Labels, what are they for?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by ghall, Jul 23, 2007.

  1. ghall macrumors 68040

    ghall

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    #1
    When I talk about labels, I'm talking about being a capitalist, communist, liberal, conservative, etc. Is frustrating to me because I fall under none of those labels, and it seems that if you don't fall under any labels then you are a nut-case (which is, in itself, a label). As recent events show, these labels can serve to divide us.

    Some people have tried to label me, both as a liberal and as a communist. For the record, I am neither. While many of my beliefs come from both liberalism, and communism, other beliefs of mine fall under the labels of conservatism, capitalism, and any other non-religious belief-based label you can imagine, I am none of them. I am myself, I believe what I believe, yet that idea seems so foreign to everyone. Some people say "oh yeah, I see what you mean. I never vote just republican or democrat, I vote for who I think is better." But they don't get it, that's not my thought process at all.

    It's hard to put into words, which is probably why people don't understand what I am talking about. But I think it also has to do with the fact that people feel lost without labeling.

    Let's go to a less political labeling problem I have. A few years ago I was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrom, and after reading up about it I discovered that I really only had one of the defining characteristics of the syndrome, yet I was labeled as having it. Why? Couldn't they have just said that I'm just unique, like everyone else in the world? Nope, they had to give me a label that doesn't even define who I am, for the sake of nothing except to label me. I'm as "normal" as the next man, yet they had to give me a label to make me seem like some sort of freak.

    So apparently, according to society, I'm a communist liberal with aspergers syndrome. But according to common sense and reason, I'm just me. I probably have a few defining characteristics of my labels, but I am myself.

    So, I will conclude my rant with a polite little 2 word message: f**k labels!
     
  2. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    toronto
    #2
    imho, we've got a label problem in this very forum. "liberal", "socialism", "left", "right", et. al. are thrown around pretty casually.

    and it definitely gets in the way of actually having a discussion. dismissing universal healthcare as "socialist" doesn't further the discussion, all it does is draw dividing lines.
     
  3. dswoodley macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 18, 2002
    #3
    Well put. I have been labeled a conservative hate-monger on these boards for some stances i take. Yet, when I use to call in to local talk radio to protest the war (circa 2002-03) I was labeled a communist, liberal coward.
     
  4. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    I believe it was Michael Stipe that said "labels are for soup cans"

    I don't know if he was the first or not, but I liked the quote at the time.
     
  5. ghall thread starter macrumors 68040

    ghall

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    #5
    Yes. My frustration in reading those threads got me writing my little rant.

    It definitely hinders progress, wether it be tangible progress, or progress in a discussion.

    See. It's even worse when people can't even agree what to label you.

    BTW, your siggy should say "merciful" before "quick". Feel free to label me "total nerd". :D

    LOL. I love it!
     
  6. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    LaLaLand, CA
    #6
    Yes, I have been labeled both as well. It doesn't bother me, as it's just a distraction, trying to dismiss what I say as partisan, and therefor somehow untrue. It's also a bit funny if you knew me. I try very hard to say neocon or extremist, and use them as labels of a position or talking point rather than the person, but hey, let's face it, sometimes the label fits.

    If that's their only point, calling a position or person, something like socialist when they're anything but, they have nothing, and it's not worth getting upset about, no matter how annoying.
     
  7. juanm macrumors 65816

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    #7
    Hi, as a non US resident, I have a question, about a label I find sometimes on the internet. I would often stumble upon people who accuse other people of being a communist, as you said. What do they mean with this? Do they even know the sense of the word, or do they use it as an insult without thinking of its actual meaning? I mean, what does the very concept of marxism have to do with, in this case, wanting a war to stop? Does the average american person know what communism means? Just curious.

    I'm not a communist myself (I'd be interested in some concepts of it, but the whole is not feasible), I just want to know...
     
  8. it5five macrumors 65816

    it5five

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    #8
    No, most Americans don't know what communism and socialism actually are, other than "evil". (I don't believe either are evil, in fact, I am a socialist).

    The educated Americans know what the word means, but unfortunately the majority of Americans aren't educated.
     
  9. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #9
    I lean a bit left of median-left, with a touch of extreme left-leaning and a dash of 'slight right'.

    Ok, how do I shorten this into a memorable label?
     
  10. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    Terlingua, Texas
    #10
    I disremember where I read the comment, but from decades back, "Man is a labelling animal."

    Juan, the average man in the street couldn't begin to define socialism or communism. Vaguely, they see an all-powerful government, with some variety of the KGB in general control. Economic and other decisions are made by "they" in the central party headquarters.

    AS far as political views, generally, I divide the two main groups into statist and non-statist. Statists tend to view government as the court of first resort insofar as social and economic problems. Non-statists tend to be more small-l libertarian in their views.

    Bush and Pelosi are not particularly different: They're both statists.

    Based on the behavior of the adherents, socialism and communism were better taught in comparative religion, rather than as economics. Understanding people and economic behavior is difficult enough without pseudo-science being brought into the process. Any concept which flies in the face of human nature just really sucks.

    Which is why I have little use for what our own system has become...

    'Rat
     
  11. dswoodley macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Nice. I knew I had the gist of it...
     
  12. adrianblaine macrumors 65816

    adrianblaine

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    #12
    This is exactly why humans have to use labels. Everyone is very complicated. I would imagine that not a single person fits their "label" 100%, or even 75%. In order to simplify the confusion, we tend to assign simple labels to keep things straight. IMO anyway...
     
  13. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    #13
    Normal guy. :)
     
  14. juanm macrumors 65816

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    #14
    Ok, thanks for your answers.
    I'm actually very curious about the perception of the world for the average US american. Some kind of fascination about you guys! :D
    It was so obvious for me, that I forgot to mention that my questions were about the US.
    The only time I've been there was for a few hours at LAX, during a stopover when I was going to French Polynesia, but I plan to visit NY after the summer.
    Anyway, labelling often means topics, in the US as well as everywhere else.
     
  15. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #15
    Juan, just remember that the US is the most polyglot country in the world. In southern California, I've read, some 90 or more languages are spoken.

    New York City has one of the world's largest Chinese populations outside of China/Taiwan.

    Texas includes enclaves of original settlers from old central Europe. Aside from Alsace, Poland and Germany, many came from Bohemia and various Balkan areas.

    Hard to say what is "an American". I guess there are a couple of common threads in our society. One is an attitude mixing "Can do!" with "Why not?" The other is our notion that we have a God-given right to complain to anybody who upsets us, all the way to the top man. :)

    'Rat
     
  16. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #16
    No, we just think of Communist Dictatorships, which are anything but real communism. And for some reason we equate socialism with fascism. Again, even though it's the exact opposite. Plus we don't want to pay taxes because we don't get much for them, not realizing the irony of socializing things actually being capable of making our lives easier in some cases. Not to mention the stuff that's already socialized. But the same people that say gov doesn't work, are the ones making it not work, and the opposition is inept at best, and often almost as incompetent and corrupt.

    In practice, true communism probably wouldn't work here, but a little less of what we got now with some things might be a good idea.
     
  17. juanm macrumors 65816

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    #17
    Thanks for the clarification. I know all of this, and I had a hard time finding a word to define the "average" "american" (darn, I did it again!). Anyway, I knew what I meant, and you understood it. ;) It was nonetheless necessary to make this point clear, to be fair.
     
  18. killr_b macrumors 6502a

    killr_b

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    #18
    Ghall-
    The "label" you are looking for is Moderate.
    It's the center. When you have some liberal, conservative, populist and libertarian views, but don't consider yourself any of those specific things.

    But mostly, labels are to confuse and divide us.

    The majority, 60% on average, of people want to same thing- peace and freedom. Neither of these come from government involvement in our daily lives. If the government did it's job, just to keep the military on the same page and to create standard currency, then you would be free to live in peace.

    Words however, are given meaning by individuals, so there are several competing terms. That's why I only say I am for freedom and peace. If you say anything else your message is distorted in the other persons perception. And just saying "freedom and peace" causes plenty of problems with confusion, but it is what the majority want.

    So, I am a moderate for freedom and peace, protected by the United States under our Constitution.

    That statement contains a lot and some people will disagree because they are not informed and don't study history for fun like I do.

    However, Moderate is not a party, so I am a Republican currently, but have been a Democrat before. You have the right to change and go with the agenda you think is more important right now.
     

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