This is an archive of the former website of the Maoist Internationalist Movement, which was run by the now defunct Maoist Internationalist Party - Amerika. The MIM now consists of many independent cells, many of which have their own indendendent organs both online and off. MIM(Prisons) serves these documents as a service to and reference for the anti-imperialist movement worldwide.
This is an archive of the former website of the Maoist Internationalist Movement, which was run by the now defunct Maoist Internationalist Party - Amerika. The MIM now consists of many independent cells, many of which have their own indendendent organs both online and off. MIM(Prisons) serves these documents as a service to and reference for the anti-imperialist movement worldwide.
Maoist Internationalist Movement

Examples of pragmatist empiricism

First draft, September 4, 2004

We would like to use the phrases "pragmatist empiricism" and "pragmatist empiricist subjectivist individualism" more often, so we thought we should offer some examples for the context of the Anglo-Saxon imperialist countries in 2004.

Examples of the evil of pragmatism:

  • "Seatbelts never worked to prevent injury in any accident I know about, so therefore I don't use them."
  • "I was in the hospital six months, while the persyn sitting next to me in the car accident walked away from it without injury, because she was using a seatbelt when I wasn't. So now I use a seatbelt."
  • "I use a seatbelt," because the cops stopped me once and gave me a ticket."
  • "We (in our imperialist country) have never experienced nuclear war, so you exaggerate the urgency of finding the causes of peace. Nuclear war is not going to happen."
  • "Socialism never won its battle against capitalism, so therefore it is not the solution to today's problems of war and peace."
  • "He also states that the U.S. is spending big money on a 'missile defense system that does not appear to work.' How does he know? Have we had a missile attack on the U.S. that has been successful? Not that I know of."(1)

    The common underlying point in pragmatism--whether for or against seatbelts for example--is immediate experience being the reason for a decision. Pragmatism fits well in a society of instant gratification, where the whole thing stands or falls on the last purchase in the mall.

    Examples of the evil of empiricism:

  • "There was a persyn who died a horrible death wearing a seatbelt, so I don't wear them." Repeat the story ad infinitum.
  • "There was a welfare recipient fraud who was getting 28 government checks and owned a Cadillac." Repeat ad infinitum a la Ronald Reagan and see the related idea of "urban legend."
  • "I know a few white revolutionaries, so there must be a white proletariat in the united $tates."
  • "There was a horrible miscarriage of justice in the Stalin (fill in the blank) criminal justice system," as if that proved the Anglo-Saxon imperialist countries are "free countries."

    The common underlying point is that isolated facts constitute the case. We rarely hear overall percentages or comparisons of such percentages from empiricists and there are professional empiricists (idiots) who believe that a single fact should shoot down any theoretical or factual generalization.

    Examples of the evil of subjectivism:

  • "Seatbelts spoil my mood of freedom so I don't wear them."
  • "Rape is whatever the womyn says it is."
  • "I don't want it to be true, so I won't admit that Amerikan whites are not exploited as a group."

    Examples of Marxism:

  • "I wear a seatbelt, because I can't think of a better way to decide this issue than by studying thousands of accidents. I also blame the system for not making safe public transport to replace cars and individual responsibility."
  • "From the historical record on drug-trafficking alone, we can know that there is going to be a black market in weapons of mass destruction. Though weapons of mass destruction trade may be illegal, where there is money there will be production under capitalism. It is predictable, a steady and ongoing phenomenon and we do not need to experience a trade in nuclear weapons to know that the law of "supply and demand" applies here too."

    Pragmatism calls on its participants to grope through experience for the correct course of action. "Learning from practice" can become Amerikkkan pragmatism if we do not learn the Marxist method. "Learning from practice" as Stalin and Mao said cannot mean "learning from my practice" (subjectivism) or even from a whole country's practice. We do not want to learn about hydrogen bomb warfare through practice.

    The horrible thing about the Anglo-Saxon temperment--despite having the wealth to afford all sorts of self-education--is that when it comes to politics and social matters, Anglo-Saxons like to learn from direct experience. Even Hiroshima and Nagasaki don't count in the minds of most Amerikans, because the bombing did not happen to them. Many casually say that nuclear weapons have never been used. A large portion of the public is not even aware that the united $tates is the only country to detonate nuclear weapons in war. The question of modern warfare long obliterated the relevance of pragmatism, not to mention more backward philosophies. By itself, militarism requires that we take an engineer's eye to the future and not wait till disaster strikes to recall unsafe vehicles such as capitalist imperialism.

    Another subject that obliterates pragmatism as a philosophy is global warming. By the time the causes of global warming have been experienced, it will be too late for the Earth. We do not want to learn about it from direct experience. Pragmatism as a philosophy is simply too anti-predictive science to be of use to contemporary survival.

    Lest our readers think we exaggerate, we picked up a pamphlet illustrated by Robert Gumpertz at the 2004 Republican National Convention. The "Civil Society User Manual for Dumping Dangerous Presidents" is actually an attempt to achieve the greatest progressive potential of pragmatist-empiricism. Taking from David Hume writing in 1748, pragmatist CSUM Press wants the public "to shift the basis of your actions from faith and superstition to personal experience."(2)

    This pamphlet of the most progressive wing of pragmatism says: "Vigilant examination of your personally experienced stream of causes and effects is the great basis for regulating your conduct."(2) Furthermore, CSUM Press says, "Right now too many Americans have been taught to believe without question what they are told by their 'leaders' rather than what they learn from experience."(2) In other words, it's just as MIM says even for these anti-Bush pragmatists: if people have not experienced nuclear war, they cannot take action against it. According to the pragmatists, if we have not experienced global warming catastrophe, we cannot know anything about it. This is a philosophy the species cannot afford at all. 99% of the philosophies of Amerikkkans have to be discarded.

    In the united $tates, the most popular implicit philosophy of the public is pragmatism. In second place would be born-again Christianity as a substitute for philosophy. This is a competition between the backward and the more backward. Both are philosophies of death. Pragmatists believe nuclear war has not happened because they did not experience it and Christians are for the "rapture" and end-of-the-world anyway.

    The more backward Amerikkkans will uphold some version of Christianity whether it works in today's context or not and whether or not there is any evidence of God. In contrast, the only positive thrust of empiricism is that it will insist on some evidence and not just accept "the word of God." Empiricism is in fact an advance relative to Medieval theocracy, but that's not saying much anymore in 2004. Empiricism is not good enough for the species to survive.

    The other advance we are most likely to make among the public concerns the raging battle over subjectivism. The word "subjective" has popular use that is mostly correct.

    Pragmatist-empiricism and subjectivism often manifest themselves as post-modernism and Liberalism. They are similar ideas cooked together in the same capitalist stew.

    The above evils of pragmatist-empiricism and subjectivism often come together and can be difficult to separate out. In the first example of seat-belt pragmatism, the issue of subjectivism comes up, because it's about one persyn's experience and we do not know how extensive that experience is.

    In biology, perhaps one in 10,000 Ph.Ds will say that Biblical creationism is superior to Darwin's theory of evolution. Fortunately, we can still say "biology" and mean science, because the creationists in biology are exotic and peripheral.

    For social and health sciences, however, the problem is 8000 times worse--to the point where what should be called just "science" is in fact Marxism. Physics may take adequate stock of Einstein and we do not need to replace physics with "Einsteinism," but science in social matters is in fact Marxism. Science in China is "Mao Zedong Thought." Since Mao was the first in China to institute universal education, we cannot be surprised that Maoism and science itself are conflated in China and many other places in the world still. The reason that the people could not separate Maoism from science itself in China is that the practice of science and universal education was relatively new and few political actors but Maoists backed science and universal education. The same is true in the United $tates in social and health sciences. Few but any practice science except Marxists. The method of Marxism is science. It should not be that way ideally speaking, because science should not be associated with one persyn's name, but that is how science developed historically--unevenly.

    Space for CSUM Press response here:

    1. Letter, New York Press Aug4-102004, p. 95.
    2. "Civil Society User Manual: Dumping Dangerous Presidents," (Mill Valley, CA: CSUM Press)