Are You "Left"? How and Why?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by xsedrinam, Oct 18, 2006.

  1. xsedrinam macrumors 601

    xsedrinam

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    #1
    Rather than bumping the Chavez thread up and around, the issue of "Left" turns and trends is what this thread is after. Would you consider yourself "Left" or "Leftist"? How and why? Do you see any trends in your region which indicate any movement toward the Left? What does it look like?

    One of the most provocative articles I've come across (by Jorge Castañeda) explains why Latin America has turned Left. He sites 3 main reasons.
    1. fall of the Soviet Union removed its geopolitical stigma
    2. extreme inequality: poverty - concentration of wealth, power and opportunity.
    3. widespread democratization and democratic elections as the only road to power.


    He also defines and distinguishes the "Two Lefts" in LA.
    1. Has radical roots but is open-minded and modern
    2. Has radical roots but is closed-minded and stridently populist.

    Tale of Two Lefts by Jorge Castañeda

    Though the U.S. and other developed countries are different, there are some common denominators which can be applied. There may be a swing toward Left of center within the U.S., but I doubt that a reactionary stance will produce much lasting consequence unless there are principled ownership and values which can be clearly stated by some believable voice/life. Any thoughts or has this been beat too much already?
     

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  2. FleurDuMal macrumors 68000

    FleurDuMal

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    #2
    What is 'left' depends entirely on the context of the discussion. It, rather obviously, depends on what the 'centre' is and how that is defined. For many discussions the traditional spectrum is completely obsolete and only serves to confuse. For example, I would always describe myself as left-wing (not left-of-centre), primarily because I back a a strong social state backed up by progressive taxation. However, I'm also a strong believer in radical localisation in certain contexts - a political scheme which, in this country at least, has its roots all over the place, but mostly in the centre-right.

    Furthermore, what is left in this country certainly wouldn't be considered left in other countries. I have American friends who considerered John Kerry left wing. Maybe so in America, where the ideological centre of gravity has been pushed so far to the right - both economically and morally. But even in the UK, the European country closest to America in many of our social values (although less so these days) and economic policies, he'd probably be described as central, even right of centre by some. In the domestic context, someone from the UKIP (right wing, Europhobic toss pots) would describe Tony Blair as leftist. Everyone on the left and even some in the centre see him as firmly right wing (myself included). Economically he's merely continued Thatcher's heritage.

    All in all, I think the labels right and left merely serve to undermine genuine debate about actual policies and ideas. More often than not, the labels are only ever deployed if you're mocking and satiring someone elses views ("the looney left", "the reactionary right", etc). They may provide useful tools for lazy journalists and partisan politicians who hope to evoke the prejudices of the listener to their own advantage, but in serious debate about policy and ideas - both domestically and internationally - they're pretty futile.
     
  3. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

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    #3
    I would agree poverty and democracy are the right combination for a left leaning country, which is good, in my opinion. Coz Free market can't solve the poverty.
    Also I agree left vs right need to be put into context, the whole US is so on the right, even the left inside US are pretty on the "right" side.
    and when you equal right with "conservative", be noticed that extreme Muslims in middle east are "conservative" too.
     
  4. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #4
    In the rest of the developed world I would be considered a moderate. In this country, suddenly I've become a liberal. Would be even worse in a theocracy. It's all about perspective I guess, in the eye of the beholder. Everyone thinks they're a moderate and everyone else is wrong, and everyone else thinks you're either far right or left depending on their beliefs.

    Both philosophies are flawed, especially considering the bastardization they've received in today's political climate, so it's pretty much pointless to even bother to label yourself.
     
  5. MACDRIVE macrumors 68000

    MACDRIVE

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    #5
    I think I'm drifting more and more to the left every day. :eek:
     
  6. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #6
    As I alluded to, it's not much that you're moving left, just that the country (or more accurately the government) has moved right. Far right. And not in the good way, in the neocon way. Which is, as you've seen, not good.
     
  7. KingYaba macrumors 68040

    KingYaba

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    #7
    Rather interesting you think that. I was having a discussion with someone whom you may call a 'neocon.' All in all he felt this country was shifting left. Kept pointing to hollywood and other media outlets.

    I asked what about our government. How has our government shifted left when President Bush was re-elected, congress has been kept in GOP hands? Can't quite recollect the answer he gave above the swearing.

    I don't have a point really, just talking out of my ass.
     
  8. xsedrinam thread starter macrumors 601

    xsedrinam

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    #8
    That'll qualify you for the Right. :p
    Did anyone see Bush's walk through the halls talk with O'Reilly on FOX? I thought it was pathetic. I expected to see choreograph credits at the end. No point either, but the "talking out of my ass" drew the comparison. :)
     
  9. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #9
    Seems like it doesn't it? But just because more and more people are starting to dislike this gov, doesn't mean everyone is turning left. I've just been noticing that as the gov and country moved toward the neocon right around 9/11, more and more things that used to be thought of as far right became almost conventional. True liberalism is far more to the left than most people actually are, as I've noticed most Dems shifting more to moderate stances. Hollywood has nothing to do with the real world, trust me, I'm close to it. But it's no where near as bad as people seem to think. The MSM appears to be more right as well, since their idea of balanced lately is giving equal time to moderates and far righties.

    Looking around, I see a lot more people rejecting science over religion (as if the 2 are mutually exclusive), against rights for homosexuals, against abortion for any reason, and a lot of other things taken as official stances of the far right party. Not to mention all the people who jumped on board the war bandwagon at first, until it started to go bad. Things like the Patriot Act (which isn't) or the recent signed Torture Bill (I know it isn't called that, but I'm not calling it anything else) are received with shrugs, or even cheers. Things like universal healthcare, the environment, welfare, and certain rights taken by the liberal agenda have been put aside for the sake of "values", whatever that means. Nixon is quite moderate by today's standards, and Goldwater is practically a modern Democrat.

    Which is nice, because I like a moderate Dem policy with fiscal conservatism. Not that the Dems actually have a group policy as an organization, they're all over the place, but most of them are a lot more moderate than people want to give them credit for, whereas many of the Repubs have no problem pandering to their right leaning base. The Dems just seem to pander to everybody, while doing nothing. :p Of course, I'm generalizing, but as I said, what to us is left is moderate to most of the rest of the world. Our moderate is their right. The terms have become completely meaningless anyway as the lines become more blurred. Most of us really are moderate and have the same desires, we just disagree on how to reach them and who can take us there. You wouldn't know it from listening to the politicians or pundits out there who profit from tearing us apart, but with a few exceptions, we're all pretty similar actually.

    We are moving back to the left slightly now, but it's mostly just a backlash against the mistakes of the far righties in power. I'm sure they'll screw it up eventually when they get back into power, but hopefully it takes longer to go bad, and they stay moderate for awhile. Wow... I wrote a lot.
     
  10. it5five macrumors 65816

    it5five

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    #10
    Not quite. Capitalists (probably 99% of the population in this country) may fit into your description, but socialists (like myself) or communists certainly don't have the same desires.
     
  11. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #11
    Most. ;)

    Don't get me started on Communism. The real kind, not that dictator flavored version that calls itself Communism. Unbridled Capitalism is no good either, and I doubt anybody would want that, but true Communism counts on people being a lot better than they actually are. I'm not sure what version of socialism you support, but I doubt we could ever have such a thing without it being tainted by some kinda of oppressive autarch and a bunch of selfish, greedy, power hungry opportunists to ruin it all.
     
  12. it5five macrumors 65816

    it5five

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    #12
    I'm a Democratic Socialist. Without going too much into it, we believe that democracy and socialism are mutual ideas, so this version avoids the oppressive autarch that could plague other socialist societies.
     
  13. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #13
    Even anarchy wouldn't protect against oppression. Again, nice idea on paper... probably not so good in practice. Good luck with that though.
     
  14. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #14
    well the damage already has been done with the "shift to the right" (was it a shift or is it the way america always have been), after 8 years of moderate clinton politics, Bush simply has been to much of a rude awakening for the youth around here who "had grewn up with a different america in mind" and essentially cause a swing to the left (around people of my age) with kinda unpredictable prospects for the future once this groups of the population will replace the aging more america positive population
    the last election was especially bad where it was essentially republicans vs republicans light


    we just had elections around here: the social-democrats winning and the greens on the 3rd place (with i think 12%) .. now it's time for coalition talks untill december i guess
     
  15. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #15
    Which is what communists have in common with libertarians...
     
  16. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #16
    Tell me about it. Everyone kept making it seem like Kerry was an ultra liberal or something. Nowhere close. Even worse for Dean. He's actually more conservative than the Republicans right now, as he was able to balance the budget while he was gov, among other things. Not that he didn't have liberal social values, but it helped that he could actually pay for the programs he supported without wasting too much taxpayer money or overburdening people with taxes, wealthy state or not. But his, shall we say... abrasive, personality and big mouth turned off as many people as Clinton's lack or "moral values" did (never mind that most of those who went after him did the same things, if not worse).

    No, libertarians count on businesses to be a lot better than they are. Even more naive than communists. Apparently they don't read their histories or remember the industrial revolution. Or see the working conditions of countries still like that.

    Granted, most of them don't want true libertarianism, they just want the gov out of their lives. I'm sure we can all agree on that one. Especially nowadays.
     
  17. KingYaba macrumors 68040

    KingYaba

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    #17
    Society just shifts throughout the decades. the 1920s was more liberal, 1930-40s conservative, 60-75s liberal, 80-95s conservative 2000's now moving liberal ect...

    Though it may not be that cut and dry but it is something like that.

    If you go further back, the 1830s was the romantic period (liberal)? 1880s was the Victorian (conservative)?

    So all in all I would say the country, society is shifting left based on the trends.
     
  18. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #18
    Well ok, but who runs businesses?

    And yeah, most of them want government out of their lives -- as long as government is preventing them from doing something they want to do. But you can bet they'll call the cops when someone robs their house, or the zoning department when someone builds a pig farm next to their million-dollar home. :p
     
  19. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #19
    They run themselves. It's all a machine man. We're just, like, cogs and stuff.

    Sorry, flashing back to my High School days (don't ask).

    That's a good example. For the purist libertarian, there wouldn't be a zoning dept. Free enterprise. Gov can't tell them what to do with their land. Course, you could sue to stop them, but good luck if they have more money and better lawyers than you.

    This is why I have no political affiliation... plus I can criticize everyone all the time.
     
  20. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    #20
    In some ways I'm far left in others im far right, as soon as one aligns oneself to any ethos one starts to blind oneself from reality.
     
  21. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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