Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Political Schools of thought...

*sigh*

I got an email the other day from a conservative (who else) that made me (1) roll my eyes and (2) got me thinking about our modern political discourse.

WAKE UP   (ed.note: No good ever comes form an email that starts out this way!)

John Smith started the day early having set his alarm clock
(MADE IN JAPAN )
for 6 am. While his coffeepot
(MADE IN CHINA)
was perking, he shaved with his electric razor
(MADE IN HONG KONG)
He put on a dress shirt
(MADE IN SRI LANKA),
designer jeans
(MADE IN SINGAPORE)
and tennis shoes
(MADE IN KOREA)
After cooking his breakfast in his new electric skillet
(MADE IN INDIA)
he sat down with his calculator
(MADE IN MEXICO)
to see how much he could spend today. After setting his watch
(MADE IN TAIWAN )
to the radio
(MADE IN INDIA )
he got in his car
(MADE IN GERMANY )
filled it with GAS
(from Saudi Arabia )
and continued his search for a good paying AMERICAN JOB.

At the end of yet another discouraging and fruitless day checking his Computer
(made in MALAYSIA ),
John decided to relax for a while. He put on his sandals
(MADE IN BRAZIL),
poured himself a glass of wine
(MADE IN FRANCE)
and turned on his TV
(MADE IN INDONESIA),
and then wondered why he can't find a good paying job in AMERICA

AND NOW HE'S HOPING HE CAN GET HELP FROM A PRESIDENT
(MADE IN KENYA.)

You gotta keep this one circulating!
Yeah… you DO have to keep this one circulating. Just take off the lame joke about Obama being “made in Kenya,” and add something instead reminding people which Political Party (the Republicans) and which political philosophy (Conservatives) it was that made “protectionism” to come to be perceived as such a bad thing. I’m not saying it’s a always a GOOD thing - merely that, as this email unintentionally points out - it’s not entirely BAD and the free trade policies advocated for by the Right are have hardly been entirely GOOD. The fact is that this could have been a LIBERLAL’S email, were it not for the stupid Kenyan joke tagged on at the end. Cut it off at “wondered why he can't find a good paying job in AMERICA,” and you've got a pretty great anti-Republican, anti-Conservative, anti-Free Trade email on your hands to send to all your friends in the TRADE UNIONS.

....If you subscribe to that kind of thing.

Personally I don’t think humorous emails are the best forum to discuss serious political issues, but I’m just a liberal so what do I know? Well… ONE thing I've come to realize is that a lot of the people who send these out have NO IDEA what ideology is really behind them, and that just as many of the exact same emails said “Bush,” just a few years ago and “Clinton” before that. (And if you ever receive one that says “George Carlin,” both the late Mister Carlin and myself can assure you that there is rarely more than about 10% or so of ACTUAL Carlin material in them!) So it’s mostly just revealing your ignorance for all to see (a more technologically advance form of Bumper-Sticker Politics) by just blaming whoever’s in office (Beagle Politics.)

I'll call it IN-BOX POLITICS.  Which combines the following two schools:

BUMPER STICKER POLITICS: Forget the 30-second sound bite.  What we've REALLY got to do is boil every issue simultaneously down to a message that (1) Fits on a 4" x 12" sticker, that (2) Can be easily read from 30 feet away, while (3) Driving though traffic at 55 mph.  Because, you know, that's a really effective way to have a political conversation!

And I don't use the word "conversation" lightly - because it's hardly a monologue!  Consider the "Darwin Fish" in answer to the "Jesus Fish." And then they came out with the "Truth" fish.  And then we came out with the Darwin Fish EATING the Truth Fish.  (And now they've done it the other way.)

Or, more simply: (1) My kid's an honor student. (2) My kid beat up your honor student.  And now... (3) My honor student sued your bully!

 - - AND - -

BEAGLE POLITICS: I won't claim this as my own, nor try to explain it as well as The Grey Path does, but this is basically blaming WHOMEVER IS IN OFFICE for all the world's problems.  These are the people who blamed Bush'41 for the '92 recession that got Clinton elected, and who blame Obama for the current economic mess... which started under Bush'43... who ALSO wasn't really responsible for it... (bet you didn't expect me to say THAT!)... because the biggest single cause was the repeal of the Glass-Steagal act, which happened under Clinton... who also is not to blame, because it was legislation written by Republicans and based on the failed Libertarian Philosophy that the Right is still pushing to this day!

See how stupid this is?  See how stupid ALL of this is?!

Now, really... the two serious schools of thought we hear the most about are Neo-Conservatism and Neo-Liberalism or Progressivism.  Now... I'm going to be honest here... I don't have the slightest idea what the difference between "Progressivism" and "Liberalism" is, or the difference between "Neo-Liberalism" and "Classic Liberalism" or "Neo-" and "Classic Conservatism," for that matter.  I don't know... AND I DON'T CARE! (So don't bother trying to spell it out for me.)
 
Since I don't let an ideology do my thinking for me, I don't really care what positions fall under which label.  I really, just DON'T CARE.  I'm not trying to Liberal here, I'm just trying to be RIGHT.  (As in "correct," not "wing.")  And the way I see our modern discourse going, there are really only two groups that matter:
 
One is very strictly and narrowly defined, and I've written about them here, here, here and here.  And to be in this crowd, you must accept EVERY bit of Dogma, even the ones that contradict other ones; you must swallow every lie, accepting every bit of obviously questionable evidence, and utterly reject ANY evidence or argument to the contrary of ANY point.  What's more you must accuse your opponents of committing all of the sins that you do, and you must HATE them, because they are "out to destroy this country."  You must believe in your own perfection and the perfection of your positions and that you have a mandate from God that justifies this belief.  At worst, the weakest in this camp merely keep quiet, fail to criticise the big-talkers, and silently tell themselves that it will all, somehow be OK, since at least the OTHER GUY'S not winning.
 
Then there are the people who simply can't abide this kind of insanity.  And almost regardless of what positions they actually hold, the people in the first camp call them "Liberals" and demonize them.
 
So, from my POV, there are really only two school's of thought: Radical, Right-Wing Reactionary Authoritarianism...
 
...and those who reject it.
 
They have robbed the words "conservative" and "liberal" of any real meaning.  Not that I care... I don't really buy into labels...
 
...which apparently makes me a Liberal.

15 comments:

  1. I gotta link to this ...but would it kill you to run a spell check? :}

    ReplyDelete
  2. LOL. Sorry about that. This was written up on my lunch hour today (which happenes a lot, actually) and I was really in a rush. I'll go ahead and clean it up a little bit right now...

    [Done]

    ...And try to make an effort to be less careless in the future.

    And THANK YOU for your interest!

    ReplyDelete
  3. ..I love the fact that Republicans think Liberals are responsible for outsourcing. That would be hilariously comedic if they weren't so woefully misinformed.

    Republicans fight for the right to outsource and use offshore tax havens only... ALL the time. To not do so would be against the will of the Almighty Free Market.

    But you might find this interesting, as it goes with the theme of your post.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OKWRGuaUis&videos=ZF4PJfk0Nak

    One of the biggest communication problems in this country right now, is, if you study some polls regarding general political information, you discover that a staggering amount of people simply just don't understand it. While left wing media "assumes too much" and believes that if presented with advanced, raw-data information, people will understand, right wing media, as we all know, capitalizes and flourishes off this very ignorance, giving them the upper-hand.

    It's like someone presenting you with hundreds of graphs and experiments and data regarding the age of the Earth, while the other side is saying "God did it."

    And if you believe that video, you begin to see that... most people are so misinformed, they literally don't know they are liberals.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Er, I am aware that I did use a lot of "left-wing/right-wing" rhetoric in that post, which sorta went AGAINST the point of your post, so.. sorry about that...

    Please keep in mind it's sorta out of habit. I really don't consider myself part of a "team" per ce. As one could probably tell from all my Obama criticism.

    It's sort of a habit I should probably break, considering everything "non-right" to be "left" by default. After all, this would be hypocritical, because I criticize Republican politicians for using polls such as "most people don't like (x policy)" or "Obama poll numbers are down" to say "Oh, see that? More people are Republicans!" As if it dismisses all variables.

    ReplyDelete
  5. @Dradeeus,

    Actually, I don't really have a problem at all with how you put it. I'm with you.

    I particularly agree that "most people are so misinformed, they literally don't know they are liberals." And that's a direct result of everybody being practally allergic to the very WORD, because of the constant RW drum beat against it for the past 20 years.

    But I'll take it a step further, and say that many LIBERALS don't really understand how CONSERVATIVE they really are. Not in the sense that the modern Radical Right means it, of course, but in a broader, more reality-based sense. The Right have co-opted the word "conservative" becasue it sounds a lot better than what they're REALLY trying to sell: a Radical Right-Wing agenda.

    In reality, we've got Liberals on the Left, Conservatives in the middle and Radicals (or Reactionaries) on the Right. But the Right have stolen the 'Conservative' moniker and either pushed moderates into the liberal camp, or pulled them into what is now called the Conservative camp. And so many go along with this because they like the WORD "conservative" but don't really understand how it's been corrupted.

    So depending on your POV, and what definition you start with, either a lot of those "conservatives" would be liberals if they really understood what each group NOW stands for, -OR- a lot of "liberals" (and I might find myself in this camp) would be back in the "Conservative" camp if the Right would relinquish that label for a more appropriate one, like, "RADICAL."

    Because if you recognize the real Liberals and Radicals, and then take what's left (moderates, which is really just anothr word for 'conservative' if you divorce it from all the psychotic baggage the right has loaded it with) then you could make the claim that we really ARE a "conservative country."

    Just not in the way they are implying when they say it!

    In the words of Indigo Montoya, "[They] keep using that WORD. I do not think it means what [they] think it means!"

    Thanks for your comments.

    -------------------------------

    @Mauigirl,

    Thanks, I appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Very interesting post!
    The joke is funny although not very accurate(Obama's birth place). May I, please, copy it to my blog? I think the outsourcing issue is very important and gives a lot of food to thought. I, myself don't look upon it as a positive thing.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Duta,

    Yes, please please free to. Anytime you'd like, in fact. I don't write this stuff because I want to keep it a secret. :) (Though I do appreciate you asking, by all means go right ahead.)

    And thank for all your comments and your continued interest.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Eddie;
    Another great post.
    To the point you were making to Dradeeus, RE: conservative vs liberal labeling - I am registered as a Republican, and consider myself a _slightly left_ Goldwater conservative - yet I get painted a liberal @ MMfA all the time. Another data point to support your theory, I guess.
    okiepoli

    ReplyDelete
  9. Okie,

    Yeah, I pretty much had taken you lib a lib over there as well! LOL. At least in the sense I'm describing the term here anyway. But then I myself am also to the Right of the some of the regular posters - Classic Liberal, for example. Does that make me a Conservtive? Well, no, but only because Liberals don't generally go for the whole binary labeling nonsense.

    But the hard Right has high-jacked so much of the discussion that being a moderate and rejecting their black and white view of the world somehow now makes you a Liberal! You'd think that would mean that their would be more liberals in the country, but they've also done such a good job demonizing that label, that people become predisposed to accept their POV, rather than the "Liberal" label that come with independence. Stupid, yes, but an effective strategy becasue there are lot of stupid people in the world.

    (And fine: If people that I can't stand anyway want to call me a liberal, fine: I'll take that label with pride.)

    Personally, I'd love a world where people like you and I could be regarded as the Center-Right and the Center was somwhere between us and, say... Classic Liberal, for example, on the Center-Left. But the "Center" has now moved pretty far the Right of anyone who tries thiking for themselves, so...

    ...Welcome to Moonbat country, you flaming pinko commie bastard!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Damn--post is too long. OK, here it is in two parts:

    Conservatives have spent so much time and money demonizing the "liberal" label that, in the general population, where most people aren't political junkies with some hardcore commitment to labeling their views, self-identification as "liberals" is only a fraction of self-identification as "conservative."

    Every survey that reveals this ends up being waved around by the right-wing echo-chamber as "proof" that the U.S. is "a conservative country." When you do issue-by-issue breakdowns, though, Americans--even most of the self-identified "conservative" ones--are liberal on almost everything. In fact, the numbers are usually overwhelmingly one-sided in favor of a liberal view.

    This is particularly true when dealing with issues about which the public is better-informed. When one asks generic questions about Arizona's fascistic "immigration" law, for example, it shows popular support. Explain to the same respondents that law's actual details, and that support disappears. This same dynamic turns up time and time again.

    The conservatives DO read this polling. It's one of the reasons electoral politics via character assassination, rather than actual issues, is the primary focus of most conservative media outlets--if liberal politicians can be demonized and kept from office, the liberal views of the public don't matter, because there's no one around to actually implement them. The demonization of the word "liberal" is a part of this. Republicans haven't stood in opposition to absolutely everything the Democrats and the Obama have proposed out of any sort of "principle," or idea of what constitutes good government--most of what the Obama has advanced are Republican proposals, which Republicans dutifully abandon as soon as he throws his support behind them. The idea in opposing everything is to create a sustained political atmosphere in which it seems as though there's something very fundamentally wrong with the Obama administration.

    There IS something VERY fundamentally wrong with the Obama administration, but it isn't that the Obama pressed through "a government takeover of health care" or a stimulus package that significantly added to the debt. In the ongoing primary season, Republicans, nationwide, are running as deficit-hawks. What's up with that? The reason they hammer this issue is because the public understands the pressures of struggling to live within one's means, particularly during economic hard times. It makes a somewhat more complicated issue simple and instantly relatable to one's life. The problem, of course, is that cutting government spending during so awful a recession would devastate the economy. The right-wing pols running on a "cut spending" platform understand this, and, of course, wouldn't cut a dime of spending if elected, whether in good times or bad. Republicans haven't been deficit-hawks for literally decades--nearly all of the national debt, in fact, is attributable to them, and, when in power, their attitude matches that of Dick Cheney ("Deficits don't matter.").

    ReplyDelete
  11. And here's the rest:

    We use the word "conservative" for those on the right, but something about which you and some of the others here have correctly hinted is that there really isn't a visible conservative movement in the U.S. What we call "conservative" is, in fact, reactionary. The outlets largely dictating political discourse in the U.S.--Fox News and talk radio being only the most visible examples--are of the extreme right, not, properly speaking, the conservative right. There's no market, among the right-wing outlets, for mere conservatives. John McCain is an old-school conservative who opposed the Bush tax cuts out of concern for the deficit, opposed the Defense of Marriage Act because he said such questions were properly a state, rather than federal, matter, and so on, and he ends up being labeled a RINO and even a "liberal," and targeted for elimination by a primary challenge from the nut right. Look at the visceral fury that erupts on the right with every Obama terrorism arrest. The fact that the President of the United States doesn't entirely ignore the law and the U.S. Constitution and just kidnap anyone suspected of terrorism and lock them in a hole forever without a hint of due process is turned into a major controversy. Those aren't "conservative" objections. That's the voice of American fascism, and it's stronger now than it has been in the lifetime of most of those reading these words. That's the "right" we face, not the conservative right.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great points, Classic. And we've both blogged about it before, but you really nailed it here.

    Thanks for your comments.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Considering all the "Made in _COUNTRY NAME_" I always think to myself "Where was the purchase made?"

    It was probably made an a local business...

    Right-wingers like to cry about buying locally, but there never realize what is involved in getting the product to the shelves - the jobs involved... truck drivers, importers, retail, etc. etc.

    I had also read that despite the constant crying, American manufacturing is still big...

    I wish all these crybabies would stop playing games. My friend is like that - he started talking about the Freedom of Information Act being null and void with the wall street bill... really?!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. KK,

    LOL. Actually there was this bourgoise part of me that was thinking, "This guy's doing pretty well, drinking his French Wine and driving his German Car... What the hell is he doing looking for a manufacturing job anyway?"

    Not to stereotype, but most of the fine, hard-working people I've met in manufacturing plants over the years are a lot closer to Budweiser & Ford Trucks than Chateau le Fete & Mercedes Benz. LOL

    Thanks for your comment.

    ReplyDelete