cj#867> more comments re/ right vs. left

1998-11-20

Richard Moore

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Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998
From: •••@••.••• (Joe Ferguson)
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: Re: cj#864> Blum vs. rkm debate, re: left & right

Dear CJ,

I can see why Bill Blum disagrees with the statement (of Carolyn Chute)
that "There's no right wing or left wing, there's just up and down."

Obviously (and I don't think anyone in this debate disagrees) people ARE
effectively divided today.  The reality is that there are currently
these two (or more) "wings" rather than a unified body of people.

I think Carolyn's point is that there is minimal SUBSTANCE to the
differences creating the divisions between most of us.

Our irritation with each other must be carefully and constantly cultivated,
like scratching a case of poison ivy.

But Bill seems to disagree with this and I'd like to question one of his
foundations for that.

Bill states:

"The right-wing libertarians, about whom you were writing differ
profoundly from myself, a leftist.  They worship the market system and the
profit motive, while i would greatly reduce the power of both in society."

Since Bill doesn't say he would _eliminate_ the market system and the
profit motive, but would only reduce their power, he sounds to me more
like a moderate than a "leftist."  (In my vocabulary "moderate" is a
GOOD thing.  They are the real people, attempting to raise things like
children, crops and consciousness.)

I, being an engineer who believes natural forces must be harnessed rather
than opposed, am committed to recognizing the reality of market forces and
the profit motive -- but I sure as shit don't WORSHIP them!

My question is, how many people are really extremists on either "side"
and how many are really moderate and practical?

Bill is obviously moderate and reasonable (except that he requires me
to accept the label "leftist" to possibly have a "valid, consistent
social analysis" :-)

I think neither extreme leftists or extreme rightists have a viable
analysis, but rather it is the practical moderates that are coming up
with a picture that exposes the essential baselessness of what people
allow to divide them today.

After we've fed the children and cleaned up the river, let's sit down and
debate left vs. right.

- Joe Ferguson

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From: "Peter J. Celano" <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.•••
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998

I have written several pieces over the years regarding this issue.  Here
are a couple:

--
The Myth of Symptoms
 (I must thank Harold Thomas for providing the Bastiat quote at a moment
when this piece was floundering at half-completion.)

The Myth of Symptoms

Everybody seems to have a pet issue or two; social or political issues or
situations that really get them going.  Often, people will determine
whether they are "right" or "left" depending on their favorite pet issues.
Those who despise the seemingly lawless machinations of big business or
support ecological responsibility generally flock toward the "left."
Likewise, those who dislike restrictions on business or heavy taxation tend
to flock toward the "right."

Most people associate with one side or another primarily because of these
issues.  We then head to the polls and vote the side we associate with.
The hottest issues of the day delineate the playing field, and the hottest
rhetoric of the day wins the campaign.

The winners of the two "opposing sides" then join hands and skip happily
off to Washington, the land of glory.  There they play some charades and
say some things and eventually retire very wealthy.

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in
society, they create for themselves in the course of time, a legal system
that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it" --Frederic Bastiat
(1801-1850)

We the People have a problem, and that problem doesn't have a thing to do
with "right" or "left," "conservatism" or "liberalism." The problem is that
our elected officials have created a legal system that authorizes plunder
and a moral code that glorifies it, and they simply will not let it go.
Observe the proceedings regarding campaign financing; neither "side" can
get too heavy handed because ALL are guilty.

Each of us has our own hot buttons.  I ask each to carefully explore those
Important Issues to find what is lying underneath.  The troubles of this
nation are but symptoms of an underlying disease.  The symptoms are
grievous; it is understandable that individuals tend to immerse themselves
in a few choice ones rather than get bogged down with the "big picture."
Fortunately for our power elite, however, these Important Issues tend to
keep us divided along pseudo-political lines.  They are broad enough in
scope and numerous enough to effectively hide the underlying corruption.
Our own zealousness makes very effective blinders.

As long as we continue to think along pseudo-political lines, we will
remain divided in our battle against the underlying corruption that utterly
permeates government.  It is long past time for the "right" and the "left"
to agree that the situation is not acceptable to anybody but the corrupt
elite, put aside our relatively unsubstantial differences and root the
corruption out of our government.  We are busy fighting tiny ideological
battles along false fronts with impotent ammunition, while the real battle
remains not only unfought but unrecognized.

The symptoms are real, but the notion that resolving any or all of them
will cure the disease is a myth.  As long as We the People continue to
believe that myth, we will continue to vote the same kind of corruption
back into power.

--  Copyright Peter J. Celano, 1997. Permission to copy and distribute in
electronic form is granted, provided there is no modification and this
copyright notice is included. If you wish to publish this in any other
form, please contact me at •••@••.••• for permission.

-- A New Continuum

Clinton is on the left. Dole is on the right. Commies on the left. Fascists
on the right. The little guy on the left. Big business on the right. We can
measure motives, social movement, government and economic policy and
personal philosophies using this left-right continuum. Or can we?

Here's a new continuum to try on for size. At one end, place individual
freedom. At the other end, place tyranny. Now start examining politicians,
governments, organizations and social movement using this new continuum.
Where is the "right," really? How about the "left?"

Then examine yourself. Where do you stand on such a continuum? Who are you
going to vote for? Where does he or she stand on this continuum? How do the
voting records of your representatives stack up when measured in this
manner?

The so-called "right" and "left" continuum has been reduced to the fog of
the unknowable through years of lies and rhetoric. Many who believe they
are fighting for freedom are actually only fighting against one or the
other of these ridiculous labels. The definitions tell no longer provide
any useful information about what is being labeled with them. They simply
do not serve any purpose except to divide us against one another.

So instead of asking whether a person is coming from the left or from the
right, try asking whether a person is coming from individual freedom or
from tyranny. The question alone may be enough to spark some understanding
of where our beliefs and actions are leading us.

Where do you stand? Where will you stand? Do you still have the choice of
position? The other end of this continuum offers no such choice.

c Copyright Peter J. Celano, 1996. All rights reserved. Permission granted
to freely repost in electronic form, provided the entire article is
reproduced intact, along with this copyright notice. Please contact me at
•••@••.••• for permission to reproduce in any other form.


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