Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Right or Left: What Am I?

I've mentioned here before that I get a kick out of some on the Right calling me a "left winger"- one prominent local Republican referring to me once as a "left wing extremist"- and those on the Left referring to me as a conservative or, as someone recently described me in an e-mail, a "right wing Republican in Libertarian clothes". I figure that puts me somewhere in the middle?

Of course, the political spectrum is more complicated than can be described as being on a left/ right axis. It's more along the line as is shown in the political grid map of the World's Smallest Political Quiz, which I've linked to here before. But even that's a little bit simple in trying to indentify a political ideology, since it's based on a limited number of issues.

So what exactly am I? I consider myself a libertarian- not sure whether of the small or large L variety. Let's look at a few current issues and see whether my position fits with the Right or Left as we commonly identify them:

Same Sex Marriage: I've gone on record a number of times as being a supporter of same sex marriages. I feel safe in saying that puts me at odds with the vast majority of Right Wingers.

Invasion and Occupation of Iraq: I've tried to avoid the Iraq issue here, for the most part, but I was strongly opposed to the invasion before it happened and still am. I suppose that would put me at odds with the Right, but, there are a number of conservatives and/ or Right Wing types- Pat Buchanan quickly comes to mind- that opposed the invasion of Iraq. I would tend to think support of military action would be considered Right Wing amongst most people (although it isn't), so I would probably differ with the Right on that.

Drug War: The vast majority on the Right support the continued prohibition of recreational drugs, but so do many in the Center and, yes, the Left. Opposition to the drug war is pretty much a Libertarian position.

Pollution Controls: Advocacy for more stringent controls on pollutants would be belong with the Left and opposition to more controls usually goes to the Right. I'm probably somewhere in the middle on that issue but would probably lean more in with the Right if I looked at it closer.

Forestry Practices: Advocacy for more controls on private use of forest land and acquisition of more "public" lands clearly goes to the Left. I probably hang with the Right on that one as I think we have more than enough government land now and more than enough restrictions on private land already.

Campaign Finance Reform (CFR): While it seems that's a Left issue, I know of those with the Right who promote different laws to "take money out of politics" too, but I'll brand that a Left issue. I tend to dismiss proposals that end up making it more difficult for people to run for office.

I'm a bit more ameanable to limits on contributions, all else still being equal, but think the vast majority of campaign reform effort is just feel good legislation. I probably hang more with the Right on this one as they're the ones we hear the most about "freedom of speech" being attacked via CFR legislation.

Education: Since the Right generally shares my belief in separation of School and State, I'd generally put myself on their side on that one. I think as long as government schools and rest of the Educational- Industrial Complex is run by politicians, bureaucrats and the teacher's unions, they're a lost cause.

Ok. That's just the issues that came to mind right away. I know I'm forgetting some but from those issues alone that has me right leaning with the Drug War being more of a strictly libertarian issue that I don't feel could really put into the Left category. Most people might feel it is a Left issue. Any obvious common issues I missed?


28 Comments:

At 12:00 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

I agree with you Fred that the Left/Right duality is insufficient to describe the political spectrum. Orwell's spectrum in 1984 of top, middle, bottom provides more insight into the division of power. The top want to stay on top, the middle want to get on top, and the bottom want everybody to get along. This model works well for understanding power/money divisions, but other issues, e.g. ecological concerns, moral questions, the power/money drive doesn't play a big role. Position on these kinds of issues are better explained by superstition v. scientific understanding.

 
At 5:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just tell me when this bizarre polarization came about. No one used to know what their friend's party affiliation was, now EVERYONE is described as a Dem, or a filthy Republican. Oh, to be a Progressive, the annointed ones (and they don't even have a party, they're parasites on the democratic Party). It's insane.

Most people I know have a lttle bit of each in their make-up. But in today's politically charged world there's no room for the individual.

Do people really vote party line? I don't. Never have and never will. You take things issue by issue, candidate by candidate. You vote on what is best - for all of us, not just for the Goddam Party.

 
At 5:45 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Actually, I often don't vote, in some elections.

 
At 6:50 PM, Blogger Bill G said...

Fred=normal (I don't agree with all your positions, though). Jeff, is that true...the bottom want everybody to get along? I don't know about that.

 
At 7:13 PM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

Fred,
The right/left dichotomy is obsolete in explaining political categories. The division is more appropriately described as individualist vs collectivist. The collectivists would include the marxist/socialists and the fascists. All of those groups focus on the importance of group membership and the need to subject the individuals interests to the objectives of the group/class. They are essentially followers of Marxist philosophy. The individualists are followers of Locke, Hume and Ricardo. They see the greatest value in individual liberty and would include libertarians and anarcho capitalists such as Hans Herman Hoppe, Von Mises and Rothbard of the Austrian School of economics. A good test one can apply when confronting any political issue is to determine which policy furthers individual liberty. By this I do not mean seizing government power to be used to diminish the liberty of others. In stating your own positions you indicate an adherence to the individualist philosophy. This puts you at odds with the collectivists of the earth first stripe who would would categorize you as "right wing" and the paleo conservatives who would use government/collectivist power to enforce their brand of morality to label you as "extreme leftist". Leonidas welcomes you to Libertyville.

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

 
At 7:31 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

I think for the most part, yes it's true. People want to get along with each other. Here in this blogsphere, we are for the most part basically civil to each other. I think it's most apparant during times of trouble. The masses tend to want to help out.

I also think Leonidas's model is a fair one, although not all collectivists, or I suspect even most, believe in a marxist or facist philosophy. The greatest good for the greatest number is a friendly way to sum up the spirt collectivistism.

 
At 7:32 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

that should read the spirit of collectivism

 
At 9:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost.
She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him, "Excuse me, can you help me?
I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The sailor consulted his portable GPS and replied, "You're in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above a ground elevation of 2346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.

She rolled her eyes and yelled down, "You must be a Republican."

"I am," replied the man. "How did you know?"

"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to do with your information, and I'm still lost. Frankly, you've been no help to me at all."

The man smiled and responded, "Then you must be a Democrat."

"I am," replied the balloonist. "How did you know?"

"Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are or where you're going. You've risen to where you are, due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise that you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. You're in exactly the same
position you were in before we met, but, somehow, now it's my fault."

 
At 1:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a good one! Tweedle-dee in a balloon and Tweedle-dum with a GPS!

Or is it the other way around?

 
At 1:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The collectivists would include the marxist/socialists and the fascists. All of those groups focus on the importance of group membership and the need to subject the individuals interests to the objectives of the group/class."

You have just described Zionists, Leonidas.

 
At 3:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Forestry Practices: Advocacy for more controls on private use of forest land and acquisition of more "public" lands clearly goes to the Left. I probably hang with the Right on that one as I think we have more than enough government land now and more than enough restrictions on private land already."


Well there you go, Fred. Now you see why, when it comes to a discussion about forest activists, your blog is a conservative one.

 
At 5:30 AM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

Anonymous 1:41: Many Israelis are in fact collectivists. As established in 1948 Israel was mostly a collection of kibbutzim (communal settlements). The local arabs there are now a better example however and appear to be more violent. The zionists also were not averse to use terrorist tactics in the period 1946-1948 as evidenced by the Irgun and the Stern Gang.

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

 
At 6:22 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Anon 3:11 wrote: "Well there you go, Fred. Now you see why, when it comes to a discussion about forest activists, your blog is a conservative one.".

Ok, Anon, I'll concede that point, assuming one is focused on a single issue, as you seem to be: On forestry issues I'm probably in with the conservatives. That wasn't exactly the point of this thread, though, as I'm considering multiple issues, not just one.

 
At 9:13 PM, Blogger saf said...

When it comes to the purchase of land for preservation, I think the emphasis around here is that the land is protected, not that it should be purchased by the "public".
It's logical for those with little means to pressure any group or agency who does have the money to purchase the land.
In the case of purchases from PL, there is often oldgrowth redwoods on the land and the price is high. That is why the State Parks are often involved. I don't think that its always a good thing for the land to end up in the State Park system but sometimes it seems like its either that or it gets cut.

Fred, how can we reduce restrictions on private land use and at the same time protect ourselves from dangerous effects some activities have that cross property lines?
Things like pollution of drinking water, fire danger, landslides triggered by human activity.

 
At 5:47 AM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

Property is not "private" if the state dictates the "owner's" use of it. There are two ways to protect from "dangerous" effects of property use in a private ownership situation: 1. If the state decides to dictate uses, it can purchase the property on the free market. 2. If the private owner causes injury to neighboring owners he is civilly liable. By dictating the uses of my property the state has in effect siezed it in violation of Amendment V of the Constitution. U.S. Supreme Court in Pennsylvania Coal Co. v. Mahon held that government action could rise to the level of a taking without an actual physical occupation of the property.

 
At 6:52 AM, Blogger Bill G said...

Most people agree about "dangerous" activities being restricted. It is when we start talking about 'viewsheds' and other such things that it has gone too far.

 
At 2:48 PM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

"Most people" would be either dropouts or graduates of government indoctrination centers. Playing russian roullette is "dangerous" but that didn't stop a neighbor from playing and LOSING at it. He won the humboldt county darwin award for that year.

 
At 9:19 AM, Blogger saf said...

So Leonidas, lets say my neighbor set up a firing range and my house is 200 ft behind it. I can't see the target due to the dense brush on my neighbors property. I have brought up my concerns to the neighbors but they were beligerent and refused to discuss it. I can't prove the danger because I would have to tresspass to document the proximity of the targets to my house.

How would I solve this problem given the solutions you offered? It's not an option for me to wait until a bullet hits my house or a person to file charges.

 
At 10:19 AM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

saf: "How would I solve this problem given the solutions you offered?"

1. If your neighbor exercises care and caution in his firing range you suffer no harm ergo no legal action.
2.If your neighbor intends you harm as evidenced by threatening you or firing in your direction he theoreticaly is criminally liable (except in Humboldt County, where the Sheriff's Dept will only counsel him and take no further action. A true story by the way)
3. You can find a buyer for your home and move away (as did Leonidas)
By the way, citizens DO NOT FILE CHARGES. The D.A. MIGHT do so if he feels he can easily win, utilizing his incompetent staff. Or he might decline to prosecute if he philosophicaly agrees with the perpetrator e.g. tree sitting, trespassing and obstructing traffic.

 
At 3:18 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

Well Leonidas, doesn't the "criminally liable" option make you a collectivist? Aren't you now advocating for somebody being controlled?

check out my post on flipitoff

 
At 4:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leonidas said:
"Many Israelis are in fact collectivists. As established in 1948 Israel was mostly a collection of kibbutzim (communal settlements). The local arabs there are now a better example however and appear to be more violent."

Is it possible for the local Arabs, ie. Palestinians, to be more violent than the Israeli military?

Nothing the Palestinians have can compare to the Israelis' American-made Apache and Cobra helicopter gunships, their American-made F-16 fighter jets and bombers, their state-of-the-art Merkava-3 tanks which fire 120mm shells and high-caliber bullets, their giant 60-ton armored D-9 bulldozers (made by Caterpillar), Israeli snipers with high-powered rifles, gunboats, high-tech satellite communications equipment, submarines with nuclear missiles, etc.

Seems like the Israelis have one hell of an advantage in firepower. And they do use it. It doesn't just sit there, rusting.


"The zionists also were not averse to use terrorist tactics in the period 1946-1948 as evidenced by the Irgun and the Stern Gang."

Very true. And they didn't stop being terrorists in 1948. Beginning in that year, the Zionists became even bigger terrorists than before, because they had the full military and economic might of the U.S.-backed-and-funded State of Israel to support their terrorism, which simply became state terrorism.

 
At 7:26 PM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

Jeff,
Yes. Leonidas believes that criminals should be controlled, not law abiding citizens. Your point?

Anonymous 4:58,
I understand that the Israelis have nukes? Why haven't they made Damascus and Tehran glass parking lots. Maybe you should look up the definition of "terrorist". No beheadings, kidnappings or pizza parlor bombings. Only rocket attacks on autos containing hard boyz. Tsk tsk they have a lot of catching up to do inch'allah?

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ!!

 
At 8:22 AM, Blogger Bill G said...

Anonymous 458 - - terrorists generally: dressed like civilians, pick civilian targets. Objectives generally not to win a battle, piece of ground, it is to call public attention and get press for their cause. If they were wearing uniforms and engaging military targets, they would be militia, not terrorists.

 
At 9:23 AM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

I forgot. They did kidnap Eichman but seem to ignore peacenick "journalists". Tsk Tsk

 
At 9:55 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

Doesn't your belief that criminals should be controlled make you a collectivist?

 
At 7:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leonidas said:
"Maybe you should look up the definition of "terrorist". No beheadings, kidnappings or pizza parlor bombings. Only rocket attacks on autos containing hard boyz."

Maybe you should look up the definition of "state terrorist", Leonidas.

The Israelis have been murdering Palestinian children routinely since 1948, and before.

As I already pointed out to you, Israelis use tanks, jets, attack helicopters, bulldozers and snipers. There is no need for Israelis to use nukes to "make Damascus and Tehran glass parking lots". You're evading the issue. Israelis use conventional weapons to make Palestinian refugee camps into bombed and bulldozed wastelands and open-air morgues.

 
At 7:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill G said:
"...terrorists generally: dressed like civilians, pick civilian targets. Objectives generally not to win a battle, piece of ground, it is to call public attention and get press for their cause. If they were wearing uniforms and engaging military targets, they would be militia, not terrorists."


You are ignorant of a very basic reality, Bill G. Israelis don't merely "engage military targets". They routinely bomb, attack, invade and bulldoze Palestinian refugee camps, murdering children, raping women and torturing civilian men in the process.

Down through history, the uniformed soldiers of almost every nation have always murdered, raped and tortured civilian people. American soldiers have done this too. Iraq is only the latest example. Get a clue, Bill G.

 
At 8:56 AM, Blogger Bill G said...

Hey jackass, I was clarifying the definition of terrorist, not taking a position.

" Down through history, the uniformed soldiers of almost every nation have always murdered, raped and tortured civilian people. American soldiers have done this too. Iraq is only the latest example. Get a clue, Bill G. "

That does not make them terrorists, it makes them bad soldiers.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home