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

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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 1 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

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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 2 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 3 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]





          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • 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 4 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 5 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.
              (http://www.aol.com/?ncid=emlcntaolcom00000024)


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