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Leo
10-09-2012, 03:55 PM
thought we could use a new thread as the race reaches the home stretch. seems the dems had a much better convention, thanks to mr. hilary rodham clinton.

found this encouraging:
State of the race: Advantage, Obama
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0912/80949.html?hp=r5

...although the GOP/superPACs have a huge bank account of donations that will rain down a torrent of negative ads in the last month. obviously the debates will play a big role as well, romney did ok in primary debates when scripted but seemed to lose it a little and say dumb things when confronted/challenged, or when he got annoyed.

crackerjack
11-09-2012, 12:38 PM
also this
http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/

Leo
11-09-2012, 01:31 PM
a better politician would have managed the primaries differently. let's face it, romney was up against a pretty weak field of GOP opponents and should have been able to beat them without going far-right/"severely conservative". had he done that, he wouldn't look like such a flip-flopper now that he's moving back to the moderate center to appeal to general election voters.

the general sense, even from people who dislike obama, is romney has no core of conviction...like a true business consultant, he'll tell everyone what they want to hear, not what he really believes. he and ryan are so vague in their plans that no one, outside the GOP faithful, trusts what they would actually do in office.

another challenge for him is there are so few undecided voters at this point, tough to say if convincing them will be enough to gain him victory in battleground states. it would be ironic if, in this year of citizens united, there simply aren't enough undecided voters to sway, regardless of all those millions in SuperPAC spending.

Sectionfive
11-09-2012, 03:14 PM
One evening before last week's Congress, Barack and Michelle Obama went to visit the Clintons for a chat and to sort out arrangements for the Democrat nomination. When they were being shown around the Clintons pad Barack asked Bill if he could direct him to the bathroom, so Bill showed him to his own quarters and his own bathroom. In the car on the way home Barack was telling Michelle about Bill's own quarters and how he even has a golden urinal. A few days later Michelle met Hillary and was thanking her for the lovely evening and mentioned how impressed Barack was with Bill's gold urinal.

That night as they were getting ready for bed Hillary turns to Bill and says,
"You won't believe this, but I found out who pissed in your saxaphone..."

vimothy
17-09-2012, 06:37 PM
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0912/81280.html

connect_icut
18-09-2012, 12:46 AM
Fucking hell, this is an extraordinary view into Mitt's mindset:

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/politics/2012/09/romney-says-47-us-voters-are-dependent-and-will-never-vote-him


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnB0NZzl5HA

Leo
18-09-2012, 02:52 AM
Fucking hell, this is an extraordinary view into Mitt's mindset:

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/politics/2012/09/romney-says-47-us-voters-are-dependent-and-will-never-vote-him


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnB0NZzl5HA

tea partiers and far-right conservatives will be thrilled with that video. the only problem is they were never going to vote for obama anyway, so it doesn't gain mitt anything. not sure it does any good for his attempt to reach out to moderates/independents/undecideds.

connect_icut
18-09-2012, 08:00 AM
tea partiers and far-right conservatives will be thrilled with that video. the only problem is they were never going to vote for obama anyway, so it doesn't gain mitt anything. not sure it does any good for his attempt to reach out to moderates/independents/undecideds.

The American left is already calling this "the day Romney lost the election" and stuff like that. Maybe, maybe not. It'll be interesting to see how much damage this really does him. It'll be a good test of how much middle-American has swallowed all the extreme right-wing/libertarian bullshit that's been finding its way into the mainstream discourse over the last decade.

crackerjack
18-09-2012, 09:31 AM
Hope this doesn't get boiled down to welfare-claiming Democrats vs taxpaying Republicans.

As Bloomberg points out here (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-17/the-right-is-wrong-to-pin-obama-s-edge-on-welfare-state.html), GOP voters make up a big chunk of the 47%.

vimothy
18-09-2012, 10:39 AM
Not sure how old that advert is, but there's been talk of this recently:


Three Romney advisers told BuzzFeed the campaign's top priority now is to rally conservative Republicans, in hopes that they'll show up on Election Day, and drag their less politically-engaged friends with them. The earliest, ambiguous signal of this turn toward the party's right was the selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as Romney's running mate, a top Romney aide said.

"This is going to be a base election, and we need them to come out to vote," the aide said, explaining the pick....

"On the outside, here's what going to happen: we're going to nuke Barack Obama into radioactive sludge in the swing states with 3000-4000 points of TV in September," Wilson said. "Crossroads and Restore [two Republican SuperPACs] will do the same. It's going to be hitting in concert with the terrible economic news, and it'll strike a chord."

That leaves Romney to spend most of his time on the trail delivering narrowly-focused messages meant to excite conservatives who weren't always behind him in the Republican primaries. (Ironically, what eventually won many of them over was Romney's argument that he would be the best candidate to win over moderate voters who traditionally decide the election.)

It has transformed Romney's road show from an almost robotic speech into a sometimes-passionate, and often unpredicatble, partisan appeal.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mckaycoppins/romneys-new-strategy-turns-right

Leo
18-09-2012, 01:36 PM
Not sure how old that advert is, but there's been talk of this recently...

that fundraiser video posted on mother jones was taped in may 2012, after mitt won the primaries. and the article you quote from is a big reason why this election is far from over, even with all the gaffs and campaign meltdown stories. tons of money for negative ads will tighten the race, and voter ID laws could hurt democratic efforts to turn out their base.

washington post has an article about a woman in pennsylvania who went to get a state voter ID at the department of motor vehicles, had to take the day out of work and it took her four hours all together, standing in various lines, filling out various forms and having to show about five other specific forms of ID. how many people are actually going to take the time out of work and put up with that much bullshit? not many, i imagine. and most of them are democrats.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/decision2012/for-some-pennsylvanians-voter-id-quest-is-an-ordeal/2012/09/16/758d4f52-0027-11e2-b260-32f4a8db9b7e_story.html

Leo
24-09-2012, 08:01 PM
Dear Ann Romney,

If you can't stand the heat, quit going into the kitchen to yell at the help.

Sincerely,
the 47%

http://www.politicususa.com/ann-romney-cancels-interviews-stop-it-controversy.html

Sectionfive
30-09-2012, 08:51 PM
Mr. Romneyís team has equipped him with a series of zingers that he has memorized and has been practising on aides since August.


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/29/us/politics/cramming-and-pruning-for-first-presidential-debate.html

craner
04-10-2012, 12:22 PM
I didn't watch it myself but, um, it sounds like Mitt Romney demolished Obama last night.

Sectionfive
04-10-2012, 12:47 PM
http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mbd0a28oWc1qiseoho1_500.gif

Leo
04-10-2012, 01:01 PM
I didn't watch it myself but, um, it sounds like Mitt Romney demolished Obama last night.

it was a bit painful to watch for an obama supporter. romney continued to contradict his earlier positions and occasionally just make shit up, but he was more aggressive and energetic. obama rarely got in a groove, looked down a lot, pretty much never held romney's feet to the fire on things like the 47% quote or paul ryan's budget plan. he better pick up his game in the next two debates.

craner
04-10-2012, 04:13 PM
He'll still win, though.

I think what would be really interesting (among many other things, admittedly) if Romney actually won would be the reaction of all the real Republican contenders who elected to wait until next time. They are betting (probably correctly) on an Obama win -- and, I am sure, as future GOP candidates rather than conservative supporters, hoping for one.

Would Ann Romney be the first Welsh American First Lady? This is about the only thing that would stir me to actively hope for a Romney win.

crackerjack
01-11-2012, 12:41 PM
I think what would be really interesting (among many other things, admittedly) if Romney actually won would be the reaction of all the real Republican contenders who elected to wait until next time. They are betting (probably correctly) on an Obama win -- and, I am sure, as future GOP candidates rather than conservative supporters, hoping for one.

Be interesting to see how Christie's future plays out long-term. If the GOP can't keep people like him inside the tent they're really double fucked with knobs on. But you can already see the Tea Party tendency narrative taking shape - Romney had momentum and was on course to win until Sandy came and blew him off course, aided by an ambitious self-interested NJ gov.

Bollocks of course - the momentum had stalled and was going into slight reverse already, but that won't stop them.

538 at its healthiest since before the first debate for O - http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/. And presumably any bounce from Sandy still take to full effect.

crackerjack
06-11-2012, 02:31 PM
Anyone?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0FJHU_4EPM

Leo
06-11-2012, 03:02 PM
going strictly by the math of crunching the various poll numbers, nate silver has obama's chances at over 90%. i wish i felt that confident, but i'm encouraged. either way, whoever loses is going to be a really sore loser and probably fight it in court.

thought this was interesting: republican legislatures in florida and ohio institute new restrictions this year on early voting, resulting in huge lines (5-7 hour waits!). on the other hand, faced with voting places wrecked by hurricane damage and power outages in new york, democratic governor cuomo signs an emergency measure that allows any registered voter to vote at any polling location in the state. one side doing everything it can to limit voting, the other side taking measures to help as many people as possible to cast their vote. that says a lot about the two parties and our current situation.

droid
06-11-2012, 03:07 PM
Yeah, barring something drastic, it looks like an Obama lock in. Some reports of machine tampering in Ohio, but nothing major.

crackerjack
06-11-2012, 03:35 PM
Yeah, barring something drastic, it looks like an Obama lock in. Some reports of machine tampering in Ohio, but nothing major.

Main problem in Ohio is John Husted seeking to invalidate thousands of ballots. Read yday there was supposed to be a ruling on that at 9am (which I guess is 3pm here). But can't find a mention anywhere today.

luka
06-11-2012, 05:59 PM
i like steves bells romney cartoons the last couple of days in if

crackerjack
06-11-2012, 11:53 PM
Hmm, dissensus turnout massively down on '08. Bad news for Obama?

HMGovt
07-11-2012, 12:32 AM
Hmm, dissensus turnout massively down on '08. Bad news for Obama?

I think Romney's going to win this and we'll all be grateful: if This Motherfucker has to crash, let's crash it hard.

HMGovt
07-11-2012, 12:35 AM
this is a terrible article, how dare he click 'Publish'
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/11/elect-someone/

"Remember how there was this massive terrorist attack 10 months after the Florida recount? The recount didnít by any means lead inexorably to 9/11..." Whoa, let's stop your right there, I think you've killed your own argument.

crackerjack
07-11-2012, 01:10 AM
Obama win.

Fox blaming a couple called Sandy & Christie.
https://twitter.com/sullydish/status/265983791154204673

Leo
07-11-2012, 04:26 AM
next stop, supreme court.

Sectionfive
07-11-2012, 05:15 AM
Schadenfreude doesn't taste as good as history but enough to sustain

padraig (u.s.)
07-11-2012, 05:53 AM
O picks up a decisive electoral victory based on sweeping battleground states but popular vote, whoever wins it - probably (very) slight edge to O as west coast counts finish coming in - is a dead heat. so no surprises.

more importantly, or at least less certainly, Dems are going to hang on to Senate with a solid majority (as of now 56-44) if not supermajority to block filibustering. Dems also gonna pick a few seats in House tho not enough to make a dent in GOP majority I think.

meanwhile looks at least 3 of 4 states (MD, ME, WA yes, MN still too close to call) that had it on ballot are going to legalize gay marriage. oh and Colorado and Washington just legalized marijuana. not just medical, the real deal (1st states to do so). otoh, somehow Oregon failed to legalize marijuana, which is easily the biggest upset of this election cycle.

padraig (u.s.)
07-11-2012, 06:03 AM
or in other words, country utterly + bitterly divided. so no surprises.

tbf to romney he just gave classy conciliation speech and his long boring trip through american politics is done. ryan meanwhile will be back I'm sure. on to 2016 for him, christie, rubio and jeb, when Dem candidate will either be old, tired hilary or some as yet determined non-entity, barring emergence of new star (Cory Booker/Julian Castro generation probably won't be read til 2020 or 24).

padraig (u.s.)
07-11-2012, 06:17 AM
also - I'm not making this up - CNN's election coverage was sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute and Clean Coal lobby. no, really, I literally did not make that it up. granted CNN's election coverage is blindingly terrible - bloviating pundits (i.e. out of work lobbyists and other parasitic political class scum), stupid virtual maps to kill endless airtime - but still. but i guess it is fitting to be so brazen in era of super PACs.

craner
07-11-2012, 09:35 AM
Well, I had to go to bed, so I didn't watch any of it, but I was expecting a fun thread from you lot to read over breakfast this morning. What a let down!

IdleRich
07-11-2012, 11:19 AM
I'm reading this fun thread.

http://michellemalkin.com/2012/11/06/election-night-2012-open-thread/comment-page-5/#comments

IdleRich
07-11-2012, 11:36 AM
So what do the Republicans do now? Is that the end of Tea Party influence in the party or will they move further to the right? Same old question I know but surely it became more urgent last night.

craner
07-11-2012, 11:58 AM
Who knows? I have a suspicion, actually, that there is going to be a counter-coup by moderates, maybe not instantly or even soon, but certainly by the time the likes of Christie or Jeb are gearing up their election machines. I think that when Colin Powell very publicly bemoaned the near extinction of "his" type of Republican the other week (and what was so good about them?) he was acting as something of a lightining rod. Rice's recent high profiling was interesting and auspicious.

I think the GOP will become a battle ground between what remains of the disaffected, moderate, patrician, realist Repblicans from previous administrations and the libertarian/Tea Party tendency which will (I guess) be led by Ryan. An alliance of these tenedencies didn't bring down Obama and only ran him close because the President was unable to defend a record and was quite badly hit by "Libyagate". Neoconservatives are stuck between the two, and position themselves on an individual basis now: some are insurgent, some are establishment.

Just vague thoughts.

craner
07-11-2012, 12:12 PM
I also think that all of the serious Republican presidential candidates were betting on this outcome, and would have been surprised (and disturbed) had Romney actually won. They will all be prepared, I think, and hit the ground running. Republicans still have Congress, which they will use to attack and undermine Obama. The Tea Party right (which seems to hold sway in GOP house organ National Review at the moment) will be virulent, but I think they will lose prominence and power after this defeat and the serial debacle of every single contender they produce. They will be brought off or domesticated or siphoned off in harmless (anti-tax pressure groups) and harmful (the return of militias?) directions. If they aren't, and Ryan is the next Repbulican candidate, then everybody is screwed.

Just speculating.

luka
07-11-2012, 12:15 PM
kill the terrorists protect the borders punch the hippies

craner
07-11-2012, 12:21 PM
This election was a lot like 2004. Everybody knew that Hilary was preparing the ground for a serious run in 2008 and everybody knew, before the election and in their gut, that Kerry was a loser. He only ran Bush so close because Bush was incapable of presenting his own case or defending himself.

craner
07-11-2012, 12:31 PM
I suppose, also, that Latinos need to be a bigger part of the Republicans' future than they are currently willing or able to admit.

droid
07-11-2012, 12:41 PM
Who knows? I have a suspicion, actually, that there is going to be a counter-coup by moderates, maybe not instantly or even soon, but certainly by the time the likes of Christie or Jeb are gearing up their election machines...

Demographically speaking, this is pretty much their only hope for the future. The angry, white and christian contingent of the population is a shrinking constituency, and this may have been they last time they had any chance of getting the numbers in.

vimothy
07-11-2012, 12:44 PM
No reason to expect that the GOP will become something other than a mass of contradictory and mutually antagonistic tendencies.

vimothy
07-11-2012, 12:59 PM
Let's say that you divide up American conservatives or the GOP's potential "base" into (1), religious conservatives, (2), libertarians and (3), neoconservatives. What common principles unite these three groups? None whatsoever, as far as I can see. What unites them is pragmatic; namely, that they're not liberals.

Slothrop
07-11-2012, 01:12 PM
You could do a similar breakdown on the Democrat base, though.

Arguably the reason that they've done well recently is because people in the centre see religous nutjobs as more of a real and immediate danger than pinko commie liberals.

Probably this is also why American politics gets quite so divisive - because successful campaigning relies on generating fear of the opposition rather than selling your own policies...

vimothy
07-11-2012, 01:13 PM
You could? What would the breakdown be?

IdleRich
07-11-2012, 01:17 PM
"Let's say that you divide up American conservatives or the GOP's potential "base" into (1), religious conservatives, (2), libertarians and (3), neoconservatives. What common principles unite these three groups? None whatsoever, as far as I can see. What unites them is pragmatic; namely, that they're not liberals."
But doesn't there come a point at which some of those not-liberals will even more strongly be not-extremists? There must be lots of people who voted for Romney but who aren't exactly thrilled about being on the same side as those who deny evolution and claim that women who get raped don't get pregnant. On that Malkin blog the tea-party nutters are fantasising about disbanding the GOP and forming their own hard-right version - which would kind of be popular with the more moderate Republicans who could have their party back. The problem is, would either group have enough supporters to challenge the Democrats?

vimothy
07-11-2012, 01:31 PM
Anything is possible, I suppose. On the other hand, it's not a new debate. It recurs over and over: Warmongering imperialists aren't religious nuts. Religious nuts aren't greedy capitalists. Greedy capitalists aren't warmongering imperialists.

None of these groups ever really had anything of substance in common, so why should things be different now?

IdleRich
07-11-2012, 01:41 PM
I think that the point is that the Republican base is made up of a number of disparate elements, one of those elements has held the whip-hand for the last few years - is that gonna continue or will there will be a reshuffle? And what will either of those outcomes mean?
Can there be such a reshuffle when Fox is so influential?

droid
07-11-2012, 01:56 PM
Anything is possible, I suppose. On the other hand, it's not a new debate. It recurs over and over: Warmongering imperialists aren't religious nuts. Religious nuts aren't greedy capitalists. Greedy capitalists aren't warmongering imperialists.

None of these groups ever really had anything of substance in common, so why should things be different now?

Not really buying this. Conservatives (with a big C) have usually been pro business, held 'traditional' social values in line with religious teachings and are extremely hawkish wrt foreign policy. The extreme tea party coterie has mutated from this sure, but the commonalities are still there and are probably inherent in the rump of GOP voters.

craner
07-11-2012, 02:14 PM
I agree with Droid more than Vimothy on this. All large political parties are coalitions of disparate groups that tend to cohere on larger points of principle, temperament or tendency; the question is always, is said party at war with itself, or has it formed a pact?

Karl Rove was the great alliance-broker for the GOP. Argually, when he was at work in (say) 1999, the GOP (talking politicians, activists and core voters) was more diverse than it is now. I see no reason why the party can't reform closer to the centre, incorporating the religious right, neocons and libertarians (if we agree that these are the three main and distinct blocs). This could easily happen and be helped by (as I said) siphoning off or driving away extreme fringes of the Tea Party (does the "movement" even exist now?), like the John Birchers.

Fox and National Review can adapt as much as form Conservative and Republican opinion; Fox existed when Colin Powell was a Republican Secertary of State. It's the party powerbrokers that decide the fate of the party, and in 2008 they decided to oppose every single policy that Obama proposed.

These days people don't just talk about the future of the GOP but the future of the conservative movement. This has been in jeopardy since the rise of Sarah Palin and the exile of David Frum (figuratively speaking). There is no reason -- philosophically, ideologically, demographically, poltitically -- why it cannot rebuild around all these people.

craner
07-11-2012, 02:18 PM
I mean, like what happened with the John Birch Society in the 1960s, obviously.

droid
07-11-2012, 02:25 PM
Karl Rove was the great alliance-broker for the GOP. Argually, when he was at work in (say) 1999, the GOP (talking politicians, activists and core voters) was more diverse than it is now. I see no reason why the party can't reform closer to the centre, incorporating the religious right, neocons and libertarians (if we agree that these are the three main and distinct blocs). This could easily happen and be helped by (as I said) siphoning off or driving away extreme fringes of the Tea Party (does the "movement" even exist now?), like the John Birchers.


Ironically, I think it was Rove's success in mobilising the Christian right in such huge numbers (pushing Bush into power along the way) that has led to the undue influence the nutcase brigade wields today. Id say that the problem for the GOP in rolling back from the extremes is not so much the tea party, but the increasingly sociopathic billionaire and business brigade whose support is necessary to fight any election.

craner
07-11-2012, 02:40 PM
Maybe, but then sociopathic billionaires can't do much with their money unless they have the raw material of true believers, ideologues or interest groups to mobilise. I suppose it would be the issue of tax that would tie billionaires to activists, but I would think that (generally) business interest is closer to the centre and to consensus than it is to the ideological fringe or the grassroots base.

droid
07-11-2012, 02:52 PM
I guess, but isnt a low-tax, no-welfare, privatise everything, anti-state, Randian president the wet dream of big business? Are they centerist positions?

Speaking of billionaires, has everyone seen Trumps' latest madness?

http://mashable.com/2012/11/06/trump-reacts-to-election/

craner
07-11-2012, 03:00 PM
In some sense and cases, but the Democrats have plenty of business donors and some billionaire supporters. Look at Soros.

craner
07-11-2012, 03:05 PM
How many hardline Rand fanatics are there among the American business class? A small percentage, I would wager. They are cranks, and cranks are not known for running successful businesses. I can't go much further here without venturing into economics, which will be like running into a brick wall. But I don't think that the state/business divide is as stark as libertarian hardliners would like or make out.

craner
07-11-2012, 03:11 PM
Vimothy, please could you explain to the forum why not all people who work in the private sector have horns and forked tails. Please use graphs and diagrams, thanks.

vimothy
07-11-2012, 03:17 PM
Democrats do better in rich states.

craner
07-11-2012, 03:37 PM
That'll do.

IdleRich
07-11-2012, 03:41 PM
I've read conflicting reports but some things are suggesting that Republican turn-out was down on 2008 - if that's true it really ought to prompt some soul searching.

craner
07-11-2012, 03:52 PM
But who are those missing Republican voters? That is part of the key. Are they moderates turned off by the Bachmann Bunch or Tea Party lunatics turned off by Mr. "Middle" Romney?

craner
07-11-2012, 03:53 PM
I would place a big bet on the former.

vimothy
07-11-2012, 03:53 PM
Personally, I would struggle to answer the question: What principles unite the different factions of the conservative movement? I donít see that there are any such principles.

Droid says that the average big-C Conservative in fact unites all three factions. It is even possible, it seems to me, to go further: the average American voter unites all three factions. Hell, there are probably enough religious, hawkish and pro-business types to affect the Democrat average. Isnít Obama waging drone war in the Hindu Kush? Hasnít he kept Wall St relatively fat and happy? Indeed he is and indeed he has.

Craner says that all parties are coalitions of disparate interests, morphing this way and that as alliances are brokered or shattered, leaders come and go, times change and so on. Why canít the Republican Party as an institution find its feet, put competent grown-ups like Bartlett and Frum in charge, reassert some authority and rediscover the pathway to power?

I think theyíre both fair comments. On the other hand, I still think that the America conservative movement can be characterised in terms of a few mutually incompatible groups. If we forget about your average voter and the GOP itself, and think instead about the essence of, say, libertarianism, itís clear that it is in conflict with the essence of traditional or religious conservatism. At least itís clear to me. The two philosophies are antithetical.

No reason why a person canít agree with some aspects of each, of course. I think that Murray Rothbard once stomped out of a dinner with Ayn Rand after she tried to get his wife to publicly renounce God, declaring her to be bat-shit crazy. And isnít Ron Paul a fairly conservative Christian?

Nothing is ever going to change this factóif it is a factóbecause if it could, we wouldnít be talking about the things that are essential to neoconservative or religious conservative philosophy.

Thatís why, every time conservatives lose, we go through another iteration of the cycle, where there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth over who should be thrown from the troika. Foreign policy hawks don't actually care that much for religious extremists, and neither of them particularly care for dope-smoking, America-hating libertarians.

vimothy
07-11-2012, 03:56 PM
Let's turn it around a bit: What do religious conservatives have in common with David Frum?

padraig (u.s.)
07-11-2012, 04:04 PM
What do religious conservatives have in common with David Frum?

fiscal conservatism for one. israel for another. dislike of big government. the man did work at AEI for the better part of a decade.

craner
07-11-2012, 04:04 PM
They all hate pornography. Does anyone else remember Frum's warm obituary for Andrea Dworkin? No? I do. (http://frum.nationalreview.com/post/?q=YjA2MGNlZDc1NmNmYzY2NGQ0NjdkMGIzMWMwZDc1ZjM=)

The broad thing that they all agree on Vim -- apart from the farther-out libertarians who are barely part of the GOP anyway -- is the cultural war. That's what really divides Democrats from Republicans -- how they view the Sixties.

vimothy
07-11-2012, 04:07 PM
That's what divides the voters, right?

droid
07-11-2012, 04:07 PM
Hey - Im a dope smoking libertarian with at least some sympathy for Dworkin.

Maybe I should move to Washington.

vimothy
07-11-2012, 04:10 PM
And you hate America. Droid, there's a promising future for you at State.

droid
07-11-2012, 04:13 PM
And you hate America. Droid, there's a promising future for you at State.

lol. I can suckle the public sector teat like never before AND send drones after those who disagree with me on the internet.

Im off to pack.

vimothy
07-11-2012, 04:14 PM
Frum's fiscal conservatism, to the extent that it can be called that, is extremely moderate. The AEI, NR and neocon crowd are really centre-right liberals, in my view.

craner
07-11-2012, 04:15 PM
Maybe the Libertarian Republican is not a faction at all. There are small-state, low-tax, free-marketeers who are also moderately religious and subscribe to a robust and moralist foreign policy. They believe in the whole package of conservative ideas that blend libertarian, religious and neoconsertiave impulses and persuasions. That, in various configurations, is probably the mainstream republican voter. The pure Libertarians tend to be out of sympathy with much of what both major parties stand for, endorse and do in government (naturally). They are fringe people.

padraig (u.s.)
07-11-2012, 04:15 PM
the last decade has been really polarizing for conservatives, over both Iraq and social issues (specifically gay marriage, as well as abortion which is always festering underneath the surface). so even though those differences - which are inevitable in any organization so large - have always been there they've really risen to the surface.

I'm not sure how much this Republicans should blame on GW and his legacy and how much they should blame on their long-term strategy of pandering to the hard + religious right, which was always bound to blow up in their faces. William F. Buckley led - as I'm sure Craner is aware - a long, brutal scorched earth campaign in the 60s and 70s against the fringe types in order to make the GOP respectable. the irony is that they've gradually been allowed in over the last 30 years, from Ralph Reed on on down, by people who should've known better. the thing is, David Frum is no Buckley, and I don't know if the current moderate GOP has the will or the ability to do the same thing now. not to mention the massive, glaring demographic issues which override pretty much everything.

padraig (u.s.)
07-11-2012, 04:23 PM
The AEI, NR and neocon crowd are really centre-right liberals, in my view.

by today's standards Nixon and Reagan were both center-right liberals in more ways than not. of course they operated in the days before Grover Norquist. that's the point - that the respectable, moderate gatekeepers have let all these people, partly for pragmatic reasons, partly through (some) shared ideology, and partly through just taking their eyes off the ball.

vimothy
07-11-2012, 04:32 PM
One problem for conservatives is this:

A fundamental principle of modern life in general and modern government is particular is to look at society as a kind of technology, and therefore at social problems as technical problems. Technical problems admit technical solutions, and technical solutions require competent technical experts: your academics, ďwonksĒ, bureaucrats and so on.

This is problematic for conservatives for two reasons. One is that this is inherently un-conservative, so that there is antagonism between conservative philosophy proper and the basic mechanics of rule. The other is that (perhaps as a consequence of the former), conservatives arenít able to call on a body of conservative experts, having to rely instead on opinion from institutions that are basically liberal in character.

craner
07-11-2012, 04:33 PM
Poor Padraig, I bet he reads all this and thinks, "who are these British knob-ends who think they know so much about America?"

craner
07-11-2012, 04:36 PM
William F. Buckley led - as I'm sure Craner is aware - a long, brutal scorched earth campaign in the 60s and 70s against the fringe types in order to make the GOP respectable. the irony is that they've gradually been allowed in over the last 30 years, from Ralph Reed on on down, by people who should've known better. the thing is, David Frum is no Buckley, and I don't know if the current moderate GOP has the will or the ability to do the same thing now. not to mention the massive, glaring demographic issues which override pretty much everything.

Exactly, I was totally getting at this by bringing up the John Birch society. And I was even going to say (but refrained from doing so) is that the conservative movement does not have another Buckley, and it needs one. Trouble is, those kind of people are extra-ordinarily rare.

And for once I also agree with the relevance of demographics.

craner
07-11-2012, 04:41 PM
Well, State is liberal in tendency, but DOD certainly isn't. Is technocracy inherently liberal? Republicans advanced the mechanics of Washington wonk-land in the 1990s, with their think tank and policy forum networks. The Bush 41 administration was super-technocratic, not at all instinctive or moralistic.

vimothy
07-11-2012, 04:42 PM
by today's standards Nixon and Reagan were both center-right liberals in more ways than not.

I guess that it's a measure of our differences, but I would say that Nixon and Reagan were centre-right liberals, i.e., objectively speaking, but by today's standards they are raving right-wing lunatics.

Similarly, the issue with the GOP is not that they admitted too many crazies, but that the centre is moving leftwards, so that it's a bigger and bigger stretch to be a moderate.

vimothy
07-11-2012, 04:44 PM
I think that technocracy is inherently liberal, yes.

craner
07-11-2012, 04:46 PM
It probably is, I don't know. But why, though?

vimothy
07-11-2012, 04:48 PM
Your comment about Bush41 is well made. Obviously I'm painting with a pretty broad brush.

padraig (u.s.)
07-11-2012, 04:50 PM
I mean it's not very complicated. the GOP is stuck between rock and hard place. growing its base necessitates compromising on the very issues - immigration, abortion, gay marriage, etc - that bring out a big chunk of its current base. it simply can't start off every election cycle heavily conceding black and latin voters and turning off women in droves and expect good things to happen, and the problem will only get worse going forward.

OTOH, after O crushed McCain in 2008 and the Dems swept the Senate and House everyone was talking about the end of the Republican Party and then they promptly took back the House (which they will maintain with a healthy cushion, Dems will pick up maybe 5 seats - here's a nice rundown of some of the key races (www.wptv.com/dpp/news/political/us-house-of-representatives-election-results-republicans-will-maintain-majority-cnn-projects) for anyone interested). a majority of states have GOP governors. so while the GOP identity crisis is very real I think you still have to take w/a bit of a grain of salt.

and of course as Vim said, O presided over a drone war and placated Wall St, so some things just stay the same no matter what. we'll see if Elizabeth Warren (who handily beat tea party poster boy Scott Brown btw; unfortunately Michelle Bachmann eked out a reelection) can have a real go at getting some real financial regulation done w/help from a second-term O but I'm pretty skeptical.

vimothy
07-11-2012, 04:58 PM
Why is technocracy inherently liberal?

Because technocracy is about the rational (re)organisation of society by a body of experts to bring about some aim, like maximising personal autonomy, as efficiently as possible.

This idea that society is a piece of technology that can be used efficiently to bring about an outcome where individuals get maximum satisfaction is what I think of as liberalism--the means and the ends of liberalism.

Conservatives look instead to the natural order and to inherited institutions. They don't believe that social problems can be "solved" as if they were technical problems, and they don't believe that society is a means to bring about ends that are inherently liberal.

droid
07-11-2012, 04:59 PM
...the centre is moving leftwards, so that it's a bigger and bigger stretch to be a moderate.

Im finding a lot of the talk about left/right wrt the election kinda hard to swallow. Transplant Obama and Romney to Europe and you have a Centre Right candidate (Obama) who is liberal on some social issues, roughly equivalent to the Tories and a batshit crazy right candidate (Romney) roughly equivalent to what? The BNP or something?

Considering the European scale is about already places the 'centre' where the right was 30/40 years ago and there are few genuinely left wing movements in Europe, calling either party 'left' just seems silly.

(Though I do accept that its convenient and its all relative anyway.)

craner
07-11-2012, 05:00 PM
Vim was caricaturing Droid's position. The Drone War is simply a way for Obama to avoid all of the hard foreign policy decisions he should be making. For all the benefits (i.e. all the dead terrorists) the policy is an on-going disaster: a moral disgrace and a tactical boomerang. The very worst thing about Obama, it seems to me, is his foreign policy, starting with that dreadful speech he delivered in Cairo in 2009. This is a whole other can of worms, however.

padraig (u.s.)
07-11-2012, 05:08 PM
I guess that it's a measure of our differences, but I would say that Nixon and Reagan were centre-right liberals, i.e., objectively speaking, but by today's standards they are raving right-wing lunatics.

Similarly, the issue with the GOP is not that they admitted too many crazies, but that the centre is moving leftwards, so that it's a bigger and bigger stretch to be a moderate.

your take on Nixon + Reagan is exactly backwards unless I'm misunderstanding you. the point is that both were too liberal to win a current GOP presidential primary.

the center absolutely is not "moving left". socially yes - but even then only in some ways, abortion is still basically an even split - but fiscally it's the exact opposite. Nixon widely expanded social safety nets and founded the freaking E.P.A. that could never happen in the age of Grover Norquist.

and i'm sorry, but the issue is precisely that the GOP let the fringe in (in fact, went out and recruited them via the astroturfing that kicked off the Tea Party).

craner
07-11-2012, 05:08 PM
Because technocracy is about the rational (re)organisation of society by a body of experts to bring about some aim, like maximising personal autonomy, as efficiently as possible.

I think I see where you are coming from -- like the Tory complaint about the Foreign Office or Whitehall mandarin, although I suppose we also have the Machiavellian Sir Humphrey gargoyle here, too. The technocracy is a state function, hence wedded to the State. The maximum satisfaction for largest number of people -- this is Mill and Utilitarianism, I suppose. It makes sense, but something in my head is resisting this. You could also say that a technocracy is the architecture of order and tradition in some states.

vimothy
07-11-2012, 05:14 PM
Transplant Obama and Romney to Europe and you have a Centre Right candidate (Obama) who is liberal on some social issues, roughly equivalent to the Tories and a batshit crazy right candidate (Romney) roughly equivalent to what? The BNP or something?

Considering the European scale is about already places the 'centre' where the right was 30/40 years ago and there are few genuinely left wing movements in Europe, calling either party 'left' just seems silly.

I dunno.

I'd say that Europe is just travelling along the curve at a faster rate, but that we're both going in the same direction. The European centre would be regarded as quite far left 40 years ago. The same is true of America. But when you one to the other at any moment, it looks like its travelling to the right.

padraig (u.s.)
07-11-2012, 05:14 PM
batshit crazy right candidate (Romney) roughly equivalent to what? The BNP or something?

no a lot closer to UKIP. to their credit the GOP has generally rid itself of overt racists i.e. David Duke.

padraig (u.s.)
07-11-2012, 05:30 PM
The same is true of America

have to absolutely disagree with this, see above. Nixon was way too far left to be a factor in today's GOP. Nixon coexisted in a party with Nelson Rockefeller. there is no such thing today as a Rockefeller Republican. or actually, there is. his name is Barack Obama.

about Europe I know much less but it still seems wrong. probably craner or somebody could better go into it.

vimothy
07-11-2012, 05:36 PM
the center absolutely is not "moving left". socially yes - but even then only in some ways, abortion is still basically an even split - but fiscally it's the exact opposite. Nixon widely expanded social safety nets and founded the freaking E.P.A. that could never happen in the age of Grover Norquist.

Well, I don't think that fiscal issues are that central. But whatever happens, the government will expand as a function of time. It doesn't matter who is in change, as far as I can see:

http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/usgs_line.php?title=Total%20Spending&units=p&size=m&year=1950_2015&sname=US&bar=0&stack=1&col=c&legend=&source=a_i_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i _i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_a_a_a_a_a _a_a_a_a_i_a_i_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_g_g_g_g_g&spending0=23.95_22.38_27.88_29.02_29.27_26.70_26.4 7_27.21_28.84_28.77_28.74_30.25_28.94_28.71_28.50_ 26.96_27.45_29.80_30.47_30.08_31.00_31.49_31.36_29 .78_30.23_33.62_34.00_32.91_32.02_31.58_33.72_33.6 4_36.25_36.31_34.44_35.48_35.71_35.09_34.73_34.93_ 36.01_37.22_37.04_36.31_35.38_35.53_34.69_33.76_33 .24_32.64_32.56_33.33_34.74_35.31_34.86_34.83_35.1 2_35.09_37.16_42.83_40.91_40.52_40.63_39.17_38.27_ 37.80

You can see from the graph that, not only is it growing in absolute terms, but, allowing for some cyclical variation about trend, its even growing as a share of income!

I won't post more graphs, but I think that you'll be hard pushed to find any evidence that our contemporary fiscal conservatives have had a material impact on the size of the American government.

As for the rest, take any dimension you like, cycle back 50 or 100 years and tell me if society has become more liberal or more conservative. In every dimension I can think of, the answer is that society has become more liberal.


and i'm sorry, but the issue is precisely that the GOP let the fringe in (in fact, went out and recruited them via the astroturfing that kicked off the Tea Party).

And who were this "fringe" voting for before they were let in by the GOP? They were voting for the GOP. The problem is that to be a moderate today, which is what you probably are if you are a competent politician or bureaucrat, places you much further away from the "crazies", i.e. the GOP's traditional base, than it did in the past. This becomes less of a problem, I suppose, if the GOP simply ignores them. I mean, who else are they going to vote for?

padraig (u.s.)
07-11-2012, 05:38 PM
if anything where you could point to a shift to the left is Latin America (Morales, Correa, Lula and now Dilma, and of course the original, Chavismo) but even that is more complicated than just a 40 year gradual arc leftward.

plus even by point of comparison - Brazil elected a former guerrilla president. in the U.S. Obama was pilloried for very tangential association with a former guerrilla.

padraig (u.s.)
07-11-2012, 06:13 PM
you'll be hard pushed to find any evidence that our contemporary fiscal conservatives have had a material impact on the size of the American government

I'm not talking about actual impact on government's fiscal policy, I'm talking about winning elections, and what makes up political discourse in this country. nearly every conservative politician outside of Ron Paul talks up small government and then does mostly the opposite - I largely agree with your point that technocracy is essentially liberal - but that's not the point. the point is what people believe and what politicians say to go get elected and what parties put in their platforms and what stupid petitions entire parties (basically) sign.

as far as social issues, it's much more complicated than you make it out to be. drug policy has gotten far more draconian (the Rockefeller laws, FFS) in many ways, medical marijuana etc not withstanding. gun control - not something I'm personally for (with exceptions), but whatever - is pretty much a no-fly zone for Dems at this point. abortion remains as divisive as ever.

not to mention the greatest and most obvious rightward creep of all - the attitude towards labor. the left was at its strongest in this country - by a wide margin - before WWII (and especially before WWI - Palmer Raids and suppression of the IWW etc). the Progressive Era for crissakes - Eugene Debs, an actual socialist, got 6% of the votes for President in 1912. a great deal of Republican - and some Democratic - effort in the last 40 years at dismantling both the New Deal and LBJ's Great Society (tho selectively of course, excluding the untouchables like Medicare).

IdleRich
07-11-2012, 06:13 PM
"a majority of states have GOP governors."
Is this not because a state governor can be a lot more specific in their policies and beliefs and avoid having to appeal to all the parts of their party across the country? In other words they don't face the problems we're discussing that dog the GOP as a whole.


"Well, I don't think that fiscal issues are that central. But whatever happens, the government will expand as a function of time. It doesn't matter who is in change, as far as I can see:
You can see from the graph that, not only is it growing in absolute terms, but, allowing for some cyclical variation about trend, its even growing as a share of income!"
I'd say that was more as a result of Parkinson's Law than a triumph of centrist ideology. Same as in this country, every government promises to save money on the civil service and reduce the number of quangos but ends up doing precisely the opposite.


"And who were this "fringe" voting for before they were let in by the GOP? They were voting for the GOP."
They were voting for it but they weren't running it.

padraig (u.s.)
07-11-2012, 06:21 PM
which is all to say that, no, I don't agree with your shift to the lift, or liberalization, or whatever.

and as far as that fringe, yes, most of them were probably voting GOP (if they were voting at all, of course) but they were doing so relatively quietly. like, obviously they were a part of the GOP milieu and discourse but they weren't dominating it. and that's precisely what the GOP needs to not project in order to appeal to the voters it needs to grow. Buckley didn't stop the fringe from voting GOP - he created plausible separation between the John Birch Society and the GOP mainstream so Republicans could more easily appeal to moderate voters (*rich just said the same thing but more succinctly*).

padraig (u.s.)
07-11-2012, 06:30 PM
Is this not because a state governor can be a lot more specific in their policies and beliefs and avoid having to appeal to all the parts of their party across the country?

yes that's it exactly - see Mitt Romney, former pro-choice, universal health care installing Republican governor of blue as it gets Massachusetts. or Michael Bloomberg.

actually I've heard thinking that the GOP might do well to loosen its line on things like abortion and immigration, much like Nancy P did for the Dems on gun control. i.e. keep it (quietly) in the party platform but allow Senators and especially Representatives a freer hand so they can tailor to their individual constituencies. tho that seems like a stopgap have your cake + eat it to kind of thing but hey when you're desperate.

droid
07-11-2012, 09:19 PM
no a lot closer to UKIP. to their credit the GOP has generally rid itself of overt racists i.e. David Duke.

Yep, sorry, thats what I should've said.

Still, the BNP are a bit slyer these days. There's tons of American commentators that would be far more extreme (in public at least).

droid
07-11-2012, 09:25 PM
http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/usgs_line.php?title=Total%20Spending&units=p&size=m&year=1950_2015&sname=US&bar=0&stack=1&col=c&legend=&source=a_i_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i _i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_i_a_a_a_a_a _a_a_a_a_i_a_i_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_g_g_g_g_g&spending0=23.95_22.38_27.88_29.02_29.27_26.70_26.4 7_27.21_28.84_28.77_28.74_30.25_28.94_28.71_28.50_ 26.96_27.45_29.80_30.47_30.08_31.00_31.49_31.36_29 .78_30.23_33.62_34.00_32.91_32.02_31.58_33.72_33.6 4_36.25_36.31_34.44_35.48_35.71_35.09_34.73_34.93_ 36.01_37.22_37.04_36.31_35.38_35.53_34.69_33.76_33 .24_32.64_32.56_33.33_34.74_35.31_34.86_34.83_35.1 2_35.09_37.16_42.83_40.91_40.52_40.63_39.17_38.27_ 37.80


Do you have a graph that deducts defense spending from expenditure?

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/86/InflationAdjustedDefenseSpending.PNG

Some nice symmetry there.

I don't see anyone calling for a cut in this trend. Even Obama's 'military cuts' just slow the rate of increase.

crackerjack
07-11-2012, 09:54 PM
I would place a big bet on the former.

So would I. If you've spent the last 4 years making out that Obama is a Kenyan Muslim Marxist big-state anti-American devil you're hardly gonna stay home just cos Mitt isn't barking quite as loudly as you. He obligingly changed position on almost everything he ever believed in to suit you and your crazy mates, after all.

Apparently the reason Gallup made such an arse of this election (remember the +6 Romney leads?) is that they estimated whites would be 78% of the vote. In fact they were 72%. Since turnout looks like being only a bit down on '08 (a good chunk of that attributable to Sandy refugees), presumably they reckoned that non-whites, having got over the novelty of a non-white president, would revert to type and stay at home.


apart from the farther-out libertarians who are barely part of the GOP anyway

Who voted for Garry Johnson? Get the feeling US libertarianism takes as much support from otherwise left-leaning anti-war social liberals as from people who've slipped off the regular right map.

crackerjack
07-11-2012, 09:55 PM
I guess that it's a measure of our differences, but I would say that Nixon and Reagan were centre-right liberals, i.e., objectively speaking, but by today's standards they are raving right-wing lunatics.


Eh? By whose standards?

crackerjack
07-11-2012, 10:01 PM
you'll be hard pushed to find any evidence that our contemporary fiscal conservatives have had a material impact on the size of the American government


Why's it always have to be about the size of govt? Inequality has increased everywhere other than Latin America (where it simply started from a higher base) over the last 3-4 decades. I think that's a pretty decent measure of a rightward shift.

crackerjack
07-11-2012, 10:05 PM
which is all to say that, no, I don't agree with your shift to the lift, or liberalization, or whatever.

and as far as that fringe, yes, most of them were probably voting GOP (if they were voting at all, of course) but they were doing so relatively quietly. .

And presumably many feel the growth of the overtly political religious right and its media echo chamber in talk radio/Fox has legitimised their views and, in many cases, encouraged them to move further right.

And obviously pre-Johnson/southern strategy, many of the Angry White Guys had less to be angry about and were voting Democrat.

vimothy
07-11-2012, 10:23 PM
Do you have a graph that deducts defense spending from expenditure?

Ah, you could probably make one if you could be bothered to fiddle about in FRED for a bit. Defence spending as a share of income is decreasing, even though, as your graph shows, the absolute level of real spending is increasing:

http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/usgs_line.php?title=Defense&units=p&size=m&year=1950_2017&sname=US&bar=0&stack=1&col=c&legend=&source=a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a _a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_a _a_a_a_a_i_a_i_a_a_a_a_a_a_a_g_g_g_g_g_g_g&spending0=8.25_8.61_14.43_15.01_13.89_11.37_10.77_ 11.13_11.08_10.66_10.12_10.46_10.86_10.40_9.85_8.5 7_8.84_10.06_10.36_9.62_9.12_8.24_7.65_6.72_6.56_6 .73_6.27_5.99_5.71_5.61_6.02_6.19_6.81_6.98_6.84_7 .00_7.04_6.76_6.47_6.26_5.90_5.35_5.50_5.16_4.75_4 .40_4.04_3.90_3.68_3.56_3.61_3.56_3.97_4.34_4.59_4 .76_4.65_4.66_5.08_5.70_5.84_5.83_5.79_5.52_4.67_4 .28_4.13_3.98

Sectionfive
08-11-2012, 12:44 AM
Wonder if defence income is bringing down defence 'spending' in some way there.

droid
08-11-2012, 10:16 AM
I dunno.

I'd say that Europe is just travelling along the curve at a faster rate, but that we're both going in the same direction. The European centre would be regarded as quite far left 40 years ago. The same is true of America. But when you one to the other at any moment, it looks like its travelling to the right.

...yeah. Completely disagree ala Padraig. We've had this discussion already anyway.

White hot sphere of rage for 2016?

http://www.theonion.com/video/after-obama-victory-shrieking-whitehot-sphere-of-p,30284/

vimothy
08-11-2012, 10:24 AM
I'm not sure if I understand Padraig's argument, to be quite honest.

50 years ago abortion was illegal in the US, racial segregation was legal, immigration was majority white European, sodomy was a felony in every state, etc, etc.

luka
08-11-2012, 10:34 AM
wasnt he talking about labour laws union movement, more equal distributuion of wealth cetera

vimothy
08-11-2012, 10:36 AM
We were talking about whether the centre has drifted to the left.

droid
08-11-2012, 10:38 AM
Yes we have a patina of social liberalism now that's true.

We also have the decimation of the labor movement, gargantuan increases in corporate power, stagnation or decline in real wages (in the US) for the vast majority of workers, the rollback of welfare states, the concentration of power and media in private hands, rampant privatisation of state assets, the massively increased influence of globalised financial markets and institutions, the atomisation and political disenfranchisement of populations.

It may be more accurate to say that rather than a swing to the right, we have simply had an obliteration of the core ideas of the left. The new deal, the welfare state, the NHS, - it is almost completely inconceivable that any of these would be implemented, or even contemplated today.

vimothy
08-11-2012, 10:44 AM
It seems to me that we've had the continuous victory of the left for about two centuries, modulo some temporary setbacks and instrumental changes.

luka
08-11-2012, 10:45 AM
what on earth does modulo mean? not even google knows

vimothy
08-11-2012, 10:48 AM
It's hard to see how this is arguable--except with respect to the economy, and that in a more recent time frame.

luka
08-11-2012, 10:50 AM
it may be you are talking about slightly different things.

luka
08-11-2012, 10:51 AM
what droid is saying, i think is, powerful people are still in power, not only still in power but more powerful than ever before.

droid
08-11-2012, 10:51 AM
It seems to me that we've had the continuous victory of the left for about two centuries, modulo some temporary setbacks and instrumental changes.

Yeah, so you keep saying, despite the fact that today we have pretty much the greatest concentration of wealth and power in private hands since the industrial revolution.

luka
08-11-2012, 10:51 AM
what you are saying, i think, is that those powerful people are much nicer to us than ever before.

luka
08-11-2012, 10:52 AM
it may be that you are both right

baboon2004
08-11-2012, 10:54 AM
I don't understand how the current European central ground would have been regarded as far left in the 1970s, at least in economic terms. Wealth inequalities that are accepted by all centrist parties nowadays, would have been far less thinkable/tolerated by the electorate then, surely? A party like Labour was in the 1970s/1980s simply wouldn't get elected now, because it would be considered way too leftist (and was already by the early 80s, I guess)

vimothy
08-11-2012, 10:54 AM
Modulo is basically a mathematical operator that gives you a remainder. 4 modulo 2 is 0, because 4 divided by 2 is 2 remainder 0. 5 modulo 2 is 1, because 5 divided by 2 is 2 remainder 1.

People use it in sentences in the sense of "give or take". So "A is equivalent to B modulo C" means, "A is more or less the same as B, give or take C".

luka
08-11-2012, 10:57 AM
i think i sort of followed that. at least the bit that said 'it means give or take'

droid
08-11-2012, 10:57 AM
I know we've had this exact conversation before, but my searches for 'vimothy sodomy', though turning up some interesting results, is leading nowhere. ;)

luka
08-11-2012, 10:58 AM
anyway i hope i have resolved your differences satisfactorily.

vimothy
08-11-2012, 11:02 AM
I wouldn't say that you resolved them, but I think that you described them pretty accurately.


what droid is saying, i think is, powerful people are still in power, not only still in power but more powerful than ever before.

what you are saying, i think, is that those powerful people are much nicer to us than ever before.

luka
08-11-2012, 11:03 AM
well, thats something i suppose.

vimothy
08-11-2012, 11:11 AM
Putting questions of the concentration of wealth to one side for a moment, my view is firstly that it is impossible for powerful people not to be in power. Power is conserved, like energy. Someone always has power. The question is how they behave and what they do with it.

Secondly, the goal of liberalism or leftism requires the concentration of power. How do you ensure that society is transformed in the proper direction? Progress is not something that happens naturally. If you want to redistribute wealth, this requires power. If you want children to be taught the correct understanding of the world, this requires power. If you want to prevent discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, this requires power. If you want to ensure that women are paid the same as men for the same job, this requires power. If you want to prevent people from refusing to let gay couples share a room in their hotel, this requires power.

luka
08-11-2012, 11:14 AM
is there a differnece between powerful people and powerful institutions?

luka
08-11-2012, 11:16 AM
is the idea to create powerful institutions to save us from powerful people?

vimothy
08-11-2012, 11:19 AM
Who controls the powerful institutions?

baboon2004
08-11-2012, 11:21 AM
Putting questions of the concentration of wealth to one side for a moment, my view is firstly that it is impossible for powerful people not to be in power. Power is conserved, like energy. Someone always has power. The question is how they behave and what they do with it.

Secondly, the goal of liberalism or leftism requires the concentration of power. How do you ensure that society is transformed in the proper direction? Progress is not something that happens naturally. If you want to redistribute wealth, this requires power. If you want children to be taught the correct understanding of the world, this requires power. If you want to prevent discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, this requires power. If you want to ensure that women are paid the same as men for the same job, this requires power. If you want to prevent people from refusing to let gay couples share a room in their hotel, this requires power.

This is true, but such goals would then, when pursued, lead to a downward resdistribution of power - all of them, in effect, ensuring that no person finds themselves in a completely powerless position where they can't defend their basic rights (as there is no legal basis that allows them to do so). But yep, to make that transition, you'd need to initially hold enough power to make this redistribution possible.

And it's obviously a question of how to rank basic rights, which is where the left and right divide dramatically.

luka
08-11-2012, 11:21 AM
no one they are machines

luka
08-11-2012, 11:22 AM
im not suggesting these institutions exist. im describing a dream. the american constitution is supposed to be a kind of machine?

luka
08-11-2012, 11:23 AM
its the whole point of the game. its the rule of law. its everything.

luka
08-11-2012, 11:27 AM
that it doesnt allow for intervention of individuals or groups of indiviuals

luka
08-11-2012, 11:28 AM
that it has rules of operation that play themselves out objectively consistantly and dispassionately

IdleRich
08-11-2012, 11:32 AM
"Putting questions of the concentration of wealth to one side for a moment, my view is firstly that it is impossible for powerful people not to be in power. Power is conserved, like energy. Someone always has power. The question is how they behave and what they do with it."
But energy can concentrated in a few things or distributed across many - theoretically so can power although I agree that it's unlikely to happen because the only people who can cause that distribution are exactly the people who don't want to. You might argue that various competing powers may each seek to limit each other's powers by putting in some kind of system of checks and balances but my guess is that is only going to go so far and probably won't really transfer too much agency downwards.

vimothy
08-11-2012, 11:35 AM
Imagine, for a moment, that we lived in a society where the highest good--in fact, the only good--was personal autonomy and the equal satisfaction of desire for all.

The sole purpose of society, then, would be to facilitate this process and allow individual autonomy to be realised and expressed.

If the individual were to be born into duties to the collective in such a society, this would constitute a bad, because his or her autonomy would be restricted. Personal autonomy and many goods (or many things that were traditionally thought of as goods) would be antagonistic. Think of, for example, predetermined roles, like gender roles, that people are expected to fall into. Whatever custom dictates, it is generally going to be in conflict with our one true good.

This is a problem, right? The solution is that something is going to have to prevent these traditional institutions from materially influencing the lives of the autonomous inhabitants of alterna-world. Who could do such a thing? It could only be a person or institution powerful enough to override the inherited structures, institutions, mores, and so on, and so enable individuals to live as individuals and not parts of some larger whole.

luka
08-11-2012, 11:38 AM
this is one of problems with this thread tho... that is your definition of liberalism which you are eliding with 'left' (or at least allowing others to) when the two are not synonomous

vimothy
08-11-2012, 11:43 AM
You're probably right about that. I guess I'm talking about a general principle and I'm not so worried about what it's called.

luka
08-11-2012, 11:45 AM
we cant have a conversation with socialists saying the world is less socialist than it was for a few decades post wwII therefore less left and you saying it more liberal therefore more left. thats a bit dopey. thats why we need to be clear about definitions.

baboon2004
08-11-2012, 11:49 AM
the whole point of any leftist ideology is that you are a part of humankind, and not just an individual without any collective interactions; i.e. that fulfilling yourself and duties to the collective are not seen as antagonistic as such, but that part of achieving your personal goals is improving the way in which you interact with others/negotiate the difficulties that this poses. And that this makes you more content, not less so. Which in my experience is pretty true.

vimothy
08-11-2012, 11:50 AM
Well, like I said, I think don't think that economic questions are central.

But I also think that many of the economic outcomes that people dislike are a consequence of the success of what I've been calling liberalism. This is more complicated to establish, though, whereas it's quite easy to see that liberalism is succeeding if you look at something like women's reproductive rights or the spread of democracy.

luka
08-11-2012, 11:56 AM
what you are talking about is granting of concessions or at least thats the way i read it. the granting of concessions is not the same as relinquishing power. but again i think the water has got too muddy. i dont feel we can make progress. im going to try and start the day.

vimothy
08-11-2012, 12:00 PM
For example, why is there this great concentration of wealth? One reason might be that there is a great drive to concentrate wealth. And why would that be? Well, there are no higher principles other than the equal satisfaction of individual impulses and desires.

Now, this might lead to conflict and violence, because you might have "Nietzschean" or "Stirnerte" types attempting to dominate their fellows. On the other hand, if we restrict the choices that people can make to a more limited domain--for example, consumption choices in the market--then we might be able to produce an aoutcome where everyone gets to make their own choices about what it is that they desire and satisfy them, without ever coming to conflict because of exclusivity or antagonism between goals.

droid
08-11-2012, 12:04 PM
Well, like I said, I think don't think that economic questions are central.

But I also think that many of the economic outcomes that people dislike are a consequence of the success of what I've been calling liberalism. This is more complicated to establish, though, whereas it's quite easy to see that liberalism is succeeding if you look at something like women's reproductive rights or the spread of democracy.

Economic questions are utterly central, as is the concentration of power. The left advocates the concentration of political and economic power into the hands of populations or their representatives in the state. This is a fundamental tenet

'Liberalism' and social/cultural changes, by whatever definition is the outlier here. 'Liberal' is also a loaded, and almost meaningless term at this stage, is not the preserve of 'the left', and certainly not one that give us any kind of accurate indicator of ideology, despite the far-right's 'cultural marxist' sloganeering nonsense.

Mr. Tea
08-11-2012, 12:09 PM
I think the last couple of pages illustrate very well the complete inadequacy of a one-dimensional ideological axis running from 'right' to 'left'. Also a bit surprised to see vimothy talking about "liberalism or leftism" as if the terms are all but interchangeable. Surely it's unarguable that in many (most? all?) developed countries there has been a definite shift (more than a 'patina' as droid put it, I think) towards social liberalism/libertarianism/leftism - I think these ideologies can be grouped more or less reasonably in social terms - but in economic terms there has been a very marked movement to the right.

Or how about: 'liberalism', in the most general sense of the word, is associated with the social left but the economic right?

luka
08-11-2012, 12:16 PM
one thing that has been remarked upon a great deal is the liberalism of the edl.

vimothy
08-11-2012, 12:16 PM
My perspective is historical. It's obvious that liberalism is on the left-hand side of the floor. Today, of course, even conservatives are liberal. So what? I'm not a nominalist. I believe that words have meanings, that we can talk about the essence of things. It's hard to see how conversation could proceed otherwise.

A fundamental question of political philosophy is: How should society be governed?

Historically, the dominant set up is basically monarchy. Why should society be governed by a King (or even by the alliance of "Throne and Altar")? That doesn't seem to make rational sense. It would be much better if we applied science (in the broadest sense, i.e., scientia) to the problem and came up with something better.

Well, that is the story of the post-Enlightenment world. Or, if you prefer, the story of leftism or liberalism.

luka
08-11-2012, 12:20 PM
dead end then it seems to me. what is the question anyway? what are we talking about?
ive lost the thread.

Mr. Tea
08-11-2012, 12:21 PM
one thing that has been remarked upon a great deal is the liberalism of the edl.

Well they're bravely protecting the fair white womenfolk of Walthamstow from those marauding Muslamic rape gangs, which is pretty liberal if you ask me.

vimothy
08-11-2012, 12:21 PM
one thing that has been remarked upon a great deal is the liberalism of the edl.

A neat way to see what I'm talking about is to ask yourself: In what kind of world are conservatives revolutionary democrats who go around the world overthrowing existing authorities and trying to establish liberal democracies in their place?

People often make this connection when they express scepticism over the putative aims of conservative western factions in Iraq or Afghanistan or wherever. When did conservatives get so keen on women's rights--weren't these the guys who were trying to prevent women from achieving them in our own societies, not so long ago?

droid
08-11-2012, 12:21 PM
I think the last couple of pages illustrate very well the complete inadequacy of a one-dimensional ideological axis running from 'right' to 'left'. Also a bit surprised to see vimothy talking about "liberalism or leftism" as if the terms are all but interchangeable. Surely it's unarguable that in many (most? all?) developed countries there has been a definite shift (more than a 'patina' as droid put it, I think) towards social liberalism/libertarianism/leftism - I think these ideologies can be grouped more or less reasonably in social terms - but in economic terms there has been a very marked movement to the right.

Or how about: 'liberalism', in the most general sense of the word, is associated with the social left but the economic right?

Patina might be over egging it a bit, but gay and minority rights? equal pay for women? Political Correctness?

Though all very laudable and worthy of praise, it doesn't really mean shit in the big picture unless it's manifested as genuine political change. Just some new games for the children to play while the adults get on with things.

The real power lies with capital.

droid
08-11-2012, 12:23 PM
A neat way to see what I'm talking about is to ask yourself: In what kind of world are conservatives revolutionary democrats who go around the world overthrowing existing authorities and trying to establish liberal democracies in their place?

In a fantasy world youve invented, as it's never happened here.


People often make this connection when they express scepticism over the putative aims of conservative western factions in Iraq or Afghanistan or wherever. When did conservatives get so keen on women's rights--weren't these the guys who were trying to prevent women from achieving them in our own societies, not so long ago?

They never did. Its PR.

vimothy
08-11-2012, 12:24 PM
Droid, if we lived in the Ancien Regime, you'd know about it.

luka
08-11-2012, 12:26 PM
i understand what you are saying vimothy. i am not quite as slow as i seem to be. youve been making the same point for the last 2 years. i dont understand what the conversation is about/ i can understand individual comments.

tea, do you really not know what i am talking about?

droid
08-11-2012, 12:28 PM
Vim, you seem blinded by this obsession with 'liberalism'.

Also, your persistent naivety wrt to recent mid eastern adventures is almost endearing.

vimothy
08-11-2012, 12:29 PM
In a fantasy world youve invented, as it's never happened here.

I happens all the time. Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya are only the three most recent examples. Syria, of course, is up next. We could go further back into history. It turns out to be a pretty big list. That's how we ended up with all these democratic governments.


They never did. Its PR.

Well, I mean, exactly.

But if today's democratic rulers believe in the traditional approach of "the government de facto is the government for us", then they're doing a pretty good job of disguising it.

vimothy
08-11-2012, 12:30 PM
i understand what you are saying vimothy. i am not quite as slow as i seem to be. youve been making the same point for the last 2 years.

I believe you! It's quite heartening, actually.

luka
08-11-2012, 12:31 PM
lool

vimothy
08-11-2012, 12:52 PM
Vim, you seem blinded by this obsession with 'liberalism'.

Perhaps I am, I dunno. I find post Enlightenment history and the trajectory of society interesting. Your mileage may vary, as in all things.

There was a strucural break in the Enlightenment, when people began to apply rationalism to both to man and to society itself. This gave rise to the "politics of reason".

If you don't give a name to the new politics, then it's not easy to talk about it. If you don't want to talk about, then this is no big deal. But if you do, then you need to find wrods for it.

Democracy is a central idea to the new approach, not simply in the sense of a mechanism for selecting leaders, but as a philosophy of government. Society is ordered for the benefit of The People, and not according to a transcendent or natural law.

From there you could go in different directions. One direction is nationalism, and later, fascism. Another direction is universalism, and communism. Another direction still is liberalism. If you'd rather call it something else, that's fine, but liberalism is the most appropriate term, it seems to me. (From Wikipedia: "Liberalism (from the Latin liberalis) is a political philosophy or worldview founded on the ideas of liberty and equality.")

One way to think about it is as "modernity". But modernity is bigger than liberalism--modernity contains a politics, but it contains other things as well. Mark Anderson's definition of modernity is,


Modernity: reductivist methodology; empiricist epistemology; materialist ontology; mechanistic physics; hedonistic ethics; radical politics.

But that's very broad. It seems like it would be better to be more specific, since it's politics that's the focus here.


Also, your persistent naivety wrt to recent mid eastern adventures is almost endearing.

I think you are rather missing the point here...

vimothy
08-11-2012, 01:19 PM
lool

Hey, you were making fun of me, Luka, you bastard!

* * * *

One last thing to address is Mr Tea's point about the inadequacy on a single dimension to describe politics.

I disagree with this. I think that it's a remarkable and eternal truth of politics that it can be described with a single left-to-right axis.

On the right, we have the side of Natural Law and Transcendent Order. On the left, we have the side of Rationalism and Social Transformation.

If you don't want society to be ordered towards the Natural Law, then you're on the left hand side of the axis.

If we take that as given, how is society to be ordered? The two most obvious ways are by the market and by the government. Your left liberals think that the government should dominate the market. Your right liberals think that the market should dominate the government.

So what we see is that right liberals are right in a local sense, i.e., when compared to left liberals, but left in a global sense, i.e., when compared to people who think society should reflect a cosmic order. (Or you could think of it in terms of the drift of the mean to the left.)

If you go back and read the original conservative intellectuals like de Bonald or Le Play, what you do not find is that they are libertarians. Quite the opposite!

IdleRich
08-11-2012, 01:25 PM
"i dont understand what the conversation is about/ i can understand individual comments."
I guess we were talking about what the Republican party is/wants to be/ought to be - maybe to do that you need to talk about liberalism, certainly a large part of the GOP's supporters define themselves in opposition to it. Although I'm pretty sure they mean something quite different from Vimothy when they do.

vimothy
08-11-2012, 01:31 PM
Yes, sorry, that was a rather epic thread derail. I'll try to shut up about it now. Here's something to get us back on track:

http://andrewgelman.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/30_30_402.png

luka
08-11-2012, 02:02 PM
not making fun of you in the slightest. i was just laughing cos it was funny. i like talking to you. sometimes you are obtuse, sometimes disingenuous but i like it.

luka
08-11-2012, 02:04 PM
like you i also believe in left and right as something objective. i think as i have said before that it is a real divide based on very basic assumptions/premises/starting points.

baboon2004
08-11-2012, 02:17 PM
For example, why is there this great concentration of wealth? One reason might be that there is a great drive to concentrate wealth. And why would that be? Well, there are no higher principles other than the equal satisfaction of individual impulses and desires.

Now, this might lead to conflict and violence, because you might have "Nietzschean" or "Stirnerte" types attempting to dominate their fellows. On the other hand, if we restrict the choices that people can make to a more limited domain--for example, consumption choices in the market--then we might be able to produce an aoutcome where everyone gets to make their own choices about what it is that they desire and satisfy them, without ever coming to conflict because of exclusivity or antagonism between goals.

But you have to construct a theory of how people come to their desires, rather than leaving this unspecified. For starters, their desires are shaped to a (large) extent by the dominating political system, which of course helps that system to remain in place, because people feel that it is in their own interests to defend it (and of course their own interests have been shaped by it etc etc). So, to take the most obvious example, consumer capitalism's very survival is based upon continually making people feel as if they are lacking, and that consumption of objects and services can somehow fill this lack. Obv this shapes people's desires to a large extent, by creating an addiction cycle.

I think, once you start to pick people's fears apart, and see how these fears (both internal and intentionally/unintentionally generated by society) directly shape their desires, then you see how reducing/annulling these fears can create a situation in which people's desires are much less likely to lead to antagonism/conflict, because they are not so solipsistic any longer. And one way (the best way?) to reduce fear on a societal level is to make sure that everyone knows that, whatever happens, they will not be left destitute and without basic food/shelter.

craner
08-11-2012, 02:23 PM
That's a rather a Masochistic view of existence, Baboon. I think you ought to adopt a Sadean approach.

George Will has just said that the big Republican winner from the election defeat is...Marco Rubio.

And we're off!

baboon2004
08-11-2012, 02:25 PM
Why masochistic? There's been too much labelling in this thread! I was just trying to introduce an internal psychological perspective into the threa, cos as Luka said, left and right are built upon very basic premises, that are too often left uninterrogated.

luka
08-11-2012, 02:33 PM
dont let craner bully you baboon. sock it to him!

baboon2004
08-11-2012, 02:38 PM
i wasn't aware that he was bullying me; I will reassess once I understand what he meant

vimothy
08-11-2012, 02:45 PM
Augustine of Hippo famously said, "Man has as many masters as he has vices."

For ancient thinkers, happiness was an objective state. The Greeks called it eudaimonia. To be eudaimon is not to have satisfied a bunch of immanent or animal desires. For example, the heroin addict might be happy in a subjective sense, smashed out of his gourd on opiates, but in an objective sense he is wretched and not eudaimon.

Two of the greatest stoics were Marcus Aurelius, Emperor of Rome, and Epictitus, a slave. Both men emphasised the importance of accepting one's place in the world and doing one's duty to living a happy and good life.

By today's standards, of course, this is crazy. Happiness and the good is about doing whatever the hell you like, whenever the hell you feel like it, with no restrictions or responsibilities.

So there's a huge gulf between the way people traditionally understood the world and how they understand it today.

vimothy
08-11-2012, 02:50 PM
http://www.princeton.edu/~rvdb/JAVA/election2012/Election2012.png

http://www.princeton.edu/~rvdb/JAVA/election2012/ElectionDiff2012.png

baboon2004
08-11-2012, 03:09 PM
Well, not everyone accepts that definition of happiness today; more that it is the one propagated by the media and the consumer industry constantly, and obv taken up by a large section of the public.

But then of course that conception (for most people except the most rich, perhaps, and even then...) is rooted in self-deception - start to actually do what you want, rather than follow what you're supposed to want, and come up against the Truman Show-esque walls of this space of alleged freedom. You can do what you want as long as you show deference to the appropriate masters at the appropriate time. Know your place.
Sounds pretty much like a mixture of stoicism and meekly doing what you're supposed to during the week, and then being allowed to indulge in 'leisure' at the weekend, as long as it's within set boundaries of course. Eternally infantilised, but pretending to be free, because the truth is painful/ you feel like you are impotent to create anything better.

Which altogether sounds like what the Greeks were saying, or indeed what Zen Buddhism says, or progressive conceptions of psychotherapy. That idea of happiness (working out what you really want, and not simply dulling your consciousness) became marginalised, but it never went away. And surely there were precursors in history to the idea of 'having "fun all the time" ' = happiness; what's different is the ubiquity of that idea nowadays, which obv has something to do with modern media enabling the idea to be relentlessly pumped into people's brains, and consumerism requiring that idea to be ubiquitous in order to survive and self-perpetuate and generate ever-greater profits.


Augustine of Hippo famously said, "Man has as many masters as he has vices."

For ancient thinkers, happiness was an objective state. The Greeks called it eudaimonia. To be eudaimon is not to have satisfied a bunch of immanent or animal desires. For example, the heroin addict might be happy in a subjective sense, smashed out of his gourd on opiates, but in an objective sense he is wretched and not eudaimon.

Two of the greatest stoics were Marcus Aurelius, Emperor of Rome, and Epictitus, a slave. Both men emphasised the importance of accepting one's place in the world and doing one's duty to living a happy and good life.

By today's standards, of course, this is crazy. Happiness and the good is about doing whatever the hell you like, whenever the hell you feel like it, with no restrictions or responsibilities.

So there's a huge gulf between the way people traditionally understood the world and how they understand it today.

craner
08-11-2012, 04:06 PM
start to actually do what you want

Like what, though? What do you mean? What is outside of the "Truman Show-esque walls of alleged freedom"? Infinite space? Cosmic love? Child rape? We are all bound by some limits in any form of society -- norms of behaviour, moral codes or tribal tradition. They are fairly loose in modern Western neo-liberal states. You are restricted by moral and legal codes and the necessity of earning a living. But for that you get protection, order and a certain amount of freedom and opportunity, plus space for transgression. This "liberal state" is the bourgeois ideal, mass tranquility. People subject to this state miss...passion, commintment, blood. See where that gets you.

baboon2004
08-11-2012, 04:43 PM
Like what, though? What do you mean? What is outside of the "Truman Show-esque walls of alleged freedom"? Infinite space? Cosmic love? Child rape? We are all bound by some limits in any form of society -- norms of behaviour, moral codes or tribal tradition. They are fairly loose in modern Western neo-liberal states. You are restricted by moral and legal codes and the necessity of earning a living. But for that you get protection, order and a certain amount of freedom and opportunity, plus space for transgression. This "liberal state" is the bourgeois ideal, mass tranquility. People subject to this state miss...passion, commintment, blood. See where that gets you.

Cosmic love, I'd hope.

Complex questions to answer, I didn't say it was simple. People have written books on this kind of thing (Fromm is one of the ones that springs to mind, obv there are many others), since working out your true desires pretty much holds the key to the meaning of life!

A few points though:
You could take those limits to freedom as being either internal or external. Usually only the external are examined, and I was making the point both that people also have internal restrictions that they impose on their own freedom/the satisfaction of their own real desires, and that these internal restrictions interact in a complex way with external restrictions, according to the designated overall aims of the society.

One of the problems is that " protection, order and a certain amount of freedom and opportunity" is afforded in massively varying degrees to different people. It doesn't always apply to 'you'. Especially in the present order, which tolerates massive inequalities, which many people accept because they are told, like dutiful children, that it is for the greater good.

Space for transgression - such as? Surely fake transgression, rather than real transgression, which would transgress those codes you talked about, most of which are not moral at all, but strictly amoral and pragmatic.

I don't agree with the assumption that codes of behaviour are that loose in the present Western situation. Of course that's the propaganda, but you have to justify why you think it true. In certain senses yes, but in other senses people are more tightly constricted by common codes.

Anyways, I still don't understand the 'masochistic' bit. Masochism and self-sabotage (through letting others define what you want) is precisely what i'm railing against.

PS Off topic perhaps, and I know you said it facetiously, but I think Saville if nothing else shows that child rape is hardly outside the realms of possible tolerable freedoms within our protecting society. Everyday abuse is certainly not, and 'protection' is certainly dependent upon who you are and what situation you find yourself in.

craner
08-11-2012, 05:12 PM
The organisation of state and society in (say) the U.K. is partly the residue of tradition (see Burke) but also a contract that enshrines basic rights and protects individuals against crime and tyranny. It's not designed to answer philosophical questions of human happiness. This is only the task of politics for utopians. Political Utopias are not a problem, the Utopians who try to create them are. I suppose another way of defining the Left/Right in the modern liberal state is to talk about those who protect liberty and those who strive for equality; the former are conservative, in the sense that they seek to protect individuals from state intrusion, and the latter are utopians, in that they believe that state can be an instrument for creating a better society. The former protect individual happiness, the latter strive to create the conditions for universal happiness. So...


Especially in the present order, which tolerates massive inequalities, which many people accept because they are told, like dutiful children, that it is for the greater good.

People are not like dutiful children, but the "present order" (for what it is) believes inequality is a human reality and the state should not try to eradicate it (current conservative position) while the opposing view thinks that wealth should be redistributed to some degree to approach some sort of equality (Labour welfarism). High-tax countries (Switzerland, say, or Norway) exist in the West, are generally accepted by their citizens, are content and well-run to an extent, but have other consequent(ial) problems.

Our European democracies have space for transgression to the extent that they are permissive societies -- which they are. There are taboos and limits -- artists afraid to turn their "controversial" work in the direction of Islam, say, or sexual crime, or snuff movies. Most of these are uncontroversial crimes, which I would not consider to be "amoral" or "pragmatic".

craner
08-11-2012, 05:13 PM
Anyways, I still don't understand the 'masochistic' bit

Don't worry about that, I was messing around.

luka
08-11-2012, 05:21 PM
rather than steady progression of left i would conceptualise history as irregular pendulum swings some quite violent but with the balance of power always with the Right simply because at some level the right is power. power held within a group at the expense of another group/s/
the left has won a series of concessions all of which the right is constantly trying to take back, sometimes successfully.

vimothy
08-11-2012, 05:29 PM
The movement of the progressive societies has been uniform in one respect. Through all its course it has been distinguished by the gradual dissolution of family dependency and the growth of individual obligation in its place. The Individual is steadily substituted for the Family, as the unit of which civil laws take account. The advance has been accomplished at varying rates of celerity, and there are societies not absolutely stationary in which the collapse of the ancient organisation can only be perceived by careful study of the phenomena they present. But, whatever its pace, the change has not been subject to reaction or recoil, and apparent retardations will be found to have been occasioned through the absorption of archaic ideas and customs from some entirely foreign source. Nor is it difficult to see what is the tie between man and man which replaces by degrees those forms of reciprocity in rights and duties which have their origin in the Family. It is Contract.

Henry S. Maine, Ancient Law

vimothy
08-11-2012, 05:45 PM
It seems to me that when we elevate freedom to the status of an absolute good, things stop making sense.

Firstly, you can only be free relative to some restrictions. You can’t really be free in absolute terms.

Secondly, being free from restrictions doesn’t help us to understand what to do with those freedoms.

Thirdly, it’s not possible even in principle for everyone to be totally free. Many people want to act in ways that are mutually exclusive or antagonistic.

What does this mean?

Well, I think that it means that there is tension but also co-dependency between rules and freedoms. No restrictions, no freedom.

It means that either a positive conception of the good is required, which is oppressive or restrictive of individual freedoms, or that the domain of free choices is restricted to one in which all outcomes are mutually compatible, like the (managed) market, which is also restrictive.

Finally, it means that some restrictions are necessary to prevent, mediate and arbitrate conflict.

baboon2004
08-11-2012, 05:45 PM
Yep, this is typical political theory stuff, and fine up to a certain point (although 'protecting individuals against crime and tyranny' - this is only contingently true, some are more equal than others blah blah). I'm saying that without the integration of psychological perspectives, constructs like 'individual happiness' are allowed to go unchallenged, as though they have an obvious meaning.

People who live in states are comparable to dutiful children! They by and large don't challenge the state and abide by its rules with little question, even when they're absurd and/or morally wrong, and the state allows them to earn some pocket money to buy themselves nice things, and two days off a week. Challenge the state on any major point, and it's obvious what happens.

The permissiveness that exists is because people fought for it over many years, (as did the two days off)! It didn't arrive pre-packaged, presented to people by the state/ruling classes. You know this,obviously, but it bears pointing out again. Which links in to the law being pragmatic. It changes when there is sufficient public pressure (which builds up ultimately from a beginning of struggle), not because of morality per se. Women didn't get the vote because men in power became nicer and more moral, for example!

(Obviously the permissiveness also intersects with the need for people to spend more in their free time to keep the economy growing, and the need for a massive leisure industry.)


The organisation of state and society in (say) the U.K. is partly the residue of tradition (see Burke) but also a contract that enshrines basic rights and protects individuals against crime and tyranny. It's not designed to answer philosophical questions of human happiness. This is only the task of politics for utopians. Political Utopias are not a problem, the Utopians who try to create them are. I suppose another way of defining the Left/Right in the modern liberal state is to talk about those who protect liberty and those who strive for equality; the former are conservative, in the sense that they seek to protect individuals from state intrusion, and the latter are utopians, in that they believe that state can be an instrument for creating a better society. The former protect individual happiness, the latter strive to create the conditions for universal happiness. So...

People are not like dutiful children, but the "present order" (for what it is) believes inequality is a human reality and the state should not try to eradicate it (current conservative position) while the opposing view thinks that wealth should be redistributed to some degree to approach some sort of equality (Labour welfarism). High-tax countries (Switzerland, say, or Norway) exist in the West, are generally accepted by their citizens, are content and well-run to an extent, but have other consequent(ial) problems.

Our European democracies have space for transgression to the extent that they are permissive societies -- which they are. There are taboos and limits -- artists afraid to turn their "controversial" work in the direction of Islam, say, or sexual crime, or snuff movies. Most of these are uncontroversial crimes, which I would not consider to be "amoral" or "pragmatic".

baboon2004
08-11-2012, 06:18 PM
Most often this antagonism arises from the wish of some people to be 'free' to make as much money/accrue as much stuff as they want, despite the fact they choose not to use most of it but leave it dormant in some way, and in order to be 'free' to do this, the freedoms of others are traded off.

In any sane world, the first category of people would be labelled as addicts. Linking back to the point you made about the ancient Greeks and eudaimonia - in objective terms, these ceaseless wealth-accruers are wretched examples of humanity, imprisoned by their own need to accrue.



Thirdly, itís not possible even in principle for everyone to be totally free. Many people want to act in ways that are mutually exclusive or antagonistic.

crackerjack
08-11-2012, 10:24 PM
Is there a thread on the US election anywhere?

droid
08-11-2012, 11:18 PM
http://www.princeton.edu/~rvdb/JAVA/election2012/Election2012.png

http://www.princeton.edu/~rvdb/JAVA/election2012/ElectionDiff2012.png

http://sphotos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/387873_10101432467042042_1094354913_n.jpg

baboon2004
08-11-2012, 11:55 PM
Is there a thread on the US election anywhere?


I think it's in the Events section

trza
09-11-2012, 12:37 AM
Has anybody seen the blog Nate Silver used to run until 2007?
http://burritobracket.blogspot.com/

It is eerily prescient.

Mr. Tea
09-11-2012, 10:08 AM
Patina might be over egging it a bit, but gay and minority rights? equal pay for women? Political Correctness?

Though all very laudable and worthy of praise, it doesn't really mean shit in the big picture unless it's manifested as genuine political change. Just some new games for the children to play while the adults get on with things.

The real power lies with capital.

With respect, I think that's an easy attitude to take when you're straight, white and male. It wasn't so long ago that men in Britain could be thrown in jail (or put in a secure hospital and subjected to barbaric 'treatments') for being gay. My gran was born before women had the same voting rights as men and "Vote Labour if you want a nigger for a neighbour" was considered an acceptable campaign slogan less than 50 years ago.

I agree that the main impediment to social progress is an economic system that encourages the concentration of wealth in a small elite minority but at the same time I think it's churlish to downplay the big strides forward that have been made in other areas.

Mr. Tea
09-11-2012, 10:13 AM
tea, do you really not know what i am talking about?

Maybe I've missed something so yeah, why have you brought up the EDL? I though you were just making the (obviously sarcastic) point that anyone who stands up to 'religious fascists' must be 'liberal', cos liberalism is the opposite of fascism. Or something.

droid
09-11-2012, 10:16 AM
With respect, I think that's an easy attitude to take when you're straight, white and male. It wasn't so long ago that men in Britain could be thrown in jail (or put in a secure hospital and subjected to barbaric 'treatments') for being gay. My gran was born before women had the same voting rights as men and "Vote Labour if you want a nigger for a neighbour" was considered an acceptable campaign slogan less than 50 years ago.

I agree that the main impediment to social progress is an economic system that encourages the concentration of wealth in a small elite minority but at the same time I think it's churlish to downplay the big strides forward that have been made in other areas.

Dont get me wrong, Im not dismissing social liberalism as a positive force, Im just pointing out that in the bigger picture, equality is a minor advance which can easily be co-opted and controlled. And let's not forget that racism, misogyny and bigotry are still there, bubbling under the surface, or in many cases, quite openly displayed.

luka
09-11-2012, 10:17 AM
nah just the way they present themselves is very different to the nf from 30 years ago/ they use liberal values as a stick to beat the muslamics.

vimothy
09-11-2012, 10:32 AM
One thing those graphs show pretty neatly is the American development of Droid's "patina": from racial slavery to the re-election of a black president in 150 years.

luka
09-11-2012, 10:37 AM
one of the leaders of the edl is a sikh. shows how far we've come.

droid
09-11-2012, 10:43 AM
Uh huh. 1 in 3 black men in jail or prison or on probation or parole, many working as virtual slave labour whilst incarcerated. Nearly 1 in 3 black people in poverty in 2010.

Such progress. Warms the heart.

vimothy
09-11-2012, 10:52 AM
It seems ridiculous on its face to claim that going from racial slavery to the election of Obama to a second term is not a "progressive" trajectory, or is only superficially so.

I can't imagine that if history were moving in the opposite direction--with the US reinstating segregation, then slavery--you'd be indifferent. But perhaps you would. Powerful people would still be in charge, right, so what's the difference at the end of the day?

droid
09-11-2012, 11:10 AM
Im being facetious, and making the obvious point that despite such progress, black people are still, by and large, treated like shit, and certainly dont have equal political, social and economic status as whites in the US.

This is because political elites, have accommodated and tolerated social liberalism rather than driven the process. That's why, for example, women can vote, and in theory are 'equal' but still only make up about 15% of politicians, earn about 20% less then men and are a small minority of CEO's and executives. The closer to real power you get the more institutional and systemic blocks are there to prevent any genuine changes to the system.

On a wider scale a parallel development of social liberalism in the last century has been the taming of the 'bewildered herd' of the populations of democratic states. Universal suffrage is meaningless when there is nothing to vote for. We can all be equal as long as we have no genuine power over the important factors which affect our lives.

baboon2004
09-11-2012, 11:43 AM
To add to what Droid says, political change has happened because people fought for it, not because people suddenly became more enlightened. Using the word 'progress' to me undermines this reality, by suggesting that these changes have been ultimately due to the magnanimity and good grace of straight white males. And it also suggests that people who are oppressed should be somehow grateful for these changes, which is repulsive. 'Just a word', but it is an incredibly loaded one. "Progressive husband praised for beating his wife less hard, and only at weekends", or somesuch Daily Mash/Onion article.

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-09-28/the-plight-of-young-black-men-is-worse-than-you-think This is in Business Week, ffs. Hardly a bastion of progressiveness.

vimothy
09-11-2012, 11:57 AM
I suppose that there are two different questions.

One is whether the change from slavery, through emancipation and desegregation, to Obama's second term is superficial.

The other is how well black people are doing according to typical measures of social welfare.

I think we can agree that it's harder to answer the second question than the first.

A book that is quite useful on this front is America in Black and White by the historians Stephen and Abigail Thernstrom. The Thernstroms look at racial policies and race relations going back to the Jim Crow era to try to develop a broad picture both of what has changed and how that change has happened. What comes through very strongly is that there has been a great deal of it (for example, black and white graduation results are the same, black and white married couples earn roughly the same), and that it is robust (i.e., it's part of a process that has been going on for a long time).

On that last point, something the author's document that is kinda counter the conventional wisdom is that the greatest progress, the fastest rate of change, by many measures was achieved prior to the civil rights struggle and the onset of the affirmative action era.

So it's a mixed bag, isn't it? One thing that should be obvious to all students of history or social science is that transforming societies is a messy business. Sometimes even the best of intentions aren't enough Sometimes its impossible to separate all the different effects to find the cause--alas, there are no spherical cows and no vacuums.

If there were wands that could be waved that would end poverty, someone would have waved them. (In fact, people have thought they found such wands many times). If you're bothered about the effects of crime and the development of a black underclass in America, maybe you should worry less about whether the CEO of General Motors has bollocks and more about the most important institution in all of human society for all of its existence, the family.

vimothy
09-11-2012, 12:00 PM
To add to what Droid says, political change has happened because people fought for it, not because people suddenly became more enlightened.

But why did people fight for it? Why did anyone listen?

baboon2004
09-11-2012, 12:08 PM
How so? (to the previous post re the family, obv)

baboon2004
09-11-2012, 12:12 PM
But why did people fight for it? Why did anyone listen?

Because they were oppressed; as you know, that's a very complex question. Why do you think they listened, assuming of course that they did listen, and didn't just co-opt people's anger (out of fear of it destabilising the country) by offering them a vote but little economic power?

vimothy
09-11-2012, 12:12 PM
How so?

Is some of your comment missing? Not sure if I understand the question.

* * * * *

The sad truth of the matter is that we all believe the things we believe in because elites thought them up and propagated them through the system.

baboon2004
09-11-2012, 12:13 PM
Why do you think the family is the answer?

luka
09-11-2012, 12:17 PM
my instinctive response would be people fight becasue they are desperate and people listen becasue they are scared.
concessions are granted in return for maintenance of power.

IdleRich
09-11-2012, 12:17 PM
Vimothy - you're asserting that the US political spectrum has moved to the left, you're basing that on two assumptions.

1. Contrary to conventional wisdom there is only one axis along which one can measure political affiliation and it is therefore not helpful to separate left and right in terms of social ideas and financial ideas.

2. Changes in rights of minorities, universal suffrage etc etc represent a movement to the left in terms of social ideas.

If you put 1 and 2 together then the only possible conclusion is that the centre of political discourse has moved to the left over the last century or more.

Edit: That obviously relates to the debate a page or two back. I am also interested in why you think the family is so important though.
I think that I'd tend to agree with point 2, give or take a number of caveats that Droid has outlined. In general there are real changes for women, gays etc and whether they have been granted by people in power or not they have still happened and that means something. Of course this is a general trend so there are steps back and occurrences that buck this trend but this does seem to be the way the western world has gone.
Not at all convinced by point 1 though - I just don't think that any two people who agree on immigration or gay rights can be assumed to have the same views on whether or not unfettered capitalism is a good thing (or even that it's an especially good predictor) and that's basically what you're asking us to accept.

baboon2004
09-11-2012, 12:18 PM
my instinctive response would be people fight becasue they are desperate and people listen becasue they are scared.
concessions are granted in return for maintenance of power.

well exactly, look at South Africa, being an even more blindingly obvious example.

vimothy
09-11-2012, 12:18 PM
Because they were oppressed; as you know, that's a very complex question. Why do you think they listened, assuming of course that they did listen, and didn't just co-opt people's anger (out of fear of it destabilising the country) by offering them a vote but little economic power?

But think about what changed.

This situation is: People are oppressed. Presumably this goes on for a long time. Do they suddenly start fighting, or were they always fighting? If they suddenly start fighting, why? What happened?

The outcome is: some measure of success. Why did the revolt succeed? What stopped The Powers That Be from bloodily suppressing it and getting back to whatever it is they do?

Look at it as a system that is stable for hundreds of years, but then goes crazy. What is the difference between the two states?

Mr. Tea
09-11-2012, 12:20 PM
maybe you should worry less about whether the CEO of General Motors has bollocks

Yeah, it does strike me as a bit odd that people who hold a strongly ant-capitalist position can suddenly seem quite keen on the idea of more women joining the same super-wealthy elite they usually rail against. [Germaine Greer: "I didn't fight to get women out from behind vacuum cleaners to get them onto the board of Hoover."] Increasing the proportion of senior bankers and CEOs who are female is not going to do much for the position of the vast majority of women who, like the vast majority of men, are not senior bankers and CEOs, any more than having a black president has automatically worked wonders for ordinary black people as a whole.


and more about the most important institution in all of human society for all of its existence, the family.

Nomadologist was always gleefully cheering on the demise of the family. The correlation between men growing up in families with no father (or father figure) and a huge complex of various social ills was neither here nor there; it was "ha, take THAT, the Oedipal family unit!". (Quite where the 'Oedipal' bit comes from I'm not sure, but that's the usual socio-psych jargon for some reason.)

vimothy
09-11-2012, 12:23 PM
well exactly, look at South Africa, being an even more blindingly obvious example.

Did you buy South African oranges? Was this because you were scared, or was it principled?

IdleRich
09-11-2012, 12:23 PM
Vimothy - you're asserting that the US political spectrum has moved to the left, you're basing that on two assumptions.

1. Contrary to conventional wisdom there is only one axis along which one can measure political affiliation and it is therefore not helpful to separate left and right in terms of social ideas and financial ideas.

2. Changes in rights of minorities, universal suffrage etc etc represent a movement to the left in terms of social ideas.

If you put 1 and 2 together then the only possible conclusion is that the centre of political discourse has moved to the left over the last century or more.
I think that I'd tend to agree with point 2, give or take a number of caveats that Droid has outlined. In general there are real changes for women, gays etc and whether they have been granted by people in power or not they have still happened and that means something. Of course this is a general trend so there are steps back and occurrences that buck this trend but this does seem to be the way the western world has gone.
Not at all convinced by point 1 though - I just don't think that any two people who agree on immigration or gay rights can be assumed to have the same views on whether or not unfettered capitalism is a good thing (or even that it's an especially good predictor) and that's basically what you're asking us to accept.

Edit: That obviously relates to something said a couple of pages back. But I am also interested in why the family is so important here.

baboon2004
09-11-2012, 12:25 PM
What do you think the answers to these questions are?


But think about what changed.

This situation is: People are oppressed. Presumably this goes on for a long time. Do they suddenly start fighting, or were they always fighting? If they suddenly start fighting, why? What happened?

The outcome is: some measure of success. Why did the revolt succeed? What stopped The Powers That Be from bloodily suppressing it and getting back to whatever it is they do?

Look at it as a system that is stable for hundreds of years, but then goes crazy. What is the difference between the two states?

baboon2004
09-11-2012, 12:26 PM
Did you buy South African oranges? Was this because you were scared, or was it principled?

Whether I bought them or not isn't a point of great relevance, as not to buy them would involve zero sacrifice and next-to-zero thought on my part. When we talk about people being scared, we're talking about white South Africans.

A question in return: over your life, what would you say is the greatest sacrifice you have made in support of a moral principle applying to the way in which people treat each other, or in support of other people who you do not directly know? (An entirely open question; I'm going to have to think a while about the answer to this for myself)

IdleRich
09-11-2012, 12:28 PM
Um, not sure why that came up twice. Sorry.

vimothy
09-11-2012, 12:33 PM
Vimothy - you're asserting that the US political spectrum has moved to the left, you're basing that on two assumptions....

I think that's a reasonable characterisation of where I'm coming from.

Since you seem to agree with the second premise, I'll just say that the first is only contrary to internet conventional wisdom. Historical conventional wisdom is the single axis. The French national assembly had two sides: revolutionaries and reactionaries. Stalin was some sort of communist, Franco was some sort of fascist. It's easy to place people and movements. I don't see the need for another dimension.

baboon2004
09-11-2012, 12:35 PM
Yeah, it does strike me as a bit odd that people who hold a strongly ant-capitalist position can suddenly seem quite keen on the idea of more women joining the same super-wealthy elite they usually rail against. [Germaine Greer: "I didn't fight to get women out from behind vacuum cleaners to get them onto the board of Hoover."] Increasing the proportion of senior bankers and CEOs who are female is not going to do much for the position of the vast majority of women who, like the vast majority of men, are not senior bankers and CEOs, any more than having a black president has automatically worked wonders for ordinary black people as a whole.

exactly. See also Stonewall's list of the best companies for gay people to work for, including the Home Office, quite famous for sending gay people back to countries where they are in mortal danger. Co-opt a few black people, a few women, a few gay people, and then we can say 'problem solved', as long as they're fine with oppressing others.

Mr. Tea
09-11-2012, 12:38 PM
It's easy to place people and movements. I don't see the need for another dimension.

So then where on your one-size-fits-all axis would you put, say, the early Nazi party (before it moved to a more corporatist position), which was economically left-wing while obviously hyper-reactionary in social terms? Or, for that matter, the diametric opposite: libertarians? (I mean theoretical do-what-thou-wilt libertarians, as opposed to Paul & co.)

vimothy
09-11-2012, 12:41 PM
Whether I bought them or not isn't a point of great relevance, as not to buy them would involve zero sacrifice and next-to-zero thought on my part. When we talk about people being scared, we're talking about white South Africans.

But you didn't refuse to buy them because you were scared. You refused to buy them on principle. It was a free choice and you did it because to was the right thing to do. That was my point.

If you want to say that all change only happens because people are scared, then how do you explain your actions here? So it looks like there's something more going on.


A question in return: over your life, what would you say is the greatest sacrifice you have made in support of a moral principle applying to the way in which people treat each other, or in support of other people who you do not directly know?

No idea, I'm afraid. Probably nothing worth posting.

droid
09-11-2012, 12:41 PM
Since you seem to agree with the second premise, I'll just say that the first is only contrary to internet conventional wisdom. Historical conventional wisdom is the single axis. The French national assembly had two sides: revolutionaries and reactionaries. Stalin was some sort of communist, Franco was some sort of fascist. It's easy to place people and movements. I don't see the need for another dimension.

Nonsense and ludicrously reductionist. You're just trolling now.

There's a huge amount of research and study done on political spectrums which contradict the basic left/right axis, which no one with an interest in the subject has taken seriously since the 60's. Eysenck springs to mind but there's plenty more out there.

vimothy
09-11-2012, 12:46 PM
So then where on your one-size-fits-all axis would you put, say, the early Nazi party (before it moved to a more corporatist position), which was economically left-wing while obviously hyper-reactionary in social terms? Or, for that matter, the diametric opposite: libertarians? (I mean theoretical do-what-thou-wilt libertarians, as opposed to Paul & co.)

Nazis: Right-wing.

Libertarians: Left-wing.

If you go back far enough, you don't really see any economically liberal right-wingers. Historically speaking, economic liberals were also political liberals.

I'm not saying that libertarians were communists. But they're not got anything in common with traditional conservative thought, and plenty with contemporary liberalism, sharing a common ancestor. And you can always compare groups and get a relative measure. Stalin was more right wing than Lenin, or whatever. (Actually, there's that essay by Lenin: "Left-wing communism: an infantile disorder").

Mr. Tea
09-11-2012, 12:50 PM
I can think of three basic axes that might be useful for classifying political positions:

liberal values <---(moral)---> traditional values
emphasis on duty to society <---(social)---> emphasis on personal freedom
state-run industry <---(economic)---> private enterprise

corresponding very roughly to 'left' and 'right' in each case.

baboon2004
09-11-2012, 12:51 PM
But you didn't refuse to buy them because you were scared. You refused to buy them on principle. It was a free choice and you did it because to was the right thing to do. That was my point.

If you want to say that all change only happens because people are scared, then how do you explain your actions here? So it looks like there's something more going on.

No idea, I'm afraid. Probably nothing worth posting.

Well, I wouldn't use the word 'scared' without further qualification- that was Luka, though I did broadly agree - rather that change is driven much more by pragmatic concerns over moral ones.

Anyways, the point is that in describing people as 'scared', this would refer to (mostly) white South Africans, not to foreigners who would not have been directly affected. Do you think that white south Africans gave black people the vote because they were principled, or because they used it as a pragmatic trade-off to ensure they could keep economic power, and ensure many things would not change?

And more broadly, it is always easier to be 'principled' when your decision will not (a) lead to loss for you in the long term (of power, money, whatever), or (b) lead to any perceived loss for you in the short term, through taking up your effort, time etc. Truly principled action has to be when there is something at stake for you. Which is why people will recycle their items and claim themselves into saving the planet, but not agree to give up plane travel; why they will support justice in other countries but not necessarily in their own (or at least, not any real change in the status quo). We're all guilty of it to a greater or lesser extent.

IdleRich
09-11-2012, 12:53 PM
"Since you seem to agree with the second premise, I'll just say that the first is only contrary to internet conventional wisdom. Historical conventional wisdom is the single axis. The French national assembly had two sides: revolutionaries and reactionaries. Stalin was some sort of communist, Franco was some sort of fascist. It's easy to place people and movements. I don't see the need for another dimension."
Not all battles with two sides divide in the same two ways - I don't think that the difference between revolutionaries and reactionaries is the same as that between Manchester United and Manchester City. If most wars have two sides it doesn't mean that they're always about the same thing.
And even if historically people thought that then that's hardly an argument for insisting it's the case now.
Is this an unfair characterisation and if so why?


"I just don't think that any two people who agree on immigration or gay rights can be assumed to have the same views on whether or not unfettered capitalism is a good thing (or even that it's an especially good predictor) and that's basically what you're asking us to accept."

IdleRich
09-11-2012, 12:55 PM
"If you go back far enough, you don't really see any economically liberal right-wingers. Historically speaking, economic liberals were also political liberals."
But if what you are saying is correct then you should have no need to go back, it should be the case now, yesterday and tomorrow.

vimothy
09-11-2012, 12:56 PM
What do you think the answers to these questions are?

People fight for power, by definition.

The possibility of achieving it has to be positive, or there's no point.

The chance of achieving it can only be positive if someone in power is prepared to listen, or if they don't actually have as much power as they think they do.

If the people in power really do have power, what's to stop them firing the rebels out of cannon, or running them over with tanks, or destroying their town with grid-square bombing, or bringing out the Maxim guns. "Pour la canaille, la mitraille."

The answer is, there's nothing to stop them, because they have power and their opponents do not. The powerless can't defeat the powerful. It's a contradiction in terms.

IdleRich
09-11-2012, 12:57 PM
What I'm objecting to is the sleight of hand that you're using to say "blacks have more rights, therefore economic policy has trended to the left".

Mr. Tea
09-11-2012, 12:58 PM
Nazis: Right-wing.

Libertarians: Left-wing.

If you go back far enough, you don't really see any economically liberal right-wingers. Historically speaking, economic liberals were also political liberals.

I'm not saying that libertarians were communists. But they're not got anything in common with traditional conservative thought, and plenty with contemporary liberalism, sharing a common ancestor. And you can always compare groups and get a relative measure. Stalin was more right wing than Lenin, or whatever. (Actually, there's that essay by Lenin: "Left-wing communism: an infantile disorder").

So really, you're ignoring the economic aspect entirely? I'd always thought of libertarians as being regarded as far-right, economically speaking. I think your classification of right-wing/left-wing is a bit idiosyncratic, since most definitions I've ever read place paramount importance on the relationship between private enterprise and the state. That's generally regarded as *the* deciding factor, before you get anywhere near abortion, gay marriage, drug laws and whatever.

vimothy
09-11-2012, 12:59 PM
But if what you are saying is correct then you should have no need to go back, it should be the case now, yesterday and tomorrow.

Like I've been saying, the centre has drifted. You might say, "libertarians are right-wingers". You might say anything. But it's still easy to put people on the original scale.

IdleRich
09-11-2012, 01:02 PM
"Like I've been saying, the centre has drifted. You might say, "libertarians are right-wingers". You might say anything. But it's still easy to put people on the original scale."
I just don't see how you can say that a different mixture is a movement along a linear axis.
Again, is this fair?


"I just don't think that any two people who agree on immigration or gay rights can be assumed to have the same views on whether or not unfettered capitalism is a good thing (or even that it's an especially good predictor) and that's basically what you're asking us to accept."

droid
09-11-2012, 01:03 PM
What I'm objecting to is the sleight of hand that you're using to say "blacks have more rights, therefore economic policy has trended to the left".

I also object to the socratic dialogue, the patronising, disingenuous tone, the lack of straight answers, the constant gnomism.

Its like smoking weed with a 2nd year phil/pol science student.

Its all good though still. :) Reminds me a bit of the old days.

vimothy
09-11-2012, 01:06 PM
So really, you're ignoring the economic aspect entirely? I'd always thought of libertarians as being regarded as far-right, economically speaking. I think your classification of right-wing/left-wing is a bit idiosyncratic, since most definitions I've ever read place paramount importance on the relationship between private enterprise and the state. That's generally regarded as *the* deciding factor, before you get anywhere near abortion, gay marriage, drug laws and whatever.

I'm just saying that being economically liberal doesn't make you a right-winger. Adolf Hitler was not economically liberal. Is he on the left or the right? Franco? Salazar? What about Bismark, the inventor of the welfare state, was he a left-winger?

The way most economic questions are framed presupposes the technical perspective that conservatives have traditionally rejected. They don't care about the efficient allocation of resources. They care about Natural Law and maintaining a moral society.

vimothy
09-11-2012, 01:07 PM
What I'm objecting to is the sleight of hand that you're using to say "blacks have more rights, therefore economic policy has trended to the left".

Well, it's strange that you're objecting to that, because it's not what I've said.

baboon2004
09-11-2012, 01:09 PM
People fight for power, by definition.

The possibility of achieving it has to be positive, or there's no point.

The chance of achieving it can only be positive if someone in power is prepared to listen, or if they don't actually have as much power as they think they do.

If the people in power really do have power, what's to stop them firing the rebels out of cannon, or running them over with tanks, or destroying their town with grid-square bombing, or bringing out the Maxim guns. "Pour la canaille, la mitraille."

The answer is, there's nothing to stop them, because they have power and their opponents do not. The powerless can't defeat the powerful. It's a contradiction in terms.

People gain power by fighting against the existing power structures. Of course, you can retrospectively claim that they actually had the power to begin with, but it's kind of meaningless. Power is rarely or never willingly ceded, as someone once said.

IdleRich
09-11-2012, 01:12 PM
Or to put it another way. Suppose we considered the traditional left-right axis of politics and then we looked compared that to the now more popular two dimensional version - doesn't the second thing contain more information than the first? If you (Vimothy) are correct then any representation should collapse down to the simple one when you needed it to.


"Well, it's strange that you're objecting to that, because it's not what I've said."
I kinda think it is - you agreed with me that your assertion was that the political centre had shifted, this was based entirely on the argument that progressives had triumphed in terms of rights along with the fact that a one-dimensional view of left/right politics ties social beliefs and economic ones together.
I've asked three times if I'm not right that that's what you're saying.

vimothy
09-11-2012, 01:13 PM
I just don't see how you can say that a different mixture is a movement along a linear axis.

Again, is this fair?

"I just don't think that any two people who agree on immigration or gay rights can be assumed to have the same views on whether or not unfettered capitalism is a good thing (or even that it's an especially good predictor) and that's basically what you're asking us to accept."


I don't think so.

It's a scale. It has more than two points. Also, it's just a scale. Why not have an infinite number of dimensions, then you'll be able to capture everyone's views perfectly?

vimothy
09-11-2012, 01:16 PM
I also object to the socratic dialogue, the patronising, disingenuous tone, the lack of straight answers, the constant gnomism.

Its like smoking weed with a 2nd year phil/pol science student.

Its all good though still. :) Reminds me a bit of the old days.

Is this suppose to be a joke, or...?

droid
09-11-2012, 01:21 PM
Is this suppose to be a joke, or...?

Well... you havent given a straight answer or answered a question without another question since sometime in 2009.

Mr. Tea
09-11-2012, 01:22 PM
I'm just saying that being economically liberal doesn't make you a right-winger. Adolf Hitler was not economically liberal. Is he on the left or the right? Franco? Salazar? What about Bismark, the inventor of the welfare state, was he a left-winger?


Well my position is that these questions can't be answered with a one-word answer since, as I see it, left-wing-ness and right-wing-ness aren't scalar quantities.

IdleRich
09-11-2012, 01:24 PM
"It's a scale. It has more than two points. Also, it's just a scale. Why not have an infinite number of dimensions, then you'll be able to capture everyone's views perfectly?"
I just knew that you were gonna say that.
Two dimensions is good because -

1. You can draw the diagram on a piece of paper
2. I think that there are two main threads - economic policy and social policy

But I don't think that you need more. Above I asserted that someone's stance on abortion won't tell you about their stance on capitalism but I think it will give you a good idea about their views on gay marriage. Do you disagree?
It's especially relevant here because we're talking about the Republican party and whether they can separate their economics from the scarier bits of their social policy - a one-dimensional take doesn't really allow you to discuss that question.

Mr. Tea
09-11-2012, 01:24 PM
I'm just saying that being economically liberal doesn't make you a right-winger.

OK, how about a test case. Would the abolition of the NHS be an inherently right-wing thing to do?

vimothy
09-11-2012, 01:27 PM
Jonah Goldberg's argument is basically that Hitler was a leftist because Hitler was an economic collectivist.

But Hitler was not a leftist. Bismarck was not a leftist. Salazar was not a leftist. These guys were all on the side of political reaction.

IdleRich
09-11-2012, 01:34 PM
"Jonah Goldberg's argument is basically that Hitler was a leftist because Hitler was an economic collectivist.
But Hitler was not a leftist. Bismarck was not a leftist. Salazar was not a leftist. These guys were all on the side of political reaction."
But isn't this an example of the inadequacy of the language when using the one-dimensional approach?
Anyway, enough, I'm not interested so much in how you graph left and right, what I found dishonest was that you were using your approach to argue that social "progress" meant that the centre had moved to the left whereas to most people that is far from the whole story.

IdleRich
09-11-2012, 01:41 PM
To change the subject slightly - I was reading through the Michelle Malkin blog comments and it's crazy stuff. One guy said he was changing his will to cut out any of his family who had voted Democrat ("let them rely on Obama's hand-outs") and another swore not to donate any money next time a natural disaster happened in a blue state.
A lot of anger. I think that some of this stuff has gone beyond any kind of rationality and is just about choosing sides - maybe it is like Utd vs Citeh.

vimothy
09-11-2012, 01:41 PM
Okaaaaay.

Mr. Tea
09-11-2012, 02:02 PM
("let them rely on Obama's hand-outs")

One great paradox of American politics is that states that vote for the GOP, the party of rugged all-American self-sufficiency, receive on average more federal spending per tax dollar paid than those that vote Democrat.

Leo
09-11-2012, 03:17 PM
Frum: Republicans lied to by 'conservative entertainment complex'

http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2012/11/frum-republicans-lied-to-by-conservative-entertainment-149120.html?hp=r5

Sectionfive
09-11-2012, 03:30 PM
'conservative entertainment complex'


Stewart's ''crisis on bullshit mountain'' was good too as is this

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/c2fc6d5a-2826-11e2-afd2-00144feabdc0.html




What bit the dust on Tuesday was the world of denial in which Republicans have immured themselves ever since the rise of the Tea Party in 2009. This is a universe in which the financial crash was caused by over-regulation; one in which, despite years of brutal drought and violent weather patterns, climate change is a liberal hoax; a country that can correct a vast structural deficit without ever raising additional revenue, while expanding the military budget beyond anything sought by the Pentagon; a belief system in which Mr Obama was the source of all economic ills rather than the steward of the most intractable crisis since the Depression. The mantra was that a business executive would, simply by virtue of that fact, effect a magical rejuvenation of the staggering American economy.

But the most obstinate fantasy to die in this election was that the greatness of the US was somehow inseparably bound to the dominion of the white male

baboon2004
09-11-2012, 05:56 PM
And on the other peaks of the bullshit range:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2012/nov/09/obamas-love-most-retweeted-history?fb=native&commentpage=1

dear god, this man shouldn't be allowed to write.

Mr. Tea
09-11-2012, 06:46 PM
And on the other peaks of the bullshit range:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2012/nov/09/obamas-love-most-retweeted-history?fb=native&commentpage=1

dear god, this man shouldn't be allowed to write.

WE WUV OO, BAMA!

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3295/3075157040_6b6ac4af3e.jpg

IdleRich
09-11-2012, 11:31 PM
I have to say that making history in a medium that has only existed for ten minutes isn't that incredible a statistic to me.

Sectionfive
10-11-2012, 04:43 PM
http://rove.com/images/0000/1280/Rove-Election2012Final.jpg

crackerjack
10-11-2012, 05:09 PM
Republicans have been fleeced, exploited and lied to by the conservative entertainment complex.

Wise words from David Frum here.

http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/scarce/david-frum-republicans-have-been-fleeced-ex