The Political Compass

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Re: The Political Compass

Unread postby James » Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:10 pm

I just wanted to share a reminder with everyone that most any topic is fair game here at SoSZ but, at all times, we should strive to make sure we are debating topics and keeping the other person out of the discussion. It is fine to dismantle a person's view and logic but it is never acceptable to attack them in the process. Some elements of this discussion have become heated. Please make sure personal insults or attacks of any form are not a part of it.

Anyone can contact me if they have questions.
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Re: The Political Compass

Unread postby agga » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:11 pm

sorry if i got snappy. you don't want to take the quiz, james? i'll put you on my graph!

WeiWenDi wrote:That's a really interesting point, but it hints at what might be a deeper question for the test. You have these two Cartesian axes which measure these attributes, and as you say it works really well for people at the extremes, who craft political ideologies out of their orientations. It works a bit less well for those of us who don't tend to the extremes (like, for example, Shikanosuke or Dong Zhou's sister), or for people like me who struggle to articulate a consistent political vision which is 'left-traditionalist' rather than 'left-liberal'.


"ideologies" i think must be defined by extremes, since they are based on fundamentals which predict answers to particular policy questions (one starts with a philosophical position, and uses it to generate answers). most realistic political ideologies are actually pragmatic combinations of purer approaches which might engender theoretical conflict for those who look close enough at them, though political debates normally don't get that deep into things. the recent business over the health care laws revealed that the political discourse in the US (and in most other countries excepting the DPRK) is really a weave of socialistic and libertarian, authoritarian and anti-authoritarian ideals; when you really start to pick at it (the discourse) the conflicts flare, and people consolidate their ideas and retreat to more ideologically pure positions. after a while, hopefully, the two (or more) sides start to get into the point-trading again, and the resulting hodge-podge of ideas is somewhere in the center of the PC plot. but, i would maintain that the pure ideologies driving the whole thing are located around the edges of the plot - "centrist ideologies" are actually theories about ways to combine different ideologies effectively and without conflict.
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Re: The Political Compass

Unread postby Objectivist » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:24 am

WeiWenDi wrote:What you were doing was dismissing those economically left of you as 'full of crap', 'lunatics' or comparable to Nazis - a prime example of Godwin since neither agga nor Shikanosuke nor any of the other people who may have supported the health-insurance bill advocated the mass murder of Jews, gypsies and socialists. So those weren't explanations, those were ad hominems.


I didn't compare anyone to Nazis. I posted a video which explained that government controls can only go in two directions...more or less. The video shows an economic scale and explains how government systems that advocate more control of the economy are to the left, while those who advocate less intervention in the economy are to the right. This is basic stuff that you should have learned in social studies by at least the sixth or seventh grade.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

You need to learn the definition of Ad Hominem. I don't think you know what that term means. Ad Hominem occurs when someone tries to link the validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of the person advocating the premise. Ad Hominem has this basic formula...

Person 1 makes claim X
There is something objectionable about Person 1
Therefore claim X is false


Examples of Ad Hominem:

"You claim that this man is innocent, but you cannot be trusted since you are a criminal as well"

or

"Tom says the umpire made the correct call, but this can't be true, because Tom is the father of the boy who was "safe" on second base"

WeiWenDi wrote:Also, if you have to go all the way back to the anarchy of the late 1960's (of which I'm no great fan either) for examples of 'left-wing psychotic episodes' and further feel the need to parrot the Bill-Ayers-as-close-friend-of-Obama and SEIU-organised-violence mendacity, you're really grasping at straws


I only listed several occasions where liberals were violent to point out that there are crazies on both sides of the aisle and that neither side is any better or worse for producing crazy behavior.

WeiWenDi wrote:That's a complete abuse of language, since the aims of all of those movements were completely different, and none of them pursued government control as an end in itself.


You're wrong. Communism, Fascism, Nazism and Socialism are all forms of statism, and each government system took totalitarian controls over the countries they dominated. To say anything less is being intellectually dishonest about history.

WeiWenDi wrote:The communists were essentially an apocalyptic movement inspired by Karl Marx which tried to end existing government structures and the economic conditions supporting them through revolution (and failed miserably once they got into power).


You're confusing ideology with what actually happened under Communist governments. I know what direction you're going in and I've seen this same argument before. You're essentially saying that communism has never been done right, so when government systems implement communism they do not count as actual communism.

WeiWenDi wrote:The socialists were those who rejected the prescription of revolution and tried to peacefully reform government through democratic means to the benefit of the working classes.


When socialism is implemented in any government system, if you are a part of the system you are forced to participate. It's not optional. This is statism...government forced.

WeiWenDi wrote:And again, the fascists and the Nazis did not have a coherent economic strategy...most honest historians will confirm that there was nothing left-wing about the fascists or the Nazis


I have no idea where you dream this stuff up. You have to be either making this up, or you were told otherwise and you're misinformed. I'm going to start with the Nazis, and re-post something I already said...

The Nazi party platform, co-written by Hitler in 1920 called for...
-Nationalization of healthcare
-Expanded all age insurance
-Prohibition of child labor
-Guaranteed jobs for everyone
-Profit sharing in all major industries
-The abolition of incomes unearned by work (making money off of finance)
-The nationalization of all corporations and trusts
-Government takeover of department stores

Everything listed above has an effect on economics. Placing it into the Nazi party platform clearly shows they had an economic strategy.

As for Fascism...let's use the classic example...Mussolini...who helped invent Fascism as we know it. (or apparently as history and myself know it)...

--Would you say it's safe to suggest that socialism is to the left? The ideological basis for fascism came from a number of sources. Mussolini utilized works of Plato, Georges Sorel, Nietzsche, and the socialist and economic ideas of Vilfredo Pareto. Mussolini admired Plato's work, The Republic, which he often read for inspiration. The Republic held a number of ideas that fascism promoted such as rule by an elite promoting the state as the ultimate end

--At various times after 1922, Mussolini personally took over the ministries of the interior, foreign affairs, colonies, corporations, defense, and public works

--Between 1925 and 1927, Mussolini progressively dismantled virtually all constitutional and conventional restraints on his power, thereby building a police state. A law passed on Christmas Eve 1925 changed Mussolini's formal title from "president of the Council of Ministers" to "head of the government." He was no longer responsible to Parliament and could only be removed by the king

--All other parties were outlawed in 1928, though in practice Italy had been a one-party state since Mussolini's 1925 speech. In the same year, an electoral law abolished parliamentary elections

--Fascist Italy under Mussolini had clear economic policies as well...some were based in statism.
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Re: The Political Compass

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:32 am

Objectivist wrote:I don't think you know what that term means. Ad Hominem occurs when someone tries to link the validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of the person advocating the premise. Ad Hominem has this basic formula...


Exactly. So what do you call it when:

- Shikanosuke claims that no leftist would support fascism or dictatorship
- Objectivist calls Shikanosuke's honesty and / or intelligence into question by saying he is 'stupid or lying'
- ... thus, supposedly defending the idea leftists support fascism or dictatorship?

Seriously, do you even read what you write?

Objectivist wrote:I only listed several occasions where liberals were violent to point out that there are crazies on both sides of the aisle and that neither side is any better or worse for producing crazy behavior.


That's basically a tu quoque, then, or at the very least a red herring, since the original question was about whether mob violence was being perpetrated in the current political climate, to which your response was basically, 'well the left does it too!'

... Which makes it alright when the right does it?

You'll note that I don't condone bombings or beatings or shootings when they are perpetrated by leftists any more than when they are perpetrated by rightists.

Objectivist wrote:You're wrong. Communism, Fascism, Nazism and Socialism are all forms of statism, and each government system took totalitarian controls over the countries they dominated. To say anything less is being intellectually dishonest about history.


No, it is rather intellectually dishonest to conflate separate political ideologies.

Objectivist wrote:You're confusing ideology with what actually happened under Communist governments. I know what direction you're going in and I've seen this same argument before. You're essentially saying that communism has never been done right, so when government systems implement communism they do not count as actual communism.


Um, no. Don't put words in my mouth. My point wasn't that communism hasn't been done right, but that it cannot be done right. It is an apocalyptic dogma riddled with internal inconsistencies in its perceptions of science and history. Why should we trust its leaders' self-proclaimed approach to government when that approach is likewise inconsistent (like the idea of a 'democratic dictatorship')?

Objectivist wrote:When socialism is implemented in any government system, if you are a part of the system you are forced to participate. It's not optional. This is statism


Actually, it's realism to recognise that 'there ain't no such thing as a free lunch'. You don't get to choose under what conditions you are born, so one proper role for government is to ensure that you get access to a certain set of basic common social goods (like education, infrastructure for transportation and communication, and in some countries health insurance) to enable free participation. Since you benefit from these goods just by participating, you should be expected to pay it forward.

Objectivist wrote:I'm going to start with the Nazis, and re-post something I already said...


I did read it, and you are doing the exact same thing here that you were wrongly accusing me of doing - confusing ideology with what actually happened. You are taking certain principles to which the Nazis gave lip-service as representative of Nazi policy, when in reality they were murdering in the streets the people who actually wanted to put those policies into practice and cosying up to sympathetic corporations.

This is an article which I have found to be most useful. Neiwert is a journalist rather than an historian, but the historians he is citing in this article (notably Robert Paxton, an expert on the history of the rise of fascism in Europe) tend to agree with him that fascism took up its political space on the right-wing, not the left.
Last edited by WeiWenDi on Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Political Compass

Unread postby agga » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:00 am

I will just jump in and remind Objectivist that the PC (the topic of this thread, remember?) does show Hitler as being "left" (on its economic control scale) of modern western government. he should also note that Stalin's communism involved far, far, far greater economic controls than Hitler or Mussolini's fascism. Stalinism involves the abolition of private property and the ownership of all means of production by the state. all Soviet industry (under Stalin and after) was state-owned. under Hitler, there were "socialist" state-controlled programs, but these were comparable with other European programs of the time. most German industry under Hitler was privately owned. private property rights continued under Hitler.

in short, Hitler's (and Mussolini's) economic policies were very, very similar to the economic policies of the US government (Reagan, Nixon, Bush, Clinton, Obama, whoever), and very, very different from the economic policies of Stalin, Kim, Castro, or Mao. to lump Stalinism and Hitlerism together as "statist", "leftist", and "totalitarian", is just tossing around useless buzzwords ("leftist" = "huge, gigantic category, including everyone!", "rightist" = "virtually no one!", "moderate" = "me!") and ignoring actual facts.

the important element of fascism which makes it very different from modern western systems was the way it relied on violence and nationalism. violent destruction of enemies, enemy races, enemy nations, destruction of the weak, etc., was the unique hallmark of fascism. without nationalist, racist violence, fascism would simply have been a program of instituting what we now call "mixed economies".

it's clear that the PC has something going by including at least two axes. for one thing, it's obvious that our modern western economies are very much like those (generally) of the European fascists - because after all, they weren't really instituting any radical economic programs, and neither are we. it's also obvious that the fascist states were very different from ours: political and artistic expression, racial and ethnic identity, and other social features were tightly controlled. what makes us different from the fascists is the social control axis of the PC, not the economic control axis.

anyways, Objectivist, calling Hitler a "leftist" is ridiculous, you need to find another approach to what you're trying to say.
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Re: The Political Compass

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:27 am

agga wrote:in short, Hitler's (and Mussolini's) economic policies were very, very similar to the economic policies of the US government (Reagan, Nixon, Bush, Clinton, Obama, whoever)


Ehh... that's somewhat true, but even this is misleading. Both Baron Keynes and President Roosevelt, who were the pioneers of interventionist economic reform in a democratic context, were both very much anti-totalitarian. Keynes predicted the rise of totalitarian government in Germany after World War I in his book The Economic Consequences of the Peace, which basically lambasted the writers of the Versailles treaty, and FDR very early on noted the dangers of Nazism and moved to strengthen trade ties and political alliance with Britain when it became clear that war with Germany was becoming inevitable.

I think you have the right of it, agga, when you argue that Hitler's regime was not characterised by his economic strategy but by his violent brand of racism and nationalism, and it is quite interesting to note that his supporters on this side of the Atlantic were also (not coincidentally) fervent enemies of the New Deal - notably DuPont, but also Henry Ford (of Ford) and Alfred Sloan (of GM).
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Re: The Political Compass

Unread postby Objectivist » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:40 am

Hold on...just look at what you say...

agga wrote:I will just jump in and remind Objectivist that the PC (the topic of this thread, remember?) does show Hitler as being "left" (on its economic control scale) of modern western government.


Then you say...

agga wrote:calling Hitler a "leftist" is ridiculous


I'm confused. Are you calling political compass ridiculous for identifying Hitler as left of center? Hitler and the Nazis were socialists. Would you call socialism left or right wing? Let's try and be honest here.

agga wrote:he should also note that Stalin's communism involved far, far, far greater economic controls than Hitler or Mussolini's fascism. Stalinism involves the abolition of private property and the ownership of all means of production by the state. all Soviet industry (under Stalin and after) was state-owned.


So we can agree that communism is left of center. So two of the four mentioned are admittedly left of center. If you acknowledge that the Nazi party and Hitler were socialists, then that makes three out of four.

As for Mussolini and Fascism...government subsidies to farms which drastically increased debt...huge tariffs...Mussolini pushed for government control of business: by 1935 he claimed that 3/4 of Italian businesses were under state control. That same year, he issued several edicts to further control the economy, including forcing all banks, businesses, and private citizens to give up all their foreign-issued stocks and bonds to the Bank of Italy. In 1938, he also instituted wage and price controls. He also attempted to turn Italy into a self-sufficient autarky, instituting high barriers on trade with most countries except Germany.

In 1943 he proposed the theory of economic socialization...

http://www.mises.org/story/1935

Maybe you do not see these actions as statist or left of center. How anyone can suggest that government controls over the economy is not left wing...is beyond me. Most educated political scientists or even historians will agree with this.

agga wrote:Hitler's (and Mussolini's) economic policies were very, very similar to the economic policies of the US government (Reagan, Nixon, Bush, Clinton, Obama, whoever)


First of all, you just listed five different Presidents who all had different economic policies. Reagan lowered taxes, Nixon cut ties with gold, Clinton cut military spending and welfare, and Obama...well let's just say he has spent more money we did not have than all the other Presidents combined.

I've studied both Hitler and Mussolini and I can't imagine why anyone would say their economic policies are like modern US government systems.

agga wrote:very different from the economic policies of Stalin, Kim, Castro, or Mao. to lump Stalinism and Hitlerism together as "statist", "leftist", and "totalitarian"


All four listed systems are in fact statist...there's a fine line that seperates totalitarianism and statism. I've already explained how and why each system is left of center. Disagree all you want...history speaks for itself.
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Re: The Political Compass

Unread postby Objectivist » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:54 am

WeiWenDi wrote:Both Baron Keynes and President Roosevelt, who were the pioneers of interventionist economic reform in a democratic context, were both very much anti-totalitarian.


Not to drift too far off topic, but serious arguments can be made that Keynes was wrong and that FDR made the depression last much longer than necessary. I always find it odd to hear someone say that Keynes opposed statism or totalitarianism, yet they seem to forget that he was a big proponet of eugenics.

I also laugh when I see people quote Keynes, as if he was some sort of authority on anything. He nearly lost everything he had in the stock market crash of 1929. Plenty of austrian theory economists were predicting the crisis while Keynes had no idea it was coming. I can't imagine asking financial advice from someone who couldn't see the biggest financial crisis in history coming.
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Re: The Political Compass

Unread postby agga » Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:52 am

Objectivist wrote:
agga wrote:calling Hitler a "leftist" is ridiculous


I'm confused. Are you calling political compass ridiculous for identifying Hitler as left of center?


agh, no no. i may be losing track of what you call a leftist and what most other english speakers call a leftist. left of center is not what i would call "leftist". the center, to me, is an area, not a point. you can be left or right of the center and still basically be a centrist, mixing ideas from both ends of the spectrum. a leftist or a rightist pulls to extremes. no, hitler was not a leftist. he was a fascist. this is why we have words like "fascist".

Objectivist wrote:How anyone can suggest that government controls over the economy is not left wing...is beyond me. Most educated political scientists or even historians will agree with this.


if you place the "center" at "no government controls over the economy", then where is there room for a right wing? i think "Most educated political scientists or even historians" would run out of the room screaming if you tried to force them into some sort of a serious argument about the definition of a term like "left wing".

Objectivist wrote:First of all, you just listed five different Presidents who all had different economic policies. Reagan lowered taxes, Nixon cut ties with gold, Clinton cut military spending and welfare, and Obama...well let's just say he has spent more money we did not have than all the other Presidents combined.


all of these presided over enormous government-run financial institutions, public works projects, health care and pension systems, bailouts of private and public industries, agricultural and industrial subsidies, etc. etc. etc., which affected every aspect of the US economy, in addition to influencing the economies of most other states on the planet. by your qualification of "government controls over the economy", these presidents were all leftist left-wingers, and should be lumped together with Hitler, Stalin, and the rest of them.
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Re: The Political Compass

Unread postby James » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:05 am

agga wrote:you don't want to take the quiz, james? i'll put you on my graph!

It's been a while since I took this. Here you go. :)

james_political_compass.png
James' Political Compass Results 4-2010
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