Wednesday 18 July 2007

Where I Stand

An interesting point has come up recently, about whether I am to the left or the right politically.
I prefer the question, do you have faith in man or not?
Do you trust in mankind?

Because if your trust your fellow man, you believe we can make our own decisions responsibly, if you don't, you just need to decide which form of totalitarianism you want.

The choice we tend to get in most western countries seems to be narrow. We can be governed by people who know how to run an economy, make the right diplomatic decisions and keep the state out of our lives, but is committed to preserving the most outdated social attitudes that you can find.
Or we can be governed by interventionist paternalist control freaks who can at least see the problems, even if their solutions tend to make things worse.

This seems to be the choice. The people who who ignore the problems, or the people with the wrong answers.

For example, this New Labour government is quite possibly the worst government we have ever had. It's been useless and has done untold damage to this country. But it has acheived some good- unintentionally.
Social attitudes have definitely changed for the better. The paradigm shift in Tory attitudes has been a pleasure to behold, though for me it's not far enough.

I personally think the people generally are sleepwalking towards totalitarianism. We give our liberties away daily on the slimmest of pretences.
So we veer between cheering the fat cats, or cheering the intrusion of the state yet further into our lives.
Progressive taxation= redistribution of wealth?
Has anyone ever seen this happen?

But don't be fooled into thinking that the interests of political parties and multinational corporations don't march side by side quite a way.
Ten years of New Labour should have shown you that.
A little flagwaving, a good spending spree in the sales, you'll forget how little of your life is really under your control.

And that to me is what it's all about.

Freedom should mean freedom from exploitation too.

Freedom from the few owning the energy and the brainpower of the many, for their own ends, not ours.

Freedom for us to decide that we'd like to use our collective energy for the benefit of the whole species, not those who control the distribution of resources today.

Mankind has grown up. Adulthood means responsibility for all. We're all part of this. That's maximising our potential as a species. Governing the Earth democratically, means it's resources and their distribution too.

Both the Left and the Right offer different forms of Oligarchical Collectivism.
We want neither version.

Here's an amusing test I found at Bag's Rants. Have fun with it!

You are The Hermit

Prudence, Caution, Deliberation.

The Hermit points to all things hidden, such as knowledge and inspiration,hidden enemies. The illumination is from within, and retirement from participation in current events.

The Hermit is a card of introspection, analysis and, well, virginity. You do not desire to socialize; the card indicates, instead, a desire for peace and solitude. You prefer to take the time to think, organize, ruminate, take stock. There may be feelings of frustration and discontent but these feelings eventually lead to enlightenment, illumination, clarity.

The Hermit represents a wise, inspirational person, friend, teacher, therapist. This a person who can shine a light on things that were previously mysterious and confusing.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.


Anonymous said...

Awwwwwww Ingsoc. Don't be all hermit like! Go to the pub! Hang about at football matches! You know you want to!

Anonymous said...

You are The Sun
Happiness, Content, Joy.
The meanings for the Sun are fairly simple and consistent.
Young, healthy, new, fresh. The brain is working, things that were muddled come clear, everything falls into place, and everything seems to go your way.
The Sun is ruled by the Sun, of course. This is the light that comes after the long dark night, Apollo to the Moon's Diana. A positive card, it promises you your day in the sun. Glory, gain, triumph, pleasure, truth, success. As the moon symbolized inspiration from the unconscious, from dreams, this card symbolizes discoveries made fully consciousness and wide awake. You have an understanding and enjoyment of science and math, beautifully constructed music, carefully reasoned philosophy. It is a card of intellect, clarity of mind, and feelings of youthful energy.

Oh, I love quizzes! Thanks...after taking the quiz thing I totally forgot about what you wrote about..oh, wait...freedom?

Anonymous said...

I'm the Empress. It figures. I hate all politicians and then I draw the political card. pffffffft.

Anonymous said...

You are The Hierophant
Divine Wisdom. Manifestation. Explanation. Teaching.

All things relating to education, patience, help from superiors.The Hierophant is often considered to be a Guardian Angel.

The Hierophant's purpose is to bring the spiritual down to Earth. Where the High Priestess between her two pillars deals with realms beyond this Earth, the Hierophant (or High Priest) deals with worldly problems. He is well suited to do this because he strives to create harmony and peace in the midst of a crisis. The Hierophant's only problem is that he can be stubborn and hidebound. At his best, he is wise and soothing, at his worst, he is an unbending traditionalist.

Anonymous said...

cbi - whats the walmart picture signify?

Anonymous said...

You sound like you are of the right to me, a Libertarian. This is ahard place to be as none of the parties really embrace these values fully.

Voting for socialists is not he answer though; they value percevied quality above liberty.

Anonymous said...

OI see I have a lot to catch up with here, Crushed - so back in the am to do your thoughtful posts justice. Auguri

Anonymous said...

Brilliant answer to my very simplistic question. I agree that the Tories haven't come far enough on "lifestyle" issues yet and there is definitely room in both parties for a more strident libertarianism.

Anonymous said...

"I personally think the people generally are sleepwalking towards totalitarianism. We give our liberties away daily on the slimmest of pretences."

Astute observation. Totally brilliant!

The important thing is that you know where you stand, otherwise you'll fall for anything.

I am glad you balanced your intellect with a little levity in the spirit of Calliope.

Anonymous said...


Your Q is an easy one - I don't believe in mankind, I gave up hope a long time ago, and no, I wont change my mind. We're the most screwed up animal on this planet, end of discussion!

Oh, and tarot... I'm the Moon! LOL

Anonymous said...

JJ- I was a little surprised at the hermit as well. Maybe I just need to work at it. I'm trying to buy a cave in Yorkshire...

Jenny- The Sun, well that suits you. It's a bit less hermitlike than, well, The Hermit. 'Intellect, clarity of mind, and feelings of youthful energy'. I always knew it.

Shelly- Well, if you can't beat them, join them. Better still, set up your own party! But if you do set up your own political party, let me know.
It's probably worth pointing out, I'm not sure one should base life decisions on these tests.

David- Do you know, I think I did this test before somewhere and got the hierophant. I'm pretty sure, because I didn't know then what a hierophant was, and I still don't.
Still, I think he sounds more fun than the hermit.

Pommy- Walmart seem to me to symbolise all that's worst about corporatism. I've never been to a Walmart, but I've seen their windowless head office.

CityUn- This is where it all gets a little confusing. The terms Left and Right originate in the French Chamber of Deputies during the July Monarchy. Bourbon Legitimists sat on the right, Radical Republicans on the left, Liberals, Bonapartists etc, in the middle.
I just don't think political theory is quite that two dimensional.
I think libertarianism is misunderstood by many, and interestingly, I think it needs a certain levelof technology to be acheivable, but I think we're there.

Welshcakes- I don't think you've missed many, I didn't post on Sunday.

Ed- There is a huge and receptive audience out there for it. I find most people my age, Thatcher's children if you like, have a much less tribal approach to politics than previous generations did. There senms to be a genuine wish to prune back government but be more socially conscious too.
We can but hope.

Alexys- I think it's important to have principles, it's dogma that's the problem. Many people download their ideologies into their brains warts on all. They liked part of it, so they accept the lot unquestioningly.
It can be a mistake. For example, I agree with much of the economic part of Marx' analysis, but I certainly don't accept all the conclusions his followers drew from that.

Heart- This may be true, but surely it's in our hands to change that?
Yes, Auschwitz, Hiroshima, The West Bank, Apartheid, there's a lot of negatives.
But that's the empty half of the glass.
Man is a truly amazing animal, the only animal to know how he got here.
The only creature who can communicate across thousands of miles, and send their thoughts on a political post to others, and something positive be acheived from their contribution.

The Moon- Ok, I can see that!

Anonymous said...

Walmart seem to me to symbolise all that's worst about corporatism


They signify all that is good about capitalism to me - they are astonishingly successful at making profit.

With that profit comes jobs, tax revenues and prosperity.

Anonymous said...

Walmart: and supplying the products we want at a sensible price!

There senms to be a genuine wish to prune back government but be more socially conscious too.

Yes indeed. I think we are probably about the same age - our generation and those slightly older want to be free and not interfered with by the state but are also generous and want others to share in the nation's "prosperity". Cameron is nearly there but reforming the Tory party is like turning an oil tanker because there are so many social conservatives in the rump of the party.

Anonymous said...

To answer your question, yes, I have faith in man and I trust mankind.. but people will be ppl, some just cant change their nature. So first we have to define what the human nature actually is…
PS. Apparently. I’m You are The Empress- Beauty, happiness, pleasure, success, luxury, dissipation.

Anonymous said...

I thought the result would change if I tried this test again. It didn't. LOL. I'm still the Moon. Hmm, jenny has a nice one. Here's mine...

You are The Moon
Hope, expectation, Bright promises.

The Moon is a card of magic and mystery - when prominent you know that nothing is as it seems, particularly when it concerns relationships. All logic is thrown out the window.

The Moon is all about visions and illusions, madness, genius and poetry. This is a card that has to do with sleep, and so with both dreams and nightmares. It is a scary card in that it warns that there might be hidden enemies, tricks and falsehoods. But it should also be remembered that this is a card of great creativity, of powerful magic, primal feelings and intuition. You may be going through a time of emotional and mental trial; if you have any past mental problems, you must be vigilant in taking your medication but avoid drugs or alcohol, as abuse of either will cause them irreparable damage. This time however, can also result in great creativity, psychic powers, visions and insight. You can and should trust your intuition.

Anonymous said...

Good post CBI.

Freedom is abnormal.

We've all forgotten that.

Anonymous said...

Crushed, I have faith in humanity, I have to. But you're right that it is too easy to slowly strip away rights and liberties. I've long appreciated Franklin's words of wisdom: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

And it was never appreciated more than with the introduction of the Patriot Act. And yet the letter-writing continues.

Anonymous said...

Pommy- It's very simple, to me you can't talk aboitb liberty with the current distribution of power. Control over Production and distribution is what actually matters- everything else is dependent on it. We have no control over Walmart. Yes, as things stand, Walmart fulfills an economic function.
It's still Oligarchy. The people are wageslaves. Socialist Collectivism simply made it worse, because nationalised industries weren't even accountable to shareholders, so there was NO incentive to be efficient.
What hasn't yet been properly tried, is DEMOCRATIC Collectivism.
Private property, in the hands of multinational corporations, as now, is inimicable to true freedom and true democracy. It's probably worth a post in it's own right, otherwise this comment will get too long.

Ed- I think, partly because of comprehensive education- I know it's not popular- we are more aware of social issues as a whole than other generations have been. We've seen schoolfriends die of heroin etc, and we are more likely to look at life in the underclass and ask ourselves whyn this should be so and not just accept it as 'the way things are'. We see social alienation for what it is- a waste of possible contibutions to pverall human wellbeing, and can see that a society that lets this happen must be flawed somewhere.

Crashie- The whole 'You can't change human nature' crap, is a convenient excuse maintained by those who show the worst sides of human nature in their eternal mission to lay claim to larger and larger sections of the world's resources, as to why a system that lets them do that should be maintained.
Human nature doesn't particularly involve driving cars, building bridges, flying planes, blogging, sending probes to Mars, etc, but i like to think that is are positive acheivements.
We make our own nature. That's evolution.

Eve- So, some hard choices there. Luckily, the Hermit doesn't want me to give anything up.
Seems a bit harsh though, accusing you of mental problems...

E-K- We have. We can't see the bars to the cage. what we forget is, ultimately things survive as they are because we accept. The Danger is, it might soom by too late. The tendancy now is for the forces of the state to arm themselves increasingly against some ill defined terror threat, whilst removing so much as a potato peeler from everyone else.
The Second Amendment of the US constitution is worth reading properly, before you judge it. The 'Ultimate defence against tyranny' bit, especially.

Helen- It's worth reading the Magna Carta. There's a quite a few liberties that even Norman barons thought we should have, that have been taken away on some fairly lame pretexts.
The fact is, Social Breakdown causes rising crime rates, but the powers that be pedal the lie that the Justice system is skewed against defendants, in spite of the fact that 80% of Crown Court cases result in a guilty verdict.

Anonymous said...

LOL, yes, really! And I've never tried drugs anyway (although I WOULD like to, unless they weren't worth paying for..;-))..

Anonymous said...

Interesting philosophy of Eve's in her last comment. Crushed - are you married to Jenny and if not, why not?

Anonymous said...

You are crushed by Ingsoc for 1984 - but what we have is far more like Brave New World... the eugeneics aspect is not here of course, and that was anti-NAZI scifi, but the rest?

Anonymous said...

I agree with your analsis of how we may be governed in the west and that we are drifting towards totalitarianism. [I somehow think this is nastier when Labour are in power but don't ask me why.] People laugh at Italy all the time - yet it is a democracy and WILL VOTE PEOPLE OUT when they are deemed to be failing. I think ther's a healthiness in that. Basically, I'm with Sartre in that "elections are traps for folls " - ie., once you are in power the "game" is not about doing good for the people at all - it is about doing what you have to to stay in power.

Anonymous said...

Eve- I wouldn't condone it, but I don't condemn it. Except Heroin. Please don't ever touch that. It's a poison, pure and simple.

Lord SB- I'm not, there is a man in her life in fact.
The only ring on my finger is a Claddagh ring.

Mutley- It's interesting that Huxley wrote Brave New World as a dystopian vision, but his Utopia- Pala- has many similar features.

I think many of the social changes- that initially shocked in BNW are inevitable and not as sinister as people once feared.
Myself, I don't see the nuclear family has having much viability for much longer, it just doesn't accord with the realitis of human life as it is becoming.

Welshcakes- This is partly the problem with the party sysyem, and partly the problem of fixed terms. we have governments of one shade or another, who play a win or lose game with the electorate.

A manifesto basically means; Vote us in and let us do these things, and we will give you this.
I have read the legislation concerning bribery of the electorate, mainly for my own amusement, and I can't see where it stipulates that it only refers to treating specific voters, as opposed to rewards to groups, should the result be the right one.
Worth a test case maybe?

Anonymous said...

Lord straf-bilderberg: Don't you know I'm really tightfisted? ;-) Except on stuff I consider 'useful'. So I might splurge to buy clothes or a round of beers (I've heard that a woman looks better after the guy has had a few), but drugs...? Well, I'm not too sure what good they are, as yet. In novels, it seems like they make you want to have sex... so I'd best make sure that's available before I take!

CBI - I thought YOU were the one bringing up the talk about legalizing cannabis...? But you don't condone it...? ;- ) Hmmm, from that post, I even gathered the impression that you were a regular drug-user...:- ) But yes, I wouldn't do any injections; I've a phobia of needles..:-)