20
   

What produces RUTHLESS DICTATORS?

 
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jun, 2009 11:11 am
@DrewDad,
His premises ignore, and he continues to ignore, all the examples which have been provided to him of right-wing dictatorships. Right-wing demagogues frequently rely upon the "law and order" dodge to erect a police state. That was one of the tactics of Hitler and the NSDAP. Not only is there no evidence that the right-wing does not believe in powerful, centralized government, but even a casual review of right-wing governments shows that this is most frequently the type of state which they erect, or attempt to erect.

As i've said before in this thread, the majority of dictatorial states in history have been right-wing. That is not, however, a basis upon which to allege that right-wing ideologies inevitably lead to totalitarianism, which is essentially what Okie is attempting, pathetically, to argue about the left. There have been more right-wing totalitarian states just because left-wing ideologies are a fairly new aspect of political organization, so there have been fewer left-wing governments in which a totalitarian state might arise.

There is no basis advanced so far in this thread for assuming that any particular ideology is more prone to the seduction of absolute power than any other.

Not that any of this is going to make any difference to Okie. He made up his mind before he embarked on this venture, and having put the cart before the horse, he is whipping the poor old nag to a fare-the-well to get her to push that cart down the road.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  3  
Reply Fri 5 Jun, 2009 11:40 am
Okie,

Others here have attempted to point out the circular quality of your (il)logic, but you have not heeded them, or, as it appears, tried very hard to understand what they wrote.

You start out with a largely accurate observation: namely, that in the last century or so a large number of authoritarian repressive political systems arose out of very left wing social/economic movements. You add to that a rather torturous argument that, in effect, Hitler was a socialist (sort like saying pumpkins are really trucks). From there you leap to the implicit assertions that (1) the ONLY way to brutal authoritarian systems is through leftist ideologies; and (2)that ALL such ideologies, wherever applied to any degree, inevitably lead to such brutal authoritarian systems; and finally that (3) "conservative" ideologies (as you define them - though you have offered us no explicit definition - will NEVER lead to such authoritarian systems.

These assertions are demonstrably false . Duvalier of Hati believed in private property and individual economic initiative, but only for his thugs and cronies. The American South incorporated all of the "conservative" & democratic principles you hold dear, but restricted their application to whites, subjecting a black population to the brutal oppression of slavery. Was this system Conservative or Liberal???

Napoleon eliminated most of the brutalities and oppression of the French Revolution, and opened up the society to the free initiative and economic advancement of many previously excluded people. However, he also suppressed whatever democracy came of the revolution and led hundreds of thousands of French, German, Austrian, Polish, Russian, Spanmish and british young men to their deaths in pursuit of the greater glory of ..... Napoleon.

There are many more such examples, including many in the contemporary world. Nothing more than common sense and an open mind is required to see them.

It is you who need to stop and think for yourself and let go of some rather confining and somewhat ridiculous fixed ideas which you have somehow embraced.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jun, 2009 05:47 pm
All that is required to produce ruthless dictators is the opportunity.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jun, 2009 09:04 pm
@spendius,
spendius wrote:

All that is required to produce ruthless dictators is the opportunity.

the opportunity + sufficient motivation
okie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jun, 2009 10:00 pm
@najmelliw,
najmelliw wrote:

My nickname stems from Abuzz times. I didn't want a username with a bunch of numbers tagged on, so I fiddled around a bit before I took this one. It's actually quite simple to figure out, and I believe Walter at one time deciphered it already.

You still have to adress the Stroessner case, Okie. I am most interested to hear how he fits in your theories.

I will try to do that, given time tonight, hopefully.

Quote:

---------------------------------------------------------------------
To bring it down to essentials, any government that is intrusive and controlling is left, since the right never leans that way.
Any dictator uses the means at his disposal, the tools of the state to exert control that is, to consolidate his position and pursue his goals.
Hence, all dictators must be from the left.

You are close to what I think, although I would say the majority of intrusive and controlling governments are left. They actually are by definition. I would not say 100%, but by definition, leftists are strong on using the State, in all kinds of ways, one of the primary ones is economic, controlling the means of production and profits. Free marketers simply do not do that, and face it, I wonder if that is where the government's power primarily is found, by controlling commerce?

Quote:
That is poor reasoning. What if a country declares a state of emergency/war, has it immediately changed into leftwing?

I don't think it is poor reasoning at all, it is critical thinking. Your example of emergency / war, I don't know what examples you can dredge up, but how about Lincoln and the Civil War, he did institute some control of the media and other things, but he did not become a dictator, as he was not a leftwing politician. FDR, he rounded up Japanese Americans, he instituted rationing, and other measures, but he did not become a dictator because of the checks and balances of a fairly conservative, not left wing, government structure.

Quote:
The system you envision creates a power vacuum at the centre, a powervacuum that will undoubtedly (because this is human nature) be filled in one way or another, namely by those individuals that have the most power over people. In the free market system you seem to envision, that would be the bank managers, the directors and board of regents of large companies, and the stockholders.

And you are saying that these groups are better equipped then a governemnt to keep a country running in a smooth manner?

You have stumbled into a very important point, you mention bank managers, directors and stockholders, but you must recognize that companies do not have the power to govern, they only have the power to sell their products. People seem to fear corporations, when it is government we need to fear, that is where the real threats are. People love to complain about gasoline prices, criminy, buy a little car, or buy stock in oil companies and reap the profits. This is all part of freedom, not a dictatorship. Ride a bicycle to work, nobody is held hostage by an oil company, at least everybody has some control over the energy they use. Banking, I believe we need to have a sound set of regulations for our banking industry, to insure the protection of peoples money and the monetary system, but keep this in perspective, it is government that we need to fear, not banks, if proper regulations are maintained for free markets.

I would like to know what you think of fascism, is it left or right? I think what is happening right before our very eyes right now, with Obama gaining control of the auto industry, the banking industry, and creating czars left and right, to monitor executive compensation, etc. He has an energy czar, and he can institute all kinds of rules to his liking that will control private enterprise. Now, I believe this is all a leftist agenda, not conservative, no way, and if he continues down this road, he could look very much like a fascist State. He believes in the almighty State to meddle and control in the economy, the environment, and who knows what else.

We are right now seeing living proof of what a leftist is doing. Government grows stronger, and we don't hear it now, but unless the rule of law boxes this guy out and doesn't allow it to happen, which I trust it can, I think Lord Obama fits the mold of a guy that would love to become a dictator. I trust him as far as I can throw him, which is not very far at all.
okie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Jun, 2009 10:33 pm
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:

Okie,

Others here have attempted to point out the circular quality of your (il)logic, but you have not heeded them, or, as it appears, tried very hard to understand what they wrote.

Alot of the divergence in opinion centers around whether fascism is a leftist or right wing idealogy, George, because that encompasses a good many of the people considered to be ruthless dictators. Many historians have, I agree, classified these as right wing, and mainly if I understand it correctly because of their nationalistic views and Hitlers opposition to communists. Besides the arguments I have put forth, genoves has posted some sound reasons why this is off the mark. And Jonah Goldberg is just one analyst that has documented very sound reasons why fascists like Hitler springs out of a leftist idealogy. Criminy, the facts are there, he railed against the greed of capitalism and considered Jews as the race that brought the greed of capitalism, property ownership, and oppression of the "folks," the people, which is buzzword for the common working class of Germany. This all comes from a leftist view of the world. The following link provides a fairly lengthy summary of why Hitler was clearly a socialist, in context with our current American view of left vs right. Remember, Leftists and today's socialists may wish to paint the picture in a different manner for various reasons, and some of them may be self serving.

http://jonjayray.tripod.com/hitler.html

Quote:
You start out with a largely accurate observation: namely, that in the last century or so a large number of authoritarian repressive political systems arose out of very left wing social/economic movements. You add to that a rather torturous argument that, in effect, Hitler was a socialist (sort like saying pumpkins are really trucks).

What? That is a nonsensical statement, George, we do not have to be scared of saying what Hitler was, and history is an open book, intelligentsia does not have a monopoly on history.
Quote:
From there you leap to the implicit assertions that (1) the ONLY way to brutal authoritarian systems is through leftist ideologies;

I think you are twisting what I have said. I don't think I said "ONLY," what I did say is that leftist idealogies provide the most fertile soil for brutal dictators to grow and come forth, after all, they believe in big government, that is part of their belief system.
Quote:
and (2)that ALL such ideologies, wherever applied to any degree, inevitably lead to such brutal authoritarian systems;

Where have I said that? Again, please do not twist what I have said. If I said it, point out the quotes, and if I said it, I can either explain it or retract it, as I don't think that is what I believe.
Quote:
and finally that (3) "conservative" ideologies (as you define them - though you have offered us no explicit definition - will NEVER lead to such authoritarian systems.

Again, can you provide a quote? Please do not twist what I have said here. "NEVER" is a pretty definitive term, that I don't think I believe, and so I don't think I would have said it.

Quote:
These assertions are demonstrably false . Duvalier of Hati believed in private property and individual economic initiative, but only for his thugs and cronies. The American South incorporated all of the "conservative" & democratic principles you hold dear, but restricted their application to whites, subjecting a black population to the brutal oppression of slavery. Was this system Conservative or Liberal???

Okay, Duvalier has been discussed, I don't think he was a conservative at all, and I think he used left wing tactics and policies to become a dictator. It sounds like he was one screwed up guy. The American South, that doesn't seem like a good example, George, there was no dictator in charge of the South or America at the time of that happening, and much of the world had a slave trade up until about that time. We had a war to free the slaves, which would not have happened if the country was run by a dictator that wanted slavery. I do not believe that example supports your argument at all. The slave trade itself is not conservative in context with our constitution, which includes freedom and equality for every person, without regard to race or creed. I would view it as an anomaly, a practice of history, that became recognized for the evil that it was, and it was eliminated largely because of right leaning policies, by Republicans by the way.

Quote:
Napoleon eliminated most of the brutalities and oppression of the French Revolution, and opened up the society to the free initiative and economic advancement of many previously excluded people. However, he also suppressed whatever democracy came of the revolution and led hundreds of thousands of French, German, Austrian, Polish, Russian, Spanmish and british young men to their deaths in pursuit of the greater glory of ..... Napoleon.

There are many more such examples, including many in the contemporary world. Nothing more than common sense and an open mind is required to see them.

It is you who need to stop and think for yourself and let go of some rather confining and somewhat ridiculous fixed ideas which you have somehow embraced.

I am not that familiar with Napoleon, George, you may very well be right, but you are having to go back a long ways in history to dredge that up. I think the argument of left vs right really becomes more defined and pertinent in more recent history, plus it is much easier to access more facts about what really has happened. Centuries ago, the entire playing field of politics and policies looked alot different, I think. Again, I don't think a right wing dictator is impossible, I just think it is far more unlikely, if the right wing country and politicians are really genuine right wing. I go back to my assertion that lefties believe in big government, by definition. Right wingers are free marketers and they believe in smaller and less intrusive government, and in the rights and responsibilities of individuals over the power of the State. That is inescapable, George.
okie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Jun, 2009 12:00 am
@najmelliw,
Okay, in regard to Stroessner:
najmelliw wrote:

Okie -

2) Alfredo Stroessner - Dictator of Paraguay. He was a dictator from 1954 until 1989, when he was ousted by a former friend of his. The constitutional rights of the people were removed and a state of emergency was declared soon after he started to rule, and this state of emergency would only be lifted during the (fraudulent) elections. A staunch anti-communist, and a nazi admirer. He gave refuge to people such as Josef Mengele.

Again, najmelliw, we run into the Nazi thing again, and it is pertinent to determine whether Nazism is right or left, and I will argue that it is a form of leftist idealogy. It looks like the determination of where Stoessner falls on the political spectrum might hinge upon this point? I was unable to really identify from my perusal of the web to find much information at all on how his government policies dealt specifically with the economy, etc. I did find that when the Colorado Party lost power, it was due to a coalition of forces both to the left and to the right, apparently, according to this:

"The winning coalition is a very heterogeneous group of ten political parties and twenty small organizations of civil society, representing the most varied ideologies and interests, from the right to the extreme left."

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=26244

And this does not seem to indicate he subscribed to a conservative viewpoint:
"However, it became clear that Stroessner did not believe in democracy, and after several years the United States removed their support when they realized Stroessner had turned Paraguay into a Nazi war criminal refuge during WWII. "

http://www.hyperhistory.net/apwh/bios/b4stroessnerda.htm

Quote:
a) Dysfunctional childhood/adult life - Hardly. His father was an accountant at a brewery, and his mother came from a wealthy family. He made his career through the army. He was married into another old Paraguay family, and became father to two sons and a daughter with his wife Eligia Mora.
The only reference I could find was that he had a "normal childhood," but without any detail at all. Perhaps that is correct, but I would like alot more information about his childhood, I think that would be needed to adequately answer the question. So, I would give you a maybe on this one, najmelliw, that the condition may not fit, but we can't be sure, unless you can provide more information.

Quote:
b) Rejection and/or hate for religious belief, sometimes despite training as a child. As they grow into adulthood, they have a hatred or unresolved resentment toward certain groups, races, or religion.

You could reasonably argue that Stroessner, a Nazi ideology admirer, used claims of ethnic superiority to commit genocide against local native tribes (such as the Ache indians), but more often then not, economic motives seemed to be the underlying motive.
I know little about his religious attitudes. They were probably somewhat strained, given his human rights neglections and treatment of the local people, but it doesn't seem like religion was oppressed outright.
He most certainly was very anti-communist, probably the only reason the USA overlooked his less then savory reputation and gave Paraguay millions of dollars in aid.

The following information seems to confirm the second condition fits him pretty well, najmelliw. Again, that is not a conservative or right wing ideology, his policies to persecute the church. That is not a characteristic of a free and open democratic and representative form of government.

http://www.hyperhistory.net/apwh/bios/b4stroessnerda.htm

"In the 1960s, the Catholic Church became distanced from Stroessner's regime. Many religious leaders voiced their concern over Stroessner's abuse of human rights and the lack of social reform. (Ohlin Instutet) As a result the power hungry regime began to persecute the Catholic Church. Many priests firmly held on to their beliefs despite the persecution. Many moved into poor neighborhoods, and began to encourage the lower class to exercise their political rights that were promised them in their country's constitution. (Ohlin Instutet)

The Stroessner regime did not approve of this and began to invade the Catholic universities, beating the students and arresting the teachers. (Ohlin Instutet) As time went on the situation became worse. Soon the government arrested church activists and students. The persecution became so bad that the government began to expel Jesuits, and the regime refused to acknowledge Maricevich as archbishop in 1969."


Quote:
c) They perceive injustice from childhood and develop a burning desire to dominate, gain power, and right the wrongs toward society and to them as they view it. Typically there is a hate for business and private enterprise, as it is viewed as unfair and the cause of much injustice and suffering, and religion is also viewed as a failure, so government and they are the hope of righting the wrongs and creating their vision of utopia on earth.

Since there were no remarkable injustices in his childhood, the first part of that theory doesn't work. As far as the hate for business and private enterprise goes, it might be interesting to note that the people in paraguay are somewhat ambivalent about Stroessner, because, even though he commited plenty of crimes, he also stimulated economic growth. So I'd have to say that this part of your theory also doesn't apply.

Again, I could not find enough information to either confirm or deny your assertions. The following indicates:

"He boasted of the world's largest hydroelectric station which increased Paraguay's economy through electricity sales. (Wikipedia) However, Paraguay was not at all a democracy under Stroessner's leadership..."

So I would like to know how his government conducted oversight of the economy, how involved was the government in the means of production, etc.? I think fairly significant, but again, I need more information to find out if his policies are truly left or right. It is insufficient to simply say he was a right wing dictator simply because he opposed communists, as that proves nothing in my opinion. It may simply be a matter of one form of leftist idealogy opposing another, as I think happened with Hitler and the Communists. After all, Hitler also viciously opposed the British, and he hated the Jews, whom he associated with greedy capitalism, etc. etc. The fact that Stroessner admired Hitler and the Nazis, apparently, appears to me that he was not a right wing guy at all. But I will grant the fact that we need to know more about his actual policies and how they fit the political spectrum.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Jun, 2009 01:04 am
@okie,
okie wrote:
Criminy, the facts are there, he railed against the greed of capitalism and considered Jews as the race that brought the greed of capitalism, property ownership, and oppression of the "folks," the people, which is buzzword for the common working class of Germany. This all comes from a leftist view of the world.


There are a lot more points to which I could reply.

But just taking these two examples:
- why, okie, do you think that 'capitalists' got such a huge influence in the NSDAP, where Hitler's advisers, where the winners of of Nazism?
- how do you get the idea that "folk" ('Volk') is a buzzwork for the common working class of Germany?
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Jun, 2009 01:08 am
@okie,
okie wrote:
Right wingers are free marketers and they believe in smaller and less intrusive government, and in the rights and responsibilities of individuals over the power of the State.


So you just declare the right to be left and have an argument.

I'm out here.
0 Replies
 
najmelliw
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Jun, 2009 03:14 am
Okie,

Re stroessner - Where you are quick to jump over his Nazist ideology and use it to underline your theories, you quickly dismiss his anti-communist attitude. You found evidence about his behavior vs. the church, thanks for that, but it should be noted that what you write seems to indicate that he viewed them as opponents. He didn't sport a special hatred for religion, he sported a hatred for opposition.

And then we come to his economic development of the country, and again, you think you have too little information. That has not stopped you before in seeking evidence for your theories. I stipulate that he stimulated economic growth, and wasn't trying to undermine it. Given the information at hand that seems fair enough.

Fascism, as far as I am concerned, is a right wing oriented regime. But that is not something I'm going to waste my breath on. You seem rather inflexible in your thinking about it, and the subject matter has been discussed exhaustively.


Finally, you claim that companies can do nothing more then make products and sell them, and so that it would matter little if they held power or not. But what exactly is in control of an individual? I stipulate it is that instance which provides him with the means to live. And in todays society, that means money. And that means that it is the companies who control them.
And if there is no system present that oversees the ways in which companies exert this control, abuse will undoubtedly ensue.

Just look at such things as child labor, or dangerous working conditions. Just look at the construction scandals in Singapore, where building companies, in an effort to cut costs and increase their profit margins, recklessly ignored the advice of safety engineers and build unsafe buildings, that eventually collapsed, killing many people.

And I'm sure the weapons industry, for instance, would work hard to make sure there was a market for their products. In other words, war.
The tobacco industry has pretty much lost the war now, but how long have they fought by trying to prove smoking isn't bad, but it's cool? How many indivuals have taken up smoking because of that?

And yet you seem to believe that this is a preferable form of society.

Left and right means little. Most dictators in the 20th century came to power because they had the desire and the opportyunity to do so, and almost everything they did afterwards was a means to make sure they couldn't be toppled from that position.

Hitler doesn't fit that bill though, and arguably Mao doesn't either, as it seems to me both were pretty much (however misguided it may be) idealists.
0 Replies
 
old europe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Jun, 2009 06:11 am
@okie,
okie wrote:
Okay, Duvalier has been discussed, I don't think he was a conservative at all, and I think he used left wing tactics and policies to become a dictator. It sounds like he was one screwed up guy.


That, right there, is the core of the problem with your argument. You're essentially saying that any right-wing ideologue who's using authoritarian measures to cement his power is really not a conservative, but a leftist.

Then again, you're objecting to George's observation that, according to your argument so far, the only way to a brutal authoritarian system would be through leftist ideologies - so maybe you can help me out here: how would a right-wing dictator come into power, if it wasn't through whatever you seem to sum up under "left wing tactics"? What would a right-wing dictator do to consolidate his power?

Also, just for reference: could you maybe name three dictatorships during the 20th century that you consider right-wing?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Jun, 2009 06:34 am
You guys are not going to get anything rational out of Okie. He continues to utterly ignore Marcos, the Somozas, Pinochet, Salazar--a raft of modern right-wing dictators. He's just not going to give up his goofy thesis, you might as well face it.
old europe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Jun, 2009 06:55 am
@Setanta,
Oh, I'd still like to see him explaining how all those guys were really communists. Or, alternatively, how a freedom-loving, small-government conservative would erect a dictatorship without using authoritarian measures (which would instantaneously make him a commie, as we know by now).

There still seems to be a lot of entertainment value in thread....
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Jun, 2009 06:58 am
@old europe,
If you want entertainment, go to the posts from a few years back in which he dissects Hitler psychologically, and comes to the conclusion that it is a combination of an unhappy childhood and an unhealthy devotion to leftist ideology which leads to dictatorship.

Of course, his insistence that the NSDAP and Hitler were leftists is pretty damned funny, although it's getting tedious by now.
old europe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Jun, 2009 07:13 am
@Setanta,
I kinda liked his line of reasoning when reminded that Hitler used to throw Communists and Social Democrats into jail or send them to the concentration camps. He essentially argued that that was no evidence that Hitler was not a Socialist because, as everybody knows, there's always infighting going on between leftists - see Stalin's Great Terror.

Apparently, no true right-wing dictator would ever come up with a plan to silence Communists and Socialists....
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Jun, 2009 07:22 am
You know the best example so far has been O'George's mention of Napoleon. (I'm rather shame-faced that he thought of it before i did, but don't tell him i said so, 'K?)

Napoleon's coup took place after the Directory had ended the revolution, and erected a counter-revolution in favor of the middle class. The jeunesse doré ran through the streets to beat up any known or even suspected revolutionaries. The right-wing government was already in place when Napoleon and his brother pulled off the coup.

The greatest monument to Napoleon's middle-class conservative values is the Napoleonic code.

But O'George's best remark was that it was all about the glorification of Napoleon. EB had a point that it takes not ideology, but fanaticism to created ruthless dictatorships, but O'George has hit upon a very important consideration, ruthless personal ambition. Napoleon had it, Hitler had it, Stalin had it--it probably is the most important factor.
0 Replies
 
najmelliw
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Jun, 2009 07:24 am
@old europe,
Of course no right wing dictator ever could come up with such a plan, because first of all, apparently the breed is more rare then polar bears at the equator, and secondly, any plan to silence the communists and socialists would involve using the power of the government to intrude on individuals lives... Which means he's not really a right wing dictator at all, but a left wing one.

I think Tom Hanks in Cast Away was a true Right Wing dictator, since he ruled over a peace of land all by himself, with minimal intrusion of the government in other people's lives, he pretty much left religion alone and he stimulated economic growth, although little came of it.
Plus he had a normal childhood, at least if we leave Forest Gump out of it.
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Jun, 2009 07:52 am
@OmSigDAVID,
Quote:
All that is required to produce ruthless dictators is the opportunity.

the opportunity + sufficient motivation


There is quite sufficient motivation out there. In fact, if the Darwinians can be assumed to be talking scientifically rather than through their pockets, it is built into our biological structure and it is only your Christian consciousness which leads you to qualify opportunity and your assumption that it is shared.

What might be added is courage.

To the extent that the Christian consciousness is diminished the more ruthless dictators there will be. If it vanishes altogether ruthless dictators will be coming out of the woodwork dictating every aspect of your life. What could Hitler have done without a bunch of wannabee ruthless dictators in every official position beneath him.

People who only understand "grand events" and sweep across years of time with their facile generalities, which serve only to boost their own pride, know nothing of history. They can lead one to imagine that had Hitler's Dad been practicing coitus interruptus on one particular afternoon everything in the garden would have been rosy.

When we had a strike of petrol delivery drivers, emergency regulations were announced which resulted in ruthless dictators from 5 separate government agencies appearing on every forecourt in the land. Drunk with power most of them. I saw them myself. Fighting like rats in a sack over nitpicks of 5 separate sets of incomprehensibe and contradictory instructions. The garage owner rang me up when they all went for dinner and I tootled round and filled up.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Jun, 2009 09:26 am
@okie,
okie wrote:
...I would say the majority of intrusive and controlling governments are left. They actually are by definition. I would not say 100%, but by definition, leftists are strong on using the State, in all kinds of ways, one of the primary ones is economic, controlling the means of production and profits. Free marketers simply do not do that, and face it, I wonder if that is where the government's power primarily is found, by controlling commerce?

Then there isn't any basis for debate, because you've defined your terms in some outré manner.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  2  
Reply Sat 6 Jun, 2009 12:20 pm
In Okie's defense, there is some truth in the proposition that in the recent (say the past century) of human civilization a number of political/economic movements, mostly arising out of some form of leftist (in our political terms) Marxism , have arisen, all involving mostly misguided attempts at reforming the mass behavior and thinking of people and nearly all fairly quickly degenerating into authoritarian repressive regimes that largely failed to deliver on their promises.

The question here is was the oppression that resulted a consequence of the leftist orientation of their political/economic doctrine; or some other feature of the underlying philosophy; or the specific behavior of the leaders involved (lenin, Stalin, Mao, etc.); some unique circumstances that existed in the places where these events occurred; or some combination of these factors ? In effect Okie is asserting either that the unhappy result was a consequence solely of the "leftist" orientation of the political philosophy involved, which either itself led to the tyranny or merely enabled the tyrants to come to power.

This is a fairly big unsubstantiated leap in terms of the other possibilities enumerated, and Okie has offered nothing with which to bridge it. Moreover it flies in the face of many readily available facts and counter examples.

Though he hasn't done so, Okie could also have inquired whether what would be called today right wing political and economic doctrines could also enable or lead to such "oppressive dictatorships. He appears to be asserting that individual freedom is a necessary, essential component of all right wing (or merely non-leftist) political doctrines -- or at least the subset of them that he is talking about. This is an important point in that, as several other posters here have pointed out, there are numerous examples of what would conventionally be called right wing political doctrines (i.e. those emphasizing private ownership of property, individual enterprise; and the rule of law) that have themselves resulted in equally oppressive dictatorships. Okie's response is, as in the case of Hitler, to explain that he was really some kind of crypto socialist; or to explain that as a dictatorship the result, by definition, could not possibly be right wing -- in effect begging the question and justifiably frustrating other posters here.

The fact is that even in the last two centuries (thus including Napoleon) there are numerous examples of such right wing tyrants, many already cited by others in this thread. Okie has fended these exaples off by saying either that they weren't really right wing; or that they were exceptions to the rule; or that they were too long ago --- none of these arguments have proved persuasive.

Setanta has brought another (and better I believe) distinction & taxonomy into focus -- namely the real governing motives of those in power and the specific things they did in exercising it. These, unfortunately are not revealed by their rhetoric or political slogans, but rather, as Setanta illustrated, by the often tedious examination of their lives and actions amidst the contradictions of life and history.

This is understandably not very satisfying for one in search of a simple formula for winning political debates -- a motivation that appears to contribute to Okie's views as expressed here. I believe the essential point here is that there are no such simple, truthful and enduring formulas. That's why we argue so much on these political threads and do so only rarely really understanding each other.
 

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