Saturday, 20 February 2016

Political Spectrum: a Metaphor.

So, you want to know how to tell Left, Centre, and Right apart, but you despair from reading the commentariat, with all their endless talk and weasel words.

I'll give you my take on this; you do with it whatever you feel like.


Imagine the following situation: along comes Anne, sobbing, eyes black, a teeth or two missing, nose bleeding, her clothes torn and dirty; Bob comes right behind her, breathing heavily, zipping his pants. He looks unpleasantly surprised we are there.

Bob just beat and raped Anne.

The people who take Anne's side are the Left. Their proposal is simple: To protect Anne, Bob must go to jail, as Anne demands.

The people who take Bob's side are the Right: "First of all, it wasn't a rape at all", they say, "it was forceful seduction" (they love euphemisms and re-defining words); "Second, if he beat her, it was her fault … It was … it was … Yes, self-defense! That's it!" Their proposal, too, is simple: It's poor Bob who needs protection. Leave him alone, as he demands.

They disagree on much, but one thing Left and Right have in common: their positions are clear. It's unlikely you'll mistake one for the other.

There is, however, a third group, harder to identify: the Centre. Often the difficulty arises because the Centre really, really want to represent themselves as a more mature, technocratic, scientific Left, but Left, all the same. Something like the improved new Left (TM): now with Extra Fluor!

With all certainty, they'll commiserate with Anne, just like the Left. In fact, they may go as far as to berate Bob. If you are not careful and this is all you hear, you may mistake them for Left. That's a common, rookie mistake; but don't feel bad, we've all made that mistake. Besides, that's the idea behind all the leftish talk.

At some stage, however, they'll add, "you have to be realistic and Very Serious: you can't just send Bob to jail. It's for Anne's own good. Bob's too big to jail!" Again, if you don't follow the debate carefully, you may conclude this is the Right speaking. This, too, is a mistake, but one less frequent: the Centre try hard to prevent it (they, after all, are selling themselves as Left, yes?), by creating all sorts of convoluted justifications: like the Right, the Centre also like word games.

However, for all the complicated, endless talk and the nuances they want to add, their proposal is as simple as those from Left and Right: To protect Anne, in the future Bob must wear a condom and boxing gloves.

Anne herself has no word in that.


Suggestion: compare their proposals. Ultimately, you apply this to what you hear and read, and choose the side you like. It isn't that difficult, after all.


Speaking of which. Pema Levy and Tim Murphy ("Civil Rights Hero John Lewis Slams Bernie Sanders", Mother Jones, Feb. 11, 2016) write:
"Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), the progressive icon who led the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) during the civil rights movement, on Thursday dismissed Sen. Bernie Sanders' participation in that movement.
"When a reporter asked Lewis to comment on Sanders' involvement in the movement—Sanders as a college student at the University of Chicago was active in civil rights work—the congressman brusquely interrupted him. 'Well, to be very frank, I'm going to cut you off, but I never saw him, I never met him,' Lewis said. 'I'm a chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee for three years, from 1963 to 1966. I was involved in the sit-ins, the freedom rides, the March on Washington, the march from Selma to Montgomery, and directed their voter education project for six years. But I met Hillary Clinton. I met President Clinton.'
"The preeminent civil rights hero's pooh-poohing of Sanders came at a press conference where the Congressional Black Caucus PAC announced its endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president."
David Ruccio comments on that. With due respect to him, the two must-see photos he has really don't need any comment; they speak for themselves and they tell a sad tale.

"Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past."

"Liberal democracy" sounds more and more like and oxymoron.

Never mind that, this old post seems quite appropriate: "We Get Knocked Down ... But we Get Up Again!"

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