Friday, January 17, 2014

Political Left vs. Political Right

Our friend Dave recently commented, “As for far right, I’ve yet to hear a single conservative give an example of what they would consider far right. I did have one once say that far right was impossible because right was correct and you can’t be extremely or far ‘correct’.” This is an amazing coincidence because I have not yet heard anyone on the left describe “far left,” either. Although, I do remember that Ducky once said that there is no such thing as too far left. So there you have it, Dave … opinions are just like anuses—everybody seems to have one.

I mostly look at the political spectrum as a circle, rather than as a straight line. The use of a circle helps me to understand the similarities and differences of people on either side of the political center, and it demonstrates that the further along you go, in either direction, the more “detached” one becomes from most other people. Mostly, though, it demonstrates how very similar the “far right” and “far left” are to one another. As an example, Hitler (who everyone on the left claims to be an example of far right, was actually a “National Socialist”) and Stalin, a Marxist-Leninist up until someone invented a term tailored to Stalin’s behavior over 30 years, is said to be far left. Notice that both were fascist dictators, neither gave a damn about the notion of liberty, justice, or human rights, and both were the deliverers of abject misery to millions of their own people.
It would therefore seem to me that if you replace “Hitler” with any other radical idea, and replace Stalin with its exact opposite, then you arrive at a fair demonstration of where we are today. As an example, the argument of replacing the US Constitution with Sharia Law (or any other dogma) could appear on the far right, while Jesuits or Opus Dei could appear on the left … and, once again, we can observe that they are so close to one another as to be almost indistinguishable in their effect upon mainstream society.

There are times when labels are just that: convenient labels.  There are also times when labels do mean something.  We should be smart enough to know the difference.  We should become concerned, and should resist with all our ability, whenever that "something" becomes a threat to our American way of life and the future of our children. 

43 comments:

Dave Miller said...

Sorry Mustang, I've acknowledged many times that the Code Pink and Cyndy Sheehan "Bush wanted Soldiers to die" crowd were/are extreme left. I've said the Truthers are also outside the mainstream.

Now those are just my opinions, which I've expressed many times.

Constitutional Insurgent said...

I look at the spectrum as linear, but in 3D. The problem I see with the use of political labels in mainstream dialogue, is that on that linear spectrum.....we presume the "mainstream" position to generally be in the center.

With that, each political wing seems to envision their party's position fairly close to that center point [albiet on 'their side' of that point] to portray their ideology to be the accepted and 'right' position for the majority. Remember how many tend to declare that we are a 'center-right' or 'center-left' nation.

The problem lies in that each political wing begins it's assessment of the other in a position of bias, so while they place their ideological home closer to the fulcrum [can't acknoweldge being 'extreme' or 'fringe']....they will by reflex move the position of the opposition party further to the other end of the spectrum. Both wings do likewise.

This is why I place very little credence on charges of "hard right" or "far left". They're generally meaningless and have no value added to the specifics of an issue. They are equally a distraction and a lazy dodge in lieu of defending or opposing an issue on it's merits.

Though I eschew these sorts of labels, I am guilty of employing the use of "left" and "right" for purposes of brevity. I'm not proud of that, but it's a hard habit to break.

Duckys here said...

At least quote e correctly.

I said there is currently no organized progressive movement in America. That may be changing but right now the Dems are represented by the likes of feinstein, Schumer, Landrieux and other bought and paid for corporate pimps.

Duckys here said...

As an example, the argument of replacing the US Constitution with Sharia Law (or any other dogma) could appear on the far right, while Jesuits or Opus Dei could appear on the left
-------
Do you even understand Opus Dei?
Scalia is Opus dei. Now do you consider him a man of the left?

Jesuits with an emphasis on the social contract would be a better example but any religious fundamentalist is fringe right.

-FJ said...

The "center" is the real myth. There is no "center" And there is no "middle class", either. There is only a fictional "salaried bourgeosie, in which a certain subset of the proletariate workers receive an arbitrary "surplus wage" and fictionally believe themselves to constitute a "middle" class.

Mustang said...

We are all guilty of labeling, and yes—it is a hard habit to break. I appreciate CI’s straightforward honesty about this. Everyone has an opinion, and most people seek to express it in the vernacular.

While I agree with CI, I also think that sometimes labels are more than name-calling. When someone adheres to the tenets of Marxism, then that person is a de facto communist. It isn’t name-calling. Is this term over-used, along with “socialist?” Perhaps—but I think that if I can see the beginnings of national socialism, government encroachment on the rights of citizens, then I feel compelled to say something about it. I have a duty to myself to call it the way I see it.

On the other hand, some on the left prefer to use such terms as “extreme right,” and “right winger” as epithets and there are two points here. The first is that I have not read any comments that denote a “far right” point of view (see the graphic); not one adherent to the ideas of Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Mao, Kropotkin, or Farrakhan. I do read angry comments posted by those who are lashing out as a result of that anger. I would propose that lashing out verbally, in anger or disgust, is much preferred to lashing out with violence. In all that anger, or the pushing back, I have never once read a conservative advocacy for replacing the Constitution with the Holy Bible.

And then, we have the tit for tat arguments that are famous here. It almost reminds me of children playing on the schoolyard. “Oh yeah?” “Yeah!” “Oh yeah?” “Yeah!” Well, Bush did it too … and as I have never read a comment here at Geez by a regular commenter wishing harm to the current president or any member of his family, I have read comments from the other side of the graph hoping that Breitbart would die, or that Dick Cheney’s heart would give out, or that someone would shoot Bush.

The point, finally, is that everyone is capable of hateful, unthinking remarks. We just seem to hear more of these from the left than we do the right—at least, at this blog.

Duckys here said...

What you are talking about is the exercise of power.
I believe the a "left" viewpoint wants power distributed much more evenly in the population than it is now and that involves regulation of capital markets.

Th right is much more likely to kneel to the oligarchy and accept subservience with silliness like "A poor man never gave me a job."

In the arts the right is much less likely to support the avant-garde and rather than ignoring it are actively hostile. The question of finding the area where art and philosophy merge is not of ay particular interest to them.

The right is militaristic and have an irrational belief in the efficacy of the military and especially the police force. They will succumb to the argument that "if you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear" while their fear of young black men becomes manifest in stop and frisk.

I don't eschew the labels at all.

skudrunner said...

Duckster

Both sides are bough and paid for by big business it is just that the left lies about it.
The left is hypercritical because they "support" the middle class while doing all they can to destroy it. It is tantamount to someone taking tax deductible contributions from the wealthy and then attacking them for being greedy.
I do not consider myself a republican nor a right winger. I am a fiscal conservative who does not believe the government should run my life.

Sam Huntington said...

The reason Ducky never became a magician is that he only knows one trick. The man is even too stupid to think about an argument before he rushes in to denounce it. His generalizations are why he has no credibility at conservative or libertarian blogs. None. I hate to say this, but Ducky is merely laughable.

Sam Huntington said...

I think FJ and Skudrunner nailed it.

JonBerg said...

While it could be argued that any organized society is to some degree or another [socialistic], Socialism, as identified in today's post, is the result of a society selling itself out to autocratic rule with the misguided promise of government controlled wealth creation and distribution. Not only is this antithetical to human nature it is a sure recipe for misery. Are we on the cusp of capitulating to this prevarication?
After all we have twice elected a President who, without compunction, eschews the Constitution while demonstrating a growing propensity to circumvent Congress to advance [his] unilateral objectives. Will we continue on our present path of self-destruction or will there, some how, be a redeeming awakening to our impending demise?

Anonymous said...

From Z of Geeez;

CI, the 'left' and 'right' for brevity is a shortcut, but we're blogging, not giving lectures (at least most of us :-)
This is one reason I often chide my lefties for "you said 'REPUBLICANS', Z, when not ALL REPUBLICANS..." Yes, I know, but you can't say "All Republicans BUT ....Mustang, some in N Ohio, me, ..." We just have to do that and hope people understand we're generalizing..usually.

I do believe there is a hard right and a hard left and I know you don't agree with me on this (and that's fine) but I believe we don't hear HARD LEFT in the media as often as we hear pejoratives of the Right like that.

I'm LAUGHING OUT LOUD here at work as I read
DUCKY's...comment "any religious fundamentalist is FRINGE RIGHT!" :-) The fun never stops, does it. hilarious

And Ducky, how do you STAND us slobs you feel are too unintellectual to 'find where art and philosophy merge?' Talk about labeling....You know better, too.

FJ, can you explain how there's no middle class? I am hearing that the middle class is not shrinking as the left likes to portray..thoughts? But, of course, if you don't believe there IS a MC, you probably don't want to answer that question!

Skud...Sam's right; you nailed it well.

JB, yes we are...those free Obama phones (and, please, leftists, I use that as an example, as a short cut to describe all the goodies promised to people who'll vote Left for their goodies) ...anyway, those free Obama phones are intoxicating to a very large part of our indoctrinated, weakened population.

back to work...see y'all soon.

z

Dave Miller said...

Z... you are certainly correct in that the media has a difficult time saying "Hard Left" as opposed to extreme right, because they do tend to be more liberal, or left in their leanings.

Ducky is also correct in his thoughts on avant garde art and how it gets treated. It is one thing to not like something, another to actively campaign to remove it from the public square.

Regarding my question that Mustang took up, the metric has changed. Since we now cannot use labels, my question becomes unanswerable. Convenient.

I wonder why those that shall not be categorized as conservative/right/GOP have such a problem giving a few examples of what someone who has extreme beliefs from that group might look like?

Duckys here said...

Well, z, I can actually get along with conservatives fairly well and share quite a few of their tastes.

I do less well with people who call Opus Dei, an early supporter of the Franco regime, a leftist organization but let that go.

With respect to art I don't know if you can classify me as left or right.

1. I believe it is absolutely ESSENTIAL that children have an aesthetic experience and arts kept as a core component of a sound education.

2. A blogger you once linked to said to me once (regarding abstraction), "Come on, you know it's all a fraud". Well, I don't believe that at all and I believe it is important to push the limits.
Although the avant-garde is under a lot more pressure than more established modes.
In other words, it isn't your tastes which are threatened or seen as "strange".

3. It is critical for people to make their own art in addition to consuming it.

4. The "free market"(lmao) caters to the least common denominator and elites and should be countered by at least modest government funding.

5. Public media in America has been co-opted to our detriment.

6. Art can be transformative.

What I see in many, if not most, conservatives is this; the rejection as threatening of what is "other".

An example would be your school which offers a course in American film. Why limit it to American?

Duckys here said...

Dave, I don't think anyone hear or on Fox news or rabies radio would have any difficulty calling say, "Democracy Now!" hard left.

They even call Obama a communist.
Delirious maybe but it's there.

JonBerg said...

"4. The "free market"(lmao) caters to the least common denominator and elites and should be countered by at least modest government funding."

So where does "government funding" [funds] originate?

Anonymous said...

Ducky? AMERICAN FILM? wrong.

And, you know my stance on art, contemporary or not, and you know that not all conservatives (maybe most) don't hate contemporary art...so stop. SOme do. Some liberals do. SURPRISE!
You also know I am a strong believer in art and music in schools; but you folks have made it more important to spend time learning to put condoms on bananas and teaching now NYC will be drowning in five years because of global warming.

And, no, you will not hear 'hard left' on CNN or the networks or any of the liberal big town papers.
And it's not 'rabies radio', it's practically the only political talk radio that's survived and is thriving. I guess it's that 'fringe,' whose definition obviously changes by nature of the word 'fringe'...?

You know, Ducky, I hate to be so disagreeable when I comment to you but you really are so pompous and egocentric.
no offense.

what do you call PBS? And why won't our gov't pay for Hannity or O'Reilly if they cover Moyers?
(or should I saw "WE" have to cover $$$ MOyers?)

And he is a communist...what the heck do you call INCOME EQUALITY? We going to start making laws by which women get the same pay as men (which should happen, of course, but can be worked out at the employment level) and force companies to pay lower level positions the same as the corporate president?

I heard a liberal on Medved radio yesterday saying "But Michael, small business can AFFORD to pay higher hourly wages if they can have a business!"

you can't make this stuff up. I know he's not representative of ALL Libs, but I shouldn't say that because you so often lump all conservatives into one mindset.

By the way:
What conservative 'tastes' do you share?

Duckys here said...

mustang, if a person accepts Marx's critique of capitalism , as many economists have but rejects his political resolution, where would you place that person on the scale?

Is that situation any different than a person accepting Adam Smith's idea of the market economy while dismissing Smith's support for regulation and labor unions?

Point being that many ideas have morphed into extreme positions. Laissez-faire morphing into Randian and Austrian school cultists just as the left once fetishised Che and Mao.

Duckys here said...

For class discussion:

I think one of the last "free" urban subcultures, what's left of hip-hop, are the skateboarders.

Are they left or right.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

And there you go with Ducky's example. Demorats are insufficiently left for the Left.

But I concur with his analysis.

BZ

Dave Miller said...

Ducky... regarding "Far left" I agree... I'm trying to get someone here, apart from us "crazy liberals" to define "far right".

I do wonder if they resist for fear of alienating their friends and co-readers...

Mustang said...

@ Dave

I think you must not have read the post, or given it much thought. I did my best to explain my view of far right/far left. Either I failed to express myself well enough; you disagree, or choose not to comprehend. More than this, I cannot do.

@ Ducky

This discussion isn’t about what I believe, or even what you think to be true. It was rather a discussion about the political spectrum and why I think labels are sometimes confusing. I presented my point and you are free to disagree, as you wish.

To be honest, I did not anticipate that we would have an enriching conversation, and here’s my best example of why. You wrote these words: “For Class Discussion.” Do you honestly imagine that you are some sage professor, able to lecture to the rest of us about anything? Really? I would have to say that if you think of yourself superior to anyone else who comments here, then you are one arrogant ass. This could be the reason you refuse to start your own blog ... no one would show up to read your perpetual insults.

skudrunner said...

Dave,

What is considered extreme on either side is a matter of interpretation. To me anyone who bombs an abortion clinic or throws objects at gays is far right. If you are against abortion or gay marriage, it is a personal matter but not extreme.

If you get upset when the government wastes tax money to encourage welfare as a career choice, you are fiscally conservative.

See how easy that was



Duckys here said...

No, mustang, I am not a sage professor.
However, I do know that the idea of "freedom" is complicated and it's meaning taken for granted.

I thought folks might like to chime in on just what they feel "freedom" involves.

It is not clear at all.

Duckys here said...

what do you call PBS? And why won't our gov't pay for Hannity or O'Reilly if they cover Moyers?
(or should I saw "WE" have to cover $$$ MOyers?)

---------
Well,z, you may remember that PBS, back in the day was instrumental in revitalizing the Republican movement by airing William Buckley and "Firing Line".
A program the broadcast right up to his death.

Moyers developed as one of our foremost reporters around the same time and he also has access.

To compare either Moyers or Buckley to dim witted hate jocks like O'Reilly or Hannity is insane.

Sam Huntington said...

Well Ducky, you do have a knack for twisting words around to fit your own agenda. Z asked a question about funding. Since you seem incapable of understanding simple things, let me break it down for you further. On what basis should the federal government choose to fund Moyers, or Buckley, or Howdy Doody, and not provide funding in equal measure to Hannity, or O’Reilly, or even your favorite, Rush Limbaugh? How does Congress justify funding the one, and not the others? I suspect that you are still chaffing because Air America (two words, one lie) went off the air.

Duckys here said...

Well Sam, NPR at one time, before the corporations bought them, had standards of reporting and broadcasting.

Those standards do not exist on cable. Do you for an instant believe that Hannity, Beck, or O'Reilly would be interested in becoming honest reporters and losing several hundred millions in income?
Do they want to broadcast on NPR?

Now, the idea that we would have a public network which would be free of market forces had a lot of merit.
You can compare the influence of Julia Child on the culture compared to say Duck Dynasty.
Early NPR had a lot of merit before it was co-opted. And I believe it was worth the small investment.

Duckys here said...

Air America is an interesting case, Sam. The behind he scenes story of the management fiasco is revealing.
Management was out to try to make a buck. The broadcasters weren't getting paid and were trying to run a broadcasting network.

It wasn't a loss though.

Rachel Maddow? I'm sure you're familiar with her even before she lot her edge.

Sam Seder went on to a successful career.

Al Franken used it as a springboard to Congress.

I must admit I do miss Mark Maron and Morning Sedition. Some brilliant bits on that show.

-FJ said...

There is no middle Class.


there used to be a middle class (petit bourgeosie) consisting of shopkeepers and small business owners, but they are gone... replaced by salary workers. Americans no longer own their farms and businesses. They are mortgaged to the hilt and work for corporations.

There are two classes, today. owners and workers. The formerly large owner class is shrinking... and despite all their professed love for the workers, democrats are making it harder for any aspiring worker to ever become an owner. they love workers so much, they make sure there are ever more of them, and none can escape wage labour.

Sam Huntington said...

Do you for an instant believe that Hannity, Beck, or O'Reilly would be interested in becoming honest reporters and losing several hundred millions in income?

No, I don’t think they have any interest at all in honest (unbiased) reporting, no more than those fools at MSNBC do … or the useful idiots at NPR. The difference is, we aren’t paying for Fox or MSNBC. We are paying for NPR.

Duck Dynasty does have some value, however. When you look carefully at the producers of this and other programs, you will find that they are a consortium of leftist producers making fun of people who live in swamps, or lower Louisiana, or who raise genetically damaged children —and so we have to ask, who specifically is destroying American culture?

Impertinent said...

@Ducky:

"before the corporations bought them..."

If that's true then why the hell do we still have to finance them?

Impertinent said...

@Ducky:

What...no accolades for Randi Rhodes?

Duckys here said...


@Imp
"before the corporations bought them..."

If that's true then why the hell do we still have to finance them?
---
The amount of Federal money is something like 10-15% of operating costs. Absolutely minimal and the quality drop reflects that.

Impertinent said...

@Ducky:

"For fiscal year 2012, its appropriation was US$445.2 million, (including $1M in interest earned). The distribution of these funds was as follows:

$222.36M for direct grants to local public television stations;

$79.87M for television programming grants;

$69.18M for direct grants to local public radio stations;

$26.65M for PBS support;

$22.85M for grants for radio programming and national program production and acquisition;

$22.21M for CPB administrative costs;

$7.04M for the Radio Program Fund.


Now take that and add to it the agencies that are duplicated 10 times over for the same jobs...the criminal pork in every bill and that's no longer a drop in the bucket.

Duckys here said...

A small percentage of their costs.

Take "Downton Abbey", which has an audience considerably larger than "Duck Dynasty".

The production values are high and expensive. Unlike your typical Honey Boo-Boo show which costs virtually nothing.

Myself, I'd rather cover the grant for "This American Life" than have to listen to rabies radio.


Ed Bonderenka said...

FJ, I would not confuse the petit bourgeois with the middle class.
These are two different distinctions.
One speaks of position in society and the other of position on an income scale.

Ed Bonderenka said...

When one considers what is far left, vs far right, left and right must be agreed upon.
Some of the previous comments allude to left being communist leaving right the opposite. That's been the scale for decades.
So then a far left would be a complete communist with all the state restrictions on freedom that requires (private property, et al).
The complete libertarian would then be hard right (leave me alone to live or die or and don't require me to help anyone else, Ayn Rand).
If you ignore the economic system and just scale on personal freedom,
Statists (even nominal communists) are hard left and once again complete libertarians are the hard right.
The real semantic puzzle is liberal vs conservative.
What are the extents of that scale?

Kid said...

All I can say after reading through the comments is that because of the gross corruption of the labels by the media, which is controlled by the democrat party, we as citizens are left with even fewer options for communication, and as I've said and Mustang has said, we find ourselves in a kindergarten playground screaming at each other with no chance of anyone gaining ground.

This is where the political body wants us. Disarmed, misdirected, and oblivious (majority speaking) to their massive theft and harvesting of the American population. Been going on a Long time. Eg. Andrew Carnegie buying up much of the Pittsburgh area real estate during the great depression from hungry people.

Same as it ever was, but Worse now that far fewer even realize what is going on.

And anticipating some push back from the liberal few here, I'll add: Is TOO! IS TOO!

Impertinent said...

@Kid:

Too? says who?

Kid said...

IMP, That's Who !

Duckys here said...

@kid --- and oblivious (majority speaking) to their massive theft and harvesting of the American population

--------
"It's people. Soylent Green is made out of people. They're making our food out of people."

JonBerg said...

"American culture?" Yeah, good question!

Anonymous said...

"Notice that both were fascist dictators, neither gave a damn about the notion of liberty, justice..."

WTF? What history books do you read? Stalin and Hitler were definitely not fascists. You're thinking of Mussolini. You can't just arbitrarily throw the word 'fascist' onto anyone you don't like. It is rather obvious you have no idea what fascism is, nor do you seem to grasp the historical context behind the actions of Stalin and Hitler.