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Re: [existlist] What is the Left? A short overview.

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  • 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 1 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]





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    • louise
      ... sitting ... supporting ... and ... with ... And ... what ... the ... It ... are ... and ... centuries ... terms ... transition ... power ... one s ...
      Message 2 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 3 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



          **************
          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)


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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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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.
                  (http://www.aol.com/?ncid=emlcntaolcom00000024)


                  [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 8 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 9 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 10 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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