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  • #46
    Originally posted by Starlight View Post
    Left and Right in politics is used to describe how one supports the size and scope of government.
    If I were to give the meaning that I think more reasonably reflects both the origins of the terms and their continued usage today, I would say that the left-right spectrum is about "the (in)equal distribution of power".

    Politics is about power, and who has it and who doesn't. The left-wing view is that power should generally be equally distributed among all, any natural or unnatural inequalities of power should be removed in order that and all should be able to exercise equally power in own lives, their own decisions, and in their workplaces and government. The right-wing view is that hierarchies naturally arise, and inequalities of power are to be entrenched rather than opposed.

    Examples of these power inequalities and hierarchies, are the Great Chain of Being where God is above the angels, who are above man, who is above the animals etc; a household where the man is the head of the family; a workplace where the CEO gives orders to the managers below him who give orders to the workers below them; an army where the general gives orders to the officers who give orders to the soldiers; a church where the priest tells the flock what the will of God is regarding how they are commanded to live their lives; a plantation where the slave owner orders the slaves around; a marketplace where a rich man can buy much and a poor man nothing; a King giving commands to his Lords and a Lord giving commands to his serfs etc.

    The historical origin of the "left" and "right" terminology was the French parliament where the rich aristocracy and the church who commanded the economic and moral lives of the commoner were on the "right" and the representatives of the commoners were on the "left": Hierarchical power vs power distributed among the people. The same pattern plays out today in politics little differently. The rich and and those of the religious who want to order others to follow their religious morals group together on the 'right', with the common masses on the 'left'. The right still wants to keep entrenched hierarchies of rich-poor, white-black, male-female, while the left pushes to break those hierarchies and distribute equal power to the previously-powerless group in each hierarchy. So the left pushes to reduce the economic power differential between rich and poor; pushes to let every woman have the power decide what to do with her own body rather than having it dictated to her by religious zealots; wants to see every person be able to choose who they marry rather than it being dictated to them by others who want to restrict who others can marry to a particular gender; wants every person to receive healthcare necessary to empower them to live lives of meaning and purpose; wants everyone to be able to meaningfully participate in the government and in the electing of it; wants workers to have more power in their workplace and not be simply dictated to by their boss and CEO (e.g. through workers unions, or democratic elections of the CEO and upper management by the workers, or by workers being shareholders in the company etc), etc.

    Considering the left-right continuum as being a push for an equal vs unequal distribution of power among all, explains policies on both economic issues and on social issues in both the present day and historically among both left-wing and right-wing parties. The left has pushed to maximize the distribution of power and useable freedom among all, whilst the right has pushed for there to be specific groups who dictate to others how those others are going to live or who have much more power in society than others.

    Applying that definition to the topic of Stalin, one can then ask questions like "how equally was power distributed in Stalin's USSR?" and "to what extent were people empowered to make their own social and economic choices in the Stalin's USSR?" The primary answer to those questions is that Stalin was an extreme dictator and ultimately all the power lay with him. There was thus a massive hierarchy in the society and the power was not distributed to the common people. The common people were unable to exercise much, if any, power to make meaningful economic or social choices in their lives. This definition would therefore suggest that Stalin's USSR ought to be classed as an extremely 'right-wing' society.

    Comment


    • #47
      Originally posted by Starlight View Post
      That is some people's definition of those terms, in every country. It is not an official American definition. And not all Americans share that definition. It's most common in libertarian circles, which, I note, are pretty small bubbles. So your strong adherence to that definition probably reflects your own libertarian brainwashing plus your lack of knowledge of American views outside your libertarian bubble.
      Your view of American terminology is apparently linked to TYT and Daily Kos, so your liberal brainwashing can be excused.

      It is also not a good definition as it has a tendency to apply much more strongly to the economic axis alone and apply poorly or not at all to the social issues axis. e.g. same-sex marriage, abortion, etc are difficult to link to the size and scope of government, or can be linked in different and arbitrary ways depending on which view on them the person wants to claim is big government and which view is small government.
      Those are legal issues, the same can be said about legalizing marijuana or a change in the legal drinking age. They aren't supported (or shouldn't be) by government funding, size or scope.

      Comment


      • #48
        Originally posted by Starlight View Post
        If I were to give the meaning that I think more reasonably reflects both the origins of the terms and their continued usage today, I would say that the left-right spectrum is about "the (in)equal distribution of power".

        Politics is about power, and who has it and who doesn't. The left-wing view is that power should generally be equally distributed among all, any natural or unnatural inequalities of power should be removed in order that and all should be able to exercise equally power in own lives, their own decisions, and in their workplaces and government. The right-wing view is that hierarchies naturally arise, and inequalities of power are to be entrenched rather than opposed.

        Examples of these power inequalities and hierarchies, are the Great Chain of Being where God is above the angels, who are above man, who is above the animals etc; a household where the man is the head of the family; a workplace where the CEO gives orders to the managers below him who give orders to the workers below them; an army where the general gives orders to the officers who give orders to the soldiers; a church where the priest tells the flock what the will of God is regarding how they are commanded to live their lives; a plantation where the slave owner orders the slaves around; a marketplace where a rich man can buy much and a poor man nothing; a King giving commands to his Lords and a Lord giving commands to his serfs etc.

        The historical origin of the "left" and "right" terminology was the French parliament where the rich aristocracy and the church who commanded the economic and moral lives of the commoner were on the "right" and the representatives of the commoners were on the "left": Hierarchical power vs power distributed among the people. The same pattern plays out today in politics little differently. The rich and and those of the religious who want to order others to follow their religious morals group together on the 'right', with the common masses on the 'left'. The right still wants to keep entrenched hierarchies of rich-poor, white-black, male-female, while the left pushes to break those hierarchies and distribute equal power to the previously-powerless group in each hierarchy. So the left pushes to reduce the economic power differential between rich and poor; pushes to let every woman have the power decide what to do with her own body rather than having it dictated to her by religious zealots; wants to see every person be able to choose who they marry rather than it being dictated to them by others who want to restrict who others can marry to a particular gender; wants every person to receive healthcare necessary to empower them to live lives of meaning and purpose; wants everyone to be able to meaningfully participate in the government and in the electing of it; wants workers to have more power in their workplace and not be simply dictated to by their boss and CEO (e.g. through workers unions, or democratic elections of the CEO and upper management by the workers, or by workers being shareholders in the company etc), etc.

        Considering the left-right continuum as being a push for an equal vs unequal distribution of power among all, explains policies on both economic issues and on social issues in both the present day and historically among both left-wing and right-wing parties. The left has pushed to maximize the distribution of power and useable freedom among all, whilst the right has pushed for there to be specific groups who dictate to others how those others are going to live or who have much more power in society than others.
        Yeah, that sounds like a socialist view, where community rights eclipse individual rights at all levels of government.

        Applying that definition to the topic of Stalin, one can then ask questions like "how equally was power distributed in Stalin's USSR?" and "to what extent were people empowered to make their own social and economic choices in the Stalin's USSR?" The primary answer to those questions is that Stalin was an extreme dictator and ultimately all the power lay with him.
        That isn't quite correct. He was arguably the most powerful leader the USSR had but all power did not reside with him. If he strayed too far off of their communist ideals or challenged the military in any meaningful way, he would have ended up a corpse. The USSR had a powerful centralized government, the cornerstone of Leftist dogma, and something Leftists hope to install in this country.

        There was thus a massive hierarchy in the society and the power was not distributed to the common people. The common people were unable to exercise much, if any, power to make meaningful economic or social choices in their lives. This definition would therefore suggest that Stalin's USSR ought to be classed as an extremely 'right-wing' society.
        A lovely dissertation, but wrong nevertheless.

        Comment


        • #49
          Originally posted by Ronson View Post
          e.g. same-sex marriage, abortion, etc are difficult to link to the size and scope of government
          Those are legal issues, the same can be said about legalizing marijuana or a change in the legal drinking age. They aren't supported (or shouldn't be) by government funding, size or scope.
          Precisely, and that's one reason I think your idea of thinking in terms of "small vs big government" is a bad one. As I said "it has a tendency to apply much more strongly to the economic axis alone and apply poorly or not at all to the social issues axis." If your political philosophy simply doesn't address fully half of issues, it's not a very comprehensive or useful political philosophy, nor is it a very good good way of describing people's political positions.

          Yeah, that sounds like a socialist view
          I am supportive of the goals that socialists have historically aimed to achieve: More distribution of more power among more people, and a reduction of the power inequalities that exist in our society either naturally or artificially.

          However, historically we've seen that the devil is in the details, and that regimes such as Stalin's utterly failed to distribute power to the masses and instead impoverished the masses and consolidated power at the top.

          So we have to be careful when implementing policies that are claimed to empower more people, in order to be sure we end up more like Norway than we do like the USSR, more like Bolivia than like Venezuela etc.

          where community rights eclipse individual rights at all levels of government
          I struggle to think your words here mean anything - I am not much of a fan of "rights" terminology in general as I think "rights" are a term that means different things to different people. I don't know what "community rights" is even supposed to mean.

          I would say that generally I observe the difference between me and a libertarian in politically philosophy is that I think the power and freedom of all people should be maximized across society, whereas libertarians think the freedom of any individual should not be infringed on in any way by human action. In an extreme example, if a person is facedown in a ditch dying, I would say that they are currently experiencing no meaningful power or freedom and so should be rescued and given the healthcare they need to restore them, thus allowing them to live a life where they exercise power and freedom to make meaningful life choices etc. Whereas the libertarian would say the person dying in the ditch is currently experiencing maximal freedom because no human is currently interfering with them in any way shape or form, and they should be allowed to continue to have that freedom. And an example at the other end of the spectrum, if there is a Bill Gates rolling in money, and a poor beggar on the road side near dead of starvation, I would say that it maximizes the power and freedom of both in the aggregate if much of Gates' wealth is shared with the beggar to give both equal power to by food and shelter and make life decisions and purchases. Whereas the libertarian would say that taking any money whatsoever from Gates would be an imposition on his freedom to not be interfered with by another human, and if the beggar starves to death that isn't a politically relevant matter. Sometimes people call these different views of freedom, 'negative' and 'positive' freedoms, where the libertarians seek to maximize negative freedoms while I think positive freedoms should be maximized.

          He was arguably the most powerful leader the USSR had but all power did not reside with him.
          I will admit there was nuance. While I would say the USSR primarily was a hierarchical dictatorship in which power to make social, economic, and workplace choices was generally not distributed among individuals in the populace, it was a complex system and there were exceptions.

          The USSR had a powerful centralized government, the cornerstone of Leftist dogma, and something Leftists hope to install in this country.
          This is off the rails quite a bit. You could say nearly all western countries have had powerful and centralized governments for the last few hundred years. So that doesn't tell you much about the difference between left and right. Nor do leftists generally want to install anything remotely like the USSR in the US. The proportion of businesses in the US economy that Biden thinks the government versus what Trump thinks the government should own is basically identical, somewhere near 0%. Personally, as a leftist, the words that come to mind in describing my ideal government would be "small, efficient, and democratic".

          Comment


          • #50
            Originally posted by CivilDiscourse View Post

            The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also expressed opposition in 2010 and 2019 to proposed DISCLOSE Act requirements, arguing that it unnecessarily impinge on free speech rights, subject recipients to "onerous and intrusive disclosure requirements," and adversely impact donor anonymity.
            So what?!?!? Politically the Republicans opposed it, which makes this thread total hypocrisy concerning legal funding of both political parties.

            What have the Republicans offered to make funding of both the election more ethical and equal?
            Last edited by shunyadragon; 11-28-2020, 10:32 PM.
            Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
            Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
            But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

            go with the flow the river knows . . .

            Frank

            I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

            Comment


            • #51
              Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post

              So what?!?!? Politically the Republicans opposed it, which makes this thread total hypocrisy concerning legal funding of both political parties.
              I started the thread and I'm a Libertarian.

              Comment


              • #52
                Originally posted by Starlight View Post
                Precisely, and that's one reason I think your idea of thinking in terms of "small vs big government" is a bad one. As I said "it has a tendency to apply much more strongly to the economic axis alone and apply poorly or not at all to the social issues axis." If your political philosophy simply doesn't address fully half of issues, it's not a very comprehensive or useful political philosophy, nor is it a very good good way of describing people's political positions.
                OK. If you want a somewhat more technical treatment then I will go with the political compass. But in a basic, two-dimensional sense, I was only going with the Left and Right.

                Political_Compass.jpeg

                I am supportive of the goals that socialists have historically aimed to achieve: More distribution of more power among more people, and a reduction of the power inequalities that exist in our society either naturally or artificially.

                However, historically we've seen that the devil is in the details, and that regimes such as Stalin's utterly failed to distribute power to the masses and instead impoverished the masses and consolidated power at the top.

                So we have to be careful when implementing policies that are claimed to empower more people, in order to be sure we end up more like Norway than we do like the USSR, more like Bolivia than like Venezuela etc.

                I struggle to think your words here mean anything - I am not much of a fan of "rights" terminology in general as I think "rights" are a term that means different things to different people. I don't know what "community rights" is even supposed to mean.
                "Community rights" like zoning laws, blight and noise ordinances, what someone may do on their property that affects the value of properties around them.

                I would say that generally I observe the difference between me and a libertarian in politically philosophy is that I think the power and freedom of all people should be maximized across society, whereas libertarians think the freedom of any individual should not be infringed on in any way by human action. In an extreme example, if a person is facedown in a ditch dying, I would say that they are currently experiencing no meaningful power or freedom and so should be rescued and given the healthcare they need to restore them, thus allowing them to live a life where they exercise power and freedom to make meaningful life choices etc. Whereas the libertarian would say the person dying in the ditch is currently experiencing maximal freedom because no human is currently interfering with them in any way shape or form, and they should be allowed to continue to have that freedom. And an example at the other end of the spectrum, if there is a Bill Gates rolling in money, and a poor beggar on the road side near dead of starvation, I would say that it maximizes the power and freedom of both in the aggregate if much of Gates' wealth is shared with the beggar to give both equal power to by food and shelter and make life decisions and purchases. Whereas the libertarian would say that taking any money whatsoever from Gates would be an imposition on his freedom to not be interfered with by another human, and if the beggar starves to death that isn't a politically relevant matter. Sometimes people call these different views of freedom, 'negative' and 'positive' freedoms, where the libertarians seek to maximize negative freedoms while I think positive freedoms should be maximized.
                It sounds like you don't respect the idea of personal property. You might say "Bill Gates has too much money and he should be forced to share it with the poor." Where I would say "Bill Gates earned his money, it belongs to him, and can do with it as he pleases, within the law." Obviously there is middle ground where we both reside, but we would draw our lines in different places.

                I will admit there was nuance. While I would say the USSR primarily was a hierarchical dictatorship in which power to make social, economic, and workplace choices was generally not distributed among individuals in the populace, it was a complex system and there were exceptions.

                This is off the rails quite a bit. You could say nearly all western countries have had powerful and centralized governments for the last few hundred years. So that doesn't tell you much about the difference between left and right. Nor do leftists generally want to install anything remotely like the USSR in the US. The proportion of businesses in the US economy that Biden thinks the government versus what Trump thinks the government should own is basically identical, somewhere near 0%. Personally, as a leftist, the words that come to mind in describing my ideal government would be "small, efficient, and democratic".
                The US was built on the notion that local government serves best. Distant, powerful government is the least representative and more prone to abuse its citizens. The Left in the US is on a constant mission to move power from local governments and hand it off to the national level. So my low-population rural state ends up at the mercy of California and New York urbanites, where the voting power of Leftists rule, and who haven't a clue what works best in my location. The power of Moscow during the USSR was a nightmare. The growing power of Washington DC can eventually become a similar nightmare.

                Comment


                • #53
                  Originally posted by Ronson View Post
                  It sounds like you don't respect the idea of personal property.
                  I think personal property is a social construct. Not all human cultures have had it - there have been plenty of tribes where it has been understood that all resources are in common, or cultures where the lords or the masters owned the property and simply provided whatever they felt was necessary to their serfs / slaves. But generally in the modern West we've found the idea of personal property to be useful. And one of the many functions of Western government is the government create the idea of personal property by creating laws that say what belongs to who and what doesn't and why and legislating the concept of ownership, and then enforcing laws against 'theft'. But I don't see it as being some sort of divine right that can never be infringed. And the very government that defines what property is whose is certainly free to tinker with that and/or take some of it.

                  You might say "Bill Gates has too much money and he should be forced to share it with the poor."
                  While I agree with the idea here, I wouldn't necessarily phrase it that way because you make it sound like physical force is being used against the person of Bill Gates. What matters is that his money would be shared with the poor - and that could happen via an electronic bank transfer that in no way would involve physical force nor affect the person of Bill Gates. I am wary of this because I've seen libertarians tend to interpret all government action as if the government were some armed bandit holding the person down and robbing them or physically forcing them hold out their hand with money in it. Electronic bank transfers are not physical force in that manner. Equally, the government could create more money, thus effectively devaluing the currency currently in circulation, and give that additional money to the beggar. Bill Gates loses the same amount of money either way, but in this latter example not only is he not personally interacted with, his money is never interacted with either.

                  Where I would say [I]"Bill Gates earned his money, it belongs to him, and can do with it as he pleases, within the law."
                  I don't know that any leftist would disagree with you, as you are simply stating what tends to happen in Western society. But there are big complexities around what it means to earn money in any society, where that money comes from, how a society understands the concept of things belonging to people, and what the law has to say about what people can do with money.

                  The US was built on the notion that local government serves best.
                  Really? Your local councils don't appear to be the most powerful part of your government, nor have they ever been as far as I am aware of your history. Your state governments aren't exactly local, merely somewhat so in contrast to the federal government.

                  Distant, powerful government is the least representative and more prone to abuse its citizens.
                  I can understand that in the pre-technological age, distance was rather crucial in the effectiveness of government. In the modern world, it does not seem to me that distance is particularly meaningful. It might become an issue if humans colonize Mars and governments on earth try to retain control over martian colonies, but at least on earth distance no longer means what it once did with respect to government.

                  I live in a country that has the geographical size and population within the range of a single state in the US, and so we have no state governments here. My observation within my own county has been that decentralization is a recipe for variation and disaster with government services, while those that are centralized are more organized, standardized, and efficient and effective. Local councils and boards here regularly have serious issues, while the national government tends to be extremely good, and generally world-leading in quality.

                  My observation of the history of the US is that you guys seem to struggle to make your two layers of government (federal and state) work well together, and it appears to be a source of constant friction, culminating in a civil war at one point, and generally not working all that well and leading to many problems. It honestly makes me very glad we don't have / need state governments here. I am not as familiar as I should be with the history Australia's state vs federal system, but at least in the covid era there have been constant headlines as to how their state and federal governments are at loggerheads over how to handle the pandemic, so again that does not fill me with confidence that that system is a good one. The EU's ongoing attempt to combine their nations into a single eurozone with a single currency and a joint parliament, also does not fill me with any level of confidence that a confederation of states is at all a good system to have.

                  The Left in the US is on a constant mission to move power from local governments and hand it off to the national level. So my low-population rural state ends up at the mercy of California and New York urbanites, where the voting power of Leftists rule, and who haven't a clue what works best in my location.
                  Can you provide some examples as to what you feel doesn't work well in your location that people not from your location would not realize? It seems to me the vast, vast, vast, majority of laws are relatively location-independent. "Don't murder" works well in any location, as does having roads, police, water, sewerage, healthcare etc. 99% of what government does would seem to me to work, or not work, in any location. You could argue the details of environment regulation by location, but usually environmental rules are set up in a way that does allow for location-by-location assessment of how they are implemented.

                  The power of Moscow during the USSR was a nightmare.
                  Really? Because the very same capitalists who complain about how the central planning that occurred under communism in the USSR so terribly far away (in the same country) from the locations where the work was physically carried out, seem themselves happy with a capitalist system in which multinationals operate and where the company board meets at a swiss ski resort while the design team works in the US and where the factories are in India and China. The physical distance between the company owners and the workers in the company somehow seems to slip their mind when capitalists do it but is presented as if it is some sort of innate and severe problem in communism.
                  Last edited by Starlight; 11-29-2020, 12:55 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Ronson View Post
                    The USSR had a powerful centralized government, the cornerstone of Leftist dogma, and something Leftists hope to install in this country.
                    A further thought on this. My country of New Zealand has, perhaps, one of the most powerful central governments in the world in terms of the legal power wielded within the country by the government. There are no constitutionally protected rights, and the judiciary is not allowed to overturn any decision of the elected parliament. There are no state governments that can interfere with what the central government chooses to do. And there is only one house of parliament, so there's no senate that can act as a check or a balance. One of our leaders once described it as "unbridled power". The only other country I'm aware of that the same applies to, is Israel.

                    It's set up the way it is in New Zealand for vague historical reasons, not because leftists pushed for it or anything like that, it's pretty much always been that way and people were too lazy to be bothered writing a constitution. What objections have been offered in my lifetime to this setup, have come from leftists - the left-wing party leader who described it as "unbridled power" has since announced that he'd like to see us adopt a formal constitution in order to limit that power, and likewise the Green party wants us to adopt a formal constitution. So your claim that leftists in general want a central government with unlimited power is wrong, at least in my country.

                    But, more interestingly, your assumptions about the results of a powerful centralized government appear to me to be flatly wrong. New Zealand has had this centralized government wielding unlimited legal power for its entire history. And the results of that appear to have been nothing but good. Objectively so. e.g. New Zealand is rated today as the freest country on earth by the Cato Institute, we're rated the least corrupt country on earth, surveys show we're one of the top-10 happiest countries on earth, we rate in the top-10 most democratic countries on earth, we're one of the most peaceful countries on earth etc.

                    So you'll perhaps excuse me for being deeply skeptical of your claims that the central government having all the power would be utterly terrible, since I live in a country where the central government has all the power and it's great. And I'm not meaning that I subjectively like the country, I'm meaning that it does well on all sorts of international comparisons.

                    Has the centralized nature of the government caused the country to do well though, or is it a coincidence? Well, I've seen an international study that observed that the length of countries' constitutions correlated with corruption - i.e. the longer a country's constitution was the more likely that country was to be corrupt and more deeply corrupt. In that light, the fact that New Zealand is only one of 3 countries to not have a fully written out constitution, and the fact that it is the least corrupt country in the world, suddenly don't seem so coincidental. Why does a longer constitution relate to more corruption? My guess would be that laws being complicated allows for wiggle room, and that corrupt individuals whispering in the ears of politicians makes them write longer laws and longer constitutions containing more exceptions that are convenient to those corrupting them, and thus that long constitutions and long laws are both caused by and cause corruption.

                    Just as a citizen, it's been my observation in my country that if there is a political problem you immediately know whose fault it is: The central government, and in particular the party in charge of the central government. They can't sidestep responsibility. They can't pretend it was the other party or that it was the judges or that it was the state government or that it was the senate. Everyone knows who was responsible, and everyone can vote them out at the next election if they're sufficiently annoyed. Whereas when I look at US politics it so often seems politically responsibility can be really murky. If something happens or doesn't happen in the US, members of the House will say it was the Senate's fault, the Senators will blame the other party, the other party will say it was something the President did or didn't do, the President will say it was something SCOTUS did, or that it was something that needed to happen at the State level, and so on it goes. The average voter will be utterly confused about who to blame, but will just get angrier and angrier with their entire system and feel it "isn't working" and isn't delivering for them. Whereas in New Zealand, parties campaign on policies, and then whoever wins the election is in charge and can pass all their policies. If they don't pass them, or pass different policies, or their policies are passed but work badly, everyone can see that, and know it's their fault and thus know who to blame. So there's no shirking responsibility or lying that it was the other party's fault. Compared to US politics this seems to me to be a huge boon.

                    In the Covid era, the power of the New Zealand central government has been particularly important. The government was able to do a successful lockdown to eliminate the virus from the country, then close the borders to prevent reemergence, and do a successful second localized lockdown of one city when the virus leaked through the border to eliminate the virus again. The result of that is that almost nobody in the country died of covid, we don't have to social distance or wear masks, unemployment has gone up by less than a percentage point, etc. New Zealand has arguably been the most successful country in the world at dealing with covid, certainly in the top 10, and that has come as a result of a powerful central government. By contrast, the US, with its States all taking different approaches, has floundered into having the highest death counts in the world.

                    So, from my own personal observations, it seems like powerful central governments work way, way, better than having state governments. My thinking that has to do with my experience of living in New Zealand and observing New Zealand's political successes and America's political failings. Obviously I can't prove that a powerful central government would work as well for the US as it has for New Zealand. But I'll note that the US has had a civil war as a result of its divided states, and New Zealand hasn't, so on the face of it your system appears to suck.
                    Last edited by Starlight; 11-29-2020, 07:13 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post

                      So what?!?!? Politically the Republicans opposed it, which makes this thread total hypocrisy concerning legal funding of both political parties.

                      What have the Republicans offered to make funding of both the election more ethical and equal?
                      So what if the act is against free speech? So what if the ACLU thinks its bad for speech?

                      Interesting..

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        (snip) You have far more time for this than I do ...

                        Originally posted by Starlight View Post
                        So, from my own personal observations, it seems like powerful central governments work way, way, better than having state governments. My thinking that has to do with my experience of living in New Zealand and observing New Zealand's political successes and America's political failings. Obviously I can't prove that a powerful central government would work as well for the US as it has for New Zealand. But I'll note that the US has had a civil war as a result of its divided states, and New Zealand hasn't, so on the face of it your system appears to suck.
                        This all began over terminology, and somehow morphed into the usual "New Zealand is superior" and "socialism is wonderful" hyperbole.

                        I'm happy for you that you love your government. I would hate living under that kind of control but it seems to make Leftists warm and cozy. The premise "your belongings are a social construct and what you possess belongs to the community" is the communist nightmare that Stalin also believed (at least for the little people) and you are sympathetic about. It will never work in this country and the Leftists pushing it are going to cause a war.

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Starlight View Post
                          A further thought on this. My country of New Zealand has, perhaps, one of the most powerful central governments in the world in terms of the legal power wielded within the country by the government. There are no constitutionally protected rights, and the judiciary is not allowed to overturn any decision of the elected parliament. There are no state governments that can interfere with what the central government chooses to do. And there is only one house of parliament, so there's no senate that can act as a check or a balance. One of our leaders once described it as "unbridled power". The only other country I'm aware of that the same applies to, is Israel.

                          It's set up the way it is in New Zealand for vague historical reasons, not because leftists pushed for it or anything like that, it's pretty much always been that way and people were too lazy to be bothered writing a constitution. What objections have been offered in my lifetime to this setup, have come from leftists - the left-wing party leader who described it as "unbridled power" has since announced that he'd like to see us adopt a formal constitution in order to limit that power, and likewise the Green party wants us to adopt a formal constitution. So your claim that leftists in general want a central government with unlimited power is wrong, at least in my country.

                          But, more interestingly, your assumptions about the results of a powerful centralized government appear to me to be flatly wrong. New Zealand has had this centralized government wielding unlimited legal power for its entire history. And the results of that appear to have been nothing but good. Objectively so. e.g. New Zealand is rated today as the freest country on earth by the Cato Institute, we're rated the least corrupt country on earth, surveys show we're one of the top-10 happiest countries on earth, we rate in the top-10 most democratic countries on earth, we're one of the most peaceful countries on earth etc.

                          So you'll perhaps excuse me for being deeply skeptical of your claims that the central government having all the power would be utterly terrible, since I live in a country where the central government has all the power and it's great. And I'm not meaning that I subjectively like the country, I'm meaning that it does well on all sorts of international comparisons.

                          Has the centralized nature of the government caused the country to do well though, or is it a coincidence? Well, I've seen an international study that observed that the length of countries' constitutions correlated with corruption - i.e. the longer a country's constitution was the more likely that country was to be corrupt and more deeply corrupt. In that light, the fact that New Zealand is only one of 3 countries to not have a fully written out constitution, and the fact that it is the least corrupt country in the world, suddenly don't seem so coincidental. Why does a longer constitution relate to more corruption? My guess would be that laws being complicated allows for wiggle room, and that corrupt individuals whispering in the ears of politicians makes them write longer laws and longer constitutions containing more exceptions that are convenient to those corrupting them, and thus that long constitutions and long laws are both caused by and cause corruption.

                          Just as a citizen, it's been my observation in my country that if there is a political problem you immediately know whose fault it is: The central government, and in particular the party in charge of the central government. They can't sidestep responsibility. They can't pretend it was the other party or that it was the judges or that it was the state government or that it was the senate. Everyone knows who was responsible, and everyone can vote them out at the next election if they're sufficiently annoyed. Whereas when I look at US politics it so often seems politically responsibility can be really murky. If something happens or doesn't happen in the US, members of the House will say it was the Senate's fault, the Senators will blame the other party, the other party will say it was something the President did or didn't do, the President will say it was something SCOTUS did, or that it was something that needed to happen at the State level, and so on it goes. The average voter will be utterly confused about who to blame, but will just get angrier and angrier with their entire system and feel it "isn't working" and isn't delivering for them. Whereas in New Zealand, parties campaign on policies, and then whoever wins the election is in charge and can pass all their policies. If they don't pass them, or pass different policies, or their policies are passed but work badly, everyone can see that, and know it's their fault and thus know who to blame. So there's no shirking responsibility or lying that it was the other party's fault. Compared to US politics this seems to me to be a huge boon.

                          In the Covid era, the power of the New Zealand central government has been particularly important. The government was able to do a successful lockdown to eliminate the virus from the country, then close the borders to prevent reemergence, and do a successful second localized lockdown of one city when the virus leaked through the border to eliminate the virus again. The result of that is that almost nobody in the country died of covid, we don't have to social distance or wear masks, unemployment has gone up by less than a percentage point, etc. New Zealand has arguably been the most successful country in the world at dealing with covid, certainly in the top 10, and that has come as a result of a powerful central government. By contrast, the US, with its States all taking different approaches, has floundered into having the highest death counts in the world.

                          So, from my own personal observations, it seems like powerful central governments work way, way, better than having state governments. My thinking that has to do with my experience of living in New Zealand and observing New Zealand's political successes and America's political failings. Obviously I can't prove that a powerful central government would work as well for the US as it has for New Zealand. But I'll note that the US has had a civil war as a result of its divided states, and New Zealand hasn't, so on the face of it your system appears to suck.
                          A strong central government is very efficient at pushing it's will on the people, you are correct at that. That's the reason such a thing is very popular among tyrants. Dictators with unbridled power are great when they are benevolent dictators, anything they want to do for the people they can do, and nobody can hamper those efforts. But, checks and balances (i.e. inefficency) aren't put in place to stop benevolent dictators, its to stop the ones that aren't so nice.

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by CivilDiscourse View Post

                            So what if the act is against free speech?
                            That has not been determined by the courts.

                            So what if the ACLU thinks its bad for speech?
                            .
                            ACLU did not do that. They just 'expressed concern.'.

                            The questions remain: Politically the Republicans opposed, which makes this thread total hypocrisy concerning legal funding of both political parties. Why did the thread single out only Democrates?

                            What have the Republicans offered to make funding of both the election more ethical and equal?
                            Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                            Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                            But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                            go with the flow the river knows . . .

                            Frank

                            I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
                              Why did the thread single out only Democrates?
                              The OP singled out Democrats because the CNN article singled them out. Take your complaint up with them.

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by Ronson View Post

                                I started the thread and I'm a Libertarian.
                                Then why single out only the Democrats what both parties do legally? The Democrats tried to offer a measure to correct the problem. The Republicans rejected it unanimously, and have not presented an alternative.

                                Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                                Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                                But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                                go with the flow the river knows . . .

                                Frank

                                I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                                Comment

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