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Posted: 8/5/2009 5:31:41 AM EST
This thread underlines something that I've thought for quite a while now:

For those concerned with the preservation of liberty, thinking in traditional terms of "Left" and "Right" with respect to politics is obsolete and dangerous.

It is far more useful to think in terms of a different, linear spectrum:

Total State Control <––––––––––––––––––––––––––––> Anarchy

For example, one might say that the USA PATRIOT Act is a product of the right and that the America's Affordable Health Choices Act is a product of the left. Both, however, increase government control, at least to some extent. When we think in the usual terms of "left versus right," we distract ourselves from thinking in terms of, "What does this policy/candidate/whatever do to preserve or curtail my liberty?" In the end, left and right are just where tyrants seat themselves as they churn out legislation to enslave us.

In the revised spectrum, "left" refers to total government control while "right" refers to anarchy. Neither of these is desirable. Returning to the traditional "left" and "right" thinking, I don't care if a tyrant has enslaved me on conservative or liberal grounds, only that my liberty is gone. Under this new spectrum, Nazi Germay, the USSR, Pol Pot, Kim Jong Il, Louis XIV, and the Taliban congregate on the left because they all demand(ed) complete state control over every aspect of life.

I think this is a far more useful way to think about our government. Discuss, and flame suit on for reference to USA PATRIOT Act...
Link Posted: 8/5/2009 5:36:35 AM EST
Something I stole a while back:

Left to Right.
So I said a while back that it was becoming steadily harder for me to remember that both sides of the political divide are in the debate with the best of intentions. Shockingly enough.

Very few people (apart from me) wake in the morning, have a cuppa and mutter drowsily as they open their laptop, “Let’s see how can I stick it to the poor, rich, Jews, Muslims and (especially) crippled midgets today?”

It used to be a lot easier to keep that fairly simple thought in mind, but as election wore on… you get sidetracked.

However, we are in luck because we have listened to the wise masters of the world. And by we, I mean me. And by the wise masters I mean Vizzini.

And Vizzini told us – “When the job goes bad, go back to the beginning.”

So here I am. Waiting for Vizzini.

And while I am waiting I decided to the review the fundamentals: The Short and Inaccurate History of Left and Right.

Now even as I type this I am fairly confident that even that simple line is nothing but lies. I have never written anything short in my life if I had half a chance to make it mind-numbingly huge.

And I am not going to talk about Left and Right in terms of global perspective – because let’s face it, only America matters.

The inaccurate part is pretty true, though….

Anyway, back to the Beginning.



A long time ago, on the sunny beaches of Hawaii a young man woke up one day and had a brilliant idea. “I could totally get paid for fucking around here, if I can sell a script about a deserted island, full of crazy bastards. And to make everyone feel like Smarty McSmartison from Smartyville, Smartabama – I will name every character after a bunch of book covers I saw in the library.

And, Lo, the phenomenon of LOST was born. And ye didst beheld a bunch of psychotic motherfuckers running around the jungle. And the craziest of them all were Locke and Rousseau. And JJ did look upon his works and did find them good.

And that’s the beginning.

But not really.

Basically a bunch of time ago, in 18th century, there was this intellectual Movement called (very modestly) the Enlightenment.

And it was about many things – but most of the folks messing around with it saw themselves as the proponents of Reason (no, honest, they insisted on capitalizing it. In fact they insisted on capitalizing every third word. Completely random. Like a chat bot advertising PenIs enlarGemeNt. Personally, I think they all had a bad case of ee cummings rage. And a capitalizing hemorrhoid.)

So Reason, and Equality, and Anti-monarchism.

That’s pretty broad and pretty inaccurate. I mean the Enlightenment was a lot like the Furby craze. Everyone wanted to get in on the act, and half of them were arguing with the other half and then the halves divided and quarters were arguing with each other, and the words they used got progressively bigger and for a while geeks were cool.

It was a w e s o m e.

Than the French Revolution rolled around and fucked it up for everyone.
Stupid French.

But I am getting ahead of myself (because of the French).

The modern American Left and Right were basically born out of two guys running around the jungle of Enlightenment throwing assorted cutlery at each other – John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Long story short – I never liked Rousseau, much. I mean all she does is skulk around the island with a rifle and occasionally mutters crazy business. I always strongly suspected that she’s given to wearing adult diapers too. And her name is fucking impossible to spell.

Meanwhile Locke killed a wild pig with a knife! A knife!
I rest my case.

So anyway – you had these two guys, and both of them were fighting the conservatives. Only back then we are talking about Conservatism Classic. Not the modern Coke Zero stuff, that tastes good AND less filling.

The OG conservatism was basically the aristocrats and the proponents of the absolutist monarchy. Or in other words. “There’s a bunch of people whose grand-daddy was awesomely friendly with Jesus. So Jesus made us kings/dukes. Which means we are inherently better than the rest of you. In conclusion – fuck off and give me money or I will slam you in the face with a shovel.”

(I might be simplifying just a tiny bit)

But there they were.

And somebody needs to be anti-conservative. And if you are anti-conservative, you are liberal. Liberal, liberty – everyone loves liberty. And jam.

Liberty and jam, how can you lose? (As long as you avoid the shovel, especially)

So there was John Locke, the Caped Crusader of Liberalism and his indomitable side-kick, the economic boy-wonder Adam Smith (who later went on to play Batman in a TV series after he changed his last name to West)

And their thing was pretty basic: A strong society is built around free men. These individuals are created equal under God. And the biggest impediment to them achieving greatness is the state and the various bullshit created by that state. So what we need is – hobble the state by separating its various components and powers, make it answerable to the free individuals whom it rules and, above all, establish The Rule of Law, a system which treats everyone as equal in the eyes of justice and provides equality of opportunity.

This enlightened system will protect the citizens' right to own and acquire stuff, and in pursuit of said stuff the citizens will accomplish fantastical things that will benefit the society as a whole.

The competition is fostered, the best work hard and apply themselves and do well and everyone gets to have jam. And the whole shovel-beating avenue of thought can be avoided. Faaaaaantastic.

But the system is voluntary and if the government gets retarded again, or stops protecting people’s right to stuff, the citizens get to opt out of the contract and hit the government with things.

That’s basically the classic liberalism, also known as Locke’s Theory of Things and Stuff. If any of that sounds at all familiar, blame Jefferson – the guy pretty much cribbed the entire thing.

On the other side of the English Channel, unfortunately, there was France.
The end.

I keed, I keed… (But seriously – fuck France)

And in France there lived Jean-Jacque Rousseau. And he said – “Equality is awesome. But this free individual stuff… Seriously, John – are you retarded? And I am only asking because I care.”

Rousseau’s (by the way, in the course of this post I haven’t managed to spell his name right once. Spell check is ridiculously fantastic) big thing was community. People working together. And JJ (Not Abrams, this other one) also disagreed with Locke on one basic, fundamental idea.

Locke thought that men were born morally/intellectually neutral, the blank slate (that idea was developed by Locke in the course of his career TAing survey history courses to freshman in a major state University). And in the course of their life, people become themselves though accumulation of experience. Bad experience turns you into Hitler, and good experience turns you into Hitler.

Because everyone ends up on the intertubes, and everyone on the intrawebs is Hitler.
True fact.

Jean-Jacques thought that men are born good. I am not going to discuss what he thought about women – this is a family program. But men were born excellent. Unfortunately in course of their life they are corrupted by the state, which learns them all sorts of bad ideas and words. Like stuff. And the desire for more stuff.

(Except in Britain – that’s things country over there. Things and sheep. Things, sheep and Scotland. Just do the math, people…)

If left to themselves in that heinous process, these ever-so-free individuals would treat each other like plastered shit, sell their sisters, rape their pets, slam you in the face with a shovel and definitely steal your jam. Because the very idea of private property establishes an earthly analogue of original sin. It breed selfishness, and egotism and envy.

The answer was of course obvious. The current society is a failed product and needs to be replaced by a better one. A natural community of men (and other prettier men with breasts and no facial hair). This will be a new perfect society that will help us all to retain out natural goodness (and jam) by eliminating the unnatural competition through doing away of private property (like shovels).

No individualism, no selfishness, everything shared equally, and belonging to everyone. Common good above private concerns. “The good of the many outweighs the good of the few, so unless you brought enough gum for the entire class it’s a booting for you, baby.”

So in a very small nutshell: Rousseau’s Theory of No Stuff, No Problems.

So we have this whole business rattling around for a while. Theorizing. And then, people decide to put it in practice. As you do.

And that means Revolutions. Everybody loves a good revolution. Benny Franklin and TJ danced, danced their way into your basic plagiarism and, after kicking his countrymen out, decided to build a country on Locke’s blueprint.

French couldn’t really let that pass by, so they started their own party. But the French Revolution was much more fixated on Rousseau (it was embarrassing really. A lot like Harry Potter fandom, only with less goat.se and more chopping of the heads… Actually, strike that. It was exactly like Harry Potter fandom).

Being French these guys got a little too excited and burned down most of Europe while experimenting.

As you do.

Meanwhile back in Britain, a guy named Edmund Burke was completely aghast, because his parents named him Edmund Burke.

I mean seriously – that’s just mean.

He was also slightly Irish, so naturally he was incensed by that whole business in France. (The fact that goats were suddenly so popular, proved a real disaster to Ireland’s lucrative sheep industry.)

So anyway, Eddie sits in his room, petting his sheep (that’s a euphemism) and looking at this whole French thingamadoo. And it occurs to him - “…those bastards are out of their goddamn mind! Even for the French…”

And he basically says – “No, seriously. We are way past messing around. Dude, seriously – they are chopping people’s heads off over there. With a machine that’s designed specifically to chop people’s heads off! No joke. Why do you think they are doing that?”

So he decided to ask.

And Robespierre told him that the old society was corrupt and failed and new one had to be built.

“And the head chopping comes into this because…”

“Old society is made of people that needed some killing.” Rob told him. “To much competition, too much mysticism, too much individualism, too much retardation. We have a blueprint for a perfect new system and it will help us create a perfect new citizen.”

“But Locke said that individualism is good. And competition is good…”

“Well that’s nice, but your good, competitive individuals are busy burning their neighbors because they think their invisible friend told them to. So y’know what? Fuck your individualism. Most of your good people are dirty, superstitious savages that have been bamboozled by conmen into believing absolute bullshit. We will lead them out of the darkness.”

“But what if you are wrong? All this ‘darkness’ has been evolved by thousands of generations of trial and error. And it works – that’s why it’s around. It’s been tested. You just totally made your new system up and you used fucking Windows, for Chrissakes! Shouldn’t you beta it first before installing?”

“There’s no time!”

“Why not?”

“Because of China, that’s why!”

Burke wanted to clarify that point, but then Robespierre had to go and chop Danton’s head off, so we’ll never know. But Burke thought about it for a while and decided that really – fuck the French. They were clearly full of it.

Burke’s whole idea was that Conservatism of old was done. No going back. So he revamped it and jazzed it up. He figured that liberals had a lot of good points, the problem with them was – they were always in a hurry. He blamed the crack. As do we all, really.

So, he said no to the dope fiends. And explained that any change was by necessity an act of violence. And thus inherently destabilizing to society. And also breaking things, while fun, has sort of a permanent effect. So before we do it we should be very sure that
1 – it needs doing
2 - it will do what we want it to
3 – the cost is worth it

And since the Lockeans were uneasy about the whole head-chopping thing, they decided that Burke was making a lot of sense.

And he and Locke got married in Vermont and lived happily ever after.

But Rousseauans thought about it and said – “Wait a second. I’ve seen this movie before. It was called congressional committee. So, I get it. We study and consider any proposed change. Than we cost-analyze it. Than we talk about all the possible consequences. Than after a 100 years of thinking it through we vote and you might agree?

Well. Fuck that noise. We want it now.”

“But why?”

“Because of China! That’s why!”

So around and round it went. Lost of shovels got used up.

Meanwhile the Industrial Revolution came around and a guy named Byron really, really wanted to be a Goth. But his Mom didn’t let him, because Doc Martens were really expensive in the 19th century.

So instead he became a Romantic. So he wrote bad poetry, dressed in black, watched LOTR, Terminator and Matrix, and complained a lot about nobody understanding him and the oppression of the System, and the beauty of Natural order of things.

For some reason that got him a lot of girls. Romanticism caught on pretty quickly after that.

And theoretically, they were all about turning back the clock, so they could play with swords, and dance in the forest – but they were much too hip to be conservatives. So they said that they were liberals too.

But Lockean crowd thought they were a bunch of twinks and didn’t let them sit at their table. They were too busy figuring out how to destroy the environment and build more coal factories. Cleaning up sparrows while composing the poems about the beauty of dawn over the sea of your tormented soul was nice – but unless farm machinery was built there was going to be a wee bit of starvation and unemployment. And a decided lack of jam.

So Byron went to talk to Rousseaun crew. And they liked him, because cleaning up drinking water and possibly passing some laws preventing the workers from being flogged to death sounded vaguely appealing.

At this point the European politics get really odd, because a guy named Karl Marx gets into the act and a bunch of JJ’s people decide that socialist is way better sounding that liberal. And soon everyone is changing their names and creating sock-puppets. Basically from 1848 to about 1945 Europe is one big flame war.

So we’ll go to America and skip to 1930s. FDR is rolling around in a totally pimped out wheelchair and making polio his bitch, and is really digging this whole idea of everybody banding together for the common good, society and the state becoming one, government helping out the little people and getting some control over the free market. Because Depression didn’t work out so well and they didn’t want to do it again.

The guy named Frederich Hayek wasn’t too impressed with the whole thing. “So you’ll feed them, pay them, give them houses. You’ll ensure that they have jobs, and you will educate their children and you will heal them. How is this a free society if they all depend on you?”

“Yeah, Fred, that’s nice. Now why don’t you go out and watch your kid die from hunger, than we’ll talk about the finer points of liberty.”

“Dude, I just barely outran the fucking Nazis. Trust me, I know what I am talking about. And freedom is freedom. Including freedom to fail. Can’t legislate perfection, Frankie. You ain’t God.”

“Don’t call me dude. You are a fucking professor, for God’s sake. I am a liberal.”

“No, you are not.”

“Yes, I am.”

“What does that make me then?”

“A conservative, I guess…”

“Wait, what?

“That’s right, bitch. Now move out of the way, I’ve got Nazis to fight. They just bombed Pearl Harbor.”

And that’s basically when liberals became liberals and conservatives became conservatives.

Of course there is also this entire thing when they decided to divide the religion. But it’s way too complicated for me. Just let me blow your mind with this – the Jesuits are part of the religious Left.

That’s right. That just happened!
Is your mind blown? Well, I warned you.

Anyway, when the dust settled the two camps sat down and tried to figure out where they stood exactly.

And the new conservatives were basically starting from the old familiar mantra: All that people need is a chance. And given equal opportunity and a free society they can achieve miraculous things.

Personal liberty, right to private property and the rule of law to protect both of those things is really the only thing that’s needed.

People are imperfect and can never correct that. And since the system of government are created for and by people they will too always be imperfect. All we can do is to remember that simple fact, and built in mechanisms of self-correction. We can never be perfect, but we can refine the institutions that will emphasize the better angels of our nature and de-emphasise the desire to hit our neighbors with shovels.

And in fact many of those institutions we already know, because we’ve been tinkering with them for ages. Religion, family, tradition.

But the new liberals were a bit more ambitious.

People are not imperfect. People are perfectly fucked up, they said. But that can change and we will change it. We have the potential to be awesome. To be Godlike in fact. We have science, we have art, and we have the drive.

So we can design a system that will produce an entirely new People. Better, smarter, kinder. But we won’t do it, by standing back and tinkering at the margins. We have to get in and get our hands dirty. And remember that most people are pretty dumb, ignorant, trapped by superstitious and outdated traditions.

So we have to teach them and if necessary force them to change. But mostly we have to help them. Not stand back and watch them fail time after time, until they get it right.

That’s how you create slaves, say the conservatives, not perfect people.

Give them barest minimum of freedom to think for themselves, freedom to fail, freedom to be be stupid OR smart and these guys will rise to the occasion and pull themselves by the bootstraps from the deepest of holes.

Barest of freedom is right, said liberals. What kind of equal opportunity is it when one guy inherited a bajillion dollars and can hire every Princeton Professor to write his essay. And this guy had a slave for grandfather, and risks getting shot every time he goes to school? Freedom to fail, is just another way of saying 'fuck you' to that guy.

Well, he should buy his own gun and study twice as hard, conservatives say. Freedom isn’t easy.

“It’s easy for the other guy though, innit?”

“So what’s your answer? You ‘re going to make everyone equal? How? By controlling everything? No, thanks. Life ain’t fair, but the system is fundamentally good. Everyone has a chance to get at the top.”

“The system is fucked up and fundamentally unfair. We should have a new one, a perfect one!”

“Why? This one works pretty well. Better than anything anyone has every tried before.”

“That doesn’t mean it’s a good system! Let’s try something else!”

“Why?”

“Because of China, that’s why!”





Link Posted: 8/5/2009 5:39:05 AM EST
I agree. However, I believe that most people don't want liberty. Hell, most "conservatives" are just fine with big government as long as it either benefits them directly or imposes their beliefs on others.
Link Posted: 8/5/2009 5:40:03 AM EST
I agree 100%
Link Posted: 8/5/2009 6:09:29 AM EST
We're all being played, big time.
Link Posted: 8/5/2009 6:19:41 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/5/2009 6:20:13 AM EST by mastadon]
Originally Posted By ftldrben:
We're all being played, big time.


Absolutely true, and I think ampn has it ']Originally Posted By ampn:[/span]
I agree. However, I believe that most people don't want liberty. Hell, most "conservatives" are just fine with big government as long as it either benefits them directly or imposes their beliefs on others.[/quote]

Until people understand that government imposing [span style='font-weight: bold;']any[/span] limits, whether we agree with them or not, we will continue to be played.

So, how do you wake someone up? I have no idea.

(edited to remove grammatical error)
Link Posted: 8/5/2009 7:41:55 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/5/2009 7:45:39 AM EST by timb3]
Originally Posted By mastadon:
Originally Posted By ftldrben:
We're all being played, big time.


Absolutely true, and I think ampn has it ']Originally Posted By ampn:[/span]
I agree. However, I believe that most people don't want liberty. Hell, most "conservatives" are just fine with big government as long as it either benefits them directly or imposes their beliefs on others.

Until people understand that government imposing [span style='font-weight: bold;']any[/span] limits, whether we agree with them or not, we will continue to be played.

So, how do you wake someone up? I have no idea.

(edited to remove grammatical error)


Unfortunately, most people don't want to be awakened. It's like in the movies "The Matrix" and "They Live". Most people will fight the truth tooth and nail so they can keep their comfortable little illusions. They simply can't handle the truth. Partly because they value security over liberty. Partly because they are selfish and don't want real freedom. They only want people to be "free" to be the way THEY think people should be. In other words they either hate/fear real freedom, or have no real concept of it.

The way to correct the problem is through education, but those "elites" in charge of the public system of education (and everything else, for that matter, beginning with the federal reserve, etc) do not want people to wake up because it is in THEIR best interest to keep people believing the false "left/right" bullshit.
Link Posted: 8/5/2009 7:45:22 AM EST

So, how do you wake someone up? I have no idea.



Tell them to stop listening to Hannity giving GOP blowjobs and start thinking for themselves.
Link Posted: 8/5/2009 7:58:26 AM EST
Originally Posted By timb3:
Originally Posted By mastadon:
Originally Posted By ftldrben:
We're all being played, big time.


Absolutely true, and I think ampn has it ']Originally Posted By ampn:[/span]
I agree. However, I believe that most people don't want liberty. Hell, most "conservatives" are just fine with big government as long as it either benefits them directly or imposes their beliefs on others.

Until people understand that government imposing [span style='font-weight: bold;']any[/span] limits, whether we agree with them or not, we will continue to be played.

So, how do you wake someone up? I have no idea.

(edited to remove grammatical error)


Unfortunately, most people don't want to be awakened. It's like in the movies "The Matrix" and "They Live". Most people will fight the truth tooth and nail so they can keep their comfortable little illusions. They simply can't handle the truth. Partly because they value security over liberty. Partly because they are selfish and don't want real freedom. They only want people to be "free" to be the way THEY think people should be. In other words they either hate/fear real freedom, or have no real concept of it.

The way to correct the problem is through education, but those "elites" in charge of the public system of education (and everything else, for that matter, beginning with the federal reserve, etc) do not want people to wake up because it is in THEIR best interest to keep people believing the false "left/right" bullshit.


Yeah, I've got a buddy who's a music teacher, and he's waking up. Even jokes about how he's part of the problem as a public school teacher. I've even thought about becoming a teacher myself so I could have at least a little influence over our upcoming generation of crumb crunchers. A quick bit of introspection quickly reveals that I'm just not cut out to be a teacher, though.

Is there any sort of movement to get freedom-loving Americans involved in teaching in public schools, thereby wresting control from the statists?
Link Posted: 8/5/2009 8:04:55 AM EST
big government - limited government
all big government is my enemy, no matter what flag they rally around.

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