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Left, Right, Stupid - Lessons from freerepublic.com


TRIBE Member
[ I really, really got carried away on this one... ]

Does anyone ever read this (freerepublic.com)? I occassionally do, to remind myself exactly why I'm a left-winger.

Usually it's a sad and/or scary experience. Sometimes it's hillarious (especially if you read their views on Canada). But, occassionally it can be really insightful.

Given my upbringing and education, I tend to take certain things for granted. Some things seem so obvious, that I can't understand why everyone else doesn't see them like I do.

For example, there is a lot of hoopla on the FP forums about the janet jackson superbowl incident. Lots of complaints about deprevity, immorality, the occassional satan remark... But overall these people are complaining about the general state of the American entertainment industry... how ads every year sink to new lows, how the music industry is centered around sex, how lame and exploitive it all is... really when you get right down to it, they are simply complaining about commercialism.

I always assumed everyone understands that this sort of blatant commercial garbage is a direct side-effect of "the American Way". It's what happens when you let the mighty Dollar run amok and exploit human nature in the interest of greed.

Given this obvious truth (obvious to me, anyway), I always found it strange how conservatives are able to walk around happily supporting a political agenda that gives birth to the very same "commercial immorality" they so deplore.

Reading through freerepublic.com though (check http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1070242/posts, for example), you sort of get the idea how conservatives get around their ideological contradictions. Apparently commercialism has nothing to do with capitalism and everything to do with the liberal (and thus immoral) media. The media will show porn to children if it means higher ratings. It's all about ratings, and the "liberal agenda". The penis and fart joke ads? It's "Madison Avenue's" fault. That's right -- those Madison Avenue ad executives (all homosexuals, no doubt) are singlehandedly poisoning our nation's social fabric.

Of course you can drill all kinds of holes here (Why exactly does the media seek higher ratings? What about the mega corporations that request and pay to have this advertising made and shown?).... But that's not my point. You can direct the same kind of criticism at much of the left-wing's world view. For example, the contradiction between "family values" and capitalism is very comparable to the left's simultanous support of the labour movement and environmentalism (two ideologies with very different goals).

The more I read this right wing rhetoric though, the more it occurs to me that these people are not really evil (for the most part, anyway)... in fact deep down we really do share the same values. We all recognize blatant commercialism as wrong. We all want the best for our children, our country, the world. We all hate Nelly and Kid Rock equally.

I've come to the conclusion that all these left-vs-right debates are not really about ideology. They're about pointing out stupidity and ignorance. It's all just a big excersise in bullshit detection. We are simply looking for weaknesses in each other's reasoning and beliefs. This is good!

Phrased this way, my real political enemy is not "the Right"... it's ignorance. My left wing world view fits nicely into this -- I have yet to see evidence or hear an argument to prove it wrong. What's more, I can feel less guilty about admitting that a conservative is right...

So what the hell should I call myself? I'm definetly not a centrist. I believe in strong social programs, environmentalism, legalization of pot, gay marriage, you name it. But I can't be a leftist, because I am quite open to changing any of these beliefs on a moment's notice should they be proven wrong.

Why is there only left vs. right? What ever happend to above vs. below? Or front vs. behind?

From this day forward I refuse to live in a one dimensional political world. In the immortal words of Kodos: "Forwards, not backwards, upwards not forewords, and always spinning, spinning towards freedom"
Alex D. from TRIBE on Utility Room

Subsonic Chronic

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Gunark
From this day forward I refuse to live in a one dimensional political world. In the immortal words of Kodos: "Forwards, not backwards, upwards not forewords, and always spinning, spinning towards freedom"


but nice thread though.

I think the righty-lefty generalizations are more there to keep things simple than to assign absolute values to someone's political compass... even though that's exactly what happens a lot of the times.

But I know where you're coming from. Some of the people that I find myself most at odds with on this board (politically anyway), are among my closest friends in real life.

Having voted for Harris doesn't mean you necessarily support the gutting of school programs or the destruction of the environment (or does it?! :eek: ), just look at the hole that his more left-wing replacement is digging right now.

The poiting out of fallacies in the other's political agendas is quite necessary to balance things out, which is why I like our Canadian system of the official party and the official oposition. It seems that over time at least, the power in government is fairly well spread out between the right, left, and centist parties. This gives time to correct the 'mistakes' of previous parties and to fine tune policies so that they are appealing to more people.


TRIBE Promoter
Typical divide-and-conquer methinks. Each side diverts so much energy to fighting the other side that nothing get's done except for lots of bickering.

Those on the left will get crushed by those on the right. Those on the right will get crushed by those on the left. Those in the middle will get crushed by both sides. Meanwhile those on the top will reap the profits and will not include the rest of us in their feasts.