Friday, September 30, 2011

The Moderate Crazies

Moderate strategies in the past had moderate results ~ Marc Johnson, state appeals court judge, Kenner LA.

They turn Liberals into the "far left" and label them "the crazies". They turn themselves into "Liberals", even though they supported the illegal war with Afghanistan, eliminating the corporate income tax*, and call themselves "free traders".

When I first starting blogging five (and change) years ago, I firmly considered myself a Liberal. I was an anti-war, for the middle class, in favor of increasing taxes on the wealthy, opposed to unfettered free trade, anti-Fox Nooz Liberal. Now, though, I'd probably have to say that I'm more Liberal.

But I've not really changed all that much. Just shifted a little further to the Left. I think the real question here is, seeing as a certain Independent Moderate Blue Dog Democrat Libertarian (and others) consider me to be on the "far left", instead of simply a normal Progressive, how is is that the Moderate crazies think they can hijack the term "Progressive", move the goalposts, and get away with it? I'm positive it's because that's the MO of the Right and their accomplices in the so-called Middle.

The Right has been so successful at moving the goalposts that they shifted a large portion of the Democratic Party to the Right. That's how we got Bill Clinton and the Third Way Democrats! I actually argued with a Conservative/Libertarian on a blog recently about whether or not Bill Clinton was a Liberal. This Con/Libertarian insisted that Clinton was Leftist/Liberal and that "a large number of Liberals embraced the Third Way"! Un-freaking believable, huh?

Note: This post is a rebuttal to a commentary on the Contra O'Reilly blog. Above I state that the proprietor of this other blog is in favor of eliminating the corporate income tax. This is true, but he also wants to increase the top personal income tax rate to be set at 40 percent 39.6 percent 37-38 percent 25 percent and tax capital gains at the same rate as regular income. According to him this will result in more taxes being collected.

I bring this up because I was accused of being a partisan liar for "leaving out" this information. But this post wasn't meant to be a rebuttal of Willis Hart's position on the elimination of the corporate income tax, and I included a link that anyone could read themselves. Perhaps I'm just not that good of a deceiver? Anyway, I've added this note to eliminate any confusion. No "deception" was intended with this post.

SWTD #98, wDel #9.


  1. I use the word "progressive" because that's what I understand liberals like to be called. I'm told we Republicans turned "liberal" into a bad word.

    Also, you might be curious to know that conservatives believe that progressives have made the Republican Party move to the left over the last 20 years. Opposite points of view; opposite conclusions.

  2. First off, Will is not a moderate, he is a gadfly.

    Second, the terms, liberal conservative, right or left meaning absolutely nothing in a NEO LIBERAL political system.

    That is the dysfunction of our current political debate, the right clamors for lower taxes and the politicians on the left offer up policies that lower taxes. The reality is there is no "liberal" in the true sense of the word any longer and as such, the conservatives have had to go so far out on a limb to differentiate themselves that they have become kooks.

    The reality is Obama is a republican plain and simple. He has done nothing that makes him any different than a Herbert Hoover, Richard NIxon, or George Bush.

    As far as growing the size of government well, Ronald Reagan and GWB still have the record there.

    So the whole political debate that we blog about so philosophically has absolutely no basis in what government actually does.

  3. Dervish,

    I have a lot of respect for your political acumen when you decide not to think like a jackass, which is not that often. You are a talented, intelligent, knowledgeable far, far, left liberal. Assuming there are centrists, independents and liberals and conservatives (I call libertarians conservatives), then you don't have to be on the far, far left, to still be on the liberal side of the graph.

    Of course you are more liberal than you were. With each argument you confirm what you already know, which is that you are right and those who disagree with you are wrong. Each imagined victory makes you more certain, which makes you imagine still more victories. It is not a new phenomenon, and sadly, the more intelligent a person is, the more susceptible he is to this error.

    You are convinced that everyone who doesn't agree with your far left philosophy is a moron. It is philosophy, ideology, not necessarily truth!

    You say Will is not a liberal. I can kind of see that because he is very centrist, almost borderline. Do you deny that I am a liberal? However, the reasons you give for Will, are largely invalid. I think he is not a centrist, but there are fiscal concerns and social concerns.

    He wants to get rid of the corporate tax. You use that against him. SO DO I, if we can find a way to handle the tax sheltering fallout from it. Corporate taxation is obfuscation. It hides who is really getting taxed and how much. I DON'T want to give the rich anything. I want to take from them as much as possible until things truly equalize, and we are a long way from that. I believe the rich are the ones who can contribute the funds needed, and they should be forced to do so, and they never have been forced. I have the exact same philosophy as you ultimately do, I think, but my belief of how to get there lines up with Will's philosophy, not yours.

    Guess what? It is philosophy, not truth. Theory! We don't have scientific data supporting your reality. (and God, please don’t link to a cherry-picked chart or a graph. I have tons of those links on my machine already. I don’t’ need another attempt to prove a pre-established philosophy by drawing lines a paper and saying they are confirmation of your philosophy. Be proud of your position and argue what you think for the reason you think it).

    This whole article was written to suggest that Will is not a liberal. Will is a centrist, but he centrist leaning to the left.

    I do agree with you that the right has moved more right faster than the left as moved left. I would never deny that. However, that does nothing to prove that Will is a republican. He is not and this article does nothing to convert him.

  4. So, John, exactly what is a "conservative" or a "Liberal" and exactly how do we determine a "centrist?"

    How exactly does one determine "national defense" and differentiate that from being a superpower?

    How exactly does one decide that government spending is "Keynesian" but giving tax credits is not?

    How exactly do libertarians demand individual freedom and responsibility and then denounce abortion? While they advocate legalizing drugs, which can affect a fetus for the rest of their lives, they consider fetus' to be human and thus abortion is murder. So then would be legalizing drugs to a fetus.

    How exactly does a conservative and their belief in personal freedom then denounce the revoking of DADT?

    The reality is that anyone who voted for GWB twice should be voting for Obama in 2012 because one is just a continuation of the others policies and if you supported the one you should be supporting the other.

    Its easy to discuss all of this as a "philosophical" debate but the reality its just a "name tag" debate because the reality is we do not adhere to a philosophy but rather a label. As labels swing in the wind so do we.

    There were so many neo conservatives in this country in 2000 and 2004 and today you hear nothing from them, its as if they no longer exist. If they truly represented a philosophy then they should be cheering Obama for his decisive action against terrorists. But you hear nothing.

    Its not philosophy but rather labels...its all partisan.

    Not philosophy.

  5. Tao,

    Many of your questions are good questions, but a bit off topic and if you intended them as a rebuttal of something, they are unfathomable in that context.

    This article was inspired by a dispute with will Hart and my response is to that dispute.

    I would love to take the time to address each of your bullet points, not as a defense of any my position on whether Will is a liberal, but out of personal interest in many of the disparate topics you brought up.

    I will say that embracing an ideology does not mean you have to think exactly like everyone else who embraces the basic ideology. That is mindless. You don't have to close your mind to be a democrat (or a libertarian or a republican), or a conservative or a liberal for that matter. You can rationally examine each topic on the merits of the topic and still lean left or lean right.

    I reject the premise that liberals must believe all far left liberal ideas. I reject it as no only illogical, but detrimental and akin to Bible thumping.

    I would fight a little harder, addressing each line, as I normally do, but I would lose my job if I did and it is not worth that.

  6. Nope John, missed the point totally.

    One can vote, either republican or democrat, and as we only have two choices for the most part, those are your options. Thus voting involves a choice that is not necessarily "philosophically" based.

    When one claims a particular "philosophical" political belief is that philosophy defined traditionally? By current use of the term? Or is it user defined?

    Exactly what is a liberal? What is a conservative? What about a libertarian? Or a socialist?

    Exactly what is liberalism in light of the fact that we are a government that is neoliberal in its prescriptions? Is conservative the same thing today, in light of neo liberalism as it was with Barry Goldwater?

    How do you differentiate the socialism of Communist Russia from that of Capitalist Sweden? Or for that matter right wing Nazi Germany?

    Exactly then what does it mean when when Will claims to be a moderate?

    Or when HR claims to be a Heathen Republican? When in fact the republican party is actually quite social conservative? Can he then claim to be a Heathen in a party dominated by Evangelicals?

    So, I say I am a small government socialist; what exactly does that mean? Rational Nation says I am Leninist, I have been referred to as Chairman Mao, and HR loves to call me a "Progressive" in the most conscending way.

    30 years ago Will would have been a Republican, as he would be reacting to the excesses of the left, today you claim he is a liberal, most likely because you sense he is reacting to the excesses of the right.

    Philosophical based positions are not reactive but rather proactive.

    If we want to believe that the Tea Party is a result of events, a grass roots movement, then we can date their movement to TARP. Then you have the left now occupying Wall Street, which would mean that there is some overlap of positions, but those who celebrate the TEa Party as a grassroots movement scorn the current protest in Wall Street.

    There is no philosophy in politics today, there is nothing but posturing.

  7. @Tao, as long as you're dragging me into your comments...

    "When one claims a particular philosophical political belief is that philosophy defined traditionally? By current use of the term? Or is it user defined?"

    Probably all of the above. People define themselves all sorts of ways...

    "So, I say I am a small government socialist; what exactly does that mean? Rational Nation says I am Leninist, I have been referred to as Chairman Mao, and HR loves to call me a Progressive in the most conscending way."

    ...and they aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. It's possible that you are all of these things and more. Tao = small government socialist + progressive + Leninist. Yep, sounds pretty close to me. The Chairman Mao crack was probably just because of your avatar.

    "How do you differentiate the socialism of Communist Russia from that of Capitalist Sweden? Or for that matter right wing Nazi Germany?"

    There are many ways to differentiate, but the most common ways are the levels of economic freedom, property rights, rule of law, and standards of living. BTW a factual correction: Nazi Germany wasn't right-wing.

    "Or when HR claims to be a Heathen Republican? When in fact the republican party is actually quite social conservative? Can he then claim to be a Heathen in a party dominated by Evangelicals?"

    This isn't complicated. I am conservative, and there is no candidate on the Democratic ticket that I could imagine voting for as a result. I don't have to share religious theology with other voters in order to call myself Republican.

    "Exactly what is a liberal? What is a conservative?"

    This is the easiest answer of all. Read The Difference Between Liberals and Conservatives.

  8. Oh, HR, you also forgot "Libertarian" in your math inregards to small government socialist.

    So, Nazi Germany was not a right wing movement? Hmmm, then why was their first act in office to ban the communist and socialist parties? Arrest their leaders and usher them to their first Concentration Camp at Dachau? Is it because the communists and socialists at the time were right wing?

    Or is it because you cannot fathom the concept of a right wing totalitarian regime? Sorry, you need to check your history Nazism was a right wing totalitarian government that came to power financed by big business interests and the desire of the old monarchists for peace in the streets...

  9. "So, Nazi Germany was not a right wing movement? Hmmm, then why was their first act in office to ban the communist and socialist parties?"

    Tao, you're reading from a very old history book written by people on the left. Hitler was a revolutionary, and as you're perfectly aware, the political left is the party of change, progress, and (yes) revolution.

    Second, Hitler hated the bourgeoisie and traditionalists. What you describe is Hitler destroying the parties, which he obviously did. But that wasn't for ideological reasons; it was to solidify his power and remove any competitors.

    Third, Nazism was a popular movement. It was supported by all levels of society, including the core of the movement, the working and lower classes.

    Fourth, it's probably more accurate to say that Nazism was a non-ideological movement -- neither left nor right -- but employed populism and leftist tactics to achieve Hitler's goals. Hitler is known to have had no core ideology, but recognized that people would rally to ideas and symbols. He certainly used ideology (he had many), but the core of the movement was personality, not ideology.

    Lastly, I think you suffer from a common delusion that anything totalitarian must come from the right. You simply can't believe that a dictator could exist on the left side of the political spectrum. In this case, that bias is getting in the way of you seeing truth.

  10. Toa,

    I did not miss your point. I disagree with it. You put it best this way:

    Can he then claim to be a Heathen in a party dominated by Evangelicals?

    Heathen can be a republican and also an intellectual. He is both, and he is also an atheist. Your argument seems to be that if we had 20 different parties, he would not fall into the one we currently think of as a republican. I agree with this irrelevant statement. We don’t have 20 different parties and he is a republican.

    Mr. Heathen is an intellect. He can be an intellect and also be a Republican. You can disagree with certain planks of that party platform, yet still embrace the platform.

    I know what you are thinking: “How can Mr. Heathen be an intellect and be a Republican when most of the Republican ideology is backward?” It is a good point, as I am sure Mr. Heathen will confirm, and something I used to think also. I later learned that a wide variety of ideologies are embraced by intellectuals. We all start with different axioms and the rest flows naturally.

    I completely disagree with making a list of everything a conservative or a liberal is supposed to think and claiming if they don’t suspend their intellect in favor of your list, they are a fraud. I do not deny you your right of intellect suspension, but I must insist you allow me to remain a fellow who examines each point based only my set of core axioms with real logic applied to them.

  11. Sorry, HR, I had a great uncle and great aunt, socialists to the core who were dragged to Dachau upon the burning of the Reichstag.

    If you actually check you will realize that the Nazi's never won a majority in fact, before Hindenburg appointed Hitler to form a government the Nazi's support was ebbing in elections.

    As far as totalitarian government goes, no I do not believe they only are "rightest" as I will acknowledge that Russia was a totalitarian regime but not a communist one. Lenin may have started with Marx but he ended up with a fuedalistic authoritarian government and economic system.

    Actually Nazism was quite a Nationalistic movement, and all about building the Aryan nation thus it was quite philosophical.

    So, since you comment about "leftist" tactics why not explain them and differentiate them from "rightist" tactics?

  12. Tao,

    I primarily agree with Heathen's rebuttal overall. However, when he uses the words: "Leftist tactics" all he means is tactics that he thinks are not legitimate that are used against him. They have nothing whatsoever to do with the left, per se.

    The preposterous argument that the lefts' conduct is somehow inferior to that of the right is partisan absurdity. I think he actually realizes this and if he does not, no amount of evidence will sway is opinion because in that matter, evidence is not driving his opinion.

  13. As HR always claims, he is a partisan thus your claim of "intellectual" is false.

    I read his blog on a regular basis and I note "cuteness" but nothing intellectual.

    As he states in his most recent post:

    "Here's the danger for any Obama supporters: the belief that Obama has made it worse is entering the conventional wisdom, and I'm doing my part to help it along. While sometimes conventional wisdom turns out to be wrong, no one ever asks for proof. For proof, we'll have to wait until November 2012."

    I personally have no desire to dispute his claim of whether Obama's policies made things worse or not; I realized in 2004 that GWB was attempting to destroy the country so I voted for the first time since 1976 and as I see a striking similarity between GWB's and Obama's economic policies then obviously, rationally, and logically, I cannot vote for Obama in 2012.

    If I believed that what GWB was doing was wrong and if Obama is implementing similar policies then he has to be wrong also.

    I do note that personal income and GDP have risen under Obama while unemployment has also....that tells me right there that something is seriously structurally wrong with our economic system and that lower taxes are not the solution, because taxes have never been lower.

    But of course HR will refute this because he is a partisan.

  14. Toa,

    Obama neither took people's jobs, nor gave them raises. The wheels were in motion long before he took office and there is no real evidence that he substantially changed the game.

    As for HR, he can be both intellectual and partisan, and is.

    I disagree with most of what he believes. I am a liberal and he is a conservative. Some of what he believes is beyond absurd, even if you take his axioms as true. Those things are thus unintellectual. They are mainly his faith about liberals.

    However, if you take many of his axioms to be true, what follows is logical. That is one of the main criteria I use for calling someone intellectual.

    I consider most of his axioms to be false, but I cannot intelligently debate them, as you cannot refute faith.

    Another thing is his debating against standard liberals. He holds his own in general. He is less given to overt fallacy and is more likely to challenge it when used against him.

    Again, he is very partisan and has a great deal of faith. The same is true of lots of intellectuals.

    Defense of HR complete.

  15. If I'm a gadfly, Tao, than what does that make wd? He spends more time on my blog than he does his own.......And 30 years ago, I would have been a Republican? Um, try wrong again on that one. 35 years ago I voted for Carter and 31 years ago I voted for Anderson (yes, a Republican but as an independent he ran to the left of Carter). You really need to learn more about a person before you start to pigeonhole them.

  16. I'm not exactly sure how metaphysically pure ANY of these labels are. I've been referring to myself for quite some time now as a Rockefeller Republican/Boren Democrat and it seems to suit me well enough. It also seems to reflect fairly well the nation as a whole. This, in that 90% of the country DOESN'T order those stale-ale blueplate specials that the Democrat and Republican partisans are constantly trying to foist upon us (I mean, really, what in the hell does Planned Parenthood have to do with NPR?).........And in terms of what party has been driven farther to the extreme, I've conceded (on one of my posts in which I said that, if I HAD to join a Political party, I would more than likely join the Democrats) that that would be the Republicans. The radical far left (Olbermannland, Maddowville, etc.) has pretty much been marginalized. I mean, think about it, when was the last time that you ever heard a mainstream Democrat argue for a 70% top tax rate, the retirement age being lowered to 55, a scenario in which we should have handed Mr. bin Laden over to Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Hafez al Assad, Yasser Arafat, and the Saudi royal family, or even a single-payer health-care system, for Christ?......Alright, so now that we've established a consensus (apologies to HR) that the right has gone much more operationally crazy than the left has, what? What now - continue to search for purity, clear-cut dichotomies between good and evil, oversimplified solutions that we've plucked from our hackneyed and rotting orthodoxies? WHAT?????

  17. All,

    I mean, think about it, when was the last time that you ever heard a mainstream Democrat argue for a 70% top tax rate, the retirement age being lowered to 55

    I occasionally visit close to 100 liberal bloggers sites (some of the bloggers congregate on the same sites, so I say bloggers instead of blogs). Of those, I know of two democrats so far that advocate these extremes (maybe three. One is marginal I guess). I am sure there are others, but they are in the vast minority.

    Yet, these extremes are the metric that the majority of conservatives use to evaluate what it means to be a liberal. They reject liberalism, almost summarily, because of what the tiny minorities in the Democratic Party embrace. They virtually dedicate their blogs to refuting and attacking liberal ideas, ideas that almost no liberals have. You almost cannot find these ideas without going to a conservative blog. It is very ironic.

    The enemy many conservatives find themselves at war with is mostly a figment of conservatives’ imaginations. It is a big army that does not exist; but the effort they spend combating this imaginary enemy is enormous. They would be far more persuasive and would do far more for their ideological causes if they focused more on real live things.

    At the end of the day, after their hard-fought battles with their imaginary enemies, they fall to their knees and thank their Imaginary Friend for His blessings; they call it a night and retire from their imaginary worlds.

    [This message has been brought you by a Friend O’ the Conservative. No disrespect to anyone intended]

  18. Obama is a rabid moderate and therein lies much of his trouble.


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