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

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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 1 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

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    • 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 2 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



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      • 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 3 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]





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        • 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 4 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 5 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
              >
              >
              >

              **************
              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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            • 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 6 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 7 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



                  **************
                  Stay up-to-date on the latest news - from fashion trends to
                  celebrity break-ups and everything in between.
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