6
   

Defining issues of today's politics / Left vs Right

 
 
okie
 
Reply Mon 16 Jan, 2006 05:19 pm
I'm starting this thread for the purpose of continuing a debate about Left vs. Right, primarily with Parados, but of course everybody should have an opinion. I've come up with 20 issues, more than the 10 I thought I could do this with. I wanted a round number. I can't guarantee that something important hasn't been forgotten. I realize all of these are inter-related to various extents, but I thought each listed issue was important enough to discuss by themselves. Hopefully we can agree on what the most important issues are before we start arguing about who is correct on a certain issue, so if you don't like my list, make a suggestion. So first pending good suggestions to my list on whether it is edited somewhat.

1. Size, Scope, and Power of Government
2. Economic Policy / Taxes
3. Defense / Terrorism
4. Foreign Policy / Trade
5. Social Security
6. Health Care
7. Welfare
8. Education
9. Energy
10. Civil Rights
11. Abortion
12. Illegal Immigration
13. Crime / Drug Policy
14. Environment
15. Religion & Government
16. Private Property Rights
17. Public Lands Policy
18. Organized Labor
19. Morality / Family Values
20. Gay Marriage
 
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Mon 16 Jan, 2006 09:46 pm
Explain again: what is the list is for?
0 Replies
 
okie
 
  0  
Reply Mon 16 Jan, 2006 10:48 pm
I was debating on another thread about Left vs. Right. Some were making the claim that there were no leftists anymore. I asserted things were going further left than ever and made an offhanded statement that Hubert Humphrey might be considered by some to be a right winger today, attempting to illustrate my point that politics has drifted further left. Among those jumping on that statement was Parados. After we went back and forth for a while, me citing my points of argument, him asserting I was not presenting any information to back my points. I admitted that Humphrey was a poor example, but maintained that Humphrey was distinctly more conservative than liberals of today. Meanwhile, the thread we were on was drifting far off the subject. My idea was to start a thread specifically to analyze left and right positions point by point, so that a clear pattern can be demonstrated for various politicians and administrations over the years. So I've proposed 20 issues on which we can make those judgements. Before even starting the arguments over the politicians, I am asking for further suggestions for issues that might be missing from my list?

By the way, I am not implying by the list an order of importance.

P. S. I've already noticed I forgot to include "Gun Control" as one issue, so that will need to be added. Any others?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2006 07:37 am
From the perspective of the rest of the world, although there is a leftist fringe in the United States, there is no left in politics. From that perspective, there are only relative statements about how far to the right an American politician might be. I agree wholeheartedly.

The first and only socialist government in North America was Tommy Douglas' CCF government in Saskatchewan (1947?). Tommy Douglas' legacy was Canadian Medicare (which means public health care in Canada, not just a medical program for retirees). The CCF--Cooperative Commonwealth Federation--was created in Canada after the Great War in response to labor strife and the collapse of agricultural prices. Tommy Douglas was a Baptitst minister who went about giving aid to those on strike or thrown out of work. He visited some miners who were on strike, and the following day, the RCMP shot down several miners, leaving three to bleed to death in the street. Douglas went into politics thereafter.

The Tories (conservatives) blasted the CCF and constantly reacted with hysteria. When the universal health care program was introduced in Saskatchewan, the doctors "went on strike." People became desparate, and one little girl died when her parents were forced to drive out of the province to find medical care, and failed to arrive in time. Initially, the people blamed Tommy Douglas and his political career seemed in ruins. Slowly, though, they realized that the doctors were at fault, and, eventually, the doctors caved in after a little more than two months, and Medicare in Canada was born. Since that time, Tommy Douglas has been inducted into the Candadian Doctor's Hall of Fame (don't know the correct titles for the Association).

The hysteria of the right eventually resulted in the CCF being branded communists. However, from the ruins of the CCF and some failed labor parties, the New Democratic Party was created. The NDP currently hold the hammer hand in Canadian politics. The Liberal government of Paul Martin was a minority government and was obliged to form a coalition with the NDP. The Tories (who now call themselves "Progressive Conservatives") have been gaining mightily in the polls in the run up to the election a week from now, but Steven Harper does not enjoy large public approval, and he would have a minority government if the Tories do win, which means he'd have to go to the NDP hat in hand. Jack Layton of the NDP is counting on that. Giles Duceppe and the Parti Québecois (often referred to, also, as the Bloc Québecois, or BQ) have as a basic plank of their platform the sovereignty of Québec. Despite their large numbers, nobody is going to attempt to form a government in coalition with them. Were it not for the sponsorship scandal, the issue at the election would be privatization of health care, which is what Martin is desparately trying to focus on. Given that that will be the agenda of the NDP (ending privatization), any Tory government will have to address the issue if it forms a coalition with the NDP. Hence, any Tory government will likely not last long. Prospects for the Liberals if they "win" are not much better, but they can work with the NDP much more easily than the Tories can. Liberal, in terms of the international political spectrum, means right of center.

The prime document of the CCF was The Regina Manifesto. Accused of being Bolsheviks at the time, the CCF was never able to shake the image of being tools of Moscow. Ironically, if one reads the Manifesto, one can see that many of the provisions have since been adopted in Canada, and are not all that different than measures taken in the United States.

There is no active left in American politics--the political results of the American Civil War and Tailgunner Joe McCarthy killed them off.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2006 07:44 am
One of the several points which ought to be obvious from my post is that to say politics in the United States are moving to the left is to say that they are moving toward the center.
0 Replies
 
parados
 
  2  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2006 08:44 am
A nice list to start from okie but it doesn't delineate right from left yet. For the most part your list is certainly not a pro/con list where if someone is for it they are left and against they are right.

1. Govt - This is a sliding scale that isn't just the size of government but I think deals mainly with philosophy of purpose. I wouldn't argue that conservatives are all against government even existing nor would I argue that liberal means that you want govt to provide everything.

We need a way to quantify each of the items that isn't true/false or yes/no. I propose we come up with 10 questions for each general topic that would find that center point. 5 that lean left and 5 that lean right. The questions must be balanced in the weight of each political direction. For instance you can't compare a left question of "Supports complete govt control of all industry" with "Thinks the military is the primary purpose of govt." One would be an extreme position and the other a moderate right position.


Secondly, the questions must be pretty unambiguous. "Thinks govt should stay out of people's lives" is too ambiguous since it doesn't define abortion vs business regulation and can be applied right or left.

Thirdly, when the question is applied to a person a supporting citation must be found where that person's position is clear. If no such citation can be found then the question can't be answered and can't apply. No guessing as to a person's position. If the question is anachronistic for an historical figure than it can't be applied. No claiming George Washington was for or against drilling in the Arctic since it was not an issue at that time.

Finally, we have to find some way of balancing a person's claimed position vs what they have done. Lets use George Bush as an example with the size of government. He claims to want smaller government but has increased the size of it. We need to be aware of political decisions made through need or compromise and compare them to claimed goals. Both stated ideals and actual acts should be used but we can't rely solely on one or the other. A stated goal that leans right but an act that leans left should be balanced and probably shows the person is more in the middle and willing to compromise his lean for expediency rather than changing his position.

I know there are a couple of tests out there you can take to find your political orientation but they are usually pretty subjective. Perhaps some of it could be modified to be applied objectively.
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2006 08:52 am
Although the title doesn't say it, I suppose, it's just about the USAmerican situation.

I agree with what Set said above, namely that politics in the USA is movening towards the center - seen from outsite and compared to the tiny part of the world, which isn't USA.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  2  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2006 08:54 am
Analysis of government policy (established against a "left/right" scale) by Keith Poole, Howard Rosenthal and Nolan McCarty demonstrate a significant shift rightward over the last half century such that Eisenhower looks (in the words of one economist) "a raving socialist" when compared to Clinton.
0 Replies
 
parados
 
  2  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2006 09:01 am
A starting point for left/right with the Nolan chart -

http://www.lairdwilcox.com/news/nolanchart.html

Quote:
Left/Liberals like personal choice in civil matters and central decision-making in economics. They want government to serve the disadvantaged and promote equality. Left/Liberals place high value on good intentions.
They accept diversity in social behavior but seek more equality in economics. They work with Libertarians in defending civil liberties and with Socialists in advancing economic central planning.


Right/Conservatives like personal choice in economics and central decision-making in civil matters. They want government to defend the community from threats to it's moral fiber. Right/Conservatives place high value on laws and legislation.
They accept diversity in economics but seek similarity in social behavior. They work with Libertarians in defending economic freedoms and with Populists in enforcing community standards in social matters.
0 Replies
 
parados
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2006 09:05 am
More reading to help get us started

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_spectrum

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-Right_politics
0 Replies
 
parados
 
  2  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2006 09:07 am
I love this quote. Boy did Orwell have get this one correct

Quote:
George Orwell once argued that the difficulty in classifying Left versus Right is due in part to the propensity for nascent factions of an ideology to be disavowed and labeled as being on the opposing side of the left-right divide by their erstwhile comrades
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2006 10:48 am
The terms left and right come from the National Assembly during the early months of the French Revolution. In October, 1789, the King and the royal family were brought to Paris and installed in the Tuileries Palace. The National Assembly (derived from the Estates General, called in 1788 and assembled in late spring, 1789) was put into le Manège, the former riding school behind the Tuileries. From the platform on which the President's table was placed, the Girondists (non-monarchical republicans) were on the left, and Mirabeau's consitutional monarchists were on the right. But there were no extreme right-wing members--they had left after the tennis court oath in June, 1789, or they had joined the Austrians on the border and would someday help the invasion of France. Those whom we might consider the far left sat behind and above the "left" and "right," and were known as the Mountain. They would fuel the bloody slaughter of priests and aristocrats, and form the Committee of Public Safety which would turn the Terror into a tremendous blood-letting. The terms left and right were not precise even at the inception.

The terms liberal and conservative date to the late 1820's or early 1830's (don't recall exact dates when they first appeared in newspapers) at the time of Parliamentary reform in England. In 1819, there had been a massacre of would-be trades unionists at St. Peters Fields outside of Manchester, dubbed the "Peterloo Massacre" as a slur of Wellington, who was a leader the right-wing opposition to organized labor, and who had been the victor at Waterloo in 1815--he was held responsible, as the head of the army, for the attack on unarmed men, women and children by dragoons. This eventually lead to calls for parliamentary reform, at a time when fewer than 2% of adult males were eligible to vote. Those who favored reform and giving the working man the vote were termed liberal, and those opposed were termed conservative. But both sides had joined to oppose Napoleon and the French revolution, so that Liberal as a political term is actually a description of a centrist, and not anyone on the left.

The terms here are imprecise, and the concepts of what constitute left and right policies are equally fuzzy.

Returning to the Canadian elections, the right has played their last trump from the Liberal corruption deck, and the election is now becoming focused on what would have been the issues had there been no sponsorship scandal--universal health care and gun violence. I just thought i'd throw that in to piss off the conservatives here.
0 Replies
 
okie
 
  0  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2006 11:47 am
Well, I can see this isn't going to be easy. It is mind bending, and probably impossible to have much agreement. Since I started this thread, I presume I can try to define the issues, then what is left and right on those issues, and then take the arrows and try to dodge the. I realize the terms, left and right, vary in meaning with time and place, and depending on which historical or political "expert" you listen to. I further realize what I am up against here when
I read Setanta:

"From the perspective of the rest of the world, although there is a leftist fringe in the United States, there is no left in politics. From that perspective, there are only relative statements about how far to the right an American politician might be. I agree wholeheartedly.

and:
"One of the several points which ought to be obvious from my post is that to say politics in the United States are moving to the left is to say that they are moving toward the center. "

and from Walter Hinteler:
"Although the title doesn't say it, I suppose, it's just about the USAmerican situation.
I agree with what Set said above, namely that politics in the USA is movening towards the center - seen from outsite and compared to the tiny part of the world, which isn't USA. "


and from blatham:
"Analysis of government policy (established against a "left/right" scale) by Keith Poole, Howard Rosenthal and Nolan McCarty demonstrate a significant shift rightward over the last half century such that Eisenhower looks (in the words of one economist) "a raving socialist" when compared to Clinton. "

Before starting this, I don't think it is logical to argue this from a world perspective. After all, we have our own Constitution and we are a nation of our own traditions and laws, and unless we scrap those, I think those should provide the basic framework for comparison, instead of bringing in how the Soviets or the Swedes or Germans might think for example as part of the equation. And another red flag to me is that a historian can analyze Eisenhower as a raving socialist. Thats a bit troubling, because I just recently read an article in an old Saturday Evening Post, written by Ike himself, the title of which was "Why I am a Republican." After I read his carefully explained philosophy, I felt he was my guy for sure, a conservative on pretty much every point as myself.

With all of that said, here goes with the 21 issues ( I added one to the 20):
1. Size, Scope, and Power of Government
2. Economic Policy / Taxes
3. Defense / Terrorism
4. Foreign Policy / Trade
5. Social Security
6. Health Care
7. Welfare
8. Education
9. Energy
10. Civil Rights
11. Abortion
12. Illegal Immigration
13. Crime / Drug Policy
14. Environment
15. Religion & Government
16. Private Property Rights
17. Public Lands Policy
18. Organized Labor
19. Morality / Family Values
20. Gay Marriage
21. Gun Control


Now, without muddying up the above list, here is my assessment of left vs. right, first overall, then for each of the above:
Right means as much personal responsibility and freedom as possible, while Left means more government overseeing the welfare of the public, which inherently is at the expense of some of our rights and responsibilities. As someone said, I think Eisenhower, "freedom without responsibility" is doomed to failure. So for freedom to endure, we must be personally and morally responsible.

Now for each point:
1. Left is bigger government to oversee most societal activities. Right is minimal government, to include defense, police protection, international trade, etc.
2. Left is more governmental control in commerce and higher taxes. Right is more free market and lower taxes.
3. This is a tough one, but in today's world, Left is more of world view and working through international organizations and means, while Right is for stronger defense, a stronger military, to defend our own national interest.
4. Pretty much similar to above. On trade, it is even murkier to me, but Right is for open and free trade worldwide.
5. Social Security is already a left policy, but Left would be to expand and raise tax if necessary to carry the program on. Right would be to continue the program but to look for innovative incentives to make the program more self directed and more efficient.
6. Health Care - Left is for complete government oversight and management of this industry, while Right pulls for as much individual choice and responsibility for their own health care.
7. Welfare - Left means more, while Right wants more personal responsibility.
8. Left means more federal control of education. Right means less, and more local control.
9. Left means less oil and gas drilling and more government research spending. Right means more free market solutions, let the cream rise to the top in a free market philosophy.
10. Civil Rights - both give lip service and believe in it. The Left believes in numerous remedial programs to right the wrongs of the past, while the Right believes that reverse inequality now only propagates the problem. The left believe in "group rights," while the Right believes in individual equal rights.
11. Abortion - Left is for it, Right is against.
12. Illegal Immigration - Left and Right a bit intermixed here, but generally, Left is tolerant while Right advocates a strong stand against it.
13. Crime / Drugs - Left more liberal. Right strongly against.
14. Environment - Left for extreme measures at any cost while Right is more measured and try to work with free market forces as a balance with environmental safeguards.
15. Religion and government - Left for removing all religious reference, while Right wishes to recognize existing tradition.
16. Private Property Rights - Left for less, Right stands firmly for.
17. Public Lands Policy - Left to close off and protect all they can, while Right favors the traditional multiple use policies.
18. Labor, Left favors group organizations and agendas. Right favors individual choice and weaker unions.
19. Morality / Family Values - Left is less emphasis on traditional family structures, more government child care, etc. Right emphasizes the traditional family.
20. Gay Marriage - Left for, Right against.
21. Guns - Left for more control, Right against more control.

I gave it my best shot. I don't see this going anywhere. When I get time, I will attempt to evaluate Humphrey according to the above, and compare to today.
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2006 11:52 am
You might want to compare Eisenhower's positions on a number of those points to those of the American Democratic and Republican parties today.

I suspect Eisenhower would have a hard time finding someone to vote for himself these days.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  2  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2006 11:55 am
lots of really interesting but totally worn out cliches. used as definitons;
Starting with point 1.
1. "Left is bigger government to oversee most societal activities. Right is minimal government, to include defense, police protection, international trade, etc."

The policies of the "conservative" republicans since Eisenhower have been expansion of both the role and actual size of government in the US of A, increased regulation, greater infringement on personal liberty and few opportunities for the lower and middle classes.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  2  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2006 11:56 am
Eisenhower was defined by the conservative right wing of his party as a Communist.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2006 12:02 pm
okie wrote:
Before starting this, I don't think it is logical to argue this from a world perspective. After all, we have our own Constitution and we are a nation of our own traditions and laws, and unless we scrap those, I think those should provide the basic framework for comparison, instead of bringing in how the Soviets or the Swedes or Germans might think for example as part of the equation.


That you don't see the benefit of seeing where the U.S. and its political parties fit on a global scale is puzzling. Knowing that your choices are right and further right is something Americans should understand more clearly.
0 Replies
 
okie
 
  0  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2006 12:03 pm
Here come the arrows. I knew it would happen. Oh well. You are already confirming part of my hypothesis without knowing it. Bush is not a conservative on many issues. And remember Eisenhower ran against Stevenson. It was Stevenson that was a big spending liberal socialist, not Eisenhower. Eisenhower was criticized for not doing much, just playing golf. I think we need more presidents that don't start more programs.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2006 12:04 pm
okie wrote:
Before starting this, I don't think it is logical to argue this from a world perspective.


Given that this site has an international membership, that's a pretty silly position to take.
0 Replies
 
okie
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2006 12:05 pm
ehBeth wrote:
okie wrote:
Before starting this, I don't think it is logical to argue this from a world perspective. After all, we have our own Constitution and we are a nation of our own traditions and laws, and unless we scrap those, I think those should provide the basic framework for comparison, instead of bringing in how the Soviets or the Swedes or Germans might think for example as part of the equation.


That you don't see the benefit of seeing where the U.S. and its political parties fit on a global scale is puzzling. Knowing that your choices are right and further right is something Americans should understand more clearly.


Some of you people here are exposing your true colors. I happen to like our own country, and our own laws. Why don't you move to Germany or the Netherlands if you like it better over there?
 

Related Topics

Obama '08? - Discussion by sozobe
Let's get rid of the Electoral College - Discussion by Robert Gentel
McCain's VP: - Discussion by Cycloptichorn
McCain is blowing his election chances. - Discussion by McGentrix
Food Stamp Turkeys - Discussion by H2O MAN
The 2008 Democrat Convention - Discussion by Lash
Snowdon is a dummy - Discussion by cicerone imposter
GAFFNEY: Whose side is Obama on? - Discussion by gungasnake
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Defining issues of today's politics / Left vs Right
Copyright © 2020 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 05/31/2020 at 01:58:26