American Left and Right

Drifter

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Let's see if I have this straight.

If you identify as being on the right you lean towards unregulated capitalism, white supremacy (in America), less flexibility in gender roles, individual responsibility for personal welfare, outlawing abortion, and the belief that equal rights already exist in the form of equal opportunity for those willing to work for it. Moral values are optional but, when invoked, usually refer to biblical authority.

If you identify as being on the left you lean towards communism, government regulated capitalism, government responsibility for personal welfare, no distinction between races, unfettered flexibility in gender roles, allowing abortion on demand, and the belief that equal rights is a perpetual struggle. Moral values are optional but, when invoked, usually refer to the individual's right to be his or her own moral authority.

People will be quick to point out that not everyone fits these stereotypical patterns, and I agree. Most people don't like to be stereotyped at all. This is what makes it confusing. In the context we are using here, "right" and "left" have no physical reality. They are just concepts of pure stereotypes, yet so many people willingly stereotype themselves with these labels.

I guess it's not really that confusing. Our animal nature makes us very prejudiced about a lot of things (our human nature makes it hard to admit that). We are programmed to identify with others similar to ourselves whenever we feel a sense of conflict. When we are fighting among ourselves the distinction between "us" and "them" isn't always clear, so we need to create an artificial distinction to justify the verbal or physical harm "us" would like to do to "them"; hence "left" and "right", which has no more validity than the "brown eyes/blue eyes" distinction in that 1968 experiment.

Ever notice how any attempt at rational, political discussion immediately goes off track the moment someone mentions right, left, liberal, or conservative? Them's fightin' words!
 

Makubird

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Do you have any suggestions on how to avoid this ‘left/right-trap’? I agree that right and left are stereotypes that are not very helpful (or unhelpful), but how to characterise someone’s ideology then? Should we simply accept that ‘the typical left’ and ‘the typical right’ do not exist? Perhaps we should stick to the topic at hand without pulling the discussion into political ideology. Maybe we should add to the adisc rules that left/right characterisations are not allowed :).

Unfortunately, I think that a healthy discussion these days (maybe always) involving politically divided topics is nearly impossible due to the strong segregation along ideological lines. Even when a discussion starts well, it will eventually attract people who are less gifted in expressing themselves in a nuanced way, so to speak.
 

ORBaby

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I think that the difference is that the right focus on individuals, and the left is focused on what group you belong to.
The left appears to want to pit groups against each other. The left believe some groups are better than others.
 

Bebezinho

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I think that "the left" and "the right," from what I have gathered, are terms refer to the extremes of each side, like on the extreme right are the neo nazi white supremacist crazies and then on the extreme left are the communistic social nuts that want control of everyone's lives, but they are often just referred to as being the left or the right when used in debates so they can try to pin one person's views on the entire side.

I am definitely more of a conservative on my views that there are only 2 genders, that capitalism works best for the economey (and that governments should only intervene to protect patents or ensure allocation of resources for public goods), that abortion is murder after conception, that white privilege is a myth in 2019, that there is no rape culture, that gun laws are nonsense, that there should be no government ran welfare (because anything the government runs is awful and ultimately fails ), that speach itself is not violence and should be protected at all costs, and that we need to secure our borders.

A mix of conservative and libertarian views

But I am in no ways a racist or a white supremacist or elitist or whatever. I believe that 2019 America is the best place for anyone of any color or belief to become something because those rights are protected.My biggest worries are the cultures that maintain the idea that "you can't do it, that no matter what you do, there is some invisible hand keeping you down"

All of these views are some of the most debated views out there but I am still glad that there is a chance to debate them. There are a lot of people that are willing to turn all of this power to the government in exchange for monetary promises

But this is the trap because the moment any of these views are mentioned it's an automatic stereotype from the opposite side (it goes both ways) and dialogue stops.
 

Sapphyre

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I think that "the left" and "the right," from what I have gathered, are terms refer to the extremes of each side, like on the extreme right are the neo nazi white supremacist crazies and then on the extreme left are the communistic social nuts that want control of everyone's lives, but they are often just referred to as being the left or the right when used in debates so they can try to pin one person's views on the entire side.
I think this highlights much of the difficulty in current American politics. "Left" and "right" make convenient one-word summaries of a person's political views (and, to some extent, their personal values) but they become problematic when either someone's views are stereotyped / assumed / put into their mouth, or when tribalism sets in and a person feels compelled to defend what "the left" or "the right" allegedly says or thinks or wants lest they be shunned by their peers.

I am definitely more of a conservative on my views that there are only 2 genders, that capitalism works best for the economey (and that governments should only intervene to protect patents or ensure allocation of resources for public goods), that abortion is murder after conception, that white privilege is a myth in 2019, that there is no rape culture, that gun laws are nonsense, that there should be no government ran welfare (because anything the government runs is awful and ultimately fails ), that speach itself is not violence and should be protected at all costs, and that we need to secure our borders.

A mix of conservative and libertarian views

But I am in no ways a racist or a white supremacist or elitist or whatever. I believe that 2019 America is the best place for anyone of any color or belief to become something because those rights are protected.My biggest worries are the cultures that maintain the idea that "you can't do it, that no matter what you do, there is some invisible hand keeping you down

All of these views are some of the most debated views out there but I am still glad that there is a chance to debate them.

There are a lot of people that are willing to turn all of this power to the government in exchange for monetary promises

But this is the trap because the moment any of these views are mentioned it's an automatic stereotype from the opposite side (it goes both ways) and dialogue stops.
Yes. The opportunity to hear each other and exchange ideas is absolutely paramount. Incidentally, my political views are almost entirely opposite to yours; clearly there is opportunity for us to learn from one another so long as we don't succumb to the trap. ^.^
 

Icewolf

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Do you have any suggestions on how to avoid this ‘left/right-trap’?
The only way to really avoid the trap is to be willing to listen to others on individual issues, like one can be against abortion, outside of danger to the life of the mother, but for birth control. I see the issue as being more too quick to judge others based on one view they have.

I myself actually try to break stereotypes in certain areas just so I can laugh when some one tries to pin me into a certain group. I also have this ability to see multiple sides and find the middle/compromise that should at least keep the discussion calm, even though most of my views are center to center-right (could be classed as Libertarian in some cases).
 

Makubird

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This is the most civilised discussion about politics since I became an adisc member 😄 . I agree that we need to listen to each other, but we also must try to see the world through each other’s eyes. I am not sure how to say this in English but I think you understand what I mean.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, civilised discussions tend to derail when people who cannot or do not want to listen jump in.

Freedom of speech is extremely important, but it should be accompanied by the obligation to listen.
 
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Icewolf

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I am not sure how to say this in English but I think you understand what I mean.
I think the common saying is "you don't really know someone till you walk a mile in their shoes" or similar at least
Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, civilised discussions tend to derail when people who cannot or do not want to listen jump in.
I try to ignore them and speak to the ones that are willing to listen, if nothing else this hopefully just exposes them for what they are.
Freedom of speech is extremely important, but it should be accompanied by the obligation to listen.
My view is "I may not like what you say, but I'll defend your right to say it and be heard"
 

ORBaby

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I think the common saying is "you don't really know someone till you walk a mile in their shoes" or similar at least

I try to ignore them and speak to the ones that are willing to listen, if nothing else this hopefully just exposes them for what they are.

My view is "I may not like what you say, but I'll defend your right to say it and be heard"
I'm with you on defending anyone's right to say what they believe. Those who try to shut down open discussion often have the weakest defense of their own views.
 

CrinklyConnor

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I'm with you on defending anyone's right to say what they believe. Those who try to shut down open discussion often have the weakest defense of their own views.
Open discussion about why we should take away someone's rights based on [sexuality, gender, race, etc.] should be shut down, no ifs, ands or buts. No, the government itself shouldn't shut it down. But people in general should be willing to stand up and shut it down, not allowing these types of discussions to have a platform WHATSOEVER.
 

ORBaby

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We SHOULD have the discussion about taking away rights, then most people will understand why it is wrong.
 

Sapphyre

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We SHOULD have the discussion about taking away rights, then most people will understand why it is wrong.
This is interesting! As anyone who has participated on a debate team (or dealt with an attorney) knows, a "discussion" has its own dynamics and doesn't necessarily favor the best view in the end. But the underlying principle that anything ought to be open to discussion in order to establish the best outcome seems sound on the surface. This may be a case of the devil hiding in the details…?
 
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CrinklyConnor

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We SHOULD have the discussion about taking away rights, then most people will understand why it is wrong.
That's not at all what I said, but I agree on this point. Not the point of what I was saying though.
 

Drifter

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As an amateur philosopher I enjoy ideological discussions, but as an American citizen I see the country has a number of serious problems that need practical solutions, and ideology can become a problem in itself if we waste so much time arguing about it that we can't focus on fixing all our other problems. When we are considering specific solutions to one of our problems, and someone brings up "the conservatives this" or the "leftists that", we should politely tell them "Fuck your philosophy! We're looking for real world answers here".

Throughout history mighty empires have collapsed, not so much from external forces but from first being weakened by internal divisiveness. We are currently experiencing that level of divisiveness. We need to recognize this is our number one problem. Some of our other problems are life threatening, nation threatening, but our divisiveness is preventing us from effectively dealing with those.

We also need to accept that compromise isn't always possible, and that we will never be in complete agreement on how to solve any of our major problems. But that doesn't relieve us or our obligation to find solutions to those problems. (Assuming we have a moral responsibility to avoid catastrophic destruction.) (Let's make that assumption.)
 

Seasonedcitizen

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How much freedom do you want for yourself and others? Left, Right, Democrat, Republican, etc are just terms. How do you define them? Stop with the labeling. We don't talk about solutions, we just trade insults.
 

SnowPrincessSophie

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I really like the idea of the quadrant political compass that expands left-right with authoritarian-libertarian. the up and down classifications add a level of nuance that the left-right binary lacks. For example I would identify myself as a far-left libertarian. I believe in freedom and equal opportunity, but I also believe in egalitarianism and equal rights. So my position would run counter to Stalinism or Maoism which is more on the authoritarian side of the left. Fascism would be pretty far into the authoritarian right quadrant. I like the nuance this quadrant approach provides.
 

dogboy

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Labels are extremely dangerous to democracy because the labels become party planks. Democrats are forced to accept all the tenants of their plank just as Republicans are forced to accept all of there's. No one can compromise. No one can abandon their own party's ideology. When that happens, idiocy reigns supreme. something we've seen a lot of recently.
 

Drifter

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How much freedom do you want for yourself and others?
I want the freedom to do anything I feel like doing. I want essentially the same freedom for others except they can't be allowed to interfere with my desires or annoy me. ;) (Isn't that what we all want?)

On a slightly more serious note:
One of the fundamental responsibilities of any society is to establish order by creating laws restricting individual freedom. In American society the legislative branch of government writes the laws. The executive branch enforces the laws. The judicial branch determines if those laws are written and/or enforced properly.

What branch actually determines if a law is necessary and beneficial?
 
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Drifter

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I really like the idea of the quadrant political compass that expands left-right with authoritarian-libertarian. the up and down classifications add a level of nuance that the left-right binary lacks.
I'm opposed to adding more labels to the mix. I believe we already have too many and that they only perpetuate the illusion that we can truly understand people by looking at the box we arbitrarily put them in.
 
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