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Primaries

Discussion in 'Alley of Lingering Sighs' started by T2Bruno, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    On the first right, you're kinda right - the closest term to the US "liberal" I came across in my PS studies was social liberalism, while paleoliberalism or neoliberalism seem quite similar to the Republican financial policies, though I think libertarianism comes closest to what someone in Europe would consider "pure" liberalism. Telling a Swede how bad socialism is in practice was quite ironic, btw :) - the Scandinavian countries are quite left-leaning even by European standards, but as far as living standards are concerned, they are not doing too bad.

    The reasons why the US views socialism so negatively are more likely historical rather than economical, imo. I guess the left-ish policies of the 60's got some blame for subsequent recessions (some of it perhaps even deserved, but I don't think I'm qualified enough to delve deeper into that), but I dare say Vietnam might have done more to slow down the US economy than anything else LBJ or Kennedy did.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2008
  2. The Great Snook Gems: 31/31
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    I guess this depends on your definitions of "not bad" and "like". These programs were designed to be supplemental programs and to help low income people. Instead the "Law of unintended consequences" kicked in and now they are the primary retirement and medical plan for senior citizens as corporate pension plans have gone the way of the dinosaur. These two plans may very well bankrupt the country

    While true, considering the state of public education, I do wonder if we would be better off maintaining laws requiring education, but then forcing citizens to make there own arrangements.

    I'm not quite sure I agree with you that these are socialist programs. Isn't one of the basic functions of a government to provide for the safety of its citizens?

    I'm not sure that is quite true . It looks like they do receive some tax money, but it is basically a user funded organization. Note this is from 12/19/00

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2008
  3. Drew

    Drew Arrogant, contemptible, and obnoxious Adored Veteran

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    I think that perhaps you folks misunderstand what libertarianism is. Libertarians favor minimally regulated, laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, minimally regulated migration across borders, and non-interventionism in foreign policy that respects freedom of trade and travel to all foreign countries. Most of that sounds OK, right? Here's the sticky part:

    While progressive on issues of individual liberty (as their name implies), Libertarians want to abolish of all forms of taxpayer-funded assistance like welfare, food stamps, public housing, etc. They oppose all forms of gun control. They oppose all regulation of businesses. They support unrestricted free trade. To this end, Libertarians want to reduce the size of government, eliminating many of its current functions entirely. Fiscally, they lean farther to the right than the Republican party, and on social issues, they lean farther to the left than mainstream democrats*. This is hardly what I think of when I look at European socialism.

    * For example, libertarians support the legalization of "victimless" crimes, but they carry this much farther than the democrats do. Not only do they support the legalization of prostitution (which I am admittedly ambivalent about), but they also support the repeal of seat belt laws, helmet laws, or laws regarding controlled substances (which includes hard drugs like Heroin and Meth).
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2008
  4. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Which is exactly Shaman meant Drew, what you in the US call libertarianism is what we in Europe call liberalism and just as no country has implemented pure socialism no country has implemented pure liberalism. Pure liberalism would be what you describe, a nightwatch state where the free market controls everything.
     
  5. Drew

    Drew Arrogant, contemptible, and obnoxious Adored Veteran

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    Ah. What you are saying is that "liberal" has a completely different definition in your neck of the woods.
     
  6. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    JFK said it best:

     
  7. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Well, that is not what I think when I think of liberal Chandos :p. I guess everyone know though the difference in the choice of words for the different political isms between Europe and the US by now though. Over here, the liberals are hte right wingers, the liberals are the ones that want to lower taxes and cut public spending. We do not really have any conservatism except factions within a minor party. The divide is generally between socialists and liberals but then again what is considered right wing and "liberal" over here would probably be considered "liberal" in the US as well as the party the most to the right here would by American standards position themselves somewhere in the right fringe of the Democratic party. Heck, from what I perceive I would say that the two major parties that battle for control in Sweden would both fit within the Democratic party, the Social Democrats which seems to be similar to leftish Democrats like John Edwards and others and the Moderates who are more similar to rightish Democrats like the Clintons. Then there are some minor parties, the communists are quite far to the left and together with the greens make out the posse of the Social Democrats and then there are the Liberals, Christian Democrats and the Center (basically liberals with a rural/green twist which make out the right wing block around the Moderates. Why I am sharing this, in your probable opinion, worthless information is to try to explain why American politics often seem very strange for me and that the entire political scene is so different. Not to be offensive but how the Republican Party tend to do business and their rhetoric reminds me more of people like Silvio Berlusconi (and other even more unsavory characters) than of serious, democratic politicians.
     
  8. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    That's because the American political experience is very different from Europe's. Yet, one can hardly expect a European to know how the American political dialogue is informed when most Americans are clueless on the subject regarding the formation of American political thought, and how the experience of the American Revolution, and the Reconstruction in its aftermath, are the shaping forces in American politics (and the Civil War and its Reconstruction to a lesser extent). I'm sure most Americans would be amazed at how the definition of political terms are used in the European political dialogue, just as it appears in the reverse.
     
  9. martaug Gems: 23/31
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    jeez go to work & come back to a new page!
    @ drew, nope, if you do any research you will find out that they compare the voting records of every senater & member of the house of representatives every year. they list them as the most conservative & liberal. so it wasn't an unfair poll they use the ENTIRE voting recoed for the whole year.
     
  10. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    I use the term liberal as I was taught it, and it has often caused me no little fascination how it means a very different thing in US - and to a degree, English political language. I think in the US it was adopted as an euphemistic term for left-wing policies as the left took up the civil rights issue during the 50's and 60's, though in matters of economy left-wing and liberal are hardly synonymous. The economic premise of social liberalism, which is close to the US definition of liberalism as I understand is, is that in a society where opportunity is unequal because it relies on unequally distributed wealth and other resources (i.e. disabilities, minority status, etc) it is preferable to have the state step in and even the odds - such as through public education, healthcare, anti-monopoly measures, etc. Only thus can liberty and opportunity be guaranteed for everyone. In Europe, this tenet is usually espouced by social-democratic parties.

    Joacquin offered a basic view of the spectrum in many European states. Here is a possibly expanded version. Keep in mind that borders between those terms can be quite fluid, and that a party's actual name might not coincide with its position.

    From left to right:

    - communists: in most countries, this is the absolute fringe - from anarchists to radicals who get a few percent from the nostalgic old or the slightly, well, kooky. Some of them didn't hear about what happened in 1989, some are still wondering what to do next. In general, they try to gather sympathizers with populism and radical solutions which are, luckily, not likely to ever be implemented. TGS, your kind of socialists, basically :p The one possible exception, I guess, would be the Cypriot communists, who are actually not only a sizable party, but iirc are currently in power - one of the very few communist parties to ever do that through normal elections (of course, they probably behave much more like socialists, and their popularity iirc is mostly because they promised to work on a solution to the unification problem.)

    - socialists: the difference between them and communists is that they are actually serious about running the country and thus are much more realistic about what you can and can not do. Here is where you may actually start seeing large parties: heavily oriented towards a welfare state and redistribution of public wealth. They are imo usually present in countries which had a fairly viable communist party, especially in central/eastern europe are big-top coalitions that have remains of the old communists and social democrats, with the odd minority movement thrown in.

    - social-democrats: the center-left, perceived in a way imo similar to how the US Democratic party is. The difference between them and socialists is particularly blurry, and you sometimes have only one of the two. In general, they value the economy and private enterprise, but view an efficient economy as a means to generate revenue for social projects rather than an end in itself. Unlike the more hard-line socialists, however, they are much less conservative on social issues, and less insistant on state enterprises (though they do insist on state influence over certain aspects of the economy). Many green movements with more state-centered ideas tend to gravitate towards this side of the spectrum on political issues not dealing with the environment.

    - liberals: the center- to center right. This is a rather diverse group, which in general wants a small state, free room for private enterprise, and broad individual rights. It sometimes includes minority parties, and often serves as a partner/mediator for the socialists/social democrats or the christian democrats. Some green parties can be found in this group as well.

    - christian democrats/conservatives - the traditional right, and a part of what would usually pass for conservative parties here. Often, by the way, they are much more statist than the US Republicans - partly due to the influence the other traditional group - the socialists - have on the political mainstream, and partly due to their own Christian roots and conservative agenda. Compassionate conservatives, so to say. In most Eastern European countries, this group is understandably quite minor and still trying to find its voice - and usually their ideas are a secondary platform for liberals and nationalists. I treat them together as they are often the same party or a long-standing coalition, although imo christian-democrats are a bit more to the left and typical conservative parties more to the right.

    - nationalist parties - starting from the more hardline/radicalized conservatives and loosely ending with the fringe right. They tend to have very poor view of immigrants, more inflammatory - often populist - rhetoric, and are often opposed to many forms of integration - including economic ones. Religious values are often used, but imo more as a conservative symbol than actual key issues. Some have won a nearly prominent position, but many are basically fringe groups. Sometimes, it can be different to distinguish some of their demands from those of the far left imo - they are also the most likely to call for a strong state, justice for (insert parasite group here), etc, etc.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2008
  11. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    That's great, but political ideology has to be directly connected to live-wire political issues, otherwise ideology is really meaningless.
     
  12. martaug Gems: 23/31
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    hey shaman based on your definitions, i'm a nationalist liberal! WTHow the Crap did that happen !?!? :)
     
  13. AMaster Gems: 26/31
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    To be clear, I wasn't actually advancing that argument, merely pointing out that it might be made. My actual argument, put simply, was that the polling data did not and cannot support the idea that people admitted they didn't vote for Obama because he's black. The polling was simply too superficial and too open to varied interpretations to be of much use.
     
  14. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    I'd say you are a conservative liberal. You're a bit too coherent to be a proper nationalist :D . Jokes aside, the names don't matter all that much - I gave the table more as an illustration of how the political spectrum is labeled here, rather than to support a claim that, say, you are a christian conservative or Rags is a soc-democrate.

    Still, it can be quite fascinating to look at yourself through others' eyes - before going to one political forum on the web, I considered myself right-leaning. Actually, for the Bulgarian standards, I probably was one.

    BTW, I saw a video on Youtube that was often commented on with regards to McCain's "Obama is the choice of HAMAS" attack. In it, McCain said to a Sky reporter (Sky is the UK Murdoch-owned network) that he thinks the US should be willing to speak to Hamas depending on their actions, and needs to acknowledge that they are (or were, I suppose, that was before the split) a legitimate government. Can anyone tell me when it was shot, and would you care to comment? I myself consider this brand of McCain a much preferable one, but I'm not sure how likely he is to follow the realist path when in office. In 2000, GWB spoke against interventionism and nation-building, but his name is now almost synonymous with the two :)
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2008
  15. martaug Gems: 23/31
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    i don't know when it was shot, i would be interested in seeing more. hamas is listed as a terrorist organization in about a half a dozen countries & as a group engaged in terrorist attacks by the european union & their charter calls for the destruction of israel so i don't think we can, in good faith, deal with them. they can't even get along with the other palestinian groups let alone us.

    oh, BTW, can't be a christian conservative not a christian. :)
     
  16. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    Did Nixon deal with Russia, China?
    Did Reagan deal with Iran? (that's right, he only sold them arms)
    Did GWB deal with North Korea?

    :doh: Oh, they were only sworn enemies of the United States....

    But of course, NO ONE can talk to Cuba...it's a VERY dangerous country :rolleyes:

    And the Democrats are not allowed to talk to anyone...not even the French...unless they have Joe Leiberman as a "frontman."
     
  17. martaug Gems: 23/31
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    the whole cuba thing has always been screwy but then that was a democrat thing so what do you expect.







    :)
     
  18. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    I'm not sure what you mean. IIRC Republicans like Nixon and Reagan have been more than happy to engage in some Cuba-bashing whenever it was convenient.
     
  19. Drew

    Drew Arrogant, contemptible, and obnoxious Adored Veteran

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    Couldn't be bothered to read your own link? Obama was found to be the most liberal senator, but this is a bit misleading. Aside from the fact that they only used 107 "key" roll call votes (not all roll call votes were used), they didn't track committee votes at all - and most bills are killed in committee, not on the floor. Further, how much weight each issue carried was arbitrarily assigned. Despite it's overwhelming bi-partisan support, Obama's ethics reform bill was weighted very heavily in the liberal direction, for example. Obama's scores on the economic and social axes were actually matched by several other senators (5 for economic, 4 for social) and his score in the foreign policy category was actually exceeded -in many cases, by a substantial margin - by seven other senators. On top of that, of the 107 votes they counted, Obama only voted on 66 of them. Had he missed 13 more votes, he wouldn't even have been counted.

    Further, Obama was not being compared to members of the house - and really can't be - on the basis of his floor votes, since the senate is by necessity* a more moderate and deliberative body. Only bills with enough supporters to invoke cloture in the event of a filibuster actually reach the floor for a vote in the senate. A bill like HR 676 (medicare for all) will simply never reach the senate floor. If the democrats can pull 9 or so more seats out of their asses this may change, but as it stands today, being found the "most liberal senator" doesn't really mean anything.

    * Because of their cloture rules, any bill that can't get 3/5 of the senators behind it is effectively dead in the water.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2008
  20. martaug Gems: 23/31
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    drew, if you had bothered to read other links like this one you would have found out that they compare both senators & representatives & have for years(at least back to 2000). of course they can't call him the most liberal representative because, duh, he's a senator.
     
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