Serious Marxism, Socialism, Communism, Anarchism: the left-wing political & economic thought thread

Boris Hardrada

Banned deucer.
From Marxism-Leninism to Anarcho-Communism to Democratic Socialism, this is a thread for leftists of all stripes to further their understanding of leftist thought, argue their differences in a structured and respectful manner, and by strengthening their theory become more effective in their praxis. Let's also use this thread to share videos, channels, lectures, articles, and other readings we think would be of interest to fellow comrades and/or useful to novices interested in leftist thought and our shared base of values. To that end I find it necessary to lay down some guidelines:

1. Leftism =/= Liberalism. The modern understanding of liberalism (sometimes neoliberalism) differs from "classical liberalism" which is more akin to libertarianism. A liberal would often describe themselves as "socially liberal, fiscally conservative" - meaning that while they may well hold socially progressive views, such as being pro-gay marriage, pro-marijuana legalization, etc., they also may support welfare cuts, tax breaks, et al, and strongly maintain that capitalism and not the alternative is the solution to all our social ills. Leftists, on the other hand, see social progress and economic austerity as fundamentally incompatible, and seek the abolition of the capitalist mode of production - to varying degrees - in order to truly obtain this progress.

2. Keep your posts serious and on-topic, but academic formality is not necessary- This means while it's fine to share leftist memes that are funny enough to warrant it, remember that the main purpose of this thread is to have a serious and constructive discussion. However, stiff requirements such as these often stultify threads with overlong, impenetrable posts, and sometimes it can't be helped. But if we are to introduce people to leftist thought presented fairly and without implicit ideological bias, we must also make our posts accessible. So I'd ask everyone to keep that principle in mind, lest we discriminate against those less fortunate and less educated.

3. Racism/Sexism/Xenophobia/Homophobia/Transphobia/Fascism - Keep it out of this thread, and of the forums in general. This applies to both explicit discrimination (Slurs, saying all Muslims are terrorists, etc.) and to dog-whistled discrimination (Saying "ethno-nationalism" instead of "white supremacism" - you're fooling nobody).

4. Non-leftists welcome to debate, but keep your arguments in good faith.

That's all. Well, for starters I'd like to discuss something very general: do you think Western (Anglosphere) nations are due for a leftist resurgence? After the disappointing defeat of Bernie Sanders in the primaries, one would have expected the socialist sentiment in the US to deflate, but it has only grown and spawned several populist movements. And after Jeremy Corbyn's excellent performance in the polls in the UK, many people are convinced that now is a better time than ever to be a leftist. Do you think they're being too optimistic? Why or why not?
 
Last edited:

vonFiedler

Ridley is in Smash
is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributor
Moderator
I'm gonna say that I don't think this thread needs to exclude right wing posters. It may be much more interesting for them to discuss communism here than bringing it up in literally every other thread.
 

Boris Hardrada

Banned deucer.
I'm gonna say that I don't think this thread needs to exclude right wing posters. It may be much more interesting for them to discuss communism here than bringing it up in literally every other thread.
Fair enough. But I should point out that social progressives with conservative economic streaks tend to self-identify as centrists anyhow, or center-right at most. Debating alt-righters, actual fascists, neo-nazis and their ilk is unlikely to be of any benefit, and may even be harmful by giving them a platform to spread hate. Questions such as "Are all human beings worthy of equal respect, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, and social class?" aren't open for debate, they're axioms we take for granted.
 

vonFiedler

Ridley is in Smash
is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributor
Moderator
Fair enough. But I should point out that social progressives with conservative economic streaks tend to self-identify as centrists anyhow, or center-right at most. Debating alt-righters, actual fascists, neo-nazis and their ilk is unlikely to be of any benefit, and may even be harmful by giving them a platform to spread hate. Questions such as "Are all human beings worthy of equal respect, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, and social class?" aren't open for debate, they're axioms we take for granted.
Yeah but this doesn't seem to be a discussion about racism etc.
 
Most self proclaimed socialists are social democrats at best; they just want welfare programs and capitalism to pay for them, while at the same time advocating that we achieve those things in ways none of those countries do, like lowering the corporate tax rate, deregulating the economy significantly, privatizing k-12 and giving everyone vouchers, etc.

Im not saying that this is a bad thing but if you want to be taken intellectually seriously you should label yourself properly and learn why those countries are the way they are.
 
Last edited:

Deck Knight

Blast Off At The Speed Of Light! That's Right!
is a Top CAP Contributoris a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Top Smogon Media Contributor Alumnus
Will this thread seriously address the problem of historic and resurging left-wing violence - which is modernly represented, at least in America by Antifa and by the Black Bloc in Germany?

Yes, that is a serious question. Ideologies have consequences. I assume the OP is prepared to discuss - from a left-wing perspective - what seems to make left-wing ideology particularly prone to inspiring movements which lack totally a respect for individual human life.

Mass-murder is a feature of 20th century leftist political regimes, from the Italian Fascists (yes, Fascism is a left-wing movement with a left-wing philosopher attached to it. His name is Giovanni Gentile.) to the German National Socialists [This is Marxist theory colored by Nationalist distinctions in addition to but occasionally overriding Class distinctions] to the Russian and Chinese International Communists. It seems to me in left-wing political thought, everyone is equal under law in Marxist (and derivative) theory but equal in practice only to serfdom under the well-heeled boot of the state.

I'll leave it up to you to explain the theory as I don't want to bias it or over or understate its dimensions. The practical reality however has been the commisars grow extremely rich and powerful while the military expands and the average citizen struggles for basic provisions. Social mobility requires either ideological fealty, military admission, or both. Political power is centralized and corruption reigns supreme, as can be seen in Venezuela where the regime targets political dissenters and just managed to engineer an election solely in favor of the existing government. Elections are rarely equivalent to Democracy where left-wing politics reign.

The Soviet Constitution for example had a massive list of "rights," none of which were available to anyone who so much as looked at the Communist Party Leadership the wrong way. Economically speaking, Reagan was able to stretch the Soviet Union through the Cold War of attrition until it collapsed under the weight of its own economic nonsense. Planned Economies failed so badly even the basically peaceful social democratic remnants of the Soviet Union are primarily mixed economies now, and trending away from centralized planning.

Speaking on broad trends, I do not think the election of Trump, the Brexit vote, or any modern specific trends are favoring left-wing political & economic thought at this time. The world got to see that philosophy on display in the 20th century in full vigor, with the full intellectual force of the Progressive Movement in America and European elite circles justifying it. No one now wants to return there, and will not until the bloodshed it caused escapes from living memory.
 

verbatim

[PLACEHOLDER]
is a Battle Simulator Administratoris a Community Leaderis a Live Chat Contributor
Community Leader
This was in the context of Communist governments
This is slightly confusing in the context in which communism and "left" ideologies are conflagulated. Communism is part of a broad spectrum of ideologies considered "left", and not representative of the whole (or rather, an all encompassing representation).

I think that, whether we identify ourselves as left or right, we can agree that specific governments that espouse one party-state-esque ideologies are manipulative in nature, regardless of whether they are communist, socialist, theocratic, capitalist, or w/e in nature.
 

Ohmachi

Sun✡Head
From Marxism-Leninism to Anarcho-Communism to Democratic Socialism, this is a thread for leftists of all stripes to further their understanding of leftist thought, argue their differences in a structured and respectful manner, and by strengthening their theory become more effective in their praxis. Let's also use this thread to share videos, channels, lectures, articles, and other readings we think would be of interest to fellow comrades and/or useful to novices interested in leftist thought and our shared base of values. To that end I find it necessary to lay down some guidelines:

1. Leftism =/= Liberalism. The modern understanding of liberalism (sometimes neoliberalism) differs from "classical liberalism" which is more akin to libertarianism. A liberal would often describe themselves as "socially liberal, fiscally conservative" - meaning that while they may well hold socially progressive views, such as being pro-gay marriage, pro-marijuana legalization, etc., they also may support welfare cuts, tax breaks, et al, and strongly maintain that capitalism and not the alternative is the solution to all our social ills. Leftists, on the other hand, see social progress and economic austerity as fundamentally incompatible, and seek the abolition of the capitalist mode of production - to varying degrees - in order to truly obtain this progress.

2. Keep your posts serious and on-topic, but academic formality is not necessary- This means while it's fine to share leftist memes that are funny enough to warrant it, remember that the main purpose of this thread is to have a serious and constructive discussion. However, stiff requirements such as these often stultify threads with overlong, impenetrable posts, and sometimes it can't be helped. But if we are to introduce people to leftist thought presented fairly and without implicit ideological bias, we must also make our posts accessible. So I'd ask everyone to keep that principle in mind, lest we discriminate against those less fortunate and less educated.

3. Racism/Sexism/Xenophobia/Homophobia/Transphobia/Fascism - Keep it out of this thread, and of the forums in general. This applies to both explicit discrimination (Slurs, saying all Muslims are terrorists, etc.) and to dog-whistled discrimination (Saying "ethno-nationalism" instead of "white supremacism" - you're fooling nobody).

4. Non-leftists welcome to debate, but keep your arguments in good faith.

That's all. Well, for starters I'd like to discuss something very general: do you think Western (Anglosphere) nations are due for a leftist resurgence? After the disappointing defeat of Bernie Sanders in the primaries, one would have expected the socialist sentiment in the US to deflate, but it has only grown and spawned several populist movements. And after Jeremy Corbyn's excellent performance in the polls in the UK, many people are convinced that now is a better time than ever to be a leftist. Do you think they're being too optimistic? Why or why not?
I consider myself a liberal, and I support capitalism. Corporations are amoral; that means they are neither good nor bad. Corporations are legally obligated to make the most amount of money possible. When there are no regulations in place corporations will take the path that makes them the most amount of money. A classic example of this is the Ford pinto. Before releasing the pinto Ford's engineers discovered there was a defect in their car that would lead to them catching on fire after a rear end collision . Ford determined the cost to fix it would be more then the cost of getting sued and losing. Between 27 and 180 people died because of that. Ford was correct about the cost of lawsuits, however they miscalculated on the media backlash they faced for putting profit over people. Regulations exist for a reason. Anarchism means no government at all, that is the opposite of communism. It appears to me that Boris Hardrada made a shill post.

Will this thread seriously address the problem of historic and resurging left-wing violence - which is modernly represented, at least in America by Antifa and by the Black Bloc in Germany?

Yes, that is a serious question. Ideologies have consequences. I assume the OP is prepared to discuss - from a left-wing perspective - what seems to make left-wing ideology particularly prone to inspiring movements which lack totally a respect for individual human life.

Mass-murder is a feature of 20th century leftist political regimes, from the Italian Fascists (yes, Fascism is a left-wing movement with a left-wing philosopher attached to it. His name is Giovanni Gentile.) to the German National Socialists [This is Marxist theory colored by Nationalist distinctions in addition to but occasionally overriding Class distinctions] to the Russian and Chinese International Communists. It seems to me in left-wing political thought, everyone is equal under law in Marxist (and derivative) theory but equal in practice only to serfdom under the well-heeled boot of the state.

I'll leave it up to you to explain the theory as I don't want to bias it or over or understate its dimensions. The practical reality however has been the commisars grow extremely rich and powerful while the military expands and the average citizen struggles for basic provisions. Social mobility requires either ideological fealty, military admission, or both. Political power is centralized and corruption reigns supreme, as can be seen in Venezuela where the regime targets political dissenters and just managed to engineer an election solely in favor of the existing government. Elections are rarely equivalent to Democracy where left-wing politics reign.

The Soviet Constitution for example had a massive list of "rights," none of which were available to anyone who so much as looked at the Communist Party Leadership the wrong way. Economically speaking, Reagan was able to stretch the Soviet Union through the Cold War of attrition until it collapsed under the weight of its own economic nonsense. Planned Economies failed so badly even the basically peaceful social democratic remnants of the Soviet Union are primarily mixed economies now, and trending away from centralized planning.

Speaking on broad trends, I do not think the election of Trump, the Brexit vote, or any modern specific trends are favoring left-wing political & economic thought at this time. The world got to see that philosophy on display in the 20th century in full vigor, with the full intellectual force of the Progressive Movement in America and European elite circles justifying it. No one now wants to return there, and will not until the bloodshed it caused escapes from living memory.
Deck knight you're right about the evil leftists disregard for human life. This is why are democrat controlled house, senate and presidents passed laws to remove the individual mandate sending Obamacare into a death spiral, want cut social security, cut public education in support of voucher programs, and decided to tax tuition scholarships based work programs. I also know that democrats that control Texas passed laws that increase the number of abortions such as abstinence only education. Furthermore look at the Alabama senate race the liberal democrat candidate molested teenagers. I know how you love correcting dumb liberals like me so go ahead tell me where I messed up, or how a certain year book is "fake and forged."

Sarcasm aside when are we doing our debate, I think the topics i suggested would be a meaningful and worthwhile conversation for the two of us.

I also agree with you on the need to combat authoritarianism. One way authoritarian governments rise is by calling all their opponents fake news.
 
Last edited:

MAMP

mamp
is a Pre-Contributor
sorry to double post, but i just want to point out something that a few people in this thread have already gotten confused by.

terms like 'communism', 'socialism', 'leftism' and similar are used to refer to a wide range of very different systems and ideologies. different groups with conflicting beliefs have used these same terms to describe themselves, which can make discussing this stuff a bit confusing sometimes. communism as described in the communist manifesto is a classless, stateless society where resources are owned collectively and democratically distributed, which is a far cry from what ended up happening in places like the ussr and china. of course the issue here is that these states also called themselves commmunist. due to the political prominence of the ussr in the 20th century and western propaganda many people now associate the word 'communism' and far-left politics in general with authoritarianism, suppression of free speech and gulags and all that stuff. most modern leftists do not advocate the creation of an oppressive authoritarian state, but when they use the word 'communist' to describe their beliefs they are often interpreted that way. in other words, people say 'communism' and mean marx's stateless, shared, democratic society, and other people hear 'communism' and think of gulags and the cold war. what i'm trying to say here is this: there are very few people in the present day who want a society like the ussr or anything similar and from my experience many see the ussr as a perversion of communist ideas. recognise that different people and groups have used this terminology to mean very different things.

Ohmachi your statement that communism is the opposite of anarchism is a good illustration of this. communism as marx described it (and thus as marxists typically advocate it) IS an anarchist society.
 

termi

pyongyang gang
is a Tiering Contributor
Maybe a bit confusing to start off by talking about Sanders and Corbyn in the OP when the thread's intention is to talk about the radical left, considering neither Sanders nor Corbyn fundamentally challenged capitalism in their respective campaigns; they are reformists rather than revolutionaries. Nonetheless, it is true that their success demonstrates a resurgence of (interest in) left wing politics in the Anglosphere. In the USA, the Democratic Socialists of America started gaining a lot of traction among young people in the wake of the Sanders campaign, which simultaneously demonstrates that millennials largely don't see socialism as a scary word anymore and that their knowledge of the left still remains largely rudimentary. I don't see myself agreeing with THE_IRON_...KENYAN? on a lot with regard to this topic, but the point he made in his post is a good one: even among self-described "socialists" there seems to be some confusion what that actually means (and then I'm not talking about differences in ideologies a la marxism-leninism vs anarcho-communism vs democratic socialism etc). This is exacerbated by the fact that an organization like the DSA is as ideologically vague as it is accessible, so it appears to be a mishmash of social democrats (who challenge certain elements of capitalism but not the roots of capitalism itself), democratic socialists (who want to abolish capitalism by democratic means), and revolutionaries who are probably in it simply because it's the biggest serious left wing movement in the USA and they just want to do left wing organizing one way or another.

As long as the bulk of the so-called socialists fails to understand that they live in a fundamentally exploitative system, the leftist resurgence won't be more than another wave of social democrats asking for a more humane capitalism. This may lead to short term improvement of working conditions, education, health care, etc., and that would be great and all, but even in the case that social democrats are victorious, these policies aren't insulated from being rolled back by future right wing governments and worse, they don't really change the fact that the status quo is fundamentally unsustainable. Capitalism's effects are felt across the globe and will be felt by future generations; making capitalism "work" in one country doesn't change the fact that corporations, in their efforts to maximize profits, will seek to exploit people wherever possible, nor does it truly prevent long term effects of capitalism like global warming. Speaking frankly, socialism is internationalist or it is bullshit; socialism is revolutionary or it is bullshit. I don't see the resurgence of the left in the Anglosphere as much more than an effort to seek compromise and reform, whenever (if ever) they're given free or cheap education, proper health care, and fair wages, the new left will probably dwindle and become entrenched within mainstream politics. Better than the status quo? Sure. But it's not good enough. Insofar the radical left has potential, I'm more inclined to look outside of the first world (ie. most of Europe, North America, Japan, Australia), although my knowledge of the radical left in Asia, Latin-America etc. is rather rudimentary so I'll refrain from further comments for the time being.

Corporations are amoral; that means they are neither good nor bad. Corporations are legally obligated to make the most amount of money possible.
This is a weird way of phrasing things since "legally obliged" implies it is written in the law that corporations should always maximize revenue, which is evidently not the case. Of course, in practice, corporations will try to maximize revenue because that's how competition in the "free market" works, but last time I checked there wasn't a law anywhere that obliged corporations to maximize revenue.

Anarchism means no government at all, that is the opposite of communism. It appears to me that Boris Hardrada made a shill post.
Anarchy doesn't mean "anything goes rule of the jungle babyyyy", it means the rejection of hierarchy. Also, as MAMP mentioned, communism is a classless, stateless society. You have to keep in mind states like the Soviet Union never established communism, they would soon derail in their transitory stage and settle for something that more closely resembles "state capitalism" than communism - of course, there was the promise that communism would eventually be achieved, but nothing in practice indicated anything of the sort. The USSR is not an example to anyone but tankies, who, in their effort to be as anti-American and anti-imperialist as possible, will support just about any shitty regime as long as it's nominally socialist and an enemy of the US. I could go into more detail what anarchism entails but honestly, you can just go to the Wikipedia page and read up on it, because I believe you haven't even done a basic amount of research.

In response to Deck Knight all I really have to say is that arguments like "fascism is left wing" and "USSR was a monstrous communist regime" only work if you allow your politics to be defined by labels only. Irregardless of whether fascism is a left wing ideology (it isn't), you can't really ask of modern leftists who explicitly reject the core tenets of that ideology why they belong to the "same side as fascism" or whatever, because when I frame myself as being in opposition to racism, nationalism, and authoritarianism rather than as "far left", it quickly becomes obvious what I believe in has nothing to do with fascism. Here's an excerpt from this article, which discusses Dinesh D'Souza's The Big Lie, a book that asserts that the American Democratic Party holds the same beliefs as the nazis:

"D’Souza’s tactic is to show that in the past, a number of people who have used the word “Democrat” to describe themselves have done horrific things. First, of course, today’s Democratic Party might share the name of Andrew Jackson’s Democratic Party, but that does not make today’s Democrats Jacksonians. But, more importantly,if you define yourself not as primarily as a “Democrat” but as an “opponent of horrific things,” D’Souza has proved nothing whatsoever about your politics. If your loyalty is not to a label but to some consistent set of principles, you have nothing to fear from D’Souza exposing the history of the Democratic Party as a history of slavery, eugenics, and terrorism. Yes, it’s true, if you’re invested in proving that Woodrow Wilson and FDR were admirable, a lot of the facts in the book may make you uncomfortable. If you want to salvage the reputation of Harvard and the New Republic, you’re going to have a tough time. But if your starting point is “Racism, slavery, murder, and totalitarianism are bad things,” then this book’s criticisms do not affect your kind of leftism in the slightest."

Anyway, I do have one more thing to say about Deck Knight's post. While I don't think it's a bad idea to critically discuss the history of the left and the role that violence has played in it, it's somewhat ridiculous to assert that violence is primarily a left wing problem. Here's the secret to politics they don't tell you: politics is violence. Politics without violence is meaningless. Even the most humane, open, tolerant states are inherently violent, because state power is absolutely meaningless if the threat of violence doesn't exist. If I decided tomorrow that I would like to topple my nation's regime and I marched to parliament in order to assassinate the prime minister and establish communism, I would be detained and locked up at some point by the police force. On a grander scale, during the Cold War era, the USA went to great lengths to suppress socialist movements abroad in order to keep the USSR's sphere of influence in check (see, for example, the CIA-backed coup d'état in Chile in 1973, toppling the democratically elected socialist government and establishing Pinochet's 17-year long dictatorship, during which political opposition to his neoliberal government was met with state violence on a grand scale). Of course, the state likes to weaponize the term "violence" in such a way that only opponents to the state are violent, whereas police violence and military violence is framed as legitimate, but state violence is violence nonetheless.
 

Ohmachi

Sun✡Head
Maybe a bit confusing to start off by talking about Sanders and Corbyn in the OP when the thread's intention is to talk about the radical left, considering neither Sanders nor Corbyn fundamentally challenged capitalism in their respective campaigns; they are reformists rather than revolutionaries. Nonetheless, it is true that their success demonstrates a resurgence of (interest in) left wing politics in the Anglosphere. In the USA, the Democratic Socialists of America started gaining a lot of traction among young people in the wake of the Sanders campaign, which simultaneously demonstrates that millennials largely don't see socialism as a scary word anymore and that their knowledge of the left still remains largely rudimentary. I don't see myself agreeing with THE_IRON_...KENYAN? on a lot with regard to this topic, but the point he made in his post is a good one: even among self-described "socialists" there seems to be some confusion what that actually means (and then I'm not talking about differences in ideologies a la marxism-leninism vs anarcho-communism vs democratic socialism etc). This is exacerbated by the fact that an organization like the DSA is as ideologically vague as it is accessible, so it appears to be a mishmash of social democrats (who challenge certain elements of capitalism but not the roots of capitalism itself), democratic socialists (who want to abolish capitalism by democratic means), and revolutionaries who are probably in it simply because it's the biggest serious left wing movement in the USA and they just want to do left wing organizing one way or another.

As long as the bulk of the so-called socialists fails to understand that they live in a fundamentally exploitative system, the leftist resurgence won't be more than another wave of social democrats asking for a more humane capitalism. This may lead to short term improvement of working conditions, education, health care, etc., and that would be great and all, but even in the case that social democrats are victorious, these policies aren't insulated from being rolled back by future right wing governments and worse, they don't really change the fact that the status quo is fundamentally unsustainable. Capitalism's effects are felt across the globe and will be felt by future generations; making capitalism "work" in one country doesn't change the fact that corporations, in their efforts to maximize profits, will seek to exploit people wherever possible, nor does it truly prevent long term effects of capitalism like global warming. Speaking frankly, socialism is internationalist or it is bullshit; socialism is revolutionary or it is bullshit. I don't see the resurgence of the left in the Anglosphere as much more than an effort to seek compromise and reform, whenever (if ever) they're given free or cheap education, proper health care, and fair wages, the new left will probably dwindle and become entrenched within mainstream politics. Better than the status quo? Sure. But it's not good enough. Insofar the radical left has potential, I'm more inclined to look outside of the first world (ie. most of Europe, North America, Japan, Australia), although my knowledge of the radical left in Asia, Latin-America etc. is rather rudimentary so I'll refrain from further comments for the time being.


This is a weird way of phrasing things since "legally obliged" implies it is written in the law that corporations should always maximize revenue, which is evidently not the case. Of course, in practice, corporations will try to maximize revenue because that's how competition in the "free market" works, but last time I checked there wasn't a law anywhere that obliged corporations to maximize revenue.


Anarchy doesn't mean "anything goes rule of the jungle babyyyy", it means the rejection of hierarchy. Also, as MAMP mentioned, communism is a classless, stateless society. You have to keep in mind states like the Soviet Union never established communism, they would soon derail in their transitory stage and settle for something that more closely resembles "state capitalism" than communism - of course, there was the promise that communism would eventually be achieved, but nothing in practice indicated anything of the sort. The USSR is not an example to anyone but tankies, who, in their effort to be as anti-American and anti-imperialist as possible, will support just about any shitty regime as long as it's nominally socialist and an enemy of the US. I could go into more detail what anarchism entails but honestly, you can just go to the Wikipedia page and read up on it, because I believe you haven't even done a basic amount of research.

In response to Deck Knight all I really have to say is that arguments like "fascism is left wing" and "USSR was a monstrous communist regime" only work if you allow your politics to be defined by labels only. Irregardless of whether fascism is a left wing ideology (it isn't), you can't really ask of modern leftists who explicitly reject the core tenets of that ideology why they belong to the "same side as fascism" or whatever, because when I frame myself as being in opposition to racism, nationalism, and authoritarianism rather than as "far left", it quickly becomes obvious what I believe in has nothing to do with fascism. Here's an excerpt from this article, which discusses Dinesh D'Souza's The Big Lie, a book that asserts that the American Democratic Party holds the same beliefs as the nazis:

"D’Souza’s tactic is to show that in the past, a number of people who have used the word “Democrat” to describe themselves have done horrific things. First, of course, today’s Democratic Party might share the name of Andrew Jackson’s Democratic Party, but that does not make today’s Democrats Jacksonians. But, more importantly,if you define yourself not as primarily as a “Democrat” but as an “opponent of horrific things,” D’Souza has proved nothing whatsoever about your politics. If your loyalty is not to a label but to some consistent set of principles, you have nothing to fear from D’Souza exposing the history of the Democratic Party as a history of slavery, eugenics, and terrorism. Yes, it’s true, if you’re invested in proving that Woodrow Wilson and FDR were admirable, a lot of the facts in the book may make you uncomfortable. If you want to salvage the reputation of Harvard and the New Republic, you’re going to have a tough time. But if your starting point is “Racism, slavery, murder, and totalitarianism are bad things,” then this book’s criticisms do not affect your kind of leftism in the slightest."

Anyway, I do have one more thing to say about Deck Knight's post. While I don't think it's a bad idea to critically discuss the history of the left and the role that violence has played in it, it's somewhat ridiculous to assert that violence is primarily a left wing problem. Here's the secret to politics they don't tell you: politics is violence. Politics without violence is meaningless. Even the most humane, open, tolerant states are inherently violent, because state power is absolutely meaningless if the threat of violence doesn't exist. If I decided tomorrow that I would like to topple my nation's regime and I marched to parliament in order to assassinate the prime minister and establish communism, I would be detained and locked up at some point by the police force. On a grander scale, during the Cold War era, the USA went to great lengths to suppress socialist movements abroad in order to keep the USSR's sphere of influence in check (see, for example, the CIA-backed coup d'état in Chile in 1973, toppling the democratically elected socialist government and establishing Pinochet's 17-year long dictatorship, during which political opposition to his neoliberal government was met with state violence on a grand scale). Of course, the state likes to weaponize the term "violence" in such a way that only opponents to the state are violent, whereas police violence and military violence is framed as legitimate, but state violence is violence nonetheless.
Corporations are legally obligated to make the most amount of money. That it's not a criminal law it's a civil law. If a company you own stock isnt doing everything it can to make you money you can sue. I'm not spending the time to find the exact codes I have a master's in accounting do I'm going to use my self as the source
 

Adamant Zoroark

catchy catchphrase
is a Contributor to Smogon
I don't fully agree with communism, marxist/lenism etc. but I do agree with some parts of it. For instance, in NK and the previous soviet regime, court proceedings were used as a means to educate the masses. The concept of rights attached to a certain pre-requisite is also something I agree with. However, I don't agree with your statement that these idealogies are seeing an upswing. If anything, right wing politics is seeing more of an upswing now than ever. I fully think people are being too optimistic about the situation. With the ongoing migrant crisis people have more reason than ever to retreat into their shells and spew right wing idealogy. Until that (migrants) is dealt with correctly, I don't think there will be an upswing in leftist politics.
I wanna talk about this in particular. Setting aside for now the fact that the idea of conditional rights is an oxymoron - how, exactly, would we prevent the use of the concept in order to justify treating people as subhuman (as in, having a complete disregard for due process and all-around basic decency)?

See, that's where this falls flat on its face. The way I see it, the idea reeks of a cop-out to avoid having to justify human rights violations - after all, it's not a human rights violation if they don't have those rights, right? I don't wanna get too deep into the philosophical discussion on how to define a right, and what rights people have, but the idea of attaching a condition to something generally agreed to be a right is something way too dangerous to even toy around with. Imagine the government saying, "You can't be searched without a warrant, but only if X condition is met." Terrifying, right?

This is where I must allow the oxymoron point to re-enter: Rights aren't rights if they're not unconditional. If there's a required condition attached, it's a privilege; sort of like how your parents required a 3.0 GPA before you were allowed to play Nintendo, but that could be taken away if you bullied your sibling. Some things are way too vital to a free, democratic society to be considered privileges. Human rights aren't Nintendos (I can't believe I'm saying that)
 
I am more of a righty in most things, but don't know much about socialism, marxism, communism, and anarchism

can someone educate me on these things, like the base definition of these "ideologies"
 

WaterBomb

Two kids no brane
is a Forum Moderatoris a Live Chat Contributoris a Battle Simulator Moderator Alumnus
Moderator
I am more of a righty in most things, but don't know much about socialism, marxism, communism, and anarchism

can someone educate me on these things, like the base definition of these "ideologies"
I think the point of the thread itself is that there's a lot of debate regarding what these concepts mean, and we are to discuss our views on it. There's no one universally accepted definition for any of these ideologies. You could look in a dictionary easily enough, but even those are taken and expounded upon in the context of real world application. These systems will always be different in practice than on paper, so your best bet is going to be to read all the posts in this thread and elsewhere and make up your own mind about what they mean to you.
 

Chou Toshio

Over9000
is an Artist Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Top Smogon Media Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Simulator Moderator Alumnus
1. Leftism =/= Liberalism. The modern understanding of liberalism (sometimes neoliberalism) differs from "classical liberalism" which is more akin to libertarianism. A liberal would often describe themselves as "socially liberal, fiscally conservative" - meaning that while they may well hold socially progressive views, such as being pro-gay marriage, pro-marijuana legalization, etc., they also may support welfare cuts, tax breaks, et al, and strongly maintain that capitalism and not the alternative is the solution to all our social ills. Leftists, on the other hand, see social progress and economic austerity as fundamentally incompatible, and seek the abolition of the capitalist mode of production - to varying degrees - in order to truly obtain this progress.
Yup, though I'm not sure "socially liberal, fiscally conservative" is an entirely accurate picture, considering that if you don't have any liberal economic views, no belief at all in the importance of wealth redistribution or having a government with some sort of welfare and dedication to social programs providing a stronger work force and infrastructure, then there is nothing separating you from Ayn Rand and the right-leaning-libertarians or extreme libertarians. At least within the American context. This is kind of where I see guys like Dave Rubin who claim to be classic liberals, but then just seem like right-leaning libertarians since they lack dedication to social democratic economics. Just asking guests about their opinions on UBI is not enough in my book.

So a left-leaning libertarian, a classical liberal, or just a liberal... the similarity with right-leaning would be the shared belief in the individual, protecting his free speech, and increasing liberty (liberals want liberty). I think that the disagreement is that a left-leaning libertarian is more accute to the reality that not all forms of coercion/opression come from the government, that our liberties and democracy can be threatened just as much by private interest, and that providing a degree of economic security (through government) does MORE to foster individual agency (and therefore liberty) than simply trying to endlessly shrink government. I would add that from my view, that the real world does put limits on us (time, information, education, power dynamics, etc.) as decision makers, and that things like regulations, consumer protections, universal healthcare, labor laws, etc. also have a net result of increasing individual agency, increasing liberty, and ultimately leading to better decisions being made (=more productivity for capitalism as well).

Because from an economic standpoint, this is where liberals stand-- that we are ultimately capitalists, because we ultimately believe that humans are a species of individuals, anchored by individual motivations foremost— collaboration coming only as a result of aligned individual motivations. We are not ants, and need a system with this individual nature at its core. Furthermore, the individual is not only sacred, but also incredibly valuable— liberals (and libertarians in general) believe individuals are valuable decisions makers, and that given the right conditions individuals do overall make more better decisions in aggragate. These better decisions are what lead to more wealth creation, more productivity in capitalism. But you do need the leviathan of government that provides both the rule of law, and other inputs into creating the conditions that [imperfect] humans need to put their abilities to their best use— at least this is what liberals believe (vs right-leaning libertarians).

The reason why leftism in my view ultimately ends up being authoritarian, ends up being un-liberal, is because it doesn't put the individual and the individual's rights and liberties at the core of its world view.


I know this is a question of defining liberals vs. leftists, not liberals vs. progressives, but I'd point out that despite his ultimate mis-labeling, Bernie Sanders is a liberal-- I'd even go so far as to say a "classic liberal", which is why I really like him. The biggest distinction being whether you take an authoritarian-leftist view of enforcing your social beliefs, and I would say Bernie is a definitive not there-- both by the state, or by social coercion. His personal views are leftist, but he ultimately takes his stands on the economic, and not the social issues, and isn't authoritarian in trying to shut down opposition-- ie. he's not an SJW, he's a liberal libertarian. It's no suprise that the agenda he fights for most fiercely-- campaign finance reform, min wage increases/worker's rights, healthcare, infrastructure, regulations-- are the ideas on the left that ultimately have the greatest potential to improve the market's productivity. Yes, by bettering things for workers, but ultimately means good things for productivity, because the workers are the greatest economic asset of any working democracy. Social democracy makes capitalism work better than tax cuts and austerity is the ultimate point here.


On a final note, for my viewpoint on "socially liberal, fiscally conservative", I actually think society would be better off pursuing something closer to the reverse of that sentiment-- cultural conservatism, economic liberalism.

You may not like it-- but cultural conservatism ends up benefitting the individual, bettering his or her life. Not being in a state of victimhood, not feeling entitled, having an internal locus of control, strong work ethic, family values, gratitude-- many of the values/tenants of cultural conservatism foster traits that allow individuals to excel, and ultimately lead more gratifying lives. The most core values of cultural conservatism (in the US) end up providing individuals higher odds of attaining the economic security, social stature, and sense of belonging (through family) than human beings most crave. While I would never advocate any sort of official or unofficial coercion towards it (that would be un-liberal), I would say it would be a net good for society if it swayed towards cultural conservatism.

But policy conservatism can be disastrous when it ignores the affects of greed, the motivations that align wealth and power and write many rules of the game. There are systematic problems that require systematic solutions, and that's where liberal policy is really important.

So where I imagine "socially liberal, fiscally conservative" to mean "people who won't do anything for themselves" + "No support/protection for them against an increasingly stacked deck"--

cultural conservatism + political liberalism would be, "have our people feel empowered" + "put forth policies that actually empower them"
 
Last edited:

Blazade

is a Forum Moderator
Moderator
Yup, though I'm not sure "socially liberal, fiscally conservative" is an entirely accurate picture, considering that if you don't have any liberal economic views, no belief at all in the importance of wealth redistribution or having a government with some sort of welfare and dedication to social programs providing a stronger work force and infrastructure, then there is nothing separating you from Ayn Rand and the right-leaning-libertarians or extreme libertarians. At least within the American context. This is kind of where I see guys like Dave Rubin who claim to be classic liberals, but then just seem like right-leaning libertarians since they lack dedication to social democratic economics. Just asking guests about their opinions on UBI is not enough in my book.

So a left-leaning libertarian, a classical liberal, or just a liberal... the similarity with right-leaning would be the shared belief in the individual, protecting his free speech, and increasing liberty (liberals want liberty). I think that the disagreement is that a left-leaning libertarian is more accute to the reality that not all forms of coercion/opression come from the government, that our liberties and democracy can be threatened just as much by private interest, and that providing a degree of economic security (through government) does MORE to foster individual agency (and therefore liberty) than simply trying to endlessly shrink government. I would add that from my view, that the real world does put limits on us (time, information, education, power dynamics, etc.) as decision makers, and that things like regulations, consumer protections, universal healthcare, labor laws, etc. also have a net result of increasing individual agency, increasing liberty, and ultimately leading to better decisions being made (=more productivity for capitalism as well).

Because from an economic standpoint, this is where liberals stand-- that we are ultimately capitalists, because we ultimately believe that humans are a species of individuals, anchored by individual motivations, and that given the right conditions individuals do overall make more better decisions, and that these better decisions are what lead to more wealth creation, more productivity. But you do need the leviathan of government that provides both the rule of law, and other inputs into creating the conditions that [imperfect] humans need to put their abilities to their best use.

The reason why leftism in my view ultimately ends up being authoritarian, ends up being un-liberal, is because it doesn't put the individual and the individual's rights and liberties at the core of its world view.


I know this is a question of defining liberals vs. leftists, not liberals vs. progressives, but I'd point out that despite his ultimate mis-labeling, Bernie Sanders is a liberal-- I'd even go so far as to say a "classic liberal", which is why I really like him. The biggest distinction being whether you take an authoritarian-leftist view of enforcing your social beliefs, and I would say Bernie is a definitive not there-- both by the state, or by social coercion. His personal views are leftist, but he ultimately takes his stands on the economic, and not the social issues, and isn't authoritarian in trying to shut down opposition-- ie. he's not an SJW, he's a liberal libertarian. It's no suprise that the agenda he fights for most fiercely-- campaign finance reform, min wage increases/worker's rights, healthcare, infrastructure, regulations-- are the ideas on the left that ultimately have the greatest potential to improve the market's productivity. Yes, by bettering things for workers, but ultimately means good things for productivity, because the workers are the greatest economic asset of any working democracy. Social democracy makes capitalism work better than tax cuts and austerity is the ultimate point here.


On a final note, for my viewpoint on "socially liberal, fiscally conservative", I actually think society would be better off pursuing something closer to the reverse of that sentiment-- cultural conservatism, economic liberalism.

You may not like it-- but cultural conservatism is what ends up benefitting the individual, bettering his or her life. Not being in a state of victimhood, not feeling entitled, having an internal locus of control, strong work ethic, family values, gratitude-- many of the values/tenants of cultural conservatism foster traits that allow individuals to excel, and ultimately lead more gratifying lives. In a completely libertarian attitude, pursuasion through debate, not through pressing moral authority or political authority, I would say it would be a net good for society to sway towards cultural conservatism.

But policy conservatism can be disastrous when it ignores the affects of greed, the motivations that align wealth and power and write many rules of the game. There are systematic problems that require systematic solutions, and that's where liberal policy is really important.

So where I imagine "socially liberal, fiscally conservative" to mean "people who won't do anything for themselves" + "No support/protection for them against an increasingly stacked deck"--

cultural conservatism + political liberalism would be, "have our people feel empowered" + "put forth policies that actually empower them"
I don't see where you're coming from on cultural conservatism. The essence of social liberalism is that you can be comfortable in your own skin, and I find that to be an empowering message for the individual. It's kind of off putting to assume that these ideas inherently breed entitlement, playing the victim to get your way, and a lack of personal responsibility.

More on topic I'm really with you on the economic distinction, I couldn't have put better myself what it means to be fiscally liberal without being a socialist. It baffles me that regulation in the abstract has become a dirty word to the point where an Executive Order which forces agencies to repeal two regulations to add a new one seems reasonable without any consideration of context.
 

Chou Toshio

Over9000
is an Artist Alumnusis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Top Smogon Media Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Simulator Moderator Alumnus
I don't see where you're coming from on cultural conservatism. The essence of social liberalism is that you can be comfortable in your own skin, and I find that to be an empowering message for the individual. It's kind of off putting to assume that these ideas inherently breed entitlement, playing the victim to get your way, and a lack of personal responsibility.

More on topic I'm really with you on the economic distinction, I couldn't have put better myself what it means to be fiscally liberal without being a socialist. It baffles me that regulation in the abstract has become a dirty word to the point where an Executive Order which forces agencies to repeal two regulations to add a new one seems reasonable without any consideration of context.

I don’t disagree with you, there’s nothing that prevents liberals and leftists from living fulfilling or productive lives—

But I think there are many individuals who could find structure and value from various aspects of conservative culture— which is why I mentioned valuing it personally/individually, and not politically/systematically. I believe in the value of cultural conservatism the way that I am pro-choice/pro-planned parenthood, but that my wife and I would never abort one of our pregnancies. We only plan on two, but if we did get pregnant by freak accident, we would feel morally and emotionally compelled to raise the child— while not judging others.

Put another way, how many people who think like Ben Shapiro have impoverished lives? I doubt very many.

Even if you are incorrect to believe systemic problems don’t exist, believing in your own agency can help you succeed regardless. Inversely, even if systemic problems exist, believing in them can remove your motivation and limit your success. Depends on the individual.
 
Last edited:

McGrrr

Facetious
is a Contributor Alumnus
Alan Greenspan during his stint at the Federal Reserve should never be associated with libertarians. He can be described as libertarian before and after his appointment, but no libertarian believes in intervention to keep interest rates artificially low. It is curious how people's principles change to what is expedient once they are put in a position of power.

Unfortunately, Americans give libertarians a bad reputation because the movement has somehow attracted a ton of single issue Republican voters.
 
Last edited:

kilometerman

Banned deucer.
He also created an ideology that resulted in about 100 million deaths over the span of only one century and some of the worst regimes humanity has ever known

But yeah that's definitely what you should focus on
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 1, Guests: 0)

Top