Right-Wing vs Left-Wing

Discussion in 'Politics' started by B_TonyK8483, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. B_TonyK8483

    B_TonyK8483 New Member

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    I have been taking a look into all the craziness by the Tea-partiers, and the right-wing, the continuation of many of Bush's policies by the left-wing (extraordinary rendtion, moving prisoners to Bagram where they cannot challenge their detention), not to mention the left-wing arguing that the right-wingers are a bunch of fascists on the rise, and the right-wing arguing that the left-wingers are a bunch of communists on the rise.

    I'm wondering if there's some kind of false-dichotomy at work (i.e. a false dilemma in which a person is lead to believe there are two choices to a problem, when in actuality there could be many choices), in which you have a number of power-hungry "elites" who are either exploiting the actions of the right-wing, and/or manipulating them either directly or indirectly, and manipulating the left-wing as well at the same time. Basically steering them into a conflict with each other until only one side is left on top.

    I don't think these people really care whether Corporatism, Fascism (Right-Wing) or Communism (Left-Wing) becomes the dominant system of government. I think they just want absolute, unrestrained power, plain and simple. Any of these options give them absolute power if you think about it. While, I do believe there may be some that are more partial to one or the other, they'll take their absolute power in whatever form it comes.

    This, of course, means that the issue is not Right-Wing versus Left-Wing, it's not about Democrat versus Republican, and not about Progressive versus Conservative either. The issue comes down to Liberty vs Totalitarianism, with those seeking absolute liberty on one end of the spectrum.
     
  2. bek2335

    bek2335 New Member

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    That is a really intelligent, interesting post, Tony. I think you are right. And don't extremists on both sides like to cry about how they are about "freedom" for us all?
     
  3. unabear09

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    great post! The thing I don't think most people realize is our rights as citizens are rapidly being stripped away from us...and its due to both the left and the right. It seems most Americans don't care what happens to those around them, as long as it doesn't effect them in any way.
     
  4. Mr. Snakey

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    It was a very wise man who once said the following.
    The definition of a good politician - Someone who steals a little bit, and saves some for the next guy. I am proud to live in a country where we all can voice our opinion. Many factors are involved in how one person chooses a party, which best describes their political beliefs. I don't think anyone is being disingenuous or dishonest in defending their beliefs. We are all spoon - fed propaganda from infancy to adulthood to some degree. We all share a common ground in making the world a better place. It's is how we do so, that we differ.
     
  5. B_TonyK8483

    B_TonyK8483 New Member

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    bek2335,

    So true isn't it?


    unabear09,

    Correct, but very few people realize that the left and right-wing are both being driven by powerful interests into deliberate conflict for their benefit. People obviously see the conflict taking place, but they don't know what's actually driving the conflict.

    Which is a very serious problem as this attitude results in people doing nothing until it's too late to do anything
     
  6. unabear09

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    Which is a very serious problem as this attitude results in people doing nothing until it's too late to do anything

    I fear that we have reached or passed that point.
     
  7. tripod

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    The "left" is not communist, get that out of your head and you'll make more sense of the world.
     
  8. Industrialsize

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    Please define what you mean by "Elites" and "absolute liberty"????????
     
  9. Calboner

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    The use of the terms "right" and "left" in American politics is so far off the meaning of those terms in the context from which they derive (European politics) that I have a hard time figuring out what they are supposed to mean. One thing that I have heard repeatedly from European commentators is that the American idea of what is on the "left," to the extent that it fits on any European spectrum at all, is to the right of center by their standards.

    By the way, the phrases "right wing" and "left wing" are hyphenated only when they are used as adjectives, not when they are used as nouns. So, e.g., "The left wing argues that the right wing," etc. (noun phrases) versus "Right-wing politicians" (adjectival phrase), etc. The same applies to the phrase "false dichotomy."
     
  10. thetramp

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    That is true, i can only laugh about what americans call left wing, tho i do consider the right wing to really be right.
     
  11. MercyfulFate

    MercyfulFate New Member

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    The extremes on both sides are morons, pretty simple.
     
  12. D_Harvey Schmeckel

    D_Harvey Schmeckel New Member

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    I have been taking a look into all the craziness by the Tea-partiers, and the right-wing, the continuation of many of Bush's policies by the left-wing

    Excuse me, I believe you mean by the centrist Obama administration which has been a huge disappointment on this score to the left.
    snip

    I'm wondering if there's some kind of false-dichotomy at work

    Hell yes, see above! Look to Glenn Greenwald for a consistent critique of the centrist Obama administration from a real leftist on precisely these issues.
     
  13. vince

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    When was the last time you had a left-wing government in the USA? I can't think of any. For a party to successfully hold power in America they must govern from the center or right of center. Obama may have leftist inclinations, but he is pragmatic enough to know that he could never win a second term as a leftist. The Party would not let it happen. They haven't forgotten McGovern.

    I agree with the OP. Politicians crave power and ideology is secondary to the pursuit of it.
     
  14. Bbucko

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    I started a rather long post late last night on this, got interrupted by a phone call, and at some point over the night my Firefox reset itself and it got lost. I originally had links, and can dig them up again regarding any point or factoid upon request.

    There are two, separate left/right paradigms in the US: "fiscal" and "social".

    On the fiscal side, there are true realistic pragmatists who don't believe in deficits as a function of American fiscal policy, but they are few and far between as they are considered an "eat-you-peas" variety of party poopers. Much more common are Utopians of various stripes who feel that they can have their deficits and their wars/social programs as well. It is impossible to break down true fiscal conservatives/liberals by party or even political ideology, as neither has clean hands regarding the economic shambles we live in.

    Socially, conservatives and liberals are both easier to identify and easier to either vilify or defend, depending on how you stand on a particular issue. One sees a Utopian ideal in a "return" to "traditional values" which is largely a product of nostalgia and not proper history; in co-opting the term "Judeo-Christian" they claim to have the weight of religious moral authority on their side. But a thinking person with his/her eyes and ears open know that this is simply not true: there are atheists who deplore social changes and "special" civil rights (my own mother is the perfect example of a completely secular social conservative despite having a gay son and a lesbian daughter) and there are millions of progressive Christians and Jews at the forefront of societal change and evolution toward what they feel is a more just world. The false dichotomy of the faithful versus non-believers as regards social liberalism is largely manufactured by those on both sides of the Culture Wars for their own propagandistic purposes, and it sure does a great job of polarizing people.

    But social liberals/progressives are really just as Utopianist as those on the other side of the Culture War, seeking remedy either through legislation or judiciary actions to correct every injustice they perceive in American society, forgetting that, whatever the law states, people's minds and hearts take decades or even generations to change. The Great Society programs and Civil Rights Acts didn't eradicate racism, they merely tried to redress previous wrongs and to criminalize certain especially egregious behaviors. Gay Pride marches and parades haven't led to greater acceptance as much as certain extremities in celebration of free expression and diversity give those opposed to Gay Rights a giant target to lampoon (and harpoon). This is not to say that such legislation and other signs of social change are irrelevant, just that they only go so far in one's quest for true societal evolution.

    I find it fascinating that those opposed to marriage equality virtually refuse to recognize that it is law in MA, NH, CT, DC, VT, NJ and IA: it's as if those states simply don't exist within the debate. The question isn't whether or not it should be "allowed" to exist in the US: it already does. Willful ignorance in the face of facts doesn't help anyone's cause, and refusing to recognize current reality is willful ignorance.

    So we here in the US, the most Utopian and least pragmatic of all industrialized nations, shade our left/right caricatures into fiscal/social contexts, full of inconsistencies and willful distortions to somehow justify what is an increasingly frustrating attempt at reasonable political dialog. More than one member of this board has described himself as fiscal conservative/socially liberal only to later justify repeatedly playing either the race card or the "gay shame*" card, or both. The fact that one may have "gay friends" (even Sarah Palin claimed at one point to have a few) doesn't exonerate anyone from oddly bigoted remarks, especially veiled ones like "ramming [whatever] down my throat" or "bending over and taking [whatever] like a man", as if allusions to gay sex amply describe one's disgust and horror over any particular issue.

    [*Note: the antonym of "pride" is "shame"]

    A similar illustration is the "War on Drugs", instituted in the 1980s, has been repeatedly been proven to not be administered without racial prejudice, costs us billions, has destroyed countless families and has done little to stem the flow of illicit drugs into the US. But it enjoys wide support across both sides of the aisle in some strange macho bid to see who's toughest in a law-and-order kind of way. The "War on Drugs" is perhaps the most enduring illustration of how deeply Utopianism runs through the entire spectrum of American politics: we went through this before with Prohibition in the 1920s, and look how well that turned out.

    Even the most ardent opponents of this policy draw some odd lines regarding which substances should and should not remain prohibited, based on arbitrary assumptions or opinions regarding the relatively benign quality of one substance over another. I say this as someone who, just this past Monday, lost a friend to an OD (which may or may not have been intentional) of entirely legal prescription drugs mixed with alcohol: some people are self-destructive by nature or by circumstance. He had every resource at his disposal to deal with his complex and myriad issues and in the end, made a terrible choice. But it was his to make. Had any number of "hard" drugs been at his disposal, he probably would have made the same dreadful choice. But you cannot save anyone from themselves regardless of how many sanctions and prohibitions we impose on ourselves, and doing so is an expensive and ultimately futile effort that is fully espoused by both the left and the right.
     
  15. Calboner

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    I would say that that is not so much utopianism as puritanism -- the attempt to compel virtuous behavior (or what is considered such) by legal sanction. This is not a utopian view at all. It accepts that human beings are incurably imperfect ("depraved," in the terms of the original capital-P Puritans) and tries to make up for that by legal coercion. By contrast, libertarians staunchly oppose legal restrictions on drugs but are, I think, abundantly utopian.
     
  16. Bbucko

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    I think we agree on the essentials here, Cal.

    I am well-versed in Puritanism, coming from old New England families on both sides going way back, but what was their "City on a Hill" if not, ultimately Utopian in its aims? Their tactics were still very much in place in my lifetime, when "banned in Boston" really meant something :wink:

    Morality by legislation, at least as far as proscriptions go, is puritanical, so the fact that the Texas Republican Party's platform calls for a return of sodomy laws (purely symbolic, of course, as it was TX's actual sodomy law that SCOTUS ultimately saw fit to strike down specifically) cannot be justified as conservative in the "minimal government/maximum freedom" sense of the word, but can also be seeen as Utopian in as much as there is zero nada zilch possibility of its being actualized.

    I attempted to make a similar point as regards the civil rights legislation of the 60s (and, one could contend, the hate crime legislation much more recently) as lefty/liberal/progressive Utopian attempts to legislate morality in a way that is not puritanical at all. And though it changed laws, it had little or no effect on how people chose to think, except to increase polarization.

    My point, and it's one I believe you agree with, is that both sides have a Utopian streak that seems to disdain pragmatism as either hypocrisy or morally relativistic monkey-shines. It's the very essence of the Culture War that has poisoned political discourse to a greater or lesser degree since the 1960s, certainly since the 1980s. It's been said here and elsewhere that we just need to wait for the Culture Warriors to die before reshaping society according to our more pragmatic (and realistic) ends. I'm afraid that the longer I live the more I see logic in that, much as it grieves me.

    One of the reasons why I call myself an Anarchist is because I'm not a Utopianist: if anything I'm a Dystopianist who finds his life just at or outside the margins of "respectability" and, frankly, am happy there. It feels more like home than any alternative I've ever seen (most especially Libertarianism). I find the whole left/right dichotomy to be a meaningless tonic of spoon-fed lies and distortions, each side demonizing the other's brand of Utopianism. It's demoralizing to even contemplate that that's the best we can come up with right now.
     
  17. Calboner

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    Yes, I have to give you that.
    Oh, of course not. I am not aware of anyone ever trying to invoke the cause of minimal government to justify anti-sodomy laws! This is just an instance in which entirely heterogeneous political positions have been brought together by political expedience under a common label.
    Agreed.
    I am baffled by this. Anarchism seems to me the extreme of utopianism, and just one step beyond libertarianism. The libertarian holds that if only the state were confined to its proper business of protecting liberty (through law at home and military action abroad when necessary), we would live in the best of all possible worlds, while the anarchist holds that we would live best if there were no state at all, a position that strikes me as wild fantasy.
     
  18. b.c.

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    Generalized political terminology such as totalitarianism, fascism, socialism, etc. fail to accurately define the true nature of what is referred to as “right winged” or “left winged” ideology in the United States. The most accurate observation stated so far being that both the so-called left and the so-called right want to be in control; the manner in which they each do so, and the constituency they each depend on being the primary difference.

    The so called “left” (often inaccurately referred to a “liberals”) seek to achieve control via an association (in principle and sometimes only in theory) with those considered as middle-class America and those of more limited socio-economic status.

    Therefore they are seen as the regulators of big business and industry, defenders of wages and fair employment practices, and of social support programs: those that provide economic, housing, and health related benefits to those presumably in need of assistance. In their opponents’ minds this translates as “big government” or “government interference”.

    The opponents of such programs argue that they are a financial drain upon the system, that they foster dependence on government assistance and are therefore harmful to the people these programs are intended to assist.

    Some even posit that the programs themselves are deliberately designed to create dependence upon them, and in so doing a plot to endear those dependents to this ideology; that by creating this dependency upon “assistance” those on the “left” ensure that they themselves remain in power.

    However, given the historical activism of the socio-economic disadvantaged, this argument doesn’t hold water, I think, because those who traditionally go to the polls on a regular basis are those of higher socio-economic status.

    In fact the only times that I can recall when the reverse occurred was when the candidates themselves spurred unprecedented voter turnouts among those of lower income. Two occasions immediately come to mind: Once, when (if not for the massive turnout among minority and low income voters) Louisiana almost elected an ex Klansman as governor, and the election of Obama.

    As for the so called “right” (often inaccurately referred to as “conservatives”), they seek to achieve control too. However their true constituency is big business and those of higher income and financial means. This is not to suggest that those of the left haven’t been very cozy with the same. It’s just that the “right” is closer. I say “true” constituency because I do not suggest that they don’t have a constituency among the middle class or even the poor, the latter being a peculiarity among American politics all its own, and not unprecedented.

    During the Civil War thousands of quite poor Southerners rushed to enlist in the Confederate Army, for the purpose of defending “states’ rights” and “their way of life”. Not that they personally profited from it (not directly at least). While it could be argued that the Southern economy as a whole benefited from the work done by a massive force of free labor, rich plantation owners were the primary beneficiaries.

    Likewise, a large group of poor and middle class people today support the so-called “right” whose ideology relating to social programs, wages, civil rights, rights to legal recourse, environmental protection, housing, etc. do not necessarily do them any good, unless you buy into the notion that those with more limited means fare better only when those in higher socio-economic straits profit first (a notion dubbed “trickle down economics” during the Reagan years).

    A third constituency of those on the so-called “right” are those fringe elements who are motivated by emotional elements based on bigotries, hate, and such. Yes the so-called “left” have some of those too, but certainly not to the degree that the “right” does.

    This is not to suggest that the so-called “right” or even “conservatives” among that group are necessarily bigots. It’s just that the ideology is more closely connected, especially so since the so-called right has in the past done too much to provoke, court, and play upon hate based thought and hasn’t (yet) done enough to disavow the perceived connections to these groups.

    In the end, both “right” and “left” are in this continuous struggle of gaining and maintaining control. For us, that’s supposed to be a good thing, the very concept based in ideas of consumerism, the presumption being the best “product” will rise to the top and that the desire to satisfy the American public would insure the best possible recourse.

    Only, as of late, it doesn’t seem to be quite going that way.
     
    #18 b.c., Jul 22, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010
  19. B_TonyK8483

    B_TonyK8483 New Member

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    unabear09,

    I'm not 100% sure about that, but I would not be surprised if it was
     
  20. Bbucko

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    Here are quotes from TX's Republican official website:

    Here's a brief story from The Austinist (a TX newspaper, presumably not conservative). They somehow justify both minimal government with maximum interference with many personal liberties. They want it both ways, and TX isn't the only state with such platforms, either.

    As with all political labels (and staying on-topic with the OP), there are variations and graduations of tone within any one political label. In my case, Individualist Anarchy comes closest to describing my beliefs and the way I have chosen to live my life. I choose or refuse to accept rules and laws based on my priorities and objectives, no one else's.

    I do not deny the state on a macro level; nor do I believe that life would necessarily improve for most people were it to shrink down to where it could be "drowned in a bathtub". In many respects I believe that life is made better for most people with firm institutions and a cherished set of traditions. However, I cannot deny that, since these institutions and traditions have consistently denied my rights as an individual and these traditions find me to be a kind of "abomination", it is within my rights and responsibilities to set my own rules and traditions without undue influence from established norms, precedences and, frequently, laws.

    I have never been arrested; I have lived my life according to a code of ethics that, in many cases, is more rigid than prevailing law. But just as some things are not good just because they are legal, there are also many things which, at least for me, are not bad just because they are illegal: sodomy laws are simply the clearest example of this that I'd choose to use as a point of illustration on this board. The fact that they were finally deemed unconstitutional in 2003 doesn't negate the fact that I disregarded them up until then.

    To one degree or another, we (nearly) all exercise the willful disregard of certain laws (speeding tickets, anybody?): I just happen to take a principled position on this which puts me at odds with many different rules and authorities. That's why I call myself an Anarchist and not just a scofflaw.
     
    #20 Bbucko, Jul 22, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010
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