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Authoritarianism And The Left  
User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 1360 times:

There are people who just don't get it.

I suppose when you look at the corporate world of skyscrapers and the suburban one of next-door millionaires, it's easy to imagine that all of the wealth you see is built on the backs of the poor, and of labor. It's easy to believe that, that is, if you're naive.

And if you're "sophisticated", you buy into the Marxian critique that Big Business is exploitation personified. After all, that's what they teach at universities, and we all know that universities are infallible. Right?

But there are those who dare to critique the critiquers, and thus, when I read things like:

http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/kumar160506.html

...I ask myself the following questions:

1. Is it reasonable to insist on "rights" if one isn't entitled to them?
2. What gives anyone the right to demand rights if they won't concede the prior rights of others?

There is no mention of any justification on the part of some of the folks on the left other than stale old saws about value and labor, none of which makes any sense from a historical standpoint. Many members of the left insist that their requirements need no further justification, and apparently their demands are self-justifying merely because they say it is.

In other words, they are the authors of their own justification, and woe betide you if you disagree.

I believe that this is another meaning of the term "authoritarian". It's authoritarianism like this that gives the left a bad name.

Is it any wonder that the left has done poorly in so many places in the world today?

By the way, if one clicks on the link for the "debunking" of myths from that site -- and be advised that it is to a Socialist Worker website -- one sees strained references to such things as U.S. immigration exclusion legislation of about a century ago. Talk about your selective memory; it's as if all that matters are misdeeds and grievances of the past.

And in the article itself, there is a reference to "double standards" -- a false argument that since corporations can invest capital and favor various countries whose condition permits them to offer lower labor costs, then so, too, should labor be able to roam freely irrespective of national borders. But if the larger argument is -- as it should be -- that unrestricted and harmful corporate investment results in exploitation, then why would such corporatist acts justify labor in emulating the same practice? Do two wrongs make a right, in the name of avoiding "double standards"?

And is it a "double standard" to begin with, that treats corporations, which exist to invest private capital for profit, differently from groups of employees, which exist purportedly to bargain with them only for the nonprofit gain of their members? The two are clearly not the same. To equate them would be like equating an investment club and a church. Nor, in the final analysis, are the memberships of each comparable.

False arguments like those found in leftist articles such as the one cited weaken, rather than strengthen, the left.

A more little rationality and open-mindedness, please, would suit the rest of us just fine.

[Edited 2006-05-17 11:34:49]

21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineMetalInyoni From South Africa, joined Oct 2005, 269 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 1334 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
A more little rationality and open-mindedness, please, would suit the rest of us just fine.

The further left or right you go the more irrational and close mindedness the arguments get. On the far right you have guys justifying their superiority over another human being simply because they exist, Nazism, Apartheid etc. They were all based on unjustifiable beliefs and rights. The extreme left or right will never succeed in the long term because on average a human being is reasonable and will fight to preserve their reasonableness. That's why the extreme right and the extreme left are supported by a minority of the population. In the end things tend to end up in the centre.



Actually from Zimbabwe but Admin have taken away that option in profile settings.
User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20784 posts, RR: 62
Reply 2, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 1329 times:

It would have been better, if such an attack on liberal views was sought, to do it based upon the ideals of social liberalism, rather than taking further advantage of illegal immigrants. But that's what the right is comfortable with, so it makes this rant understandable, if sad.


International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineViv From Ireland, joined May 2005, 3142 posts, RR: 28
Reply 3, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 1321 times:

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. How true that is.


Nikon D700, Nikkor 80-400, Fuji X Pro 1, Fujinon 35 f/1.4, Fujinon 18 f/2
User currently offline777236ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 1295 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
After all, that's what they teach at universities, and we all know that universities are infallible. Right?

Did you even go to university?


User currently offlineCfalk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 1283 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 2):
It would have been better, if such an attack on liberal views was sought, to do it based upon the ideals of social liberalism, rather than taking further advantage of illegal immigrants.

That's the whole point, and it is no surprise that you missed it. The far left position is no less than a position in support of a population in quasi-slavery slavery at best, and an attempt to break up the US at worst. It has nothing to do with improving the lives of the population in general, except to the naive, which is supposed to be the basic foundation of social liberalism.


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20784 posts, RR: 62
Reply 6, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 1275 times:

Quoting Cfalk (Reply 5):
The far left position is no less than a position in support of a population in quasi-slavery slavery at best, and an attempt to break up the US at worst.

That would be why, one would suppose, that the right's favorite whipping boy, Ted Kennedy, came out in support of Bush on immigration, and co-authored a bill with McCain.  Yeah sure



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineCfalk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 1271 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 6):
That would be why, one would suppose, that the right's favorite whipping boy, Ted Kennedy, came out in support of Bush on immigration, and co-authored a bill with McCain.

Both Rebublicans and Democrats have acted shamefully in this affair, not only now but for the past 30 years. AFAIK, McCain-Kennedy proposed nothing to seal the border.

That is the first and foremost priority for the US border - to ensure that the only way into the country is through legal channels. All other issues are secondary.


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20784 posts, RR: 62
Reply 8, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 1270 times:

Quoting Cfalk (Reply 7):
Both Rebublicans and Democrats have acted shamefully in this affair

It didn't take long for the "far left position" to be dropped once Bush and McCain were brought up, I noticed. ::chuckle::



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineCfalk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 1264 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 8):
It didn't take long for the "far left position" to be dropped once Bush and McCain were brought up, I noticed. ::chuckle::

I was talking about the hard left, as represented by Deepa Kumar, the writer of the article in question.


User currently offlineMrmeangenes From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 566 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 1264 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 8):
It didn't take long for the "far left position" to be dropped once Bush and McCain were brought up, I noticed. ::chuckle::

Oooh-oooooh-oooooooooh !

That's just (Sob !) mean-spirited and divisive !



gene
User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 1242 times:

Quoting MetalInyoni (Reply 1):

The further left or right you go the more irrational and close mindedness the arguments get. On the far right you have guys justifying their superiority over another human being simply because they exist, Nazism, Apartheid etc.

Agreed. The lunatic fringe on the right is just as irrational as their counterparts on the left.

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 2):
It would have been better, if such an attack on liberal views was sought, to do it based upon the ideals of social liberalism, rather than taking further advantage of illegal immigrants.

Cfalk has already quite effectively addressed your statement, Aero, so I second his comments in that respect. (See below.)

Quoting Cfalk (Reply 5):
The far left position is no less than a position in support of a population in quasi-slavery slavery at best, and an attempt to break up the US at worst. It has nothing to do with improving the lives of the population in general, except to the naive, which is supposed to be the basic foundation of social liberalism.

Well put!


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20784 posts, RR: 62
Reply 12, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 1232 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 11):
Cfalk has already quite effectively addressed your statement, Aero, so I second his comments in that respect. (See below.)

The problem is that "the left" is generalized nearly everywhere above (even in the thread title), and could be taken for anything from Karl Marx to a mint-julep sipping lesbian sitting on the front porch on a hot day (who might just be Mary Cheney) to Cindy Sheehan, and everyone inbetween.

One must always recognize their audience, and direct their argument towards them. On appearances, this is nothing other than a thinly-vieled attempt to paint anyone left of center, on any issue, as an overt unrealist. On that, the basic thesis would be categorically incorrect.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 1228 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 12):
The problem is that "the left" is generalized nearly everywhere above (even in the thread title), and could be taken for anything from Karl Marx to a mint-julep sipping lesbian sitting on the front porch on a hot day (who might just be Mary Cheney) to Cindy Sheehan, and everyone inbetween.

I think we ought to be less sensitive about descriptions of this kind. To me, the left is contextualized when one cites a specific article, the way I did in this thread.

I realize that some folks avoid the problem of overgenerality by specifying individuals. Yet this rightly opens them up to charges that they are over-personalizing an issue -- and this is precisely why many hosts on Air America are criticized for Bush-bashing. They may believe that they are limiting their criticism by specifying the President in their arguments, but the unintended consequence is that their position is of limited utility for the very reason that it is so personalized. An argument is made less helpful when there is less reason to believe it may be abstracted into principle.

Here, when I say "the left", I mean those on the left who are like the author of that article. I think that this tends toward a balance between criticism that is too general and that which is too specific.

[Edited 2006-05-18 00:20:39]

User currently offlineJaysit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 1224 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
2. What gives anyone the right to demand rights if they won't concede the prior rights of others?

Pray, just what are you babbling about?

And when you talk about the left just what is it that you're talking about?

If anything, nativism has always been a traditionally leftist mindset - socialist labor unions all over the world have always displayed a crude, nativist protectionism (from market forces, immigrants, etc.). Its just that with the decimation of the left today, those crude leftist nativist cries based on economic fears have been replaced with an even cruder racial tribalism drummed up by the right.

As for the left losing or winning, the reality is that everyone enjoys those so-called leftist ideals on a daily basis - paid vacation time, health insurance, time off for child care, governance of corporate citizenship. The list goes on.

In contrast, it appears that all that those poor ol' Mexican immigrants want is the ability to make some dough, even if it means working in rather rightist robber baron conditions.

So you see, left is right, and right is left, and all those a-holes clamoring for the heads of Mexicans on a platter (goes so well with a nice margarita) have no clue if they're using their left hand to wipe their ass and their right to eat with, or vice versa.


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20784 posts, RR: 62
Reply 15, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 1223 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 13):
To me, the left is contextualized when one cites a specific article, the way I did in this context.

I disagree. It was defined right here:

Thread title: "Authoritarianism And The Left"
First line:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
There are people who just don't get it.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 1219 times:

Quoting Jaysit (Reply 14):
Pray, just what are you babbling about?

If you reduce the argument in the article to principle, it amounts to the following:

1. The majority can "x";
2. They don't have the right to "x" because of "y"; but,
3. Nevertheless, labor unions and illegal immigrants have the right to do "z".

In the above:

-- "x" is "restrict immigration";
-- "y" is unspecified;
-- "z" is "go anywhere they want because corporations can invest their money anywhere they want".

Because "y" is unspecified, it is unclear why the majority: (i.) cannot "x", or (ii.) should take (3) seriously. As a bonus, "z" is a poor premise in itself.

[Edited 2006-05-18 00:37:59]

User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 1219 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 15):
There are people who just don't get it.

Right, and if you read the rest of the post, it specifies who those people are:

Quote:
But there are those who dare to critique the critiquers, and thus, when I read things like:

http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/kumar160506.html

...I ask myself the following questions:

1. Is it reasonable to insist on "rights" if one isn't entitled to them?
2. What gives anyone the right to demand rights if they won't concede the prior rights of others?

There is no mention of any justification on the part of some of the folks on the left other than stale old saws about value and labor, none of which makes any sense from a historical standpoint. Many members of the left insist that their requirements need no further justification, and apparently their demands are self-justifying merely because they say it is.

You'd have to be pretty determined to take that one sentence you cited in isolation and out of context in order to be offended by the reference to "the left". In fact, if you read the article itself, everyone who is not a socialist should be offended by Ms. Kumar's article, if the same principle applies. No offense is or should be taken because offense is, among other things, irrelevant -- here as well as in that article.

By the way, distraction and red herrings are two ways to derail an argument. One sees this quite often on the part of people on news shows who can't defend their own positions on the merits. An example would be the arguments of many leftists on the issue of immigration reform. When an argument is proved defective on the economic front, for example, they switch quickly to another facet of the argument, such as the alleged need for a "comprehensive" immigration bill, rather than one that addresses the most urgent needs of the citizenry. Pointing out that the phrase "the left" could, under some circumstances, be over-general, even though in this context it isn't, is a similar usage of red herring.

[Edited 2006-05-18 00:36:19]

User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20784 posts, RR: 62
Reply 18, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 1197 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 17):
You'd have to be pretty determined to take that one sentence you cited in isolation and out of context in order to be offended by the reference to "the left"

I'm not sure how the introduction could be taken out of context. LOL

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 17):
In fact, if you read the article itself, everyone who is not a socialist should be offended by Ms. Kumar's article, if the same principle applies

The problem is, as I pointed out earlier, is that Ms. Kumar's position wasn't defined as anything other than "the left" or "leftist", leaving the interpretation of same up to the casual reader's own devices.

Is authoritarianism and the left related? I've seen no convincing arguments for it yet, but I've read supposition after supposition on how "the left" is giving itself a bad name without an argument or conclusion after the introduction.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 1192 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 18):
The problem is, as I pointed out earlier, is that Ms. Kumar's position wasn't defined as anything other than "the left" or "leftist", leaving the interpretation of same up to the casual reader's own devices.

But I do think that she did a good job of explaining what her position was, despite the fact that her position was not otherwise well-supported. So, had you simply read the article, you would have been informed as to why I believe the "left" as exemplified by the arguments in Ms. Kumar's article is authoritarian.

I also explained to you why I think the left as noted might be authoritarian, in the sense that the author of the article appears to "author" her own, unstated reasons for claiming the existence of rights for laborites and immigrants. Had you read the post, you would have seen where I expressly noted the same, and it is printed here again for your perusal and reference:

Quote:
There is no mention of any justification on the part of some of the folks on the left other than stale old saws about value and labor, none of which makes any sense from a historical standpoint. Many members of the left insist that their requirements need no further justification, and apparently their demands are self-justifying merely because they say it is.

In other words, they are the authors of their own justification, and woe betide you if you disagree.

(Emphasis added.)

To make it even clearer, I also stated:

Quote:
I believe that this is another meaning of the term "authoritarian". It's authoritarianism like this that gives the left a bad name.

(Emphasis added.)

[Edited 2006-05-18 00:56:05]

User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20784 posts, RR: 62
Reply 20, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 1175 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 19):
I do think that she did a good job of explaining what her position was, despite the fact that her position was not otherwise well-supported

I will leave it with this--it's now brought in that her position was not well-supported, which should have been what the argument for discussion was all along. There were too many "theys" and "the lefts" to really make it clear whose position you were commenting upon, or whether "they" even had a good grasp of the situation at hand, other than "the generic left".

It left me, as a reader, confused as to whom you were directing it to, and on exactly which subject.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (8 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 1175 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 20):
It left me, as a reader, confused as to whom you were directing it to, and on exactly which subject.

That's fine as far as it goes, and I think we can both agree to leave it there.


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