• Bitter Crank
    9.6k
    importanceofgod.jpg

    Your religious views are conservative (and the fact that you have strong religious views, which isn't common among leftists, these days)
    — Bitter Crank

    It is true that nowadays most people on the left do not hold conservative religious positions. However, is that because there is something that makes religious/social conservatism inherently, or in principle, anti-left? Or is it merely because people on the left simply don't happen to be religious on average?Agustino

    About half of all the Europeans pray or meditate at least once a week. Three out of four Europeans say they are religious persons. Of course, there is a big gap between the more secularized north-western European countries and the more traditional south-eastern ones. ...

    However, people who consider themselves as atheists are a small minority, except in France, where almost 15 percent say they are atheist. It is obvious that a vast majority of all the Europeans nominate themselves as religious persons. There are even more people who consider themselves as religious as there are people who attend church. It is a kind of 'believing without belonging'.
    — European Values Study.EU

    This EU study suggests that the difference between American and European religious belief may not be all that different. Religion--in one guise or another--seems to play a larger public role in the United States than in the EU.

    Whatever conservative Christians believe, conservative religion tends to have different uses for political purposes than liberal religion does. Part of this is geographical. Southern Europe and Southern US have both had more conservative, even fascistic, politics and conservative religion. Conservative religionists tend to hold authority, self sufficiency, tradition, and so on in higher regard than liberal, social activist traditions more typical of northwestern

    Europe and northern United States. Liberal religionists tend to be collectively socially activist, perhaps more egalitarian, less oriented towards personal wealth. Liberal political practices are more congenial to northern-type religious beliefs.

    Leftist politics which is supposed to be more egalitarian propose major reorganization of society, which is received well by liberal religionists who tend to think in terms of building a better society. There is less emphasis in liberal religion on personal piety.

    A good many people on the left probably do hold some religious views, but are more likely to be atheists OR to disavow their religious beliefs in the company of fellow leftists.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.6k
    ...and your emphasis on entrepreneurial effort as the way to better one's self (might be 100% true, but doesn't point leftward).

    No one would take you for a hard line communist, or even a fuzzy, cushioned, soft-line communist.
    — Bitter Crank



    As I said, I'm definitely not a communist, nor approve of communism.

    But is the left subsumed by communism? Why is communism the only "left" system? Dorothy Day was a distributist for example, an ideology that she found expressed most closely by communist organizations at that time.
    Agustino

    Socialists may embrace entrepreneurialism, communists traditionally are not so willing. Some of us socialists would happily take all your value producing property away from you. You can keep your apartment, pots and pans, and your car IF there is no public transit available.

    The Left is a continuum just like all other politics. On the extreme left one has tight-grip communism, on the liberal left you have a somewhat loose-grip Laissez-faire liberal social democratic approach. "The Left" to the extent that it is a working, mutually understood term, subsumes communism, socialism, distributivism, and liberal-left politics, a la 1968.

    We would need to flesh out what distributivism means. I don't think Day would have confused the CP-USA of the 1930s with Catholic distributivism. For one thing, after her brief involvement with the CP-USA, an abortion, a common-law relationship and her out-of-wedlock daughter, she reorganized her thinking. She became an ardent Roman Catholic, but one who liked social activist priests and liberal theologians, and an immersion in serving the very poor.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.6k
    In the United States, European democratic socialism is viewed as one of the fire-breathing dragons of communism -- by the religious right and entrepreneurial types.
    — Bitter Crank

    O yeah, but I don't really understand why.Agustino

    It's not complicated: The United States has a long history of a very conservative politics based on protecting and promoting the prerogatives of private wealth, private enterprise, suppression of social dissent, anti-black, anti-poor, anti-labor (especially organized labor), anti-activist state power, and anti-intellectualism. It has run on separate tracks next to liberal politics, sometimes in power, sometimes not, but always there.

    For instance, after the Russian Revolution of 1917, and the end of WWI, the US experienced a wave of right-wing terrorism directed at labor organizers and black activists. There were lynchings of a few white labor organizers, and black ones too. At the same time, the second version of the Ku Klux Klan arose, and waded into the mainstream of right-wing politics. White conservatives, especially from the south, vehemently opposed Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal programs of social security, unemployment insurance, federal housing support, Works Progress Administration, and so on.

    The right-wing of the Republican Party has kept on its agenda for 80 years getting rid of the New Deal programs, Medicare, Medicaid, and Obama Care. The penultimate major effort was a proposal under George Bush II to privatize Social Security, and the most recent one is gutting Obama Care.

    So, Agustino, the Right Wing views with some horror the regulatory apparatus of the EU, the extensive social programs, the number of holidays and paid vacations, government funded universal health programs, and so on.
  • Marchesk
    4.3k
    It's not complicated: The United States has a long history of a very conservative politics based on protecting and promoting the prerogatives of private wealth, private enterprise, suppression of social dissent, anti-black,Bitter Crank

    The interesting thing is that black churches in the US tend to hold conservative religious views similar to those of white evangelicals, outside of racial issues.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.6k
    Yes, very true. The evangelical black churches rose to the occasion in the late 1950s and 1960s when the fight was for racial justice. They distinguished themselves with glory. However, outside of that fight, not so much.

    For instance, gay black and bisexual black men are taking the brunt of the HIV epidemic, at this point. One of the barriers to doing education and intervention is the conservative black religious leadership/membership, which can't quite deal with queer black boys--or that some of their presumably straight men are also screwing each other.

    There are a lot of conservative values in the poor black population -- just as there are a lot of conservative values among poor whites -- or the working class black/white population.

    We say (i've said it many times) that working class people are shooting themselves in both feet by taking on conservative values--not like hard work and honesty, but the goodness of entrepreneurial prerogatives, the prerogatives of wealth, cannibalistic capitalism, et all. Well, they've been force-fed this crap from the get go in church, school, advertising, TV shows, movies, et al. They didn't just sort through the ideological options and decide to shoot themselves in the foot.
  • Marchesk
    4.3k
    The poor whites & blacks have common cause, but they haven't worked together to better themselves because the rich white dudes who started modern racism didn't want to have to pay the poor white folk to work their land. But they convinced the poor whites it was the black man they should be afraid of.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    distributivismBitter Crank
    :-O - why distributivism? Distributism sounds simpler. This series of videos here is a good introduction. I link to this particular video, but you can watch from episode 1:


    The wiki page is otherwise quite detailed for an introduction: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distributism

    Distributism is similar to other left ideologies like communism, except that it prizes the individual over and above society, and society is aimed to be merely a servant to the individual (each individual). As such private property becomes very important, and also its wide distribution or availability.
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    authority, self sufficiencyBitter Crank

    These are opposites. However, I would say that the American religious conservative values authority in matters of religion but self-sufficiency in matters economic and social life. For the religious liberal, it is the reverse: he values authority in matters of economic and social life and self-sufficiency in matters of religion.

    They were socially liberal, fiscally conservativeBitter Crank

    It's interesting to me that one finds no socially conservative, fiscal liberals (in the American sense of these terms). I still have sympathies for market socialism, which sounds like an oxymoron, but is in fact a thing, as well as distributism, both of which are not all that dissimilar or opposed to capitalism classically understood.

    The left strawmans capitalism, confusing it with corporatism, while the right strawmans socialism, confusing it with command economics. In reality, capitalism and socialism are not opposed. That is to say, private property and the free market are not opposed to cooperative ownership of enterprises.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    The left strawmans capitalism, confusing it with corporatismThorongil
    This isn't really true. The hardcore left just assumes that private ownership, business and economic life generally are evils. They actually quite like corporatism - they enjoy working for corporations. What they dislike, at least many of them, are forms of entrepreneurship it seems. They would love it if one corporation owned everything and we all worked for it.
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    I don't know what part of the left you're talking about, but it is obvious to me that most who belong on said part of the political spectrum have a seething antipathy for multinational corporations, big banks, Wall Street, "the 1%," and the rich in general. To support such things and their subsidization by the state is to be a corporatist, not a capitalist, but the left fails to distinguish between the two.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    I don't know what part of the left you're talking about, but it is obvious to me that most who belong on said part of the political spectrum have a seething antipathy for multinational corporations, big banks, Wall Street, "the 1%," and the rich in general. To support such things and their subsidization by the state is to be a corporatist, not a capitalist, but the left fails to distinguish between the two.Thorongil
    They do hate the 1% people, Wall Street and big banks. But they don't hate multinationals like Facebook, Google, etc. These companies are full of leftists.
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    Well, that makes those particular leftists hypocrites.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.6k
    It's interesting to me that one finds no socially conservative, fiscal liberals (in the American sense of these terms).Thorongil

    Well, in a sense there are quite a few socially conservative, fiscally liberal people in national office. Someone said a presidentiad or two ago, "We're all Keynesians now." Social conservatives are as ready to vote for deficit spending as fiscal liberals. Christ, the Republican Party just passed a ruinous tax cut which resembles a Keynesian maneuver. The difference is in the plumbing: Classic Keynesianism injects water (money) mostly at the bottom and lets it work up the fiscal tree, where conservatives generally water the canopy and allow most of the water to stay at the top. There's an ocean up there, a desert down here. Money doesn't generally "trickle down". The most we get out of the canopy is higher humidity--nothing like a flow.

    In order to get the good stuff that is locked up in the economic canopy of the jungle, you have to cut off the top of the "trees". Liquidate the plutocracy, in other words
  • Bitter Crank
    9.6k
    But they don't hate multinationals like Facebook, Google, etc. These companies are full of leftists.Agustino

    On what basis do you make this improbable claim?
  • andrewk
    2.1k
    What is a 'fiscal liberal'? It sounds like somebody who says we should not have to pay tax. There are plenty of those, but for some reason you seem to call them 'libertarians' rather than 'liberals'
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    the Republican Party just passed a ruinous tax cut which resembles a Keynesian maneuverBitter Crank

    I don't see what's so ruinous about it. The bad thing is that, short term, it will likely add to the deficit, but as you perhaps allude to, this is a rather Keynesian move and one the Democrats ought clearly to have no issue with. That the Democrats are suddenly concerned about the deficit warms my cockles, but if they were sincere, then they ought to support legislation that cuts bloated government welfare programs. That way, Americans get to keep more of their own money without growing the deficit.

    Money doesn't generally "trickle down".Bitter Crank

    No economist has ever advocated this so called "trickle down" theory. It's a myth, a strawman.

    In order to get the good stuff that is locked up in the economic canopy of the jungle, you have to cut off the top of the "trees". Liquidate the plutocracy, in other wordsBitter Crank

    It's interesting to me how those on the left seem to believe that there has always ever existed a fixed amount of wealth, with the rich greedily owning too large a share, and that if we could simply rob them of this unjust sum and use it as a largess, all would be well. This seems to betray a basic ignorance of how wealth is created and how it can grow, which require certain incentives and structures. The rich do not normally become rich at the expense of the poor, just as when running a race, the fastest sprinter does not cause the others to run more slowly. If you take from the rich and give it to the poor, but fail to regrow all that wealth the rich acquired to begin with, you haven't really solved anything and, worse, doomed future generations to poverty. Your scenario would make one generation moderately wealthy and everyone after that equally poor.

    What needs cutting off is the government gravy train to, and bailouts of, large corporations. Let them compete and succeed in the market to justify their existence and profits.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.6k
    this is a rather Keynesian move and one the Democrats ought clearly to have no issue withThorongil

    Keynes advocated government spending to counteract contraction in the economy. The economy is not, at this time, contracting.

    quote="Thorongil;131308"]No economist has ever advocated this so called "trickle down" theory. It's a myth, a strawman.[/quote]

    Tax law is the principle means by which the extreme disproportionate distribution of wealth has occurred. The 2017 tax bill is simply more diversion of economic resources to the already richer-than-Croesus-crowd.

    The rich do not normally become rich at the expense of the poor, just as when running a race, the fastest sprinter does not cause the others to run more slowly.Thorongil

    What's true for foot races isn't true for economic exploitation. Yes, the rich do get richer at the expense of the poor.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.6k
    What needs cutting off is the government gravy train to, and bailouts of, large corporations. Let them compete and succeed in the market to justify their existence and profits.Thorongil

    I'll drink to that. I might add, we might also end the "hands off" approach to regulation. Wall Street is composed of liars, thieves, knaves, and scoundrels, and giving them free rein is asking to be robbed.
  • Cuthbert
    318
    Liquidate the plutocracy, in other words - Bitter Crank

    I went on a march in the 1980's and some anarchists behind me were chanting 'Eat the Rich' as we passed the grand hotels on Piccadilly. I turned round and asked how rich a person would have to be in order to qualify for being eaten. As it was all good humoured they laughed. But it was a serious question. We are all richer than somebody. And our riches all come from others who created that wealth. The value of money does not arise by magic but from the labour of other people making goods and providing services. We each contribute our bit but often far less than we take out. That applies even to the not very rich.
  • Deleted User
    0
    The rich do not normally become rich at the expense of the poor,Thorongil

    Then how exactly do they become rich? I presume I'm not alone in thinking that it's not the little pieces of green paper that people want, or the pixelated digits on their bank account. They want the stuff and the freedom from toil that money brings, are you seriously suggesting that 'stuff' is in infinite supply?, That it would be possible for none of us to have to toil at mundane jobs yet all the work of making this stuff still get done?

    There is a finite amount of 'stuff' on the planet, the rich have a greater share of it than the poor. There is a finite amount of space on the planet, the rich have a greater share of it than the poor, there is a finite amount of mundane and soul-destroying work that needs to be done to keep producing all this stuff, the rich do a lesser share of it than the poor.

    The idea that the rich are not rich at the expense of the poor but draw their stuff, space and freedom from toil from some kind of magical infinite supply is nonsense.
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    Keynes advocated government spending to counteract contraction in the economy. The economy is not, at this time, contracting.Bitter Crank

    The stock market is doing well and employment numbers have increased, but the effects of the recession are still not over and the jobs added are not as good as they were before.

    Tax law is the principle means by which the extreme disproportionate distribution of wealth has occurred. The 2017 tax bill is simply more diversion of economic resources to the already richer-than-Croesus-crowd.Bitter Crank

    There is no diversion of any resources when reducing taxes. Cutting taxes enables people and entities to keep more of their money. The rich and corporations also pay proportionally way more in taxes than any average American.

    Yes, the rich do get richer at the expense of the poor.Bitter Crank

    Well, I disagree.

    They want the stuff and the freedom from toil that money brings, are you seriously suggesting that 'stuff' is in infinite supply?Inter Alia

    I never used the word "stuff," I used the word "wealth." You're attempting to strawman me here by saying that the material resources on the planet are finite. But I would never deny that. Material resources aren't the only source of wealth. Just think of the digital and service sectors. Some programmer who creates an app and becomes rich didn't exploit any poor person.
  • Deleted User
    0
    Material resources aren't the only source of wealth. Just think of the digital and service sectors. Some programmer who creates an app and becomes rich didn't exploit any poor person.Thorongil

    I didn't mention anything about sources of wealth, I said that no-one wants just money, they want the stuff money can buy. What's the use of the millions that the app designer makes if he can't buy anything with it? What's he going to do with the money - He's going to buy a second car (that's one less car on the planet for the rest of us), he's going to buy a second home (that's one less home for the rest of us) he's going to consume more food than he needs, he's going to avoid factory work, cleaning work, care work all of which still needs to be done (by the rest of us). If he's not going to do any of these things, then what is he going to do with the money?
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    In other words, you're a mind-reading prophet. How should I know what a hypothetical person does with his money? He could just as well reinvest it or give it away.
  • Deleted User
    0


    I thought we were talking about the rich, if he gave it all away he wouldn't be rich any more, would he?
  • bloodninja
    308
    Material resources aren't the only source of wealth. Just think of the digital and service sectors. Some programmer who creates an app and becomes rich didn't exploit any poor person.Thorongil

    Labour is the source of value. In capitalism labour is exploited so the capitalist can make a surplus. In one sense the self-employed programmer is profiting out of capitalist exploitation in that every single commodity they use to make their own profit was made by workers in very poor and highly exploited working conditions. Capitalism is exploitation. If the programmer is employed by a company, the company exploits the programmer by paying them less than the value they create.... I'm ranting...
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    If it's exploitation, it isn't capitalism, and you are operating under a strawman.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    I didn't mention anything about sources of wealth, I said that no-one wants just money, they want the stuff money can buy.Inter Alia
    That's wrong. I want to be wealthy, but that's not because I want the stuff money can buy (I'm quite ascetic by nature, and have very low spending on myself) - if by that you're imagining freedom from having to work, luxuries, etc. I want to be wealthy because I'm very ambitious and I want to implement my vision in society. And that requires power, with financial power being just one of the key elements.

    If he's not going to do any of these things, then what is he going to do with the money?Inter Alia
    Call the shots in terms of organisation of production AND of society, obviously. Finance academies, affect culture, etc. Literarily, in today's society, no work will get done - including politics - without the money. And if you don't have the money yourself - say if you're an NGO, then you're at the mercy of whoever has the money for the changes you actually implement. So if you want to control the whole process, there is no escape from controlling the economical aspect.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Some programmer who creates an app and becomes rich didn't exploit any poor person.Thorongil
    Well BC or any communist pretty much will never grant you this. In a certain sense, they are right. I make no qualms about the fact that we all live off the blood and sweat of others, and must inevitably do so. You simply cannot survive, even for one day, without abusing the labour of others in some form or another.

    Computers, for example, are manufactured by people who work in the most miserable and inhuman conditions imaginable in China. Why? Because they do it cheaply. So if you want to work as a programmer, you need a computer, so you will finance the work that keeps that abuse going to pay for your computer. The West just externalises that abuse to other places nowadays, but that doesn't mean that there isn't any. I'm conscious of that fact, and also conscious of the fact that we can't do any better, and until any change takes place, I will go on and profit from it since I don't really have a reasonable alternative. But that doesn't mean to be unaware of it.

    Try not to abuse your own fellow man - that is within your power - but to not abuse anyone, isn't within your power.
  • Deleted User
    0
    I want to be wealthy because I'm very ambitious and I want to implement my vision in society. And that requires power, with financial power being just one of the key elements.Agustino

    I'm not sure how this makes any difference ethically, we can't all have power either so the rich are still taking from the poor, if I extend my list to 'stuff', land, freedom from toil and power, it doesn't change either the truth of it or the ethical implications. I appreciate having a potential improvement to the exposition pointed out though.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    I'm not sure how this makes any difference ethically, we can't all have power either so the rich are still taking from the poor, if I extend my list to 'stuff', land, freedom from toil and power, it doesn't change either the truth of it or the ethical implications.Inter Alia
    Sure, but that's just the nature of the world, we have finite resources. For me, the ethical implication is that if you had the good fortune to be born in a relatively okay place as a middle-class person, (or even a poor person in a Western highly developed nation), then it is your duty to do everything in your power to make the world a better place. That does entail being capable to wield power in the world yourself, no?
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