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Author Topic: Discussion of "Leftism" - what is it? Who supports it and why?
Psychwarlord
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posted 25 June 2002 03:28 PM      Profile for Psychwarlord        Edit/Delete Post
Since this is a "leftist" forum, I would like to open up discussion as to what exactly that means.

I may be wrong, but it has been my understanding that "the left" promotes government intervention to foster rapid social changes in order to establish "equality of outcome" for all citizens.

Similarly, I hear that "the right" eschews government intervention in social and economic affairs, and believes individuals can determine their own affairs. Some call this position the "law of the jungle".

Finally, I have read that "Moderates" believe some government regulation is needed to curb excesses of private enterprise and the power of elites, but generally subscribe to the idea of "equality of opportunity" under law.

Please feel free to comment. I want to learn more about what "left" and "right" mean in these very interesting forum discussions. Thank you.


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Arch Stanton
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posted 25 June 2002 03:33 PM      Profile for Arch Stanton     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
No States, no churches, no authority.
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Michelle
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posted 25 June 2002 04:17 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm a left-leaning moderate by your definition then.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Arch Stanton
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posted 25 June 2002 04:22 PM      Profile for Arch Stanton     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yet you're "hard-left" by another standard.
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skdadl
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posted 25 June 2002 04:28 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
In your description of the left, Psych, I detect the corrosive myth of the left as champions of the welfare state. I say it's corrosive especially because the left has allowed itself to be cornered by that paranoid projection of the right, in Canada especially has sort of painted itself into that corner.

At the same time, it's been difficult (for once, I'm understating the problem) for any left anywhere to aim for more than welfare-statism without facing instant, severe sanctions from exceptionally powerful and well-armed elites, sanctions ranging from capital flight all the way to assault by Daisy-Cutters.


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Michelle
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posted 25 June 2002 04:32 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm hard left? By whose standards? I guess on some issues I'm about as left-wing as you can get, but there are quite a few others where I am even (gasp!) centrist.

Of course, that political compass test told me I was a hard-core left libertarian, so there you go.


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Smoov
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posted 25 June 2002 04:44 PM      Profile for Smoov     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Of course, that political compass test told me I was a hard-core left libertarian, so there you go.

The "libertarian" part makes all the difference in the world. I have no problem at all with lefty libertarians. It's leftist authoritarians that scare the bejesus out of me.


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Smoov
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posted 25 June 2002 04:46 PM      Profile for Smoov     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I should also note that I am equally skeered o dem bible-thumpin' ultra-right funadmentalists (I lived in Kentucky for 3 years).
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DrConway
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posted 25 June 2002 05:00 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
By the setup you've constructed there, Psych, I'm a left-wing moderate, although a good deal more left than moderate.

There's nothing wrong with the welfare-state. It's just that rich people are allergic to the idea.


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Briguy
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posted 25 June 2002 06:11 PM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm a left-wing libertarian. Government should be there to regulate industry, provide infrastructure, and ensure the health and education of the populace. They shouldn't be breathing down my neck, telling me what to read, how to think, or what colour the sky really is. It really is that simple, Psych.
From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
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posted 25 June 2002 10:49 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm a bright green commie anarchist christian liberatarian.
I think we should leave some stuff alone, protect some stuff, nationalize some stuff, ration some stuff, share some stuff, outlaw some destructive activity, collect some taxes, and let people wear, worship, comb, paint, staple or puncture whatever parts of themselves they want.

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Zatamon
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posted 25 June 2002 11:23 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I am a colorblind, bidirectional, stubbornly simplifying hater of boxes and labels.
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clersal
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posted 25 June 2002 11:44 PM      Profile for clersal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I love boxes with ribbons around them when they are for me.
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Zatamon
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posted 25 June 2002 11:48 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
How about finding yourself inside one, without knowing who the bastard was who put you there?
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Michelle
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posted 25 June 2002 11:50 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Does that happen to you often, Zatamon? Maybe you need to stop being the "lampshade guy" at the parties you attend. Hee hee.
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clersal
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posted 25 June 2002 11:51 PM      Profile for clersal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
There is that.
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Zatamon
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posted 25 June 2002 11:53 PM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I don't attend parties, Michelle. I can't find my way out of this damn box!
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clersal
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posted 25 June 2002 11:57 PM      Profile for clersal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Are you sure you aren't talking about yer boxers?
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Zatamon
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posted 26 June 2002 12:02 AM      Profile for Zatamon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Oh shit! ... my mistake ... how did you know???
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Psychwarlord
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posted 27 June 2002 09:50 AM      Profile for Psychwarlord        Edit/Delete Post
I take it, then, that no one here needs to add to or modify the meanings of "left" "right" and "moderate" as I understand them.

Thank you. I think I have a better idea of those terms as a result.


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nonsuch
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posted 27 June 2002 10:20 AM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The terms mean nothing.
Party names mean nothing.
Judge not by the label, but by the content.
Not right or left, but good or bad.
Not what they preach, but what they do.

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Psychwarlord
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posted 27 June 2002 10:32 AM      Profile for Psychwarlord        Edit/Delete Post
Nonesuch I agree with you - I'm just trying to get a handle on what "leftism" is, because people here keep saying it is a "leftist" forum.
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Gayle
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posted 27 June 2002 11:20 AM      Profile for Gayle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Psychwarlord: I had the same questions when I first got to Marigoldzine.com. Here's the very helpful thread where I got many specific answers and lots of analogies and such.
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nonsuch
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posted 27 June 2002 02:06 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I guess socialists just get tired of the question. It's asked from time to time to time, most often by people who don't really care what anyone thinks, but just want to arrive at: Aw, these lefties are all wet.
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Psychwarlord
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posted 27 June 2002 02:24 PM      Profile for Psychwarlord        Edit/Delete Post
Thank you Gayle, I just read a lot of it and learned a lot too.
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Consciousness III
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posted 27 June 2002 05:40 PM      Profile for Consciousness III     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Imagine a world where money is more important than love. A world where a select few feed their unsatisfiable greed at the expense of the masses. A world where millions starve while others are more concerned with feelings of jealousy regarding screen size, brand names, or the size in cubic inches of their engines.

SOUND SHITTY, then you are probably a leftist.

Now imagine a world where love is more important than money. A world where no one person can take advantage of another unless that person wishes to be taken advantage of. A world where everyone would endure hunger before a single person would starve. This is the ideal world of the left.


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sheep
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posted 27 June 2002 06:30 PM      Profile for sheep     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Now imagine a world where love is more important than money. A world where no one person can take advantage of another unless that person wishes to be taken advantage of. A world where everyone would endure hunger before a single person would starve. This is the ideal world of the left.

Sounds fantastic! How do we get there? Beyond knee jerk equal and opposite reactions to every move the "right" makes, how do we get from point A to the ideal world of the left?


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satana
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posted 27 June 2002 06:31 PM      Profile for satana     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
One thing I don't quite understand
is the role of religion in "Left/Right" politics.
I get the impression that, in general, Christians are right-wing and non-Christians are left-wing.

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sheep
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posted 27 June 2002 06:36 PM      Profile for sheep     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
One thing I don't quite understand
is the role of religion in "Left/Right" politics.
I get the impression that, in general, Christians are right-wing and non-Christians are left-wing.

You couldn't be further from the truth.


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satana
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posted 27 June 2002 06:54 PM      Profile for satana     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post

[ June 27, 2002: Message edited by: satana ]


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satana
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posted 27 June 2002 06:57 PM      Profile for satana     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
You couldn't be further from the truth.

Could you explain?
Is there a (statistical) relationship between religious background and party membership or voting in Canada?

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nonsuch
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posted 27 June 2002 06:58 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
satana - don't worry too much about it.
Within the ranks of every religion, you'll find the whole political, economic and moral spectrum, from the lowly monk who owns a wooden rice-bowl and the shift he stands up in to the ermine-clad cardinal who eats only caviar and lobster on Fridays.
Within the ranks of every political movement, you'll find the whole spectrum of spirituality, from atheist to pagan to Calvinist.
Maintan the body; the soul takes care of itself.

ps - ConsciousnessIII - i like that. Can i borrow it sometimes?

[ June 27, 2002: Message edited by: nonesuch ]


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sheep
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posted 27 June 2002 07:01 PM      Profile for sheep     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think the closest generalization that you could make would be that religious people in general, not just Christians, tend to be more conservative, and that non religous types tend to be more liberal.

Although I do think certain religions attract and cultivate a more humanistic view of the world, wicca and buddishm for example.

edited to add

never mind...nonesuch has it right

[ June 27, 2002: Message edited by: sheep ]


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MJ
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posted 27 June 2002 07:05 PM      Profile for MJ     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Satana,

I don't know if there's any kind of statistical correlation in voting patterns, but the organised left in electoral politics is intertwined with religion. The CCF/NDP was started in the west by a bunch of ordained ministers. Do a google search on "social gospel" and you'll find a lot of interesting information.

And Liberation theology had quite an influence on latin american politics in the latter part of the 20th century.


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nonsuch
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posted 27 June 2002 07:18 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
After all, Jesus was a communist. Many of his followers, even two thousand years later, still live in communes and render service to the poor.

The leaders of organized Christianity who choose Caesar are looking out for their own power. The congregations which support the status quo are usually afraid of new ideas (science, mostly) and forces that might disrupt society. The fear is fed by the same guys who need to protect their power. They can't object to sharing on religious grounds; it's something else they object to.


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satana
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posted 27 June 2002 07:34 PM      Profile for satana     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
One political party that I haven't seen mentioned on this forum is the CHP.
Where does a party like this fit in the political spectrum?

(and why doesn't anyone on babble talk about them?)


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nonsuch
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posted 27 June 2002 08:00 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Probably because it's marginal and narrow. And because most of us have moved into (or been brought up in) areas of multiculturalism, feminism, science, tolerance of other (or no) religions, of other (or no) sexual orientation; disrespect for authoritarian interpretations of God and what He wants. All this has been pretty well understood - beyond the need to keep repeating it - long before Rabble existed. So, probably, most of us are reluctant to plough that ground again.
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Rabber Bareon
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posted 28 June 2002 02:59 AM      Profile for Rabber Bareon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
satana
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posted June 27, 2002 06:57 PM

Tommy Douglas who believed in social democracy (democratic socialism) was a Christian minister and also a director of a western oil company


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meades
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posted 28 June 2002 04:05 AM      Profile for meades     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Psych, personally, I think "left", "rigt", and "moderate" labels are far too narrow. Many on "the left" think that the government needs to intervene more in the economy, whereas we'd be rioting in the streets if the government tried to muscle into the social sphere of life (at least I would be). That's why I like the Political Compass' way of looking at it:

Click!

The Libertarian Left is what we most often refer to as just "left", while the Authoritarian Right is what is most often referred to as "right". The Libertarian Right is most often just refered to as "Libertarian". And there aren't a whole lot of folks in the Authoritarian Left, so we really don't have a name for them. Personally, I use the term "nutters" or something along those lines Moderates fall somewhere in the middle of that.

quote:
One political party that I haven't seen mentioned on this forum is the CHP.
Where does a party like this fit in the political spectrum?

The CHP is in the faaaaaaaar-Authoritarian Right, and for that reason, its members and supporters are considered bonkers by most Canadians. As such, they play next to no role in politics, and that's the reason we never talk about them. Unless we're making fun of someone, heh. I think I've done that once or twice...

[ June 28, 2002: Message edited by: meades ]


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Arch Stanton
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posted 30 June 2002 04:20 AM      Profile for Arch Stanton     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
And there aren't a whole lot of folks in the Authoritarian Left, so we really don't have a name for them

I thought we called them Maoists, Leninists or Trotskyites.


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meades
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posted 30 June 2002 04:30 AM      Profile for meades     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
When I said "we" I was refering to the Canadian public in general, however you're right. Those, and Stalinists, DeLeonists, Left Communists, Council Communists, Luxemburgists, bla, bla, bla...
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Apemantus
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posted 30 June 2002 05:00 AM      Profile for Apemantus        Edit/Delete Post
The left is a wide spectrum of opinion that seldom agrees, so this is a leftist discussion board!!

Some rightists are as keen on government intervention as leftists, but in different spheres - defence, policing, educational curriculum, property rights, law etc. To simplify and lie: rightists want government intervention to protect ME, leftists want it to protect YOU (sometimes from yourself!).


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satana
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posted 30 June 2002 06:49 AM      Profile for satana     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
So, what is rightism? who supports it? and why?
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Veronica
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posted 01 July 2002 03:53 AM      Profile for Veronica        Edit/Delete Post
Right Wing: Pull up your own bootstraps - the government's job is not to look after people. Business and competition will take care of everything - competition will keep prices fair. Trickle down theory. Businesses will monitor themselves - government has no business interfering with business. No one gets special treatment: i.e. aboriginals, women, visible minorities - it's a level playing field everwhere: education, jobs, business, government -just work hard and you'll get there.

Left Wing: Knowledge and understanding that discrimination exists. Knowledge and understanding that some people, groups, races legs were amputated by history and they need a leg up to join the race. Knowledge and understanding that we are a human community and the well being of everyone is more important than the GNP/GDP. Knowledge and understanding that the great wealth of individuals/nations was often the result of exploitation of the vulnerable and the margianalized. Knowledge and understanding that every single individual is just as important as any other individual and each and everyone should have the ways and means to get an education, to have health coverage, to have food and shelter and have the ways and means of looking after their children. Left wing politics is about human beings and their well being. Left wing politics is about respecting the environment. It's about understanding that all living things - humans and animals have a rightful place on this earth and are not there to be expoited for profit.

Extreme right-wing conservative morals: patriarchy, homophobia, patriotism, militarism, imperialism, John Birch Society, Tammy Baker, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh; god's chosen people, axis of evil, McCarthyism, Edgar Hoover (transvestite), denial of global warming, Free Enterprise Rules: Enron, etc. The earth and people are there to be exploited for profit.


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Apemantus
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posted 01 July 2002 05:06 AM      Profile for Apemantus        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Right Wing: Pull up your own bootstraps - the government's job is not to look after people.

Unless its defence, policing, educational curriculum, religion, sex, morals etc...


From: Brighton, UK | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Secret Agent Style
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posted 01 July 2002 10:33 PM      Profile for Secret Agent Style        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
...the government's job is not to look after people.

Unless those people are rich.

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wei-chi
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posted 02 July 2002 12:54 AM      Profile for wei-chi   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Why is the Alliance supported by so many ordinary people?
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Veronica
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posted 02 July 2002 04:17 AM      Profile for Veronica        Edit/Delete Post
I believe that the Alliance is supported by so many ordinary people because it seems to convey the image that it is for the down to earth ordinary Canadian. It kind of comes across as something akin to Tommy Douglas - the non-slick guy for the honest hard-working Canadian. But in actual fact, the Alliance ideology is the opposite.
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Apemantus
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posted 02 July 2002 05:10 AM      Profile for Apemantus        Edit/Delete Post
Not sure whether the Alliance is your equivalent of the Tory party in the UK, but one reason why many poor and working class people supported the right in the UK in the 1980s was that the left and socialist policies had a tendency to restrict people's ability to progress up the scales of wealth, partly because they created welfare dependence, by having cliff edge drop-offs to benefit payments - that has now been rectified with tax credits and improved marginal rates, so that work does pay. Secondly, a lot of welfare in the past used to be rather patronizing and humiliating and for all their faults, the right do believe in self determination, and self-respect whereas the left often 'tell' people what they are, how they should feel etc...

At least, that is how it used to seem...

As time went on, people realised that Thatcher's policies were not benefitting the poor or working class, but were structured to benefit the wealthy, and as inequality grew (as well as the real income of the poorest strata of society never grew, unemployment increased etc.), the left were voted back in, only for us to discover that they were also rightwing now in many crucial areas, because Thatcher's cleverest legacy was to make wealth ever more powerful even in the corridors of political power.

Whether Labour can come out of the camouflage and show their true beliefs still remains to be seen...


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nonsuch
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posted 02 July 2002 09:17 AM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
And maybe because it plays on their fears: of strangers, of godless immorality, of overspending and over-regulation, of domination by intellectuals, of individual disarmament...
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