Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: What is the Left? A short overview.

Expand Messages
  • 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 1 of 16 , Jan 1, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      --- 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 2 of 16 , Jan 2, 2009
      • 0 Attachment
        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)


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.