave-driver: no way as bad as black slavery. Ha, ha....even examples of self abuse like ceremonial whipping of one's self isn't even the same thing, even if the physical injury is the same. As Lenard Cohen wrote in "Beautiful Losers" pain can be a passage to understanding God. Getting whipped in a cotton field for not picking fast enough?==>not so much.

There is so much more to say..........but I will vacate the field. The Beer wishes to enslave me now, no frivolities involved.
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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:31 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:07 pm

1. How do you interpret this quote?I sometimes wonder that we can be ...
https://www.enotes.com › Homework Help › Walden /// WTF???? "What the quote is saying is that black slavery is just the most obvious kind of slavery, even if it is not the worst. He says there.../// and then it goes to paid content. Well....actual slavery is not the "worst" kind of slavery? Ha, ha........obviously spoken by one who has not been a real slave?
Rereading this, I see I over reacted in the wrong way........thinking the quoted review was "supporting" what Thoreau wrote, but actually, its just the opposite, in line with my complaint that Therau is simply wrong. Again: " "What the quote is saying is that black slavery is just the most obvious kind of slavery, even if it is not the worst."

simple fact: black slavery IS the worst. All of us would choose all other kinds before chosing chattal slavery. anyone disagree? And if you don't disagree, How can "What the quote is saying is that black slavery is just the most obvious kind of slavery, even if it is not the worst. be correct?

Beware of Poets: they are too often on their own flight of fancy to make a point. YES...other forms of oppression are bad. But lets not take the very worst form and call it frivolous? I mean.............please. Here's another evil: making a bold unexpected statement and then not backing down against all criticism. Its how you get famous, all for the purpose of selling books?
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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:18 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:07 pm
Upton: some good words and ideas there, but, I do wonder who you are engaged with? Moi ou toi? I keep wanting to "talk" about what Thoreau actually wrote. We discussed it back and forth and THEN you simply said we disagreed .... as if there was no more objective way to assess who was more likely correct or not? NOT for the purposes of winning or losing, but for the purpose of UNDERSTANDING WHAT THOREAU WROTE. Not what we might guess or want him to have meant, but rather what he wrote means. I tried to meet you half way by agreeing that wanting to examine the record of what words clearly mean, we can often get to the same place as trying to win. But how do you win if you are wrong? Transmuting a conversation from best understanding of what Thoreau actually wrote to one of winning or losing an argument is ab hominem and a dodge.

YOU have introduced the concept/subject/WORDS of "winning vs losing" into this discussion. Not me. Now........am I trying to "win" this side dispute or reference ab initio: just addressing the best evidence of what has been WRITTEN? Same as Thoreau. If you think I am trying to WIN, how do you check yourself that it is not YOU trying not to lose by all the same metrics. It can be a puzzle....but perhaps a cure? INSIGHT....often comes by recognize a personal error/foible/habit pattern/resistance. We have all experienced that. I'm sure YOU have experienced that..........how long ago? ((ahhhh...sweet sarcasm!)))

The above is my first gut reaction from memory. Guts and memory are faulty. I will now actually review...............what was written. Do you see a pattern yet? I DO LOOK FOR: my own errors. Its how I do better next time. Add all those times up.......I am hard to beat. not a presumptive claim of victory, just recognizing my own history/loves/predilections. I could be egotistically wrong.......but .....maybe not?

I will add I was/am/hope to enjoy the sidetrack on Emerson and the other greats more than I was Thoreau. Its rare to find anyone who has read those dead white men. It ain't fashionable anymore. Are all the authors "of color" given kudo's today in multi-cultural studies just as good? I haven't really read much of them.........too many books/ideas to review. I assume there are some REAL gems that would be worth the read. A dilemma: re read what I know is good, or stretch to a whole new context? Dilemmas ......... are fun.

//////////////////// Well, scrolling up to the quote in question and the gravamen, I see I did say your arguments did not support your points and declared "a vanquished field." I could quibble.......a vanquished field does not declare me a winner.....only that you have left. BUT, as winning or losing isn't the issue..........I can agree such verbiage is close enough.........and if anyone is "sensitive" to winning or losing characterizations, that could be a sufficient trigger. Onward and upward to the quote.
OK, preface now out of the way, here's my quotation of the moment:

Henry Thoreau wrote:
I sometimes wonder that we can be so frivolous, I may almost say, as to attend the somewhat gross but somewhat foreign form of servitude called Negro Slavery, there are so many keen and subtle masters that enslave both North and South.



Thoreau spoke more truth than he knew. He died during the Civil War and did not live to see the age of the robber barons. His point of view was the Stoic/Buddhist idea that one should develop inner resources to resist the external pressures of life that cause so much unhappiness. That was what he would have preferred to do, but he wound up protesting the Mexican War and slavery and defending John Brown and helping runaway slaves to escape. The "keen and subtle" masters that he meant were not the ones I have in mind, that is, the kleptocrats and kakistocrats who now rule over us.
textual analysis: looking at the actual words used, not our general feelings/track record of the author.

Thoreau is setting up a dichotomy/comparison of slavery to other "masters that enslave both North & South." It does VIOLENCE to the plain meaning of words to apply the term slavery to any other institution that is "not" slavery. A very close example would be a term that I use and agree with: "wage slaves." It like Thoreau calls out odious societal conditions. I would rather be a wage slave than a (real/actual) slave. Wage slave means poor wages BUT said folks still have an option to search for, or dream about, better opportunities. Real slaves have no such options. That is the key difference......AND IT IS NOT FRIVOLOUS. To say it is frivolous.......is an error.

But....lets continue. Are there more words before or after the quote that will save it? Lets google: 13K hits on the quote. Not many for such an important subject....but how to appreciate what google offers without cherrypicking? I'll just use the first 3 for a taste of what might be out there?

1. How do you interpret this quote?I sometimes wonder that we can be ...
https://www.enotes.com › Homework Help › Walden /// WTF???? "What the quote is saying is that black slavery is just the most obvious kind of slavery, even if it is not the worst. He says there.../// and then it goes to paid content. Well....actual slavery is not the "worst" kind of slavery? Ha, ha........obviously spoken by one who has not been a real slave? Like Ivan Denisovitch..."free" to contemplate fields of wheat rippening in the field even while he is in gulag? That kind of freedom? Still....it doesn't say that such comparisons trivialize anything....just a dubious (aka I DISAGREE) that "black slavery" is not the worst kind of slavery? Too many poets, not enough ex-slaves. But.....this is a vote that "tends" to support the frivolity notion....distant though it still is.

2. Antebellum Period Quotes - Shmoop
https://www.shmoop.com › ... › Quotes › Visions of America: Antebellum Period //// Hmmmm....another paid content website. Whats with Google? they are acting like some kind of for profit enterprise? I'm feeling enslaved right now........may have to go to page 10 of the hits to get any depth?

3. Page:Walden, or, Life in the Woods.djvu/14 - Wikisource, the free ...
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Page:Wal ... ds.djvu/14 //// Good old wiki. The free mans resource. ..... no, its just the quote itself, no discussion or analysis. So, lets read what does follow the quote?....
It is hard to have a southern overseer; it is worse to have a northern one; but worst of all when you are the slave-driver of yourself.
Sad to see this. This observation is also: WRONG. The evil of black slavery is exemplied by the overseer whipping the skin off your back, cutting your Achilles tendon, having another slave {!#%@} in your open mouth, having your life mate raped in front of your and your half children taken from you. Not in the same category at all of whatever "northern one" can do. Poetic excess.

Well...........I am tired of this exercise....My "real" goal was to ultimately get to your notion that sentences are more important than words? I disagree. both are important, I don't know how to rank order them? Might depend on what words and what sentences? But I think the relevant issue is actually a bullet point that avoids that definitional morass: using the WRONG word in a sentence certainly affects the meaning of that sentence? Can we agree on that? If the sentence is "Turn Right at the Light" and I say "Turn Left"....shirley the wrong word is the key to which way the sentence will turn you?

Same with frivolity. Masters of the North, being your own slave-driver: no way as bad as black slavery. Ha, ha....even examples of self abuse like ceremonial whipping of one's self isn't even the same thing, even if the physical injury is the same. As Lenard Cohen wrote in "Beautiful Losers" pain can be a passage to understanding God. Getting whipped in a cotton field for not picking fast enough?==>not so much.

There is so much more to say..........but I will vacate the field. The Beer wishes to enslave me now, no frivolities involved.
Hi bobbo,

Well, this thread didn't start out to be about Thoreau. Full confession: I idolized him in my youth, forgot him in my prime years, and now find him tedious, supercilious, and narcissistic in my old age. I particularly dislike his constant use of "forsooth" and "methinks." For Christ sake, Thoreau! Nobody was talking that way, even back in your day!

Your analysis of his writing is fine with me, but we really should start a new thread to continue it. There's much I could say, but I'll leave it for now.
“It is certainly sad and regrettable that so many innocent people died…Stalin was absolutely adamant on making doubly sure: spare no one…I don’t deny that I supported that view. I was simply not able to study every individual case…It was hard to draw a precise line where to stop.”

Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Skryabin (“Molotov”)

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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Dec 31, 2018 5:22 pm

Amusing. We have both declared we have so much to say, and then we both vacate the field.

How far might both of us go up the blow hard scale.........if we stood on each others shoulders?

I'm open/up for just about anything. I LIKE "ideas." Not so much into tea parties.

Yea, verily.
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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:38 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 5:22 pm
Amusing. We have both declared we have so much to say, and then we both vacate the field.

How far might both of us go up the blow hard scale.........if we stood on each others shoulders?

I'm open/up for just about anything. I LIKE "ideas." Not so much into tea parties.

Yea, verily.
:lol: :lol:

Let's say, one of us would be standing on the shoulders of a giant. Then we could argue about who was where.

Truthfully, I'm not all that interested in Thoreau, but I've read just about everything he ever wrote, except his journal, which is stupefying.
“It is certainly sad and regrettable that so many innocent people died…Stalin was absolutely adamant on making doubly sure: spare no one…I don’t deny that I supported that view. I was simply not able to study every individual case…It was hard to draw a precise line where to stop.”

Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Skryabin (“Molotov”)

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Re: Prisons and Unemployment

Post by psychiatry is a scam » Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:10 am

unemployment stats are an example of how statistics are the worse kind of lie .

the stats do not include the millions of people who are not thinking about getting a job .