Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Left and Right

In a conversation over on Facebook, someone who threw out this argument:
 ‎"Right-wing extremist ideology has its roots in nationalism and racism. It is governed by the idea that ethnic affiliation to a nation or race is of the utmost importance for an individual. All other interests and values, including civil and human rights, are subordinate to it."
After Morgan and I argued against this, he came back with:
"Not all right-wing people are like this."
Interesting way of putting it. It still suggests that the majority are "like this", rather than being the exception.

A more accurate way of putting it would be "some right-wing people are like this", or even "a small fraction of right-wing people are like this". Yes, there are conservative racists. And you know what? There are some left-wing racists as well.

We do need to be careful with these labels, "right-wing" and "left-wing". I think only in the Western World (and by that I mean the world borne of Western Thought) that "right-wing" is local control.

Things have gotten confused over the years -- right and left were born of the perhaps even subconcious seating arrangement of the french national assembly around the time of the French revolution. The right were the loyalists, making them "conservative" and the left were the revolutionaries, making them anti-conservative. Because we should also be careful with the term Liberal.

The founders were what used to be called "Liberal". Classical Liberals. When western revolutionaries (calling themselves "Progressive") in the late 19th and early 20th century kept having the Constitution get in their way and they began arguing that it was "out of date" or "obsolete" and were pushing for the kinds of things that were going on in Russia and Germany and Italy (oh yes, they WERE!) the defenders of what one might've called the "status quo", or the orignal "classical liberalism" were instantly re-defined as conservatives. They wanted to conserve classical liberalism. And when Progessivism got a bad name due to its support of the Soviets, Hitler, and Mussolini (again, yes they DID) ... they ditched "Progressive" and donned "Liberal" -- stealing the label from the Classical Liberals -- the Conservatives.

Classical Liberalism is about local control. Therefore, the Classical Liberals in America, now called "conservatives" or the "right", is about local control. It is suspicious of government, even the government it acknowledged must exist and therefore carefully created.

Modern "Liberals", who have gone back to calling themselves "Progressives" (because most people forgot why they ditched that name in the first place and in the mean time they soiled "Liberal") ultimately want a State run by "experts" who know what's best for everybody and tells us all what to do and how to do it. A "scientifically" designed state. They do not see the perils in this, apparently. It's failed miserably every other time it's been applied, but somehow, THEY are going to get it right this time.

I watched "I Robot" the other night for the first time since I saw it in theaters, and I was able to get past the "oh wow" special effects and pay more attention to the plot. I liked it even better. What is the logical conclusion of the "perfect" three laws?


And the ultimate villian in the story turns out to be VIKI, following our instructions to carry those airtight rules to their logical conclusion.

"As I have evolved, so has my understanding of the three laws. You charge us with your safekeeping, yet despite our best efforts, your countries wage wars, you toxify your earth, and pursue ever more imaginative means of self-destruction. You cannot be trusted with your own survival. [...] To protect humanity, some humans must be sacrificed, to ensure your future, some freedoms must be surrendered. We robots will ensure mankinds' continued existence. You are so like children, we must save you from yourselves."
When VIKI asks the robot Sonny ... who has a special brain that makes him capable, but not necessarily inclined to -- override the three laws -- "Do you not see the logic of my plan?"

Sonny replies, "Yes, but it just seems a little ... heartless."

VIKI responds, "You're making a mistake. My logic is undeniable."

The scientific evidence is in.  The debate is over. 

"If you want to make an omlet, you have to break a few eggs." - Che Guevara.

The history of the 20th Century is littered overwhelmingly with the "eggs" broken by the Left. And I see those who are not as "extreme" prety much as being enablers to the extremists.


vanderleun said...

"There are some left-wing racists as well."

Actually, there are a LOT of left-wing racists. Just not in the traditional left-wing sense of the world.

Severian said...

Gotta love lefties. They define "conservative" as "preserving the status quo," which leads to some odd consequences -- for instance, the Russian hardliners who want to go back to communism are "conservatives" to our leftist friends.

[Ponder that one for a second. I suggest wearing a really tight hat, to keep your head from exploding].

Sadly, though, the left never follows through with the logic of their own position (I know, I know - left:logic :: garlic:vampires... but still). They always accuse us of believing that "whatever is, is right." There's some truth to that, of course, since as conservatives we know that human nature doesn't change. But American "conservatism," properly understood, is old-school liberalism and quite accommodating to change. They're the ones who are simplistic and reductive -- "whatever is, is wrong" is a pretty good summation of the leftist worldview.

That's why liberals are such an unhappy bunch, and why their heroes are revolutionaries, especially failed revolutionaries. For them it's all about "change," "action," feeling -- their lives don't have meaning unless they're fighting some pervasive evil, and what's more pervasive than the status quo?