Rants and Raves

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Dialog: Left and Right

Since I've been accused of being a Right-winger and a Conservative (though I must have missed it when that went from being a description of a political position to high crimes and misdemeanors) I thought I should find a representative Left-winger to have a civilized discussion on the problems and issues we face today, and see where we might find common ground.

I thought that we might at least define what the issues are so we could actually agree on the terms of the discussion. I've asked a journalist from the Main Stream Media to act as moderator and comment afterwards.

MSM Moderator: Mr. Browne, please open with your first point. The representative of the Left-Wing will rebut.

SB: First of all, I don't like the terms 'Left' and 'Right' or even 'Liberal' and 'Conservative' much. The former originally referred to the seating arrangements in the French parliament where the revolutionary Jacobins sat on the left side, and the supporters of the monarchy and aristocracy sat on the right.

As for the latter, only in America does it make sense to define 'conservative' as 'defender of traditional liberty.' In Europe, conservative once meant something far closer to 'royalist.'

Note that after the fall of the Soviet Union, the media started referring to old-line Communists as "Conservatives."

In Europe, I would call myself a Liberal, but in the US the term has come to mean something like what the English call a Fabian Socialist.


SB: Now there's an example of the confusion of terms I was talking about. Fascism, as defined by Mussolini, is a variety of Socialism that might be called "National Greatness Socialism."

Il Duce considered himself a Socialist till the day he died (with one of his comrades screaming at the firing squad, "Long live Mussolini! Long live Socialism!")

The old Italian Fascist program contained a great many planks later co-opted by so-called Social Democrats such as: old-age pensions, women's suferrage, etc.

In fact, most people who use the term pejoratively could not name a single plank of the Fascist platform - Mussolini's or the present-day Italian party, and mean by it no more than, "Political position I really don't like."


SB: Now there's another great misconception. Nazi is an anagram from Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei which means National Socialist German Workers’ Party. That hardly sounds Right-wing, wouldn't you agree?

National Socialism, like Fascism, is a non-Marxist variety of Socialism that held that the "natural" unit of a nation-state, consists of enough territory to contain all the natural resources necessary for their economy. It is Right-wing only in relation to the farther-Left Communist Party.

This was ridiculous even in the 1930s when the world was far less interconnected than today.

The Nazis also combined it with "eugenics," a popular pseudo-science of the day that combined a complete mis-interpretation of Darwin's theories with an ethnocentric doctrine of racial superiority.


SB: I utterly fail to see how philosophical Individualism, that demands that all men and women be treated, whenever possible, as individuals and judged solely on their character, as expressed in their demeanor, words, actions and accomplishments, can be construed as racist.

Racism, in the words of Ayn Rand, is "the crudest, most primitive form of collectivism" and the exact antithesis of Individualism and Classical Liberalism.


SB: Actually I'm an agnostic.


MSM: Well that concludes our discussion. As you can see, the representative of the Left demolished all of the pathetic arguments advanced by the so-called "Classical Liberal" racist bigot, with acerbic wit, humor and impeccable scholarship.

Case closed.


  • At 3:24 PM, Blogger Ted said…

    That's just the way it is, too.


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