What does left wing and right wing mean?

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pizzazz
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Re: What does left wing and right wing mean?

Postby pizzazz » Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:07 am UTC

omgryebread, I think I can turn your entire post around on you.

omgryebread wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:No, I defined the right as "traditionalism". The issue I had with the left-right dichotomy was that "individualism" isn't on the scale at all.
I think both sides can claim some individualism (so yeah, not on the scale I guess.) I'm okay with traditionalism as the right. My problem in general even with calling the individualist right wing philosophies individualism is that I think they are only surface individualism. I think they invariably lead to corporatism anyway. They're always for an unregulated market, and in markets, corporations do far better. Corporations are hardly bastions of individuality, though it seems some only think the individual/group dichotomy applies to government.

You're entirely missing the point of the government/firm distinction, which is that government can use force. No such private industry can, except through the very government that is supposed to be controlling them.
And I do take issue with being called conservative. I'm in between moralism and individualism; just that I feel that in recent years the Democrats have all but given up any pretense of supporting individualism.
I think it's impossible to be individualist without respecting individuals. Individualism means freedom, right? Freedom to what? Own guns and hoard your money? Freedom for who? White men in good health from rich families? Freedom from what? GOVERNMENT?

Egalitarianism means equality, right? Equality of what? Opportunity? Education? Wealth? Culture? Equality for whom? The government's favorite group du jour? Equality according to whom? GOVERNMENT?

To answer your questions: They're not exactly the same thing, but it's hard or nonsensical to have one without the other; whatever, as long as it doesn't infringe on others' rights to same; sure, if that's what you want; everyone* (age-, mental state-, and legal/criminal status-restrictions apply); yes, they would generally be included in that group; freedom from force and coercion, including that by government whenever possible.
What about freedom to love who want, or freedom to take contraception or freedom to do whatever you want with a flag? Those are all things Democrats support. What about freedom for the mentally ill, or immigrants, or those who've smoked a bit of pot? What about freedom for those who committed a crime, got out of prison and still can't vote? What about freedom from religious leaders who get abortion banned in a state or say teachers can't talk about homosexuality? What about freedom from corporations that want to dump chemicals in rivers or in the air?

What about equality of being able to defend oneself? What about equality of consideration for employment or acceptance (ie not having race/gender quotas)? These are things Republicans support. What about equality for the unborn? What about equality for What about What about equality for teachers or other workers who don't want to be in unions? What about equality for workers whose skills make them not worth hiring at the minimum wage or Davis-Bacon mandated wage? What about equality of treatment before the law, regardless of economic status?

Or yeah, what about freedom from poverty? What about freedom from lack of opportunity? I have a ton of freedom (thanks in large part to Democrats of the past), but what is that freedom worth if I can't afford the medicine that lets me live like a free person? It's an awfully shallow freedom Republicans are fighting for. Isn't giving a person health care giving them freedom? Isn't giving everyone a good, fair, equal, and free education giving them freedom? If telling a company they can't pollute is restricting their freedom, isn't it providing freedom for the people who live around it? If forcing companies to report on their CDS portfolios restricting their freedom, isn't it providing the freedom of the public to know those things?


Perhaps in a certain sense, one gets more, let's say options, from having all those things provided. But only at the cost of taking away the same amount of option from others, so that's not increasing freedom. Increasing freedom is when you repeal the Davis-Bacon Act, allowing lots of people to work for less if that's the only way they'll get hired. Increasing freedom is not shifting around purchasing power (and losing some in the process). Increasing freedom means allowing people to make their own choices without interference by others. This does not mean trying to actively increase their choices by taking choices away from others. You can't increase freedom that way.

You can put "freedom from" in front of anything bad, and assert that it is more important than some type of freedom, but that doesn't prove that government intervention will actually increase freedom (or equality, for that matter). Because when it comes down to it, the free-market has helped more people raise their standard of living farther in 200 years than every government in the world that has ever tried, combined. And frankly, equality is overrated. Someone else having lots of money doesn't make me any poorer (the fallacy of the economy as a zero-sum structure is possibly one of the most common and destructive fallacies of modern times). The poverty line in the United States represents a level of wealth unprecedented a hundred years ago, and that sort of progress is a hell of a lot more useful than the pathetic, mindless, jealousy-driven attempts by economically illiterate self-righteous do-gooders that take satisfaction in making two richer people just as poor as themselves, rather than making several people richer to different degrees, to control forces they do not begin to understand, in their unbridled arrogance. When government steps in to try to "correct" some perceived flaw (the usage of "correct" in itself shows the assumption that everything the government tries to change is somehow "incorrect"), everyone just ends up poorer *and* with less freedom.

It's a shallow individualism that dumps some of it's individuals alone and disadvantaged.


I think the types of equality espoused by the left are far shallower than the freedoms espoused on the right. Many of the freedoms you talk about only exist now, because of advances in technology and total wealth (themselves due in large part to economic freedom). The freedoms the right tends to focus on are the very crux of Western society and indeed of human existence: life, property, belief, expression. The only way to truly guarantee the rights you propose would be by slavery.

And sure, you get some right wing nutcases who want to run the government by the Bible; you also have left wing nutcases, with their own bible of organic food and door-mat approach to national defense, but that doesn't say anything inherent about the right or the left (well, maybe a little).

edit:
IcedT wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Corporations only have the power that citizens give them in the first place. Don't like a corporation? Don't buy the products. Less revenue means a smaller corporation, however slightly. This is more power than you usually have with politicians; whether the politician wins with 55% or 80% of the vote, it makes little difference. It also makes no difference just how much the opposing voters hate the politician; either the politician gets the vote or not.

Alternatively, buy stock and vote for different board members, and you can change the corporate strategy that way.
I think there's a pretty obvious distinction in that each individual gets one vote in government, but in the market the top 15% of people get to cast about 50% of the votes.


Aww, how cute.

The government almost always takes the opinion of the 50% of the voting population+1, and applies it to the whole 100%. But the free market can have many different responses. I and 20 other people could walk into a grocery store and walk out an hour later with hundreds of dollars of product each, with no pair having bought any of the same things. This variety could not possibly exist in government. 10% will have a bigger affect on the market than 30% on government.

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Re: What does left wing and right wing mean?

Postby lutzj » Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:31 pm UTC

Jonesthe Spy wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:
Jonesthe Spy wrote:Also worth pointing out that in a democracy the citizens do have the ability to change their government but have pretty much no ability to influence huge corporations that possess massive economic and political power - EXCEPT by demanding government regulation.


Corporations only have the power that citizens give them in the first place. Don't like a corporation? Don't buy the products. Less revenue means a smaller corporation, however slightly. This is more power than you usually have with politicians; whether the politician wins with 55% or 80% of the vote, it makes little difference. It also makes no difference just how much the opposing voters hate the politician; either the politician gets the vote or not.


Corrupt, you really oughta join us here in Camp Reality. If a refinery owned by a big oil company is spewing pollution on a few thousand nearby residents, do you really believe a boycott by said residents is going to change the company's behavior? Whereas thousands of organized, vocal people can make a huge difference in the election of a representative.



Pollution-addled residents also have the option to sue the company for the damage done to their property and health. The threat of legal complications has a large impact on corporate (and private) behavior.
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omgryebread
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Re: What does left wing and right wing mean?

Postby omgryebread » Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:33 pm UTC

pizzazz wrote:omgryebread, I think I can turn your entire post around on you.

omgryebread wrote:I think both sides can claim some individualism (so yeah, not on the scale I guess.) I'm okay with traditionalism as the right. My problem in general even with calling the individualist right wing philosophies individualism is that I think they are only surface individualism. I think they invariably lead to corporatism anyway. They're always for an unregulated market, and in markets, corporations do far better. Corporations are hardly bastions of individuality, though it seems some only think the individual/group dichotomy applies to government.


You're entirely missing the point of the government/firm distinction, which is that government can use force. No such private industry can, except through the very government that is supposed to be controlling them.
What's your point? I never said corporations can apply force, nor does the distinction invalidate my point. Violence is not the only thing I'm concerned about in a political system.

Egalitarianism means equality, right? Equality of what? Opportunity? Education? Wealth? Culture? Equality for whom? The government's favorite group du jour? Equality according to whom? GOVERNMENT?
Equality of opportunity, as close as reasonable, for everyone, according to society, determined by a liberal democracy. That was easy. Going into detail, everyone should have roughly the same access to education, employment, government involvement, goods, etc. By "as close as reasonable" I mean that it's obviously not possible to achieve equality. I'm okay with losing my right to buy guns, because the advantages of limiting access to firearms for the mentally ill is a good outweighs the loss of rights. Having good public schools is a good thing, but I don't think we should spend the money to make Harvard free. According to society means we should vote about these kind of things! I don't want my version of equality enforced by a Marxist style "dictatorship of the proletariat" or a benevolent one-party system. By "liberal democracy" I mean one with universal suffrage and the safe guards from mob rule like the court system, political appointments, limited referendums, etc.

I think it's impossible to be individualist without respecting individuals. Individualism means freedom, right? Freedom to what? Own guns and hoard your money? Freedom for who? White men in good health from rich families? Freedom from what? GOVERNMENT?

To answer your questions: They're not exactly the same thing, but it's hard or nonsensical to have one without the other; whatever, as long as it doesn't infringe on others' rights to same; sure, if that's what you want; everyone* (age-, mental state-, and legal/criminal status-restrictions apply); yes, they would generally be included in that group; freedom from force and coercion, including that by government whenever possible.
I'm guessing you don't include economic coercion in that. Sure, PollutionCo can't shoot me, but they can ignore my desire to breathe clean air just fine, unless I manage to convince a large number of unaffected people to also boycott PollutionCo.


What about equality of being able to defend oneself? What about equality of consideration for employment or acceptance (ie not having race/gender quotas)? These are things Republicans support. What about equality for the unborn? What about equality for What about What about equality for teachers or other workers who don't want to be in unions? What about equality for workers whose skills make them not worth hiring at the minimum wage or Davis-Bacon mandated wage? What about equality of treatment before the law, regardless of economic status?
The thing about gun control is we're not saying that handgun access should be unequal. Race and gender quotas are the worst solution to a problem that has no other solutions. I think they should be phased out ASAP (but in many cases that's not now.) Unborn are not people. Teachers and other workers not in unions still benefit from unions, so that's actually inequality there (benefit without having to pay). It's actually not entirely clear that minimum wage negatively affects employment. Also the moment Republicans support a negative income tax, I'll be quite happy to help them fight minimum wage. I don't even get how "equality of treatment before the law" has absolutely anything to do with Republicans. Seriously, what?

Perhaps in a certain sense, one gets more, let's say options, from having all those things provided. But only at the cost of taking away the same amount of option from others, so that's not increasing freedom. Increasing freedom is when you repeal the Davis-Bacon Act, allowing lots of people to work for less if that's the only way they'll get hired. Increasing freedom is not shifting around purchasing power (and losing some in the process). Increasing freedom means allowing people to make their own choices without interference by others. This does not mean trying to actively increase their choices by taking choices away from others. You can't increase freedom that way.
Okay sure. I'll concede that redistribution and regulation do decrease raw freedom. Freedom on it's own though is meaningless. In an extreme case like my own, freedom to make my own choices isn't worth anything at all without medication that is almost impossible for me to get on my own.

You can put "freedom from" in front of anything bad, and assert that it is more important than some type of freedom, but that doesn't prove that government intervention will actually increase freedom (or equality, for that matter). Because when it comes down to it, the free-market has helped more people raise their standard of living farther in 200 years than every government in the world that has ever tried, combined.
You mean the government doesn't always work? I'm shocked, because truly all liberals believe the government is infallible and perfect.

And frankly, equality is overrated. Someone else having lots of money doesn't make me any poorer (the fallacy of the economy as a zero-sum structure is possibly one of the most common and destructive fallacies of modern times).
In which we both ignore the impact relative wealth and assume liberals are idiots. Firstly, someone with more money does have the potential power to make you poorer at their own benefit (through hiring better lawyers, lobbying the government, etc). It's quite clear the economy is not zero-sum. NO one actually contests that.

The poverty line in the United States represents a level of wealth unprecedented a hundred years ago, and that sort of progress is a hell of a lot more useful than the pathetic, mindless, jealousy-driven attempts by economically illiterate self-righteous do-gooders that take satisfaction in making two richer people just as poor as themselves, rather than making several people richer to different degrees, to control forces they do not begin to understand, in their unbridled arrogance. When government steps in to try to "correct" some perceived flaw (the usage of "correct" in itself shows the assumption that everything the government tries to change is somehow "incorrect"), everyone just ends up poorer *and* with less freedom
Oh, you're not just implying liberals are idiots, you're going to outright be an asshole and say it. The free market and the US capitalist system is, bar none, the greatest advancement in equality ever. That you are so blinded and ignorant as to believe that the all-holy free market achieved it all and that regulation and government involvement is in no way positive makes me wonder why I would bother arguing with you. The federal reserve, Medicare, Social Security are all things that helped raise that poverty line.

I think the types of equality espoused by the left are far shallower than the freedoms espoused on the right. Many of the freedoms you talk about only exist now, because of advances in technology and total wealth (themselves due in large part to economic freedom). The freedoms the right tends to focus on are the very crux of Western society and indeed of human existence: life, property, belief, expression. The only way to truly guarantee the rights you propose would be by slavery.
Fun that those are the freedoms the left focuses on too.

And sure, you get some right wing nutcases who want to run the government by the Bible; you also have left wing nutcases, with their own bible of organic food and door-mat approach to national defense, but that doesn't say anything inherent about the right or the left (well, maybe a little).
Difference being that there's no serious Democrat on the national level who wants to mandate organic food, but the Republican nominee for President could very well be a man who thinks adultery and anal sex should be illegal because his book told him they are bad.



CorruptUser wrote:Last I checked, the occupy protests involved hundreds of thousands of people, and so far has accomplished jack shit. Or at least that's what the consensus in the media is.

As for the refinery, it's not the people in the area boycotting, but the people buying the products. BP took losses not just from direct punitive damages and expenses, but from people refusing to buy from BP's gas stations.

Anyway, tired, I'll argue with the disembodied strings of text on the interblag tomorrow...
[/quote]The problem here is that when a corporation (or yes, a government) does something bad, it often affects a small group of people extremely negatively, and a large group of people positively or not at all. If EvilCorporation Inc dumps toxic waste in my backyard so that they don't have to pay for it's disposal, myself and my neighborhood have extremely significant loss of life and/or property involved. The large amount of EC Inc's customers though all get cheaper products. My neighborhood obviously will stop buying the products, but we also have to convince everyone else to do so as well.

Or, we can, as a society, decide that dumping toxic waste is bad, and outlaw it beforehand. It increases government involvement, but ensures that no one will get toxic waste in their backyards. Pollution and unfair labor practices are the big examples here.

In another example, if the government put a 70% tax on people making over $10 million a year and used the proceeds to write everyone else a check, a very small amount of people would lose a lot, but a lot of people would gain some. The rich people would have to leave the country (which sucks) or manage to convince everyone else that's not okay. The best example with government is eminent domain abuse.

You could also have the opposite occur. EC pollutes the air this time. Everyone is a little less healthy, but they don't notice or the one case is so minor it doesn't matter. EC's stockholders, however, gain huge amounts of money from this. They have a lot of incentive to continue it while the public has little incentive to stop it. This is a problem when there are hundreds of ECs doing the same thing.

Almost any case of regulatory capture works that way in government. Use shoddy science to justify a ban on product X. Product Y (let's say it's manufactured by EvilCorporation Inc) is an inferior substitute. EC gets huge gains (and their friend in government gets a sweet job in a couple of years) while consumers get a small loss.

Because corporations are less scrutinized and have less pre-established safeguards like the constitution or the courts, or the opposition; this can make corporations less answerable to people.
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Re: What does left wing and right wing mean?

Postby IcedT » Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:40 pm UTC

pizzazz wrote:
IcedT wrote:I think there's a pretty obvious distinction in that each individual gets one vote in government, but in the market the top 15% of people get to cast about 50% of the votes.


Aww, how cute.

The government almost always takes the opinion of the 50% of the voting population+1, and applies it to the whole 100%. But the free market can have many different responses. I and 20 other people could walk into a grocery store and walk out an hour later with hundreds of dollars of product each, with no pair having bought any of the same things. This variety could not possibly exist in government. 10% will have a bigger affect on the market than 30% on government.

Condescension? Adorable!

You make it sound like every four years we vote for Imperator and then just do what that guy says till the next election. We have elections for hundreds of federal offices every few years. Plus state and local. And we have separation of powers and minority protections and all that. And 10% having more power in the market than 30% would in the government is exactly what I'm talking about when I say the market leans plutocratic. It's easy for wealthy people to strategically acquire huge voting power in certain areas of the market (though not all of it, but no one gets to hold office in every state either). The only way to get huge voting power in government... is to convince a lot of people to vote.

Consider also that the "variety" of the free market often exists because of government trust-busting. It hardly seems fair to praise the market for qualities that it couldn't maintain without government involvement.

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Re: What does left wing and right wing mean?

Postby Byrel » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:26 am UTC

I also disagree with omgryebread's definition of right- and left-wing philosophies.

A brief summary:
omgryebread wrote:Very very basically, right and left wing boils down to hierarchy.

"Right-wing politics" is an incredibly broad umbrella of political philosophies that support a hierarchically ordered society and rejects egalitarianism. "Left-wing" refers to, again, a broad range of philosophies that support equality and reject the supremacy of certain individuals.

...

The difference between the two major groups of right-wing politics is that the "conservative" types encode the hierarchy within law, and the "liberal" types have the hierarchy only exist in the market. It's theoretically possible for their elite to lose power without altering the political structure.


This definition claims that the left supports equality while the right rejects it, in favor of the "supremacy of certain individuals." This is a good definition of the left, as it is used by many on the left and right, but fails to describe right-wing (American) politics, as I can find no right-wing commentators or philosophers who would agree that either a hierarchically ordered society or the supremacy of certain individuals are a chief tenet of their beliefs. It is important to distinguish philosophy from results, when defining the former. While I can certainly acknowlege that a philosphy could exist like the liberal-right you describe, it would need to acknowledge a hierarchy (or supremacy of some individuals) as a goal for it to be a reasonable part of a definition of that philosphy. Otherwise, it is may be as much of an unintended consequence in a government built on that philosphy as the inevitable inequality in any left-wing government:
omgryebread wrote:Equality of opportunity, as close as reasonable, for everyone, according to society, determined by a liberal democracy. ... By "as close as reasonable" I mean that it's obviously not possible to achieve equality.

So the existance of inequality under a government that follows (reasonably closely) a given philosphy is not sufficient to make it part of the definition of that philosophy. Indeed, you'll find many conservatives claim that "Conservatives believe in equality of opportunity. Liberals believe in equality of outcome." (I think they're wrong; Marxists believe in equality of outcome, not most of the "left")

Actually, conservatives (the "right" in the US) discussing equality usually seem to be in favor of it. However they are usually discussing either: Equality before the law or Formal equality of opportunity. Basically, conservatives tend to believe that the system should be equal or fair, without any consideration of history or past opportunities. So they are opposed to affirmative action, as it would make the opportunities for two equally qualified people, unequal, and in favor of "flat" taxes. This is opposed to the Substantive equality of opportunity described by omgryebread. I would say (NOT being on the right) that the right accepts hierarchy as the price of prosperity and freedom. Decreasing (for instance) income inequality will require either taxing and wealth redistribution and thus greater market inefficiencies, or creating regulations on the behavior of individuals and corporations (minimum wages, maximum top/bottom earner ratios etc.) Provided you accept (as most on the right do) that corporations are simply groups of people acting in concert, and so their freedom is, eventually, equivalent to individual freedoms, both options clearly decrease average prosperity or freedom, and would be opposed on those grounds by the right, not because they decrease hierarchy.

omgryebread wrote:Phew. That was somewhat tiring

Yeah, but that is probably why the post was good enough that 2-3 people have decided to dispute it with you. :D It really was a concise answer it the OP. Thanks!

I noticed that I'm using two sets of terms interchangably: left = liberal and right = conservative. Wikipedia tells be I'm being parochial here, and that "conservatism" in the US much more closely aligns with liberalism and neoliberalism elsewhere in the world. So take this with a grain of salt. It is entirely US focused, and I am not qualified to comment on what left/right/conservative/liberal means anywhere else. :)
Last edited by Byrel on Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:04 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What does left wing and right wing mean?

Postby pizzazz » Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:07 am UTC

So I may not have time in the next 2 weeks or so to respond again, but I would like to apologize for my tone/manner in my last post. I was frustrated and angry at irrelevant things that night, and was out of line.

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Re: What does left wing and right wing mean?

Postby ThunderOfCondemnation » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:08 am UTC

Byrel wrote:So the existance of inequality under a government that follows (reasonably closely) a given philosphy is not sufficient to make it part of the definition of that philosophy. Indeed, you'll find many conservatives claim that "Conservatives believe in equality of opportunity. Liberals believe in equality of outcome." (I think they're wrong; Marxists believe in equality of outcome, not most of the "left")


Alas, this is a common misconception about the revolutionary left.
Not all of us believe in equality of outcome. Please note that (as a wise person on Reddit said), "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" is give-and-take. It's not just, "to each according to his wants, regardless of what he actually does for society." If you just sat there and refused to work, not even to provide for yourself, a socialist society would tell you, "Good riddance."
In fact, the left differs even on that famous quote ("from each...").
What we all believe in is the abolition of property rights and workers' ownership (and democratic management, in some factions) of the means of production. This means, to some leftists, that workers "get exactly what they contribute," and their valuation of workers may not actually be perfectly egalitarian at all.
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Re: What does left wing and right wing mean?

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:57 am UTC

ThunderOfCondemnation wrote:What we all believe in is the abolition of property rights and workers' ownership (and democratic management, in some factions) of the means of production. This means, to some leftists, that workers "get exactly what they contribute," and their valuation of workers may not actually be perfectly egalitarian at all.



There's a contradiction here. Getting what you contribute necessarily implies property rights. What you contributed is now yours. If you contributed enough to be worth a house, and now have a house, you now have property. Property rights means right of exclusion. If anyone can use your car, sleep in your bed or screw your girlfriend, none of those were ever really yours.

I'd get into criticisms of the other stuff, but that's OT.

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Re: What does left wing and right wing mean?

Postby omgryebread » Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:12 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
ThunderOfCondemnation wrote:What we all believe in is the abolition of property rights and workers' ownership (and democratic management, in some factions) of the means of production. This means, to some leftists, that workers "get exactly what they contribute," and their valuation of workers may not actually be perfectly egalitarian at all.



There's a contradiction here. Getting what you contribute necessarily implies property rights. What you contributed is now yours. If you contributed enough to be worth a house, and now have a house, you now have property. Property rights means right of exclusion. If anyone can use your car, sleep in your bed or screw your girlfriend, none of those were ever really yours.

I'd get into criticisms of the other stuff, but that's OT.
Let's view rights as negatives for a second. A property right is just the fact that no one else is allowed to mess with your shit. Under a system without property rights, the state exclusively decides who gets to do what. So no one else can use your car, until the state decides otherwise. At least that's how a command economy should theoretically work. More importantly, obviously, is the means of production. The guy who owns the majority of the building I live in doesn't actually do any work related to the building, yet makes substantial amounts of money on it. To a capitalist, he's providing the capital by which the building profits (the building itself). To the revolutionary left, the workers (or the state) should own the building, and management decisions are made by them, and no one gets money just for owning the capital.
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Re: What does left wing and right wing mean?

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:42 am UTC

You haven't addressed the issue. How can you claim that people should get what they contribute but not believe in property rights? What does that person get then?

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Re: What does left wing and right wing mean?

Postby omgryebread » Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:35 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:You haven't addressed the issue. How can you claim that people should get what they contribute but not believe in property rights? What does that person get then?
Permission to use something.
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Re: What does left wing and right wing mean?

Postby TrlstanC » Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:37 pm UTC

Just to back track a bit to the question of why do we have two political parties, that seemingly have only a little difference between them (at least on the left/right wing scale). Here's some new research about how voters ability to understand complex ideas affects the type of leaders they elect in a democracy: People Aren't Smart Enough for Democracy to Flourish, Scientists Say

Some key quotes:
The research, led by David Dunning, a psychologist at Cornell University, shows that incompetent people are inherently unable to judge the competence of other people, or the quality of those people's ideas. For example, if people lack expertise on tax reform, it is very difficult for them to identify the candidates who are actual experts. They simply lack the mental tools needed to make meaningful judgments.

As a result, no amount of information or facts about political candidates can override the inherent inability of many voters to accurately evaluate them. On top of that, "very smart ideas are going to be hard for people to adopt, because most people don’t have the sophistication to recognize how good an idea is," Dunning told Life's Little Mysteries.

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Re: What does left wing and right wing mean?

Postby Byrel » Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:35 am UTC

ThunderOfCondemnation wrote:
Byrel wrote:So the existance of inequality under a government that follows (reasonably closely) a given philosphy is not sufficient to make it part of the definition of that philosophy. Indeed, you'll find many conservatives claim that "Conservatives believe in equality of opportunity. Liberals believe in equality of outcome." (I think they're wrong; Marxists believe in equality of outcome, not most of the "left")


Alas, this is a common misconception about the revolutionary left.
Not all of us believe in equality of outcome. Please note that (as a wise person on Reddit said), "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" is give-and-take. It's not just, "to each according to his wants, regardless of what he actually does for society." If you just sat there and refused to work, not even to provide for yourself, a socialist society would tell you, "Good riddance."
In fact, the left differs even on that famous quote ("from each...").
What we all believe in is the abolition of property rights and workers' ownership (and democratic management, in some factions) of the means of production. This means, to some leftists, that workers "get exactly what they contribute," and their valuation of workers may not actually be perfectly egalitarian at all.


Ah, that makes sense. I guess I haven't spent enough time actually looking into the details of the various views in the revolutionary left. I guess even fewer of you than I previously thought believe in equality of outcome.

Really though, I would describe the system you're talking about as property rights. The big difference would be that they are granted (and revocable) by government instead of being natural rights. But that is just semantics.


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