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Has libertarianism reached its peak?

By jardinier ·
The war in Iraq has caused me to divert much of my attention from local issues to international matters.

As I pondered over social mores in various countries ... especially Western democracies ... I realised that we have become to a great extent a dissolute society. Consider things which are now accepted as "normal" such as a high divorce rate, leading to single-parent families; the universal acceptance of homosexuality as "normal," even to the extent of allowing marriage between partners ofthe same sex; the escalating problems of drug abuse and juvenile crime; the "everything's acceptable" attitude expressed in movies and TV series; and so on.

We are seeing fundamentalist religious views gradually replacing the more liberal views to which we have become accustomed.

Is the pendulam starting to swing back to a more conservative overall approach to life?

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Thanks for the URL

by jardinier In reply to For the record

I visited the site, took the test, and found out that I am a Centrist. This rather pleases me as I like to think that I have a balanced outlook on life.

We have a strange setup in Australia. The Labor Party is actually the party that represents "Liberalism" in that it is the party which introduces legislation to help the disadvantaged, and generally strives to create a more egalitarian society.

The Liberal Party, on the other hands, seems interested only in increasing the gap between the rich and the poor. Most small business people vote Liberal because they believe in the myth that it is the party which supports small business. Actually the Liberal Party appears interested only in supporting the rich, which most definitely does not include small business owners.

Whilst it is popular to say: "The Labor Party is the party that collects tax," in reality it has been shown that the current (Howard) Government has collected more tax than any administration in history.

The Federal Minister for Education, Dr Brendan Nelson, is intent upon introducing legislation that will enable under-qualified students to attend university if they (i.e. their parents) can pay up front. This means that there will be fewer places available for fully qualified high school graduates from poorer families.

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by john_wills In reply to Definitely libertarianism

In the U.S. the word "liberal" is used as an abbreviation for "welfare liberal"; the liberal movement in the U.S. was the same as the liberal movement elsewhere, i.e. free enterprise, etc., but there was a split over the amount of state interventionthere should be for people down on their luck and so forth; the anti-welfare side got renamed "conservatism". Libertarianism, at least in the economic sense, is extreme liberalism, more or less as communism is extreme socialism and fascism is extreme... what?

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Fascism and Communism. . .

by maxwell edison In reply to "liberalism"

... are similar inasmuch as both are at the extreme socialist end of the political spectrum, but with a couple of distinct differences.

Communism involves state "owned" business, while fascism involves privately owned, but state "controlled" business.

Communism is more global in the desired scope, while fascism is more nationalistic in nature.

It's a very common misconception that communism is on the extreme left and fascism is on the extreme right. This is not true at all, as both are just different forms of the extreme left. The extreme right would be anarchy.

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by TheChas In reply to Fascism and Communism. . ...

Hi Max,

Not to disagree.

In my high school government class, Fascism was described as an extreme Right Wind philosophy.

At the same time, the instructor did point out that rather than a line, the political spectrum should be look at as an incomplete ellipse with a very small gap between the extreme left and extreme right.

His worst fear was that the extremes would someday realize that their goals were the same, and join together.


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Chas - Could it be. . .

by maxwell edison In reply to Fascism

...that both theories are correct?

Fascism is considered extreme right wing because of its roots in extreme nationalism.

Fascism is considered left wing because of its socialistic idea that the State, acting on behalf of "the people," is the source of all rights.

If you read all accounts of fascism, you'll see that it is packed with contradictions. Benito Mussolini is considered the father of modern fascism, and he created it out of an originally socialistic state.

If you use "liberty" as the gauge (less individual liberty to the left, more individual liberty to the right), it would belong on the extreme left. That's the benchmark I was using. (Not to suggest that it's correct and anything else is wrong. I guess I don't really know for sure, but I've read accounts for either argument.)

Do an Internet serach of left wing fascism, and it makes for some interesting reading. (Sure, you'll find plenty of sources for right wing fascism as well, so which is right - er, uhI mean, which is correct?)

So what is the correct gauge to use, nationalism or individual freedom - or something else? I guess that's why it's rather confusing. (Now I'm really confused.)

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Chas - An interesting article

by maxwell edison In reply to Fascism

Quotes from the article:

"Ask most left-wingers and they'll suggest that fascism is on the extreme right -- 180 degrees from communism. Unh-uh. I've got news for you, friends. Fascism and communism are ideological kissin' cousins. I would place fascism and any other brand of socialism just a few degrees to the right of communism."

"Remember, both fascism and socialism mean -- to one degree or another -- government control of production and distribution. The only thing that distinguishes fascism from socialism in economic theory is how they get that control and how they maintain it."

Here's a link to the whole article:****

So in the context of how we (today in the U.S.) define the differences between left wing and right wing, such as more or less government control, and/or more or less individual liberties, and/or from whom power is granted (granted by the government or granted by the individual), I'll stick to my assertion that fascism is extreme left wing. (Give it the "duck" test. If it walks like a duck, etc.)

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Circles, not lines

by Oldefar In reply to Fascism and Communism. . ...

Consider the various systems as a circle rather than as a line. Anarchy is one extreme. Dictatorship is the other, 180 degrees away. Left and right leaning approaches are on one or the other arc between 0 and 180. Both communism and facism come close to the dictatorship, but from opposite directions.

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It's a common misconception

by maxwell edison In reply to Circles, not lines

I'm sure no a political scientist, but I disagree with that last comment. I too had the same misconception for a long time, until I really thought about it.

The support for my suggestion is already posted, so I won't repeat it, and no supporting argument has been made to the contrary. (Other than just saying it's so.) Care to support it?

Remember the duck test? Is this (whatever) ideology left or right? Describe the characteristics of a certain ideology (not the name of the ideology) and where does it fall?

It's walking and quacking just like a duck, so how can it be called an eagle?

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Yup, same thing

by Oldefar In reply to Circles, not lines

My post was made before reading yours Max. I read the reference. I don't see the disagreement. We both state communism and facism are very close to each other. Farah focused on the economics of the political systems.

Anarchy, the lack of any government, would either have to operate as free enterprise economically, or it would have to embrace no ownership or full common ownership of any resource. Farah avoids this conundrum by ignoring it.

Perhaps the answer is to look at the spectrumback as a line, based on resource control. At the center are communism (state ownership, state control) and facism (private ownership, state control) and the move left and right is based on control.

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triangular table

by john_wills In reply to Circles, not lines

If there are ten political questions and two possible answers for each of them we cn construct 1024 political ideologies, so almost any classification we make of ideologies has be an approximation. Concentrating on the economic aspects of politics we have 3 corners: capitalism, embraced by libertarians and liberals (economic sense), in which control is by owners distinct from the people as a whole or the workers; collectivism, embraced by communists and socialists, in which control is by the state (or, in variants, the consumers or the workers); corporatism, embraced by fascists and perhaps integralists, in which control is within each occupational group via guilds, which comprise all levels of control within the individual enterprises. Ananarchist is someone who has fallen off the political table, saying we don't need government at all(all three need some kind of government, with varying theories of its function); in practice we need to know what corner of the table the anarchist fell off. In reality all economies have some kind of mixture: in the U.S. the helium industry is collectivist, the sugar industry is corporatist and the software industry is capitalist.

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