Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

progressivecitizen

Looking for a set of responses

Recommended Posts

5 hours ago, splunch said:

I did not say that Liberalism means people are indoctrinated.  I said that it is not supposed to.  I said that Liberals are not defined by a set of beliefs but by the capacity for free thinking, a belief in personal freedom, an openness to consider new ideas and the ability to analyze things critically.

 

I know very well what "librul" has come to mean as dirt bags like Rush Limbaugh have flogged it relentlessly for decades.  I say that Liberal does not mean what Rush Limbaugh says it means.  I say that Rush Limbaugh and the radical right purposely conflated Liberals (free thinking people) with leftists.  They equated Liberals with commies, basically, in order to discredit anyone who does not vote GOP.  Plenty of ignorant Americans will vote GOP, clearly against their own economic interests, because they absolutely will not vote for a communist...and a Liberal and a communist are the same thing in Limbaugh Land.

 

The thing is, that's complete h0rsesh!t.

 

They made it easy for ignorant people to choose.  You can either choose commies or real Murkins.  That's it.  Nothing else.  The entire moderate majority is effectively split and the elections are driven by red herrings that appeal only to the extremes.  This has happened despite the fact that most Americans are pretty moderate.  Or at least, they were.

 

The same conservative propaganda machine that has been running out over talk radio and then Fox News for decades has steadily pushed the right wing ideology, especially free market fundamentalism and something like divinity for wealthy people.  This is why we are moving so hard to the right the last 20-30 years.

 

As you pointed out, the opposite of Liberal is not right-wing fascism.  It's authoritarianism.  Freedom-crushing communism is just as anti-Liberal as fascism.  Open mindedness, free thinking, these are the essence of Liberalism.  The fact that free thinking people are more receptive to progress and are therefore more progressive in general than avowed right-wingers is not because there is anything left-wing about Liberalism.  And if a radical left wing were more powerful in America, adhering to a left-wing dogma of some sort, some sort of communist extreme, then Liberals might have been conflated with right-wingers in order to discredit and disenfranchise them.

 

The point is, free thinking people who want fairness, equality, decency, happiness, democracy...they are the vast majority of Americans and yet because of the political noise of our Zeitgeist, somehow we view our elections and our choices as being between right-wing Bilderberg plutocrats pursuing the alchemy of turning blood into cash, and lazy, shiftless, unwashed, commie hippies trying to steal hard-earned money from decent hard-working people.

 

If Americans ever regain their senses and moderate, reasonable, decent Liberalism takes hold of the mainstream again, despite the fact that you cannot sell it in 140 characters or less, the radicals will be the ones who are marginalized, as they should be, according to the numbers.


But you're also excluding the main definition of liberal, leaving only 'free thinking' or the Republican 'commie' which you reject, and not recognizing the primary definition today, of the American 'left' politics - which is neither communist nor simply 'free thinking'.

 

There are 'free thinking' liberals and liberals who aren't so 'free-thinking'. For example, if someone strongly supports civil rights or labor rights because they benefit from them, it might lead them to be a 'liberal' but not so much for 'free-thinking' reasons.

 

In more liberal political periods in the country, 'liberal' was more 'mainstream', sometimes with even Republicans largely giving lip service to the policies; in today's plutocracy, there is a strong plutocratic factions that runs things, even if they don't admit it, with much of the country demonizing 'liberals' as commies or whatever, as you said.


The problem is, you're not just denying 'liberal' as the Republican demonized version, which you're right to to. You're also wanting to deny liberal as left at all, and to revert to a more ancient definition which would be quite different that its modern actual meaning in American politics - something Republicans like to do when not just demonizing it.

 

Just as liberals could point out the difference between 19th century conservatives such as Edmund Burke and today's plutocrats who call themselves conservatives.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, bludog said:

 

Neither were any of the other nations that had dictators and called themselves communist.  I tried to convey that in my earlier post.[/quote]'

 

I'm not going to defend communism or its history of going to authoritarianism - it seems to me one of its fundamental issues is the pressure to develop 'elites' and injustice, just as our own system has a fundamental problem of moving to plutocracy.

 

But I think the story is more complicated.

 

One way in how much the west has pushed communism into that direction. The Soviet revolution from day one had the west trying to overthrow it - the US sent Marines into Russia to fight soon after the revolution, which most Americans don't know - and they quickly were fighting for their revolution against the world.

 

Powerful forces in the US made 'Bolshevism' the great evil in the world to fight, not because it was yet Stalinist evil - he wasn't in charge yet - but because it threatened the plutocrats (the other royal rulers who had been related to the Czar's family, and US business interests). They were terrified of the people in the west also revolting against oppression.

 

Another is how, then, the rest of the WWII allies dragged their feet in WWII so that Russia bore the huge brunt of the war with Hitler, losing 20 million, always promising to launch a European attack but delaying a long time letting Russia weaken the Nazis until they finally launched D-day - and then immediately starting the cold war.

 

Western leaders even during the war had made the Soviets into the great threat to the west, claiming the Soviets had a plan for global domination and claiming basically anything was justified against the Soviets, creating the cold war tensions that hurt so many. That helped further push the USSR into authoritarianism rather than an era of peace.

 

The Soviets understandably, given the history, desperately wanted a ring of protection against an invasion, and installed regimes under their control in countries surrounding them, and the west did the rest of turning the world into a global conflict where every nation was pressured to 'choose sides'.

 

For example, the Cuban missile crisis followed the US putting nuclear missiles on the Soviets' border in Turkey - it was ok for us to put missiles on their border, but not for them to put missiles on ours, that justified nuclear war. Kennedy knew how weak that double standard was and got a big victory with Kruschev backing down, to Kruschev's credit.

 

Another way it's more complicated is, for example, that I met a man in the US from Yugoslovia, as a repairman, and when he started to tell me of the history of his country, he seemed ready to cry saying how happy the country had been, with everyone caring about everyone else, a strong community, singing songs.

 

You don't hear about that much, but the idea of communism not having any chance of being anything but oppressive communism seems unproven, despite the horrible history in the largest cases such as Stalin and Mao, and inherent problems in the system - as we're seeing in the purportedly socialist Venezuela today.

 

(Cuba would also fit into the narrative of a leader who had long seen suffering at the hands of the west, creating an authoritarian regime to withstand massive war on it by the US.)

 

The fact that communists and liberals - especially progressives - overlap on some issues from caring about literacy to wanting universal healthcare (Cuba had been the leader to the south of the US in providing healthcare) doesn't mean liberals have communisms' flaws, depsite right-wing lies claiming they're the same.

 

For example, Reagan before he was in politics being hired by the AMA to be their national spokesman opposing the creation of Medicare, saying that Medicare would destroy freedom in the US, making us socialist (like the communists).

 

 

 

4 hours ago, bludog said:

 

 

The dictatorship of Stalin was probably the most extreme negative example out of all communist countries. [/quote]

 

I'd argue Mao gets that title - and others competed on a smaller scale such as Pol Pot.

 

4 hours ago, bludog said:

 

Still, a lot was learned about this individual's views, while he was here.  Eventually, after all the theoretical bullshlt, his real ambition became gradually more apparent ....   To be one of the authoritarian rulers once communism was in place.  He had no intention whatsoever of becoming a worker.

 

A fundamental flaw in communism is that it both preserves the 'plutocracy' problem, replacing wealth with political connections for an elite class, while also stripping wealth past the point of combating plutocracy to remove reward for good performance too much crippling the economy.

 

It relies too much on expecting people to simply be so patriotic and caring about others, that they'll labor for society's benefit, and it demands that so much that it becomes pretty

oppressive in trying to enforce it, with people motivated more to pretend to agree to escape punishment.

 

One last point is the interesting note how communism has evolved.

 

Russia and China have both officially denounced their histories of Stalin and Mao respectively and taken steps to prevent recurrance, and evolved.

 

China in particular has changed to a state that is competing pretty damn well against the US - its ability to have strong government planning of goals for the country is enabling it to do things like invest to become the world leader in the industry of green technology while the US is crippled in its ability to compete by the fossil fuel companies buying our government.

 

We're facing great competition this century from China while we protect billionaires instead of having a more competitive economy. China is going around the world investing in infrastructure and construction, preparing to surpass our economy. We're about to lose our position of world leadership to them as we get weaker.

 

We're seeing record inequality and for the first time shorter lifespans in the US in trends that only appear to be continuing indefinitely and are expected to get worse.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, splunch said:

I think the message in all of my hot air is that Liberals have to be careful they do not become the thing they fight against (authoritarian), and resigned to the fact that moderate, reasonable, decent human beings don't sell very well on Twitter, Fox News, MSNBC, or anywhere else.  Support for moderate Liberals cannot really happen anywhere else but online, because there isn't any money in it.  Unless maybe we all get business cards with naked girls on them or something.  We are not losing.  It just sounds like we are because the radicals are such loudmouths.  But they're vastly outnumbered.  

 

Maybe a massive moderate get-out-the-vote campaign targeting the political primaries would accomplish something good here.

 

Equating Fox and MSNBC is yet another right-wing point, and 'moderate, reasonable decent' human beings sell quite well on MSNBC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, laripu said:

 

Right. There's a subculture in the US that wants dictatorship, and the Republicans gave it space and comfort through the tea party. Now it's starting to feel it's bones.

 

Here's what's coming: they will start to say that Democracy is another failed collectivist/socialist idea like Communism, Naziism, fascism etc.

 

You see: now that they've demonized the word socialism, they're going to use that to demonize democracy.

 

More than that, I'd suggest that most of the right-wing voters have simply got caught up in a sort of 'desire to win at any price' where they are blinded to right and wrong and who they're really supporting, and simply 'cheering' for their side against the 'enemy' of Democrats. They're oblivious to the harm they're supporting. It's a sort of con-man psychology.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, bludog said:

 

They've already started.  One of the Republican talking points is correct anyone that uses the word 'Democracy' saying, 'It's NOT a Democracy;  It's a Republic';  Often followed by some epithet.  I usually use the phrase 'Representative Government' instead.

 

 

It's rather amazing and appalling how often this comes up in this country not understanding its own roots.

 

The point to democracy is for the people to have power - the artificial power of a vote - in contrast to a small minority holding power over most, rulers they did not choose. It doesn't matter whether it's a representative democracy or a direct democracy on the issue, the point is the people ruling themselves rather than not having the power to do so.

 

The only type of democracy that has ever ruled more than a city is representative democracy, and the Republicans' point is irrelevant, misguided, and wrong.

 

When they challenge the word democracy on the technical issue, ignoring the fact that 'democracy' is a broader term that includes republic and is used the way I describe above, and has been by every US president, they're trying to distort the word.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great post.  Lots of good information.

 

42 minutes ago, Craig234 said:

China in particular has changed to a state that is competing pretty damn well against the US - its ability to have strong government planning of goals for the country is enabling it to do things like invest to become the world leader in the industry of green technology while the US is crippled in its ability to compete by the fossil fuel companies buying our government.

 

Totalitarian governments can always get more done, faster, than representative governments;  Especially if they have leaders with foresight who are not totally invested in misusing their power to steal as much as they can, for themselves and their families.  In addition to the wheels of the Democratic process grinding slow, progress in the US is definitely being held back by our conversion to Plutocracy.

 

42 minutes ago, Craig234 said:

I'm not going to defend communism or its history of going to authoritarianism - it seems to me one of its fundamental issues is the pressure to develop 'elites' and injustice, just as our own system has a fundamental problem of moving to plutocracy.

 

But I think the story is more complicated.

- snip -

 

The story is more complicated as you demonstrate.  We in the West and especially the US have played a major role in the global failure of Communist states, partly by pushing them to authoritarian excess.  And we pushed them to compete with us.  If we had been more receptive and less punitive, we would probably have a better world to live in today.

 

But I must contend that the so-called Communist states would never have transitioned to true Communism.  China is an example.  True Communism including the disappearance of dictators, as envisioned by Marx, Lenin and Trotsky, et al, is incompatible with human nature, which is territorial and demands some minimal ownership. 

 

In addition, I was not trying to paint Communism as universally oppressive, although I did use an example of oppression, trying to make the point that Communism is not a branch of Liberalism.  Egalitarian ideals are shared by both, but they differ in extent and how to achieve them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, Craig234 said:

More than that, I'd suggest that most of the right-wing voters have simply got caught up in a sort of 'desire to win at any price' where they are blinded to right and wrong and who they're really supporting, and simply 'cheering' for their side against the 'enemy' of Democrats. They're oblivious to the harm they're supporting. It's a sort of con-man psychology.

 

That and tribalism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, bludog said:

But I must contend that the so-called Communist states would never have transitioned to true Communism.  China is an example.  True Communism including the disappearance of dictators, as envisioned by Marx, Lenin and Trotsky, et al, is incompatible with human nature, which is territorial and demands some minimal ownership. 

 

In addition, I was not trying to paint Communism as universally oppressive, although I did use an example of oppression, trying to make the point that Communism is not a branch of Liberalism.  Egalitarian ideals are shared by both, but they differ in extent and how to achieve them.

 

Oh, I agree. The communists think they would transition to 'real communism', but as I said, there are inherent flaws in the system in the way of that. But as we both said, we've made it a lot worse than it needs to be. Democracy is horribly fragile, always under attack by some group trying to gain advantage whether a communist party or the most wealthy or a royal family.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Craig234 said:

 

Equating Fox and MSNBC is yet another right-wing point, and 'moderate, reasonable decent' human beings sell quite well on MSNBC.

 

I am not arguing that people do not use the word liberal to refer to the American left.  But are liberals communists?  Socialists?  No, they aren't.   Well...some of them are, right?  In fact, if you try to lay down a platform that defines what a liberal is, you cannot do it.  Because being a liberal is NOT about being left, or right.  It is about thinking, no matter what Rush Limbaugh says or how perverted it becomes in its everyday use.  And I personally reject anyone's attempt to identify themselves as a Liberal if all they are is a dogma machine, no matter where they are on the spectrum.  If my views on the term Liberal are ancient and unacceptable, fine.  Let's just refer to The Enlightenment, to Classical Greece, to the origins of the Liberal thinking that is embodied in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  Call it whatever you want.  It is rightly called Liberal, though.

 

Fox is obviously more overt, more over the top, and more stupid.  But the fact is MSNBC shills for the DNC with the same cheerleader consistency as Fox does for the GOP.  I can see that, because criticism of MSNBC doesn't worry me.

 

MSNBC fired Phil Donahue for opposing the Iraq war.  How the hell is criticizing that a right-wing point??

 

I won't be debated into some right-wing corner, you can forget that.  It won't happen because there isn't a right-wing bone in my body.  I support socialized medicine and education, unions (within reason), even trying a guaranteed income to free people up to become better human beings.  I support a progressive tax rate that peaks somewhere north of 75%.  And perhaps most importantly, I think using the U.S. military and U.S. tax dollars to prop up billionaires and corporations is a war crime, and people like Rumsfeld would be in jail in a different time, rightly so.

 

Is this a right-wing agenda I'm selling?  What you're confusing with right-wing is the one thing I have in common with right-wingers:  I don't agree with what the DNC is doing, because they're not fighting for these things even a little bit.  And that's exactly what Rush Limbaugh and the rest of those Josef Goebbels dirtbags did to Liberals in the 90's, in the opposite direction. 
 

So now my progressive, left-leaning agenda is marginalized, my voice is thrown out, because cheerleading DNC faithful can't abide any criticism of The Party.  Which means the Rush Limbaugh strategy has worked.  We are polarized.  We are split.  We have gone tribal.  And until reasonable people snap out of it we will keep being bamboozled into committing our national resources, including the lives of the poor, to efforts to kill people around the world who won't play ball with Koch and Haliburton and Exxon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, splunch said:

But the fact is MSNBC shills for the DNC with the same cheerleader consistency as Fox does for the GOP.  I can see that, because criticism of MSNBC doesn't worry me.

 

MSNBC fired Phil Donahue for opposing the Iraq war.  How the hell is criticizing that a right-wing point??[/quote]

 

I disagree with you about MSNBC 'shilling for the DNC' or being comparable to Fox - a network that was originally planned to be called "GOP TV". The fact that some hosts are pretty much always on the same side as Democrats isn't "shilling", or false as Fox is. Can there be some 'liberal bias'? Yes. Part of politics is things like values, not facts. I'm fine with that.

 

MSNBC itself is not 'liberal' as you note on its right-wing firing of Donahue. It's only airing liberal content as a business strategy, very reluctantly. They put a right-winger in charge who has been regularly firing liberals, and it's owned by the huge corporation Comcast. There's a lot of tension between the network and its liberal hosts.

 

 

4 hours ago, splunch said:

 

I won't be debated into some right-wing corner, you can forget that.  It won't happen because there isn't a right-wing bone in my body.  I support socialized medicine and education, unions (within reason), even trying a guaranteed income to free people up to become better human beings.  I support a progressive tax rate that peaks somewhere north of 75%.  And perhaps most importantly, I think using the U.S. military and U.S. tax dollars to prop up billionaires and corporations is a war crime, and people like Rumsfeld would be in jail in a different time, rightly so.

 

Is this a right-wing agenda I'm selling?  What you're confusing with right-wing is the one thing I have in common with right-wingers:  I don't agree with what the DNC is doing, because they're not fighting for these things even a little bit.  And that's exactly what Rush Limbaugh and the rest of those Josef Goebbels dirtbags did to Liberals in the 90's, in the opposite direction. 
 

So now my progressive, left-leaning agenda is marginalized, my voice is thrown out, because cheerleading DNC faithful can't abide any criticism of The Party.  Which means the Rush Limbaugh strategy has worked.  We are polarized.  We are split.  We have gone tribal.  And until reasonable people snap out of it we will keep being bamboozled into committing our national resources, including the lives of the poor, to efforts to kill people around the world who won't play ball with Koch and Haliburton and Exxon.

 

No, it's not a right-wing agenda. Sometimes progressives help the right-wing by choosing divisiveness over unity, refusing to vote for Democrats - my position is to fight for progressive nominees but almost always vote for the Democrat regardless - but that doesn't make them right-wing.


But I also disagree with you that the Democratic Party is doing 'nothing' for that agenda. There are reasons Bernie ran as a Democrat. Our progressive battle is to try to take over the Democratic Party, but in the meantime, there are many progressive Democrats - the Progressive Caucus is the largest in Congress - who support that agenda.

 

Our previous disagreement was just about the word liberal, where you seemed to limit its definitions to the classical and the Republican version, excluding the primary definition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Craig234 said:

No, it's not a right-wing agenda. Sometimes progressives help the right-wing by choosing divisiveness over unity, refusing to vote for Democrats - my position is to fight for progressive nominees but almost always vote for the Democrat regardless - but that doesn't make them right-wing.


But I also disagree with you that the Democratic Party is doing 'nothing' for that agenda. There are reasons Bernie ran as a Democrat. Our progressive battle is to try to take over the Democratic Party, but in the meantime, there are many progressive Democrats - the Progressive Caucus is the largest in Congress - who support that agenda.

 

The Democratic party platform is a thing of beauty.  But if it's just words without any teeth it's useless.  If the DNC will not fight for universal healthcare, will not fight to stop slaughtering poor people, and we are just going to keep feeding the war machine, the war profiteers, the bankers, when we have real problems that we could definitely solve if we weren't wasting our time making rich people richer...who cares?

 

I am deeply cynical and suspicious of most "progressive" Democrats, such as the flavor of the month, Kamala Harris.  The grip the DNC has on who rises within the party is certainly not absolute, but it is very tight, stretching all the way down to the local level.  Kamala's office looked at OneWest, found lots of evidence of widespread fraud and criminal activity, and then didn't prosecute despite strong recommendations from her own investigators, and provided no reason.

 

The lesser of two evils is still evil.  We have to have better than that.  We have to do better than people who will sell their own souls to keep their power, because why?  Because they're good people and that way they'll be in a position to do some good later on?  Except that now some banker owns your a$$, which is kind of a problem.

 

What we need is a properly moderate Liberal organization that takes the DNC agenda and holds people's feet to the fire, and collects dollars for political campaigns for people who have the backbone to not sell out because they're "realistic".  Pushing the platform, getting the information out there, mobilizing voters, assisting voters, and funding campaigns.  And also letting people know about things like Harris' business-as-usual, off-the-shelf blind eye for OneWest.

 

I mean, at some point it has to be not okay to totally violate every spirit of some of our most important laws in the name of protecting plutocrats, doesn't it?

 

Mind you, I didn't vote for Trump.  No way in hell I could ever do such a thing.  And the third parties all have some glaring WTF moments in their platform that I just cannot get behind.  The DNC platform is the one.  They got it right.  We need people who will run with it before we sell our own future out from under ourselves. 

 

Partisanship is exactly backwards.  Parties should police themselves.  Republicans should be critical of Republicans; this is your brand, your image, and if your peers act like dirt bags that reflects on you as a Republican, right?  That's how healthy people do things.  Instead, Republicans excuse anything Republicans do, and Democrats excuse anything Democrats do.  And so the most dysfunctional losers of the bunch end up defining the parties, who bend over backwards to rationalize their behavior.  Trump is easily the most obvious example, he's such a complete idiot, sends out such a volume of insanity, and yet the GOP has reconciled itself to doubling down on anything he does or says, because they want to win some more.

 

So now the GOP is being defined by Donald Trump, an amoral scumbag that nobody would have believed could ever be President 15 or even 10 years ago.  Who will define the DNC if they circle the wagons and play that GOP game?  It sure as hell won't be Elizabeth Warren, or some other decent, honest, hard-working actual Democrat.  Warren will be obliged to not question Harris about OneWest, which renders her impotent, if not complicit, in the machine.  

 

Is it too late?  Is that why nobody knows what's right or wrong and nobody knows what to do?  Because it doesn't matter, we've already mortgaged our entire future and there isn't any way out of this maze?  I suppose we'll find out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you didn't vote for Hillary, I think you made a big mistake, for all her flaws - and helped trump win, in principle if not fact depending on your state.

 

I watched Kamala Harris rise, and have shared your suspicions of her for doing so, as an 'annointed' Democratic politician, just as Obama was - but I've liked her in the Senate so far and will appreciate her good work there, while maintaining suspicion as she seems being pushed to run for president.

 

I've long told progressives to watch out that as progressives get powerful, we'll see a lot of phony progressives run.

 

I think this 'parties policing themselves' is a bit naive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is profoundly damaging to our political process to suggest that people do not have a right to participate in the political process by voting for a candidate they genuinely support.  This is the only way people have of expressing themselves politically, unless they're billionaires.  The political process in this country is not built to hang entirely on one election.  That's why we have three branches and a bicameral congress.  As should be apparent after the last 30-40 years, the long haul is much more important than any single election.  And as long as we are bamboozled into voting for the lesser of two evils, we will, quite logically, keep electing evil.  If people will not support them, they will not win, and the political discussion will shift.  Reasonable people have to speak up for their own interests in the polls or they will not be represented at any level.

 

That is what has happened.  That is more important than any election, even than whether Trump or Hillary wins one election in 2016.  It just is.  The damage done long term has been much, much worse than anything Trump has done.  Not to mention that lesser-of-two-evils voting is what created the climate in which Trump could succeed in the first place.

 

So that's my take on it.  I know Trump is really revolting so don't get me wrong.  But Obama was not your friend even though he was a statesman and a terrific politician.  If we don't start taking the long view as moderates and start clawing our way slowly back, what's the plan?  Keep losing ground slowly?  We're up against it at this point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...