Thursday, March 20, 2014

I Am Fed Up


So, Tuna's post from the other day really made me think about a few things. For one, how did we, as a nation, get so polarized?

It seems to me that there are four major political groups in the country at the moment: liberals, conservatives, libertarians and everybody else. 
You might equate liberal with Democrat and conservative with Republican. In some cases you'd be right, but not always.

The libertarian category tends to confuse me, depending on who I'm reading (or talking to) who espouses those particular beliefs. What I generally walk away thinking is "anarchists". Which is probably right in very few cases, wrong in most.


The "everybody else" category are a mixture of the first three, they may fall all over the political spectrum depending on the issue at hand. They will vote for the candidate who best represents what they support. Usually there is no one that fits that bill, so they choose the "lesser of two evils" or they stay at home on Election Day. Sometimes these folks have no clue as to what the issues are. They may vote a particular way because that's the way their parents voted or perhaps because a particular candidate just looks like them.


Here's what Wikipedia has to say about liberalism, conservatism and libertarianism:
Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally they support ideas such as free and fair elections, civil rights, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free trade, and private property.

Liberalism first became a distinct political movement during the Age of Enlightenment, when it became popular among philosophers and economists in the Western world. Liberalism rejected the notions, common at the time, of hereditary privilege, state religion, absolute monarchy, and the Divine Right of Kings. The 17th century philosopher John Locke is often credited with founding liberalism as a distinct philosophical tradition. Locke argued that each man has a natural right to life, liberty and property and according to the social contract, governments must not violate these rights. Liberals opposed traditional conservatism and sought to replace absolutism in government with representative democracy and the rule of law. The revolutionaries of the Glorious Revolution, American Revolution, segments of the French Revolution, and other liberal revolutionaries from that time used liberal philosophy to justify the armed overthrow of what they saw as tyrannical rule. The nineteenth century saw liberal governments established in nations across Europe, Spanish America, and North America. In this period, the dominant ideological opponent of liberalism was classical conservatism. During the twentieth century, liberal ideas spread even further, as liberal democracies found themselves on the winning side in both world wars. Liberalism also survived major ideological challenges from new opponents, such as fascism and communism. In Europe and North America, there was also the rise of social liberalism, which is related with social democracy in Europe. As such, the meaning of the word "liberalism" began to diverge in different parts of the world. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, "In the United States, liberalism is associated with the welfare-state policies of the New Deal program of the Democratic administration of Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt, whereas in Europe it is more commonly associated with a commitment to limited government and laissez-faire economic policies." Consequently in the U.S., the ideas of individualism and laissez-faire economics previously associated with classical liberalism, became the basis for the emerging school of right wing libertarian thought.
Conservatism as a political and social philosophy promotes retaining traditional social institutions. A person who follows the philosophies of conservatism is referred to as a traditionalist or conservative.

Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others, called reactionaries, oppose modernism and seek a return to "the way things were". The first established use of the term in a political context originated with François-René de Chateaubriand in 1818, during the period of Bourbon restoration that sought to roll back the policies of the French Revolution. The term, historically associated with right-wing politics, has since been used to describe a wide range of views. There is no single set of policies that are universally regarded as conservative, because the meaning of conservatism depends on what is considered traditional in a given place and time. Thus conservatives from different parts of the world—each upholding their respective traditions—may disagree on a wide range of issues.

Edmund Burke, an 18th-century politician who opposed the French Revolution but supported the American Revolution, is credited as one of the main theorists of conservatism in Great Britain in the 1790s. According to Quintin Hogg, the chairman of the British Conservative Party in 1959, "Conservatism is not so much a philosophy as an attitude, a constant force, performing a timeless function in the development of a free society, and corresponding to a deep and permanent requirement of human nature itself."
Libertarianism is a set of related political philosophies that uphold liberty as the highest political end. This includes emphasis on the primacy of individual liberty, political freedom, and voluntary association. It is an antonym of authoritarianism. Although libertarians share a skepticism of governmental authority, they diverge on the extent and character of their opposition. Different schools of libertarianism offer a range of views concerning the legitimate functions of government, while others contend that the state should not exist at all. For instance, minarchists propose a state limited in scope to preventing aggression, theft, breach of contract and fraud, while anarchists advocate its complete elimination as a political system. While some libertarians advocate laissez-faire capitalism and private property rights, such as in land and natural resources, others wish to abolish capitalism and private ownership of the means of production in favor of common or cooperative ownership and management.

Now as I read through those definitions above, I found bits and pieces in all three philosophies which I can embrace. In fact, sometimes I do. I'm a little bit liberal on some things, a little bit conservative on others and sometimes libertarian best describes my beliefs on some issues.

I think most people in this country are like that. But it's the howling maniacs who get all the air time and the press coverage. I don't believe that there are many people running this country now who believe in anything other than getting themselves re-elected.

Many of them are, in my view, opportunists, jackals, scavengers feeding on the American dream who produce nothing yet demand control over everything.

Their very vocal adherents seem to be everywhere. Do a Google Images search on "conservative versus liberal". Some of the things that came up made me sick to my stomach. We are letting the fanatics set the agenda. Screw them.

It's time that the more level headed folks woke up and set things back on track. The screaming fanatics have too much of a say these days. Come the election this fall, let's send home the money-grubbers, the beggars and the thieves. Of both parties. We have no need for professional politicians, most of whom haven't worked a real job in their entire lives.

Get informed and stay informed. Get out and vote but make sure you understand what you're voting for. Casting a ballot without knowledge is criminal. Not casting a ballot at all is treason. If you don't care enough about this country to vote, get out. Find some country where they either don't let you vote or they tell you how to vote, or else. We're heading that way if we don't wake up right now.

Let's toss the "usual suspects" out on their ears this fall. We don't need idiot politicians running this country into the ground. We need thoughtful and intelligent people who give a damn about the Constitution and their fellow citizens.

Remember, they work for us. Let's show 'em who's boss. This fall, let's clean house.

Okay, I'm done ranting and rambling. I need to go work on the Flyby...

22 comments:

  1. Excellent rant! I am tired of the labels. People tell me I'm a right wing conservative...frig them! When people ask if I am C or L I ask them what is the issue. How people can have one ideology for every issue is beyond me. You got it right, stay informed and number one THINK! THink for yourself and stop letting other people think for you. I have learned to not trust people that are smarter than I because they do not always use their brain for the public good, they use it to bamboozle the world into giving them power. SO people, think, figure it out yourself. Look at an issue and decide what you believe is right, not what makes you popular at cocktail parties or in the office...ok, off the soap box, this is your rant and it is a good one, now get busy on this weeks flyby!

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    1. Yes, labels. We hates them.

      (Well, unless the label is on a jar of "what the heck is this" in Grandma's root cellar. It that instance labels are good...)

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    2. What I am for is a level playing field. Don't know what that makes me, but I identify as a Populist.

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    3. A level playing field would be nice.

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    4. I'm not trying to be confrontational, but I don't know what a level playing field is. I think it's level from the start- everyone has a chance to get a high school diploma and (when the economy doesn't suck), an opportunity to get a job, then prove that they can work hard enough to be granted more pay and responsibility, and so on. Other than that, level sounds like fairness, us vs them, etc., but life isn't fair.

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    5. What you say may have been true 20, maybe 30 years ago, but not now IMHO. Not every high school diploma is the same. There are kids with that particular document who can barely read and write.

      While I'm not sure what exactly is meant by a "level playing field", my own interpretation is less government-intrusion in nearly everything.

      Keep my infrastructure in good repair (roads, bridges, etc) and keep me safe in my home and in the conduct of my daily affairs (the police and the military) and I will gladly pay a fair amount of taxes.

      Other than that...?

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  2. I've decided to become apolitical. Is that all ready a word? Yes it is.

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    1. And that is not a bad road to follow.

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  3. "We need thoughtful and intelligent people who give a damn about the Constitution and their fellow citizens."

    I can't, at the moment, name one who is running for any office.
    The "opportunists, jackals, [and] scavengers feeding on the American dream" have run them off.

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  4. Uncle Skip nailed it, dead center.

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  5. "...free and fair elections, civil rights, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free trade, and private property" I'm for all of those, but that sure doesn't put me in today's lane of liberalism, which is more associated with not only " the welfare-state policies of the New Deal program of the Democratic administration of" FDR, but other social issues that are more divisive (unlimited abortion at any stage, unchecked illegal immigration, nearly unlimited welfare, unchecked spending, etc.) Now I'm being a bit confrontational in declaring liberals as owning those issues, but I don't see a willingness to actually put checks on them. If one doesn't believe that one should have an abortion the day before the due date or after month 3, or 4 or 5, let's have laws against that. If one believes that a person shouldn't live off the dole forever, what checks should be in place to keep welfare from being an incentive to not work? The divisiveness stems from both sides not being willing to discuss the common ground. Where are we willing to meet- maybe not the middle on every issue, but let's at least put something on the table. Some social issues are emotional, (Gay rights, Marijuana, abortion,) but won't break us. Overspending will break us- lets start there.

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    1. See CG-23 Sailor's comments down below. He makes some excellent points.

      I think we need a new political classification to cover some of the panting fanatics we see in the media. (On both sides to be sure but one side seems more prevalent than the other.)

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  6. I agree with the idea that most people are a mixture of thoughts and beliefs from across the spectrum.
    For example, though I disagree with their lifestyle, I am for Gay marriage. What I am sick of, is the Gay community trying to force their lifestyle down my throat, trying to co-opt everything and everyone and attacking anyone who disagrees with them.


    The problem with the above "Textbook" definitions. is that it is outdated. Especially on Liberalism.
    What you wrote, describes liberalism as it was originally founded. The reality of Modern Progressive liberalism is nearly the antithesis of that description.

    "Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally they support ideas such as free and fair elections, civil rights, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free trade, and private property."

    Liberty and equality.
    You mean expansive big government and Orwell's 1984 Big brother spying on everything you do? Liberty?
    I guess redistribution of wealth can be considered equality. Making everyone equally poor.

    Free and Fair Elections.
    Liberals are against Voter ID insuring only those with the right to vote can vote.
    Liberals are for foreign campaign donations from overseas sources and the voting rights of dead people, dogs, cats, bodies in the morgue, etc...
    The list of election violations on behalf of the left is staggering.

    Civil Rights?
    The Democratic Party which is mostly (but not all) liberal has historically been anti-civil rights. The Civil rights acts were enacted mostly due to Republican votes. Some of the most prominent democrat congressmen have been KKK and other other affiliations.
    It is after the fact that Liberals have retroactively tried to rewrite the history books in their favor.

    Freedom of the Press?
    Sure... if you are touting ONLY liberal talking points.
    Otherwise you are to be SILENCED at all costs. ( The "Hush Rush" bill... anyone? Bueller?)
    Just look at the directed attacks upon Fox News


    Freedom of Religion
    Only if you are a member of a violent jihadi religion. Or some whacked out fringe religion deemed radical and cool by the Liberal majority.
    Try being any kind of Christian and you are attacked as a radical fundamentalists and extremest and placed right up there with Terrorists (of that same Jihadi religion they love to protect).

    free trade, and private property
    HAH!
    Liberals have done everything they can to destroy the very idea of private property. Because underlying modern liberalism is Socialist Communism.
    What is yours isn't really yours, but belongs to everyone for the good of the community. If you object, then you are just being evil and greedy and a Capitalist Pig!


    While it is a textbook definition of Liberalism as originally intended, the definition does NOT fit the modern Liberal in any way shape or form.
    The Opposite actually.

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    1. Shortly after hitting "Publish" on this post, I realized that those text book definitions of liberalism, conservatism and libertarianism were going to draw some fire. Perhaps I should have made the point that those proclaiming themselves to be "liberals" are anything but, in the classic sense.

      But when all is said and done, you make some excellent points CG-23 Sailor. Some things I will think about and perhaps generate a follow-up post.

      (By the way, good to see you here in the comments!)

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    2. I had tried several times before but to no avail in the past. Something screwy with the wordpress ID allowing me to post some places, but not others.
      After your comments on the fb group the other day I thought to give it another try and viola... got in.
      (whoever was guarding the door is going to regret that...heh he )
      ;-)

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    3. Glad that it worked. Blogger is squirrely about commenting. WordPress is more forgiving.

      You must have managed to sneak past Cerberus while he was sleeping...

      Bad dog...

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  7. Absolutely brilliant and I agree with all of it. Particularly the part about professional politicians and their work experience. We need to start this with term limits - and after their limit is up, they can't serve in that position in politics ever again. Say - one 6-year term or two 4-year terms. If the president can only serve 2 terms then why does the rest of Congress see it as a lifetime appointment?

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    1. Excellent point Kris and thanks!

      I'm a big fan of term limits.

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  8. As a former State Chair of the Libertarian Party in MA, I'd agree with all under the heading "Libertarian" except the last sentence. I have NEVER met a libertarian who wants to do away with capitalism and private property rights. I have no idea who wrote that, but that sentence is, to be kind, not correct (at least from my vast experience.) The easy way to picture a Libertarian is to take the fiscal laws part of a Republican (as few taxes as possible, for instance) and the social laws part of a Democrat (for instance, legalization of marijuana or lack of laws against what can happen in someone's bedroom) and merge them. You leave off the conservative tendency toward butting into private lives of some Republicans and the need of some Democrats to tax the living shit out of everyone.

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    1. I like your definition of Libertarianism. But when you use WIkipedia, ya get what ya pay for.

      At least now I can claim to know an actual (card-carrying?) libertarian.

      (Your last sentence says it best!)

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)