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What is the Left? A short overview.

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  • eupraxis@aol.com
    What is the Left? A short overview. a personal thesis by Wil S. As most know, the term, Left , originally referred to the seating of the French Parliament
    Message 1 of 16 , Jan 1, 2009
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      What is the Left? A short overview.
      a personal thesis by Wil S.

      As most know, the term, "Left", originally referred to the seating of the
      French Parliament circa the Revolutionary period: literally sitting on the Left
      were to those opposing the monarchy; on the right, those supporting the
      monarchy. The Left stems from the Enlightenment and its scions, and incorporates
      everything from Lockeanism, brought to a greater audience by Voltaire, to the
      more radical expositions of "Liberte, egalite, fraternite". It is at this point
      that the notions of political and social become associated as necessarily
      complementary. Hence the term "socio-political".

      The older conservative notion of politics understood the term, or at any rate
      used the term, as if the political has nothing whatever to do with actual
      persons in their social reality. There is the political order. And if there are
      also the poor, the sick, the homeless, downtrodden, ... well, what does that
      have to do with anything? So thought the crown, the courts, the clergy and
      conservatives generally. Politics meant for them something reflective of a divine
      order, quite apart from real, living people.

      Conjoining the 'socio-' to the political made of politics, for the left, a
      responsibility rather than a rationalization of society's ills. It is therefore
      improper, if not impossible, to speak of the political order of things without
      having recourse to social concerns. It is with 'the social' that 'the
      political' loses its former theocratic metaphysics and becomes a philosophical
      subject. As such all matters relating to society and the State are adjudged as
      pertains people, not orders of being.

      (It is in this light that I assert that libertarianism is essentially a
      right-wing ideology, replacing the symbolic social order of hierarchies -- divine
      right, etc., -- with the mundane self-reference of greed and self-worship. It
      takes the status quo for the proverbial "all things being equal"
      presupposition, when the fact is that all things are not equal and one's wealth is a social
      product rather than a ready-made thing without a history.)

      The rise of the Bourgeoisie in the 17th through the 18th centuries gave rise
      to new conceptions of "society" and, as a result, new forms of social power
      even before the Revolution. Marx outlines Bourgeois power in terms of the
      economic ownership of the means of production. Hence the term "socio-economic" which
      has entered into all lexicons of analysis. Foucault outlines the
      transformation of power according social institutions and, let us say, the use of
      power-knowledge as it inscribes itself as the organization of bodies, or bio-power.
      For me both kinds of critique are essential for a full leftist outlook: the
      socio-economic critique (the analysis of Capitalism) and the critique of
      institutional/bio-power. In both cases what we see is a transition from a purely
      hierarchical notion of power (monarch to intermediaries to base, what Foucault has
      called Sovereign Power) to a total commutative intra-monadic power (a structure
      that operates like a hologram where each potential part reduplicates the same
      structuration, what Foucault has called Disciplinary or Bio- Power).

      To illustrate: in the old model, theft and insubordination to one's master,
      say, were considered crimes against the crown; penalties were arbitrary,
      sometimes cruel, sometimes not. In fact, the list of infractions, if list there was,
      was quite small. But, in any case, the notion of justice was hierarchical and
      based on what some have called the metonymy of power (the crown representing
      the ownership of the totality of the realm). The newer model, a model which
      even now continues to integrate itself in the world, but which is also poised to
      collapse, this intra-representational model of power, which is still our
      model as long as society remains 'open' and not eclipsed by arbitrary abuses of
      co-opted power by regimes which seek to regain something like "sovereign power"
      -- this newer model, then, reduplicates its concept as if each instance were a
      windowed 'monad', each monad not representing the whole but rather
      reduplicating it, like the parts of a broken hologram are complete in themselves.

      So, on the one hand, the newer model, what we ordinarily understand as
      "Modernity", or as the consequence of the Bourgeois revolution, or what have you,
      can be seen as an 'advance' over the older model. Social questions become
      codified rationally rather than based on myth or other non-purely rational methods,
      at least in principle. This is coeval with the revolution in the sciences,
      including the so-called social sciences. The State, then, is the repository of
      rational method and deliberation. And, just as science-knowledge is something
      cumulative and ongoing, Society is something ever reformative and thus
      institutionally expansive, and the slogan "laws, not men" defines the new space of a
      secular order.

      In many respects, the left is thus ever vigilant against any reactionary
      slippages back into the arbitrary, into the use of power outside the ideal of its
      non-ownership, whether this is apropos economic inequalities and the abuses of
      corporate control on society at large, or apropos any manner of abusive
      regime that seeks to curtail popular power (and civil rights, constitutional
      guarantees, etc.) for the sake of a 'junta'. Fascism would thus be the famous
      antithesis of this.

      Many would claim that this is where the conventional liberal left, or even
      the so-called Marxian left, have their respective blind spot. And there is a
      notable blind spot here, if this is where the matter ends for us, although I
      personally would not indict Marx in this respect. Here such authors as Foucault
      and Zizek, and others, have much to offer, in any case.

      To continue, then, we can also view the transition from monarchical to modern
      power as a growing encroachment of power, even if that encroachment is tied
      to apparent social reforms. Foucault documents this double-faced transformation
      in his works on psychiatric power, the reductive social gaze of the clinic,
      the increase of confinement in prison 'reform', the notion of the Panopticon as
      social control, and so on. A famous example, which can also be almost
      axiomatic for what I am trying to indicate here, concerns the notion of Madness.
      Without going into the long and complex history, which Foucault has attempted in
      his monumental The History of Madness (abridgement entitled "History and
      Civilization"), and related subsequent lectures on the topic given at the College de
      France, published as a series by Palgrave/Macmillan, we can see the change in
      societal gaze from madmen as oracle, to madmen as nuisance, to madmen as
      feared other, to madmen as wards of the State. Power constructed the space of it
      appropriation, marking bodies as Subject and Ward.

      Many misread Foucault as if he is alleging that the social construction of
      madness as a State concern is tantamount to dismissing the realities of madness
      of altogether. This is not the case, although there are certainly many drummed
      up pseudo-disorders (especially in "women's health" in the 19th Century, and
      pharmaceutical industry concocted disorders in our own time). Foucault, like
      Nietzsche, by whom he is influenced, is rather indicating how power operates
      notwithstanding the questions regarding discrete issues therein. Regardless of
      whether the proverbial "insane" cannot care for themselves, the
      institutionalization of the insane marks a certain expanse of power over the social -- which
      should always be an object of leftist analysis and critique. In this sense,
      the right-wing claim that many liberals want to overuse society to curtail
      freedom is quite germane, if too often exaggerated and hypocritical.

      In any case, this additional critique of power, in the Nietzsche sense, is an
      absolutely necessary requirement for any truly 'liberational' notion of Left.
      This critique would, for example, mitigate against adopting what some have
      called the "rightwing deviation" in Soviet apologetics.

      The above hardly completes the issue, and I am leaving things here almost
      against my will, but this is already too lengthy for a post, and I do not want to
      wear out the welcome.

      Wil



      **************
      Stay up-to-date on the latest news - from fashion trends to
      celebrity break-ups and everything in between.
      (http://www.aol.com/?ncid=emlcntaolcom00000024)


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • eupraxis@aol.com
      I apologize for the many typos. Wil ************** Stay up-to-date on the latest news - from fashion trends to celebrity break-ups and everything in between.
      Message 2 of 16 , Jan 1, 2009
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        I apologize for the many typos.

        Wil


        **************
        Stay up-to-date on the latest news - from fashion trends to
        celebrity break-ups and everything in between.
        (http://www.aol.com/?ncid=emlcntaolcom00000024)


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • tom
        Happy New Year Will, You wrote in the previous post (It is in this light that I assert that libertarianism is essentially a right-wing ideology, replacing the
        Message 3 of 16 , Jan 1, 2009
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          Happy New Year Will,

          You wrote in the previous post

          (It is in this light that I assert that libertarianism is essentially a
          right-wing ideology, replacing the symbolic social order of hierarchies -- divine
          right, etc., -- with the mundane self-reference of greed and self-worship. It
          takes the status quo for the proverbial "all things being equal"
          presupposition, when the fact is that all things are not equal and one's wealth is a social
          product rather than a ready-made thing without a history.)

          I've heard some guys on Air America half jokingly say that Libertarians are Republicans that like to smoke pot. However, Libertarians are consistently at least as much, and usually much more opposed to violations of civil liberties, and to imperialistic military aggression than Democratic liberals. Of course, a fringe party can afford to be much more idealistic than a major party, because they are basically trying to express an ideal rather than win; and I certainly believe Machiavelli's ideas about the realities of acquiring, maintaining, and expanding power are every bit as true today as they were 500 years ago. Interestingly, Libertarians and Greens have often cooperated in joint registration efforts etc,even though Libertarians would be considered right and Greens left. I read a statementa few years ago by a Libertarian where he says to a Green friend that "I support many of your goals, but disagree with you on the government being the best way to achieve such. Libertarians point out that although in theory government regulation is a way to level the playing field, in practice often the government is bought and paid for by those with the most money. Both libertarians and liberals claim guys like Jefferson and Paine; and I think good cases can be made for both points of view. Both Jefferson and Paine expressed a good deal of distrust of large government as libertarians do, but also expressed concerns for the positions of the poor being exploited by the rich as liberals do. I suspect that Jefferson and Paine like myself and many others were pulled between these two positions. Both Jefferson as well as Washington and many of the founders were opposed to entangling alliances that lead to perpetual war. Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto.
          Thomas Jefferson

          Conquest is not in our principles. It is inconsistent with our government.
          Thomas Jefferson

          Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness would certainly preclude drug wars, porn wars etc. When Hilary Clinton, Kerry, and many other Democratic liberals were voting to give Bush power to invade Iraq, Ron Paul casts one of the few votes against it. It is also true that the Republican Party for the last 28 years has taken more socially conservative positions to placate the Christian right, whose affiliation enabled them to win many elections. Politics makes strange bedfellows. Barry Goldwater said in regard to the influx of the Christian right into the Republican Party, that his party was being taken over by kooks.It's ironic that the conservative Republicans who use the idea of freedom as an excuse for imperialistic aggression are the first to oppose freedom in regard to drugs, sex etc.

          As for economic issues, I am pulled between libertarian and liberal positions. I would have loved to hear a debate between the late Harry Browne and George Soros. They represented opposite views on economics, but both had successful track records in investing.

          I voted for Ron Paul in the Republican primary, but voted for Obama after Paul was out of it.I could be more accurately classified an independent than any thing else. On economic issues, I am pulled two ways. Like libertarians I am cynical about the reality of government as honest or efficient;and like liberals I am concerned about the growing proportion of income going to the top 1% and even .1% of the population.

          Tom

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: eupraxis@...
          To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Thursday, January 01, 2009 2:33 PM
          Subject: Re: [existlist] What is the Left? A short overview.


          I apologize for the many typos.

          Wil

          **************
          Stay up-to-date on the latest news - from fashion trends to
          celebrity break-ups and everything in between.
          (http://www.aol.com/?ncid=emlcntaolcom00000024)

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • eupraxis@aol.com
          Tom, I am aware of the libertarian POV. My charges stand. One thing about the left is that it maintains the possibility of activist policies, including
          Message 4 of 16 , Jan 1, 2009
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            Tom,

            I am aware of the libertarian POV. My charges stand. One thing about the left
            is that it maintains the possibility of activist policies, including
            overcoming wealth inequality by means of the IRS, the use of force to end segregation
            in schools, and other things like that which libertarian have never supported.


            Sometimes one deserves to be encroached upon by the State.

            Wil



            **************
            Stay up-to-date on the latest news - from fashion trends to
            celebrity break-ups and everything in between.
            (http://www.aol.com/?ncid=emlcntaolcom00000024)


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Amos
            Here s a link to a Wikipedia article on libertarian socialism. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_socialism For some reason, in the U.S. libertarianism
            Message 5 of 16 , Jan 1, 2009
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              Here's a link to a Wikipedia article on libertarian socialism.
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_socialism

              For some reason, in the U.S. libertarianism is generally identified
              with Ayn Rand and with an extreme free market (don't touch my private
              property) ideology, but there are other forms. Amos


              --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
              >
              > Tom,
              >
              > I am aware of the libertarian POV. My charges stand. One thing
              about the left
              > is that it maintains the possibility of activist policies,
              including
              > overcoming wealth inequality by means of the IRS, the use of force
              to end segregation
              > in schools, and other things like that which libertarian have never
              supported.
              >
              >
              > Sometimes one deserves to be encroached upon by the State.
              >
              > Wil
              >
              >
              >
              > **************
              > Stay up-to-date on the latest news - from fashion trends to
              > celebrity break-ups and everything in between.
              > (http://www.aol.com/?ncid=emlcntaolcom00000024)
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
            • bhvwd
              ... seating of the ... on the Left ... the ... incorporates ... Voltaire, to the ... at this point ... necessarily ... at any rate ... actual ... if there are
              Message 6 of 16 , Jan 1, 2009
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                --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
                >
                > What is the Left? A short overview.
                > a personal thesis by Wil S.
                >
                > As most know, the term, "Left", originally referred to the
                seating of the
                > French Parliament circa the Revolutionary period: literally sitting
                on the Left
                > were to those opposing the monarchy; on the right, those supporting
                the
                > monarchy. The Left stems from the Enlightenment and its scions, and
                incorporates
                > everything from Lockeanism, brought to a greater audience by
                Voltaire, to the
                > more radical expositions of "Liberte, egalite, fraternite". It is
                at this point
                > that the notions of political and social become associated as
                necessarily
                > complementary. Hence the term "socio-political".
                >
                > The older conservative notion of politics understood the term, or
                at any rate
                > used the term, as if the political has nothing whatever to do with
                actual
                > persons in their social reality. There is the political order. And
                if there are
                > also the poor, the sick, the homeless, downtrodden, ... well, what
                does that
                > have to do with anything? So thought the crown, the courts, the
                clergy and
                > conservatives generally. Politics meant for them something
                reflective of a divine
                > order, quite apart from real, living people.
                >
                > Conjoining the 'socio-' to the political made of politics, for the
                left, a
                > responsibility rather than a rationalization of society's ills. It
                is therefore
                > improper, if not impossible, to speak of the political order of
                things without
                > having recourse to social concerns. It is with 'the social'
                that 'the
                > political' loses its former theocratic metaphysics and becomes a
                philosophical
                > subject. As such all matters relating to society and the State are
                adjudged as
                > pertains people, not orders of being.
                >
                > (It is in this light that I assert that libertarianism is
                essentially a
                > right-wing ideology, replacing the symbolic social order of
                hierarchies -- divine
                > right, etc., -- with the mundane self-reference of greed and self-
                worship. It
                > takes the status quo for the proverbial "all things being equal"
                > presupposition, when the fact is that all things are not equal and
                one's wealth is a social
                > product rather than a ready-made thing without a history.)
                >
                > The rise of the Bourgeoisie in the 17th through the 18th centuries
                gave rise
                > to new conceptions of "society" and, as a result, new forms of
                social power
                > even before the Revolution. Marx outlines Bourgeois power in terms
                of the
                > economic ownership of the means of production. Hence the
                term "socio-economic" which
                > has entered into all lexicons of analysis. Foucault outlines the
                > transformation of power according social institutions and, let us
                say, the use of
                > power-knowledge as it inscribes itself as the organization of
                bodies, or bio-power.
                > For me both kinds of critique are essential for a full leftist
                outlook: the
                > socio-economic critique (the analysis of Capitalism) and the
                critique of
                > institutional/bio-power. In both cases what we see is a transition
                from a purely
                > hierarchical notion of power (monarch to intermediaries to base,
                what Foucault has
                > called Sovereign Power) to a total commutative intra-monadic power
                (a structure
                > that operates like a hologram where each potential part
                reduplicates the same
                > structuration, what Foucault has called Disciplinary or Bio-
                Power).
                >
                > To illustrate: in the old model, theft and insubordination to one's
                master,
                > say, were considered crimes against the crown; penalties were
                arbitrary,
                > sometimes cruel, sometimes not. In fact, the list of infractions,
                if list there was,
                > was quite small. But, in any case, the notion of justice was
                hierarchical and
                > based on what some have called the metonymy of power (the crown
                representing
                > the ownership of the totality of the realm). The newer model, a
                model which
                > even now continues to integrate itself in the world, but which is
                also poised to
                > collapse, this intra-representational model of power, which is
                still our
                > model as long as society remains 'open' and not eclipsed by
                arbitrary abuses of
                > co-opted power by regimes which seek to regain something
                like "sovereign power"
                > -- this newer model, then, reduplicates its concept as if each
                instance were a
                > windowed 'monad', each monad not representing the whole but rather
                > reduplicating it, like the parts of a broken hologram are complete
                in themselves.
                >
                > So, on the one hand, the newer model, what we ordinarily understand
                as
                > "Modernity", or as the consequence of the Bourgeois revolution, or
                what have you,
                > can be seen as an 'advance' over the older model. Social questions
                become
                > codified rationally rather than based on myth or other non-purely
                rational methods,
                > at least in principle. This is coeval with the revolution in the
                sciences,
                > including the so-called social sciences. The State, then, is the
                repository of
                > rational method and deliberation. And, just as science-knowledge is
                something
                > cumulative and ongoing, Society is something ever reformative and
                thus
                > institutionally expansive, and the slogan "laws, not men" defines
                the new space of a
                > secular order.
                >
                > In many respects, the left is thus ever vigilant against any
                reactionary
                > slippages back into the arbitrary, into the use of power outside
                the ideal of its
                > non-ownership, whether this is apropos economic inequalities and
                the abuses of
                > corporate control on society at large, or apropos any manner of
                abusive
                > regime that seeks to curtail popular power (and civil rights,
                constitutional
                > guarantees, etc.) for the sake of a 'junta'. Fascism would thus be
                the famous
                > antithesis of this.
                >
                > Many would claim that this is where the conventional liberal left,
                or even
                > the so-called Marxian left, have their respective blind spot. And
                there is a
                > notable blind spot here, if this is where the matter ends for us,
                although I
                > personally would not indict Marx in this respect. Here such authors
                as Foucault
                > and Zizek, and others, have much to offer, in any case.
                >
                > To continue, then, we can also view the transition from monarchical
                to modern
                > power as a growing encroachment of power, even if that encroachment
                is tied
                > to apparent social reforms. Foucault documents this double-faced
                transformation
                > in his works on psychiatric power, the reductive social gaze of the
                clinic,
                > the increase of confinement in prison 'reform', the notion of the
                Panopticon as
                > social control, and so on. A famous example, which can also be
                almost
                > axiomatic for what I am trying to indicate here, concerns the
                notion of Madness.
                > Without going into the long and complex history, which Foucault has
                attempted in
                > his monumental The History of Madness (abridgement
                entitled "History and
                > Civilization"), and related subsequent lectures on the topic given
                at the College de
                > France, published as a series by Palgrave/Macmillan, we can see the
                change in
                > societal gaze from madmen as oracle, to madmen as nuisance, to
                madmen as
                > feared other, to madmen as wards of the State. Power constructed
                the space of it
                > appropriation, marking bodies as Subject and Ward.
                >
                > Many misread Foucault as if he is alleging that the social
                construction of
                > madness as a State concern is tantamount to dismissing the
                realities of madness
                > of altogether. This is not the case, although there are certainly
                many drummed
                > up pseudo-disorders (especially in "women's health" in the 19th
                Century, and
                > pharmaceutical industry concocted disorders in our own time).
                Foucault, like
                > Nietzsche, by whom he is influenced, is rather indicating how power
                operates
                > notwithstanding the questions regarding discrete issues therein.
                Regardless of
                > whether the proverbial "insane" cannot care for themselves, the
                > institutionalization of the insane marks a certain expanse of power
                over the social -- which
                > should always be an object of leftist analysis and critique. In
                this sense,
                > the right-wing claim that many liberals want to overuse society to
                curtail
                > freedom is quite germane, if too often exaggerated and
                hypocritical.
                >
                > In any case, this additional critique of power, in the Nietzsche
                sense, is an
                > absolutely necessary requirement for any truly 'liberational'
                notion of Left.
                > This critique would, for example, mitigate against adopting what
                some have
                > called the "rightwing deviation" in Soviet apologetics.
                >
                > The above hardly completes the issue, and I am leaving things here
                almost
                > against my will, but this is already too lengthy for a post, and I
                do not want to
                > wear out the welcome.
                >
                > Wil
                > Thank you , you taught me things and I appreciate the genius and
                effort. The nazi princess is beyond her pass and I must police.
                Great post and I will refer at chance. Bill
                >
                >
                > **************
                > Stay up-to-date on the latest news - from fashion trends to
                > celebrity break-ups and everything in between.
                > (http://www.aol.com/?ncid=emlcntaolcom00000024)
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
              • tom
                Will, As I said in many respects I agree with liberal positions. However, the fact that some hedgefund manager makes more in a day than I do in a year does not
                Message 7 of 16 , Jan 1, 2009
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                  Will,
                  As I said in many respects I agree with liberal positions. However, the fact that some hedgefund manager makes more in a day than I do in a year does not disturb me anyway near as much as the government intruding as far as drugs, sex, right to die, or seat belts. I liked the saying "Give me liberty, or give me death", and certainly support any efforts legal or illegal, peaceful or violent against such intrusions. To me, liberty is a much more important value than equality.And again, the fact that the state is largely ruled by crooks, and administered as Bill said of socialism recently by rather lazy types makes state action suspect in my mind. I understand that IRS provisions have been written exclusively for one company or individual. It isnt stated that way, but a number of times the provisions would only apply to one company or individual. If the US were more like what I read of Finland recently, where scandals are rare and leaders are generally respected I might feel differently, but as it is I trust politicians about as much as crack whores.

                  LIFE. LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
                  Those that would deny a person's inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, which certainly includes the right to get high, as well as the right to die, are the same bogus bastards who have the gall to make speeches about freedom every 4th of July.

                  Groovy man

                  by the Cool Cat

                  www.thecoolcat.net

                  Tom


                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: eupraxis@...
                  To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Thursday, January 01, 2009 3:58 PM
                  Subject: Re: [existlist] What is the Left? A short overview.


                  Tom,

                  I am aware of the libertarian POV. My charges stand. One thing about the left
                  is that it maintains the possibility of activist policies, including
                  overcoming wealth inequality by means of the IRS, the use of force to end segregation
                  in schools, and other things like that which libertarian have never supported.

                  Sometimes one deserves to be encroached upon by the State.

                  Wil

                  **************
                  Stay up-to-date on the latest news - from fashion trends to
                  celebrity break-ups and everything in between.
                  (http://www.aol.com/?ncid=emlcntaolcom00000024)

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • louise
                  ... sitting ... supporting ... and ... with ... And ... what ... the ... It ... are ... and ... centuries ... terms ... transition ... power ... one s ...
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jan 1, 2009
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                    --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "bhvwd" <v.valleywestdental@...>
                    wrote:
                    >
                    > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@ wrote:
                    > >
                    > > What is the Left? A short overview.
                    > > a personal thesis by Wil S.
                    > >
                    > > As most know, the term, "Left", originally referred to the
                    > seating of the
                    > > French Parliament circa the Revolutionary period: literally
                    sitting
                    > on the Left
                    > > were to those opposing the monarchy; on the right, those
                    supporting
                    > the
                    > > monarchy. The Left stems from the Enlightenment and its scions,
                    and
                    > incorporates
                    > > everything from Lockeanism, brought to a greater audience by
                    > Voltaire, to the
                    > > more radical expositions of "Liberte, egalite, fraternite". It is
                    > at this point
                    > > that the notions of political and social become associated as
                    > necessarily
                    > > complementary. Hence the term "socio-political".
                    > >
                    > > The older conservative notion of politics understood the term, or
                    > at any rate
                    > > used the term, as if the political has nothing whatever to do
                    with
                    > actual
                    > > persons in their social reality. There is the political order.
                    And
                    > if there are
                    > > also the poor, the sick, the homeless, downtrodden, ... well,
                    what
                    > does that
                    > > have to do with anything? So thought the crown, the courts, the
                    > clergy and
                    > > conservatives generally. Politics meant for them something
                    > reflective of a divine
                    > > order, quite apart from real, living people.
                    > >
                    > > Conjoining the 'socio-' to the political made of politics, for
                    the
                    > left, a
                    > > responsibility rather than a rationalization of society's ills.
                    It
                    > is therefore
                    > > improper, if not impossible, to speak of the political order of
                    > things without
                    > > having recourse to social concerns. It is with 'the social'
                    > that 'the
                    > > political' loses its former theocratic metaphysics and becomes a
                    > philosophical
                    > > subject. As such all matters relating to society and the State
                    are
                    > adjudged as
                    > > pertains people, not orders of being.
                    > >
                    > > (It is in this light that I assert that libertarianism is
                    > essentially a
                    > > right-wing ideology, replacing the symbolic social order of
                    > hierarchies -- divine
                    > > right, etc., -- with the mundane self-reference of greed and self-
                    > worship. It
                    > > takes the status quo for the proverbial "all things being equal"
                    > > presupposition, when the fact is that all things are not equal
                    and
                    > one's wealth is a social
                    > > product rather than a ready-made thing without a history.)
                    > >
                    > > The rise of the Bourgeoisie in the 17th through the 18th
                    centuries
                    > gave rise
                    > > to new conceptions of "society" and, as a result, new forms of
                    > social power
                    > > even before the Revolution. Marx outlines Bourgeois power in
                    terms
                    > of the
                    > > economic ownership of the means of production. Hence the
                    > term "socio-economic" which
                    > > has entered into all lexicons of analysis. Foucault outlines the
                    > > transformation of power according social institutions and, let us
                    > say, the use of
                    > > power-knowledge as it inscribes itself as the organization of
                    > bodies, or bio-power.
                    > > For me both kinds of critique are essential for a full leftist
                    > outlook: the
                    > > socio-economic critique (the analysis of Capitalism) and the
                    > critique of
                    > > institutional/bio-power. In both cases what we see is a
                    transition
                    > from a purely
                    > > hierarchical notion of power (monarch to intermediaries to base,
                    > what Foucault has
                    > > called Sovereign Power) to a total commutative intra-monadic
                    power
                    > (a structure
                    > > that operates like a hologram where each potential part
                    > reduplicates the same
                    > > structuration, what Foucault has called Disciplinary or Bio-
                    > Power).
                    > >
                    > > To illustrate: in the old model, theft and insubordination to
                    one's
                    > master,
                    > > say, were considered crimes against the crown; penalties were
                    > arbitrary,
                    > > sometimes cruel, sometimes not. In fact, the list of infractions,
                    > if list there was,
                    > > was quite small. But, in any case, the notion of justice was
                    > hierarchical and
                    > > based on what some have called the metonymy of power (the crown
                    > representing
                    > > the ownership of the totality of the realm). The newer model, a
                    > model which
                    > > even now continues to integrate itself in the world, but which is
                    > also poised to
                    > > collapse, this intra-representational model of power, which is
                    > still our
                    > > model as long as society remains 'open' and not eclipsed by
                    > arbitrary abuses of
                    > > co-opted power by regimes which seek to regain something
                    > like "sovereign power"
                    > > -- this newer model, then, reduplicates its concept as if each
                    > instance were a
                    > > windowed 'monad', each monad not representing the whole but
                    rather
                    > > reduplicating it, like the parts of a broken hologram are
                    complete
                    > in themselves.
                    > >
                    > > So, on the one hand, the newer model, what we ordinarily
                    understand
                    > as
                    > > "Modernity", or as the consequence of the Bourgeois revolution,
                    or
                    > what have you,
                    > > can be seen as an 'advance' over the older model. Social
                    questions
                    > become
                    > > codified rationally rather than based on myth or other non-purely
                    > rational methods,
                    > > at least in principle. This is coeval with the revolution in the
                    > sciences,
                    > > including the so-called social sciences. The State, then, is the
                    > repository of
                    > > rational method and deliberation. And, just as science-knowledge
                    is
                    > something
                    > > cumulative and ongoing, Society is something ever reformative and
                    > thus
                    > > institutionally expansive, and the slogan "laws, not men" defines
                    > the new space of a
                    > > secular order.
                    > >
                    > > In many respects, the left is thus ever vigilant against any
                    > reactionary
                    > > slippages back into the arbitrary, into the use of power outside
                    > the ideal of its
                    > > non-ownership, whether this is apropos economic inequalities and
                    > the abuses of
                    > > corporate control on society at large, or apropos any manner of
                    > abusive
                    > > regime that seeks to curtail popular power (and civil rights,
                    > constitutional
                    > > guarantees, etc.) for the sake of a 'junta'. Fascism would thus
                    be
                    > the famous
                    > > antithesis of this.
                    > >
                    > > Many would claim that this is where the conventional liberal
                    left,
                    > or even
                    > > the so-called Marxian left, have their respective blind spot. And
                    > there is a
                    > > notable blind spot here, if this is where the matter ends for us,
                    > although I
                    > > personally would not indict Marx in this respect. Here such
                    authors
                    > as Foucault
                    > > and Zizek, and others, have much to offer, in any case.
                    > >
                    > > To continue, then, we can also view the transition from
                    monarchical
                    > to modern
                    > > power as a growing encroachment of power, even if that
                    encroachment
                    > is tied
                    > > to apparent social reforms. Foucault documents this double-faced
                    > transformation
                    > > in his works on psychiatric power, the reductive social gaze of
                    the
                    > clinic,
                    > > the increase of confinement in prison 'reform', the notion of the
                    > Panopticon as
                    > > social control, and so on. A famous example, which can also be
                    > almost
                    > > axiomatic for what I am trying to indicate here, concerns the
                    > notion of Madness.
                    > > Without going into the long and complex history, which Foucault
                    has
                    > attempted in
                    > > his monumental The History of Madness (abridgement
                    > entitled "History and
                    > > Civilization"), and related subsequent lectures on the topic
                    given
                    > at the College de
                    > > France, published as a series by Palgrave/Macmillan, we can see
                    the
                    > change in
                    > > societal gaze from madmen as oracle, to madmen as nuisance, to
                    > madmen as
                    > > feared other, to madmen as wards of the State. Power constructed
                    > the space of it
                    > > appropriation, marking bodies as Subject and Ward.
                    > >
                    > > Many misread Foucault as if he is alleging that the social
                    > construction of
                    > > madness as a State concern is tantamount to dismissing the
                    > realities of madness
                    > > of altogether. This is not the case, although there are certainly
                    > many drummed
                    > > up pseudo-disorders (especially in "women's health" in the 19th
                    > Century, and
                    > > pharmaceutical industry concocted disorders in our own time).
                    > Foucault, like
                    > > Nietzsche, by whom he is influenced, is rather indicating how
                    power
                    > operates
                    > > notwithstanding the questions regarding discrete issues therein.
                    > Regardless of
                    > > whether the proverbial "insane" cannot care for themselves, the
                    > > institutionalization of the insane marks a certain expanse of
                    power
                    > over the social -- which
                    > > should always be an object of leftist analysis and critique. In
                    > this sense,
                    > > the right-wing claim that many liberals want to overuse society
                    to
                    > curtail
                    > > freedom is quite germane, if too often exaggerated and
                    > hypocritical.
                    > >
                    > > In any case, this additional critique of power, in the Nietzsche
                    > sense, is an
                    > > absolutely necessary requirement for any truly 'liberational'
                    > notion of Left.
                    > > This critique would, for example, mitigate against adopting what
                    > some have
                    > > called the "rightwing deviation" in Soviet apologetics.
                    > >
                    > > The above hardly completes the issue, and I am leaving things
                    here
                    > almost
                    > > against my will, but this is already too lengthy for a post, and
                    I
                    > do not want to
                    > > wear out the welcome.
                    > >
                    > > Wil
                    > > Thank you , you taught me things and I appreciate the genius and
                    > effort. The nazi princess is beyond her pass and I must police.
                    > Great post and I will refer at chance. Bill


                    I agree with you, Bill. It's a fine overview. Please forgive my
                    tendencies to paranoia, but I hope the reference to 'nazi princess'
                    is nothing to do with me. I detest all forms of totalitarian
                    pretension. Louise
                  • eupraxis@aol.com
                    To me, liberty is a much more important value than equality. Response: Sounds like the opinion of someone who, in effect, already has the one and thus has no
                    Message 9 of 16 , Jan 1, 2009
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                      "To me, liberty is a much more important value than equality."

                      Response: Sounds like the opinion of someone who, in effect, already has the
                      one and thus has no need pushing for the other. But what is a society without
                      equality? It is a tyranny, even if there are some in it who enjoy their own
                      situation. But you are perhaps correct, despite your actual intentions: in a
                      society without equality, the unequal have, by default, the 'liberty' to do
                      anything possible, even up to the point of violence, to change that social
                      arrangement. That is why most of us opt for a representational democracy with
                      progressive institutions. These allow for social adjustments without the violence
                      otherwise necessary to effect change. But in the "libertarian" society with any
                      preexisting inequities? Vive l'revolution!

                      Wil



                      **************
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                    • tom
                      Wil, I am far from rich. My point is that I see transgressions on our liberty as aggression against us. Whereas differences in income or wealth could be caused
                      Message 10 of 16 , Jan 1, 2009
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                        Wil,
                        I am far from rich. My point is that I see transgressions on our liberty as aggression against us. Whereas differences in income or wealth could be caused by who your dad is or was, and differences in mental and physical abilities. I said I had no objections to violence as a revolt against repression, but dont really think I have a right to shoot Barry Bonds because he was better able to play baseball than me, or shoot Bill because he found a well paying prodession in denistry. Of course, the discussion is theoretical, because the police state has the firepower inequality.
                        Tom
                        ----- Original Message -----
                        From: eupraxis@...
                        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Thursday, January 01, 2009 4:55 PM
                        Subject: Re: [existlist] What is the Left? A short overview.


                        "To me, liberty is a much more important value than equality."

                        Response: Sounds like the opinion of someone who, in effect, already has the
                        one and thus has no need pushing for the other. But what is a society without
                        equality? It is a tyranny, even if there are some in it who enjoy their own
                        situation. But you are perhaps correct, despite your actual intentions: in a
                        society without equality, the unequal have, by default, the 'liberty' to do
                        anything possible, even up to the point of violence, to change that social
                        arrangement. That is why most of us opt for a representational democracy with
                        progressive institutions. These allow for social adjustments without the violence
                        otherwise necessary to effect change. But in the "libertarian" society with any
                        preexisting inequities? Vive l'revolution!

                        Wil

                        **************
                        Stay up-to-date on the latest news - from fashion trends to
                        celebrity break-ups and everything in between.
                        (http://www.aol.com/?ncid=emlcntaolcom00000024)

                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • eupraxis@aol.com
                        Tom wrote: My point is that I see transgressions on our liberty as aggression against us. That s fine, and by the way, I am not here to convince anyone of
                        Message 11 of 16 , Jan 1, 2009
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                          Tom wrote: "My point is that I see transgressions on our liberty as
                          aggression against us."

                          That's fine, and by the way, I am not here to convince anyone of anything.

                          The Modern social model was based on a theory that also had a musical analog
                          to it, as in Bach's system of organ tuning. "Equal Temperament" is a system
                          now in universal use whereby every note is knocked equally out of tune, and thus
                          equally in tune, so that all keys can be played without even the remotest
                          ones sounding out of tune. This was seen as meaning that only with a universal
                          coercion across all members can every member enjoy universal freedom, all being
                          equal by actively manipulating one's 'natural' ear. As far as I can tell, we
                          have not as a species improved upon that mythos. Given that, mutatis mutandis
                          to our topic, a functioning society has to impose basic restrictions on all
                          members across the board, to the point that this imposition seems almost natural.
                          This, with the caveats expressed earlier in my first post.

                          Wil



                          **************
                          Stay up-to-date on the latest news - from fashion trends to
                          celebrity break-ups and everything in between.
                          (http://www.aol.com/?ncid=emlcntaolcom00000024)


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • tom
                          Wil, I m not here to convince anybody of anything either. Obviously, our values are the product of many things, some of which we are unconcious.I think Mill
                          Message 12 of 16 , Jan 1, 2009
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                            Wil,

                            I'm not here to convince anybody of anything either. Obviously, our values are the product of many things, some of which we are unconcious.I think Mill had the idea that a person's right to swing their fist goes as far as their neighbor's nose in affect. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were to a large extent an expression of such philosophy into reality for the first time. However, as the following quote makes clear, Jefferson was not naive enough to not be aware that the Orwellian forces would not eventually find a way to distort the constitution to serve their own desires for power and graft.

                            Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms (of government) those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny"
                            Thomas Jefferson quote



                            "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."
                            Thomas Jefferson quote



                            As for your statement "a functioning society has to impose basic restrictions on all
                            members across the board, to the point that this imposition seems almost natural"

                            The part about seeming natural

                            . As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both
                            instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly
                            unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change
                            in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting
                            victims of the darkness.
                            William O. Douglas

                            I will throw in a few more Douglas quotes.

                            The struggle is always between the individual
                            and his sacred right to express himself
                            and... the power structure that seeks
                            conformity, suppression and obedience."
                            Justice William O. Douglas

                            Freedom
                            The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedoms.
                            William O. Douglas The Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take the government
                            off the backs of people.
                            William O. DouglasBig Brother"Big Brother in the form of an increasingly powerful government and
                            in an increasingly powerful private sector will pile the records high
                            with reasons why privacy should give way to national security, to law
                            and order, to efficiency of operation, to scientific advancement and
                            the like."
                            Justice William O. DouglasAnd this quote parralells what i said earlier that many of the reasons for our opinions are unconcious.
                            At the constitutional level where we work, 90 percent of any decision
                            is emotional. The rational part of us supplies the reasons for
                            supporting our predilections.
                            William O. DouglasTom






                            ----- Original Message -----
                            From: eupraxis@...
                            To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                            Sent: Thursday, January 01, 2009 5:43 PM
                            Subject: Re: [existlist] What is the Left? A short overview.


                            Tom wrote: "My point is that I see transgressions on our liberty as
                            aggression against us."

                            That's fine, and by the way, I am not here to convince anyone of anything.

                            The Modern social model was based on a theory that also had a musical analog
                            to it, as in Bach's system of organ tuning. "Equal Temperament" is a system
                            now in universal use whereby every note is knocked equally out of tune, and thus
                            equally in tune, so that all keys can be played without even the remotest
                            ones sounding out of tune. This was seen as meaning that only with a universal
                            coercion across all members can every member enjoy universal freedom, all being
                            equal by actively manipulating one's 'natural' ear. As far as I can tell, we
                            have not as a species improved upon that mythos. Given that, mutatis mutandis
                            to our topic, a functioning society has to impose basic restrictions on all
                            members across the board, to the point that this imposition seems almost natural.
                            This, with the caveats expressed earlier in my first post.

                            Wil

                            **************
                            Stay up-to-date on the latest news - from fashion trends to
                            celebrity break-ups and everything in between.
                            (http://www.aol.com/?ncid=emlcntaolcom00000024)

                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • eupraxis@aol.com
                            Tom, I actually had Nietzsche and Freud in mind when I spoke about desires becoming as if naturally repressed. The sexual urge, for example, is the most
                            Message 13 of 16 , Jan 1, 2009
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                              Tom,

                              I actually had Nietzsche and Freud in mind when I spoke about desires
                              becoming as if 'naturally' repressed. The sexual urge, for example, is the most
                              obviously mediated of impulses, not only by laws, but by means of rites and formal
                              institutions, and so forth. I was not speaking of encroaching dark clouds of
                              tyranny or any such thing.

                              Yes, personal freedom and especially artistic and philosophical rights to
                              transgress the perceived order must be protected by law, by universal
                              constitutional guarantee.

                              And for what it is worth, I, too, advocate the decriminalization of most
                              drugs, except the most lethal. The selling of such drugs as crystal meth and
                              others like it seem rather too dangerous to the public health to be left without
                              ado. But as far as personal consumption goes, even of such otherwise proscribed
                              drugs, I hardly think that one should face legal penalties for what one does
                              oneself to oneself.

                              The same goes for ideas, books, modes of dress, cuts of jib, styles of hair
                              and moustache, and whatever else: I, too, regard such matters as one's own
                              private privilege. Of course.

                              Unlike Plato, and those like him through the ages, I do not want to envision
                              a perfect society that I would feel either limited within, or just bored to
                              death by.

                              Danger should not be against the law.

                              But this has nothing to do with being on the left.

                              Wil

                              In a message dated 1/1/09 9:06:51 PM, tsmith17_midsouth1@... writes:


                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > Wil,
                              >
                              > I'm not here to convince anybody of anything either. Obviously, our values
                              > are the product of many things, some of which we are unconcious.I think Mill
                              > had the idea that a person's right to swing their fist goes as far as their
                              > neighbor's nose in affect. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution
                              > were to a large extent an expression of such philosophy into reality for the
                              > first time. However, as the following quote makes clear, Jefferson was not
                              > naive enough to not be aware that the Orwellian forces would not eventually
                              > find a way to distort the constitution to serve their own desires for power and
                              > graft.
                              >
                              > Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms (of government) those
                              > entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into
                              > tyranny"
                              > Thomas Jefferson quote
                              >
                              > "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty
                              > than to those attending too small a degree of it."
                              > Thomas Jefferson quote
                              >
                              > As for your statement "a functioning society has to impose basic
                              > restrictions on all
                              > members across the board, to the point that this imposition seems almost
                              > natural"
                              >
                              > The part about seeming natural
                              >
                              > . As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both
                              > instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly
                              > unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change
                              > in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting
                              > victims of the darkness.
                              > William O. Douglas
                              >
                              > I will throw in a few more Douglas quotes.
                              >
                              > The struggle is always between the individual
                              > and his sacred right to express himself
                              > and... the power structure that seeks
                              > conformity, suppression and obedience."
                              > Justice William O. Douglas
                              >
                              > Freedom
                              > The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedoms.
                              > William O. Douglas The Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take
                              > the government
                              > off the backs of people.
                              > William O. DouglasBig Brother"Big Brother in the form of an increasingly
                              > powerful government and
                              > in an increasingly powerful private sector will pile the records high
                              > with reasons why privacy should give way to national security, to law
                              > and order, to efficiency of operation, to scientific advancement and
                              > the like."
                              > Justice William O. DouglasAnd this quote parralells what i said earlier that
                              > many of the reasons for our opinions are unconcious.
                              > At the constitutional level where we work, 90 percent of any decision
                              > is emotional. The rational part of us supplies the reasons for
                              > supporting our predilections.
                              > William O. DouglasTom
                              >
                              >
                              >




                              **************
                              Stay up-to-date on the latest news - from fashion trends to
                              celebrity break-ups and everything in between.
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                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • tom
                              Wil, I agree, and Amos in a post today brought up the fact that in Europe there are leftist libertarians. Certainly the r wing Neocons only use the idea of
                              Message 14 of 16 , Jan 1, 2009
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                                Wil, I agree, and Amos in a post today brought up the fact that in Europe there are leftist libertarians. Certainly the r wing Neocons only use the idea of freedom as an excuse for invading people's countries. Their idea of freedom only includes the freedom to attend the Judeo Christian church of your choice on Sunday and invest in the 401k plan of your choice.I will vote left or right for whoever has the strongest position on personal liberty and peace.


                                "We believe in giving freedom to people," Giuliani said in a March speech to the Conservative Political Action Committee. "The Republican Party makes its greatest contribution when it's giving more freedom to people." Giuliani does not, however, view freedom as the absence of state control. "Freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want," he said in a 1994 speech two months after becoming mayor. "Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority."

                                Happy New Year to u and everybody on the list.

                                Tom
                                ----- Original Message -----
                                From: eupraxis@...
                                To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                                Sent: Thursday, January 01, 2009 9:39 PM
                                Subject: Re: [existlist] What is the Left? A short overview.


                                Tom,

                                I actually had Nietzsche and Freud in mind when I spoke about desires
                                becoming as if 'naturally' repressed. The sexual urge, for example, is the most
                                obviously mediated of impulses, not only by laws, but by means of rites and formal
                                institutions, and so forth. I was not speaking of encroaching dark clouds of
                                tyranny or any such thing.

                                Yes, personal freedom and especially artistic and philosophical rights to
                                transgress the perceived order must be protected by law, by universal
                                constitutional guarantee.

                                And for what it is worth, I, too, advocate the decriminalization of most
                                drugs, except the most lethal. The selling of such drugs as crystal meth and
                                others like it seem rather too dangerous to the public health to be left without
                                ado. But as far as personal consumption goes, even of such otherwise proscribed
                                drugs, I hardly think that one should face legal penalties for what one does
                                oneself to oneself.

                                The same goes for ideas, books, modes of dress, cuts of jib, styles of hair
                                and moustache, and whatever else: I, too, regard such matters as one's own
                                private privilege. Of course.

                                Unlike Plato, and those like him through the ages, I do not want to envision
                                a perfect society that I would feel either limited within, or just bored to
                                death by.

                                Danger should not be against the law.

                                But this has nothing to do with being on the left.

                                Wil

                                In a message dated 1/1/09 9:06:51 PM, tsmith17_midsouth1@... writes:

                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > Wil,
                                >
                                > I'm not here to convince anybody of anything either. Obviously, our values
                                > are the product of many things, some of which we are unconcious.I think Mill
                                > had the idea that a person's right to swing their fist goes as far as their
                                > neighbor's nose in affect. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution
                                > were to a large extent an expression of such philosophy into reality for the
                                > first time. However, as the following quote makes clear, Jefferson was not
                                > naive enough to not be aware that the Orwellian forces would not eventually
                                > find a way to distort the constitution to serve their own desires for power and
                                > graft.
                                >
                                > Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms (of government) those
                                > entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into
                                > tyranny"
                                > Thomas Jefferson quote
                                >
                                > "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty
                                > than to those attending too small a degree of it."
                                > Thomas Jefferson quote
                                >
                                > As for your statement "a functioning society has to impose basic
                                > restrictions on all
                                > members across the board, to the point that this imposition seems almost
                                > natural"
                                >
                                > The part about seeming natural
                                >
                                > . As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both
                                > instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly
                                > unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change
                                > in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting
                                > victims of the darkness.
                                > William O. Douglas
                                >
                                > I will throw in a few more Douglas quotes.
                                >
                                > The struggle is always between the individual
                                > and his sacred right to express himself
                                > and... the power structure that seeks
                                > conformity, suppression and obedience."
                                > Justice William O. Douglas
                                >
                                > Freedom
                                > The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedoms.
                                > William O. Douglas The Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take
                                > the government
                                > off the backs of people.
                                > William O. DouglasBig Brother"Big Brother in the form of an increasingly
                                > powerful government and
                                > in an increasingly powerful private sector will pile the records high
                                > with reasons why privacy should give way to national security, to law
                                > and order, to efficiency of operation, to scientific advancement and
                                > the like."
                                > Justice William O. DouglasAnd this quote parralells what i said earlier that
                                > many of the reasons for our opinions are unconcious.
                                > At the constitutional level where we work, 90 percent of any decision
                                > is emotional. The rational part of us supplies the reasons for
                                > supporting our predilections.
                                > William O. DouglasTom
                                >
                                >
                                >

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                              • C. S. Wyatt
                                ... I think this is a misstatement of most current libertarians -- who see themselves as socially liberal/tolerant and fiscally conservative. Some noted
                                Message 15 of 16 , Jan 1, 2009
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                                  --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:

                                  > (It is in this light that I assert that libertarianism is essentially a
                                  > right-wing ideology, replacing the symbolic social order of hierarchies -- divine
                                  > right, etc., -- with the mundane self-reference of greed and self-worship. It
                                  > takes the status quo for the proverbial "all things being equal"
                                  > presupposition, when the fact is that all things are not equal and one's wealth is a social
                                  > product rather than a ready-made thing without a history.)

                                  I think this is a misstatement of most current "libertarians" -- who see themselves as
                                  socially liberal/tolerant and fiscally conservative. Some noted Libertarian Party members
                                  are now Democrats, such as Gene Burns, because they were so upset with the erosion of
                                  civil liberties over the last eight years.

                                  No one I know who considers his or her self a libertarian believes in the Horatio Alger
                                  myth. What is believed is that government often stands in the way of many people,
                                  protecting those already in power or in the upper classes. In other words, we fear dynastic
                                  power (Bush, Kennedy, Rockefeller, Cuomo, Brown, and so on). We don't buy the notion
                                  that modern government is a meritocracy, any more than we buy Alger.

                                  What most generally believe is that federal power should defer to state and local control
                                  unless (and it is a big unless) civil rights are being violated by local powers. The federal
                                  system is a "libertarian" concept.

                                  Most "libertarians" I know are not wealthy, nor do they even aspire to much beyond fiscal
                                  security. Instead, they are close to the "rural cabin" set. Not that this is always reasonable,
                                  either, but they really, really value isolation -- sometimes, admittedly, in a paranoid
                                  manner.

                                  I, personally, believe in private charities and deeds. That's not selfish at all. What it is: I
                                  think I should decide what to support and not support, beyond basic government services.
                                  I support causes that I think matter. I don't want to obligate anyone else to support those
                                  causes, nor do I want to be obligated to some causes. (Example: I don't want to support
                                  building all the local stadiums. I'd rather give the same amount of money to local schools,
                                  food banks, and a number of other causes.)

                                  I don't for one minute think my spoiled, upper-middle class, all-white students (seriously,
                                  that was my last collection) doesn't have an advantage over the 44 percent of Minneapolis
                                  students who are minorities. I just look at the government failures and think some private
                                  organizations can do better. (The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is certainly trying to
                                  help schools. Nothing wrong with some private-public partnerships.)

                                  A distrust of government, the hallmark of most libertarian thought, is not synonymous
                                  with narcissism, greed, conservatism, or anything else. It's simply a distrust of centralized
                                  power. Nothing more. How that is expressed varies, I am certain, from person to person.

                                  When I vote, I'm stuck trying to decide who will least infringe on my rights and those of
                                  others. Who is least likely to abuse power? I already know the "Libertarian Party" is not
                                  always libertarian -- it's often kooks. Also, why waste a vote?

                                  I honestly view Obama and his choices so far in a positive light. I think many on the left /
                                  progressive side will be disappointed in the long run. But they were with Bill Clinton, too.

                                  I also believe you can see a major issue with America versus Europe right now. Most
                                  Western nations have a Civil Service than can handle a change in leadership within two
                                  weeks. New leader? No problem... the Shadow Ministers become the Ministers and the
                                  workers remain the workers. Our system? More than 7000 jobs need to change, with more
                                  than 200 posts requiring Senate hearings.

                                  Our government was, I suppose thankfully, designed to move like molasses. The U.S.
                                  Senate being a prime example of where one or two people can deadlock policies for weeks
                                  or even months. Not necessarily a bad thing -- depending on the policy.

                                  America itself is definitely more "libertarian" or "Classical Liberal" (I read the phrase "Neo-
                                  Liberal" in some publications) than Europe. We are more suspect of centralized authority.
                                  That has never meant that Americans themselves are selfish or greedy. It's a simple matter
                                  of how our system was created: a far more restricted federal system in response to
                                  perceived British abuses of power.

                                  And I have nothing against the U.K. mode, or Canadian. I don't think the U.S. model is
                                  superior. I simply think we are still paranoid -- and quite a few Presidents have given us
                                  reason to remain paranoid of power. I prefer our model, but I'm the product of rural
                                  American ideals.

                                  - CSW
                                • eupraxis@aol.com
                                  CS, I have to admit that that little parenthetical statement was, indeed, a little provocation aimed at yourself in particular. It seems to have worked, just
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Jan 2, 2009
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                                    CS,

                                    I have to admit that that little parenthetical statement was, indeed, a
                                    little provocation aimed at yourself in particular. It seems to have worked, just
                                    as yours, here, has.
                                    ---
                                    "I think this is a misstatement of most current "libertarians" -- who see
                                    themselves as socially liberal/tolerant and fiscally conservative."

                                    Response: But that is not what the statement said. I opined that
                                    libertarianism "takes the status quo for the proverbial 'all things being equal'
                                    presupposition, when the fact is that all things are not equal and one's wealth is a
                                    social product rather than a ready-made thing without a history." And that is
                                    what makes it a right wing tendency, not the stated positions on sundry social
                                    issues.
                                    ---
                                    ",,, What is believed is that government often stands in the way of many
                                    people, protecting those already in power or in the upper classes. In other words,
                                    we fear dynastic power (Bush, Kennedy, Rockefeller, Cuomo, Brown, and so on).
                                    We don't buy the notion that modern government is a meritocracy, any more
                                    than we buy Alger."

                                    Response: First, I have not heard this position being espoused by any of the
                                    noted libertarian spokespersons, from Nozick to Barr to Paul. But even if this
                                    is indeed a position, it doesn't change the fact that most libertarians want
                                    NO government other than police and defense, etc., and even these are now
                                    theorized as being outsourcable. Secondly, your statement does not make sense:
                                    there is nothing in libertarian theory that would prevent dynasties, other than
                                    espousing the ending government tout court and without further ado.
                                    Libertarianism has had two main flavors: what I call right-wing libertarianism which is
                                    pro business and anti-union, anti-government anti-oversight in trade and
                                    commerce, and is completely free market; and the populist form that is mainly
                                    against taxation for social programs and other 'wallet' issues. The latter may not
                                    benefit from the position and power of the former, but that has always been
                                    the case with rightwing ideologies. In fact, that is why it IS an ideology.
                                    ---
                                    "What most generally believe is that federal power should defer to state and
                                    local control unless (and it is a big unless) civil rights are being violated
                                    by local powers. The federal system is a "libertarian" concept."

                                    Response: Yes, that can be the case, which is another reason why I deem it
                                    right wing. In the South, what you say is tantamount to the current cant of
                                    Civil War revisionists, where the North is seen as infringing on the South's state
                                    rights. As if slavery is a state's right. Again, this version of federalism
                                    is anti-poor and in favor of status quo policies, because only the State can
                                    make laws and codes universal and not based on local wealth or prejudice.
                                    ---
                                    "Most "libertarians" I know are not wealthy, nor do they even aspire to much
                                    beyond fiscal security. Instead, they are close to the "rural cabin" set. Not
                                    that this is always reasonable, either, but they really, really value
                                    isolation -- sometimes, admittedly, in a paranoid manner."

                                    Response: I know the type. [shiver]
                                    ---
                                    "I, personally, believe in private charities and deeds. That's not selfish at
                                    all."

                                    Response: I think it IS selfish. If you want to give to a charity of church,
                                    fine, but part of the social contract is that the government owes the common
                                    wealth its positive contribution to even the least of us. That means you get
                                    taxed.
                                    ---
                                    "... I think I should decide what to support and not support, beyond basic
                                    government services. I support causes that I think matter. I don't want to
                                    obligate anyone else to support those causes, nor do I want to be obligated to some
                                    causes...."

                                    Response: That would spell disaster for social programs in a country where
                                    anti-social propaganda runs like (polluted) water. Universalism over private
                                    interest.
                                    ---
                                    "A distrust of government, the hallmark of most libertarian thought, is not
                                    synonymous with narcissism, greed, conservatism, or anything else. It's simply
                                    a distrust of centralized power. Nothing more. How that is expressed varies, I
                                    am certain, from person to person."

                                    Response: True, a distrust of government is not a sign of greed, etc. But it
                                    IS when this is used as a rationale for libertarian views that can only lead
                                    to status quo policies and the denial of progressivism. Then the greed, et al.,
                                    becomes manifest every time. "Not my money" becomes the inevitable clarion
                                    call. Distrust of government is not a position, it is a mood.
                                    ---

                                    The rest I will leave as it is.

                                    Thanks,
                                    Wil



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