Signal Wave

wave.gif

We could have saved ourselves. But we were too lazy. And too damned cheap.
--Kurt Vonnegut

A few thoughts about "right" and "left."

People don’t want to think in terms of right vs left in the same way that I don’t want to try to grow wheat on land that has been repeatedly sown with salt. Whatever fertility or usefulness those concepts once had has been not so much exhausted as blighted with semantic toxins. The way they are used in politics has destroyed their significance.

So people want to dump the concepts altogether. I understand the impulse, and might agree, if the abandonment of the concepts did not involve allowing malicious lies to establish themselves as received wisdom. In America, the word “left” is, at present, used to refer to people like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden. Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden have very few left-wing beliefs and policies. To use the word “left” to describe them is to be the most dishonest kind of rightist. In fact, to use the word “left” in that way effectively eliminates leftism from the political spectrum.

It’s a bit like murdering someone and replacing them with a ringer. A set of people exists who are called “the left,” so clearly we don’t have an abusive, eliminationist, enforced political monoculture. Clearly the right hasn’t taken over our entire politics. We have choices. We get to choose between right and left. How do I know that? Well, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama exist. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have beaten Donald Trump.

It’s instructive to look into the policies supported by the Clintons, Obama, Biden, Harris, Pelosi, Schumer, and all the rest of the so-called “left,” much in the same way that it’s instructive to study the difference between edible and deadly mushrooms before you go foraging. To say there are few genuine left-wing ideas amongst the bunch is an understatement (try to find five). Obama’s branch of the Democratic party has this much to say for it: its members apparently don’t want us to have a nuclear war. There seems little doubt that the Iran agreement (for all its flaws and inaccurate presumptions) was a laudable attempt to prevent the wars in the Middle East from devolving into something even worse: a hot war between nuclear superpowers. Further, there seems little chance that the Iran agreement would have happened under a Clinton administration, a Bush administration, or a Trump administration. Obama preferred not to see mushroom clouds on the horizon. It amounts to something rarely seen in American politics: a limit.

My statements should not be taken as an endorsement of Obama’s foreign policy in general, nor a celebration of Obama’s non-existent predilection for peace. He doesn’t support peace. In fact, Obama supports the forever war. He just doesn’t want to burn the world down in nuclear fire. If that is a left-wing idea, it’s one of two that survive in current American politics. The other is, obviously, the idea that bigotry is bad.

“Bigotry is bad” is the hook in the Democratic party’s hit song. It’s their sine qua non. Without the “bigotry is bad” belief, there would be no Democratic party. That’s because it’s the only moral stand they take. Obama’s (and Kerry’s and Lavrov’s) Iran agreement arguably has the underlying principle that humans shouldn’t have a nuclear war. But that principle is not held by the entire Democratic party. Far from it. In fact, Obama clearly had to wait until Hillary Clinton was out of the State Department before even attempting it.

If an angel stretched out her hand over America tonight and removed bigotry from every heart, the Democratic party wouldn't have much to say tomorrow morning. They have nothing helpful or substantive to offer the American people on the subjects of the economy, the wage scale, immigration, the rule of law, the relationship of the public and private sectors, war and peace, energy, climate change, the myriad problems presented by advancing technology, business ethics, the growth of the police state, the corruption and decline of the legal system, the brutal criminal justice system, media consolidation, hunger, poverty, land ownership, pollution, terrorism, or finance. Even their COVID policies are pretty wretched. Apparently, the function of the government during a pandemic is to lecture people incoherently while writing trillion-dollar checks to their rich friends and wondering whether or not everybody else should get unemployment insurance. They should at least get it straight whether or not masking is a good idea. I strongly believe in masking--in fact, I'm relying on masking to keep me and my family alive. But if I relied on guidance from the Democratic side, at this point I'd be completely confused. They've already changed their minds about masking twice.

Of course, most of the issues I listed above have something to do with bigotry. Certainly poverty, the rule of law, immigration, and the terrible criminal justice system have a lot to do with bigotry. But you can only know that if you have an accurate view of the devastating effects of bigotry in our system, and the Democrats don't. The strongest impression their form of "woke" anti-bigotry leaves with me is that it's cheap. Their opposition to bigotry doesn't require them to change the racist criminal justice system, the racist economic system, or the racist financial system. It doesn't require them to burn the current prison system to the ground and replace it with something that isn't a bunch of overseers exploiting a loophole in the 13th amendment. It doesn't require them to invest money into black neighborhoods and small businesses. It doesn't even require reparations.

In fact, I'm pretty sure that most of the Democrats don’t actually believe that bigotry is bad. It’s all show. When your leaders can call black children “superpredators [who] need to be brought to heel,” when they can say that “hard-working Americans, white Americans, won’t vote for Barack Obama,” when they can tell black people “If you don’t vote for me, you’re not black,” and respond to Latinos who question their immigration policies with the rejoinder “Vote for Trump. Vote for Trump. Vote for Trump,” you’re not actually against bigotry. For that matter, if you send a memo around to the House Democratic Caucus instructing them, if approached by Black Lives Matter, to be sympathetic but “don’t offer support for concrete policy positions,” you’re not actually against bigotry. Similarly, if Ferguson, MO is burning because its paramilitary “police” frequently shoot unarmed black teenagers in the head, an anti-bigotry advocate does not invite “youth activists” from the area to DC for lunch and a photo op and subsequently start a task force to study the issue of why white police officers murder black people.

The reason I don't think we should abandon the concept of leftism is that we're abandoning it to thieves and liars intent on tying the concept to a Procrustean bed, lopping off the parts that don't suit them, and turning what's left into a mutilated zombie version of its former self. Then they deploy it against everybody who has a problem with this rotten system. This process basically discredits leftism by making it monstrous, and carves the Hillary vs Trump political paradigm into stone.

I have a bit of a problem with that.

How are you all today?

Share
up
16 users have voted.

Comments

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

One more day in the Empire. I'm glad I have your company.

up
10 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Raggedy Ann's picture

Left ~ right - labels are meant to divide us and keep us divided. I had to inform my brother that I am NOTHING, only a woman with her own thoughts based on her own research. Labels divide.

Enjoy the day! Pleasantry

up
6 users have voted.

"The “jumpers” reminded us that one day we will all face only one choice and that is how we will die, not how we will live." Chris Hedges on 9/11

QMS's picture

I'm all for generic political stripes. The dumbed down, grade school level of mainstream political discourse continually changes the older meanings of labels. I remember when a leftie was a south paw pitcher. And left and right were meant as directions

As my granny used to tell the story .. a lost pedestrian in a big city was trying to find the way to the nearest bus stop. When approaching a stranger on the street for how to get there, the reply was .. up ahead, turn left. If you go right, you will be left (behind), so go left and you will be right (correct).

Multiplicity of meanings for identical words opens a chasm of mis-understanding.
Left brain / right brain. Who's left, yours or mine?
Left side of the car is seen from inside or outside facing it?
Drivers side depends on which country you happen to be in.
Leftist guerrillas and the alt right seem to both be fighting the centrists.

All too confusing for me. I use port and starboard (red and green) along with fore and aft while
boating on open waters and otherwise. Up is above and down is below. Easier that way Wink

Thanks for the OT can't stop!

up
5 users have voted.
enhydra lutris's picture

@QMS @QMS

are no centrists, never were, and, of course, there are no directions or fixed points in space, merely "here". Out in the middle of the ocean, in fog, red and green simply devolve into colors and your only compass is in the binnacle. Drink the port and whither starboard. Any port in a storm, except maybe Galveston and several dozen others. Carry on, as they say.

be well and have a good one.

up
6 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Better than TrumpCorp? not by much.

The message on her rear might have been more believable if it said, Pay Me.

up
7 users have voted.

NYCVG

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@NYCVG

which is my point.

up
10 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal marks signal that the Left was snark. adding tag now.

up
3 users have voted.

NYCVG

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@NYCVG

up
0 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Raggedy Ann's picture

political stunt, @NYCVG . Lies and more lies to keep the pleebes sucking their thumbs in satisfaction.

up
6 users have voted.

"The “jumpers” reminded us that one day we will all face only one choice and that is how we will die, not how we will live." Chris Hedges on 9/11

@Raggedy Ann

up
3 users have voted.

NYCVG

lotlizard's picture

@NYCVG  
“Call 1-800-RENT-AOC …”

up
11 users have voted.
QMS's picture

@lotlizard

left behind bonafides

up
7 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@lotlizard

up
0 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

lotlizard's picture

The thing is, American exceptionalism is bigotry too — of a kind that even a charismatic, iconic Democrat of color like Barack Obama believes in with “every fiber of [his] being.”

https://jacobinmag.com/2021/09/barack-obama-photography-race-representat...

[Blair McClendon:] As I wrote in the piece, what was most galling to me about Obama’s presidency, and one of the things he was most successful at, was presenting himself as a dad. I think all the time about his response to Trayvon Martin’s killing, which went everywhere immediately, because it was so moving for him to say, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” It’s a beautiful line, and a stunning one to hear from the president. But you know, seeing Abdulrahman, and seeing how his death was just sort of brushed off, ultimately showed the limits of that — because Abdulrahman wouldn’t look like his son. So, the kid who’s killed and whom Obama can speak about eloquently — he regrets his death and says, “He would look like my son,” and he understands the pain of his family, and years later Trayvon’s image is put up at the Democratic National Convention (DNC). And suddenly his death becomes a part of the Democratic story. When it came to Abdulrahman, there just had to be silence, because his killing was part of a secret war (even though it wasn’t really a secret).

What hung with me about him, and what still does, beyond my sadness over his death, was that, to me, the incident showed the limits of a politics that claimed black people would redeem the nation. You wind up with dead kids in some other country and black people having to be silent about it, because now they think they have to pick between an image of black excellence (being president is as excellent as you can be in this country) and acknowledgment of the body count in other countries. I don’t think I would have been perhaps as eloquent in stating it then, but whenever I hear those phrases, and whenever I hear the Civil Rights Movement (or pretty much any movement that’s concerned with black liberation) being marshaled into saving America, I just wish people would follow through and ask what happens to everywhere else when you “save America.”

 
Edited to add:
So then, there is reason to question whether bigotry really is such a key criterion for telling left from right. If it were, then possibly the only genuinely “left” candidate for president in 2012 of either party may very well have been Ron Paul — having been the only one willing to act on the principle that non-Americans are worth as much as Americans (saying, in a debate, that the Golden Rule ought also to apply to foreign policy, which notably drew some boos from the crowd).

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=ron+paul+golden+rule+booed+2012

up
5 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@lotlizard

You might not have read to the end of my long rant, but at the end, I say that I'm not sure the Democrats really are against bigotry. And yes, of course, one of the key elements that has emerged over the last few years is that Black Lives only Matter if they are American-born. Black Lives in Haiti don't matter so much. Nor in Africa. And let's not even talk about Brown Lives who aren't American.

up
8 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

lotlizard's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal  
Apologies — I should have made clearer that I wasn’t taking issue with anything you said.

up
4 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@lotlizard

up
0 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

enhydra lutris's picture

@lotlizard

So then, there is reason to question whether bigotry really is such a key criterion for telling left from right. If it were, then possibly the only genuinely “left” candidate for president in 2012 of either party may very well have been Ron Paul ..

or possibly Ru Paul Wink

be well and have a good one

up
5 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@enhydra lutris

I might actually vote for Ru Paul.

up
0 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Lookout's picture

I would argue the labels mean nothing.

The terms right and left have been co opted by the corporate oligarchs in order to divide us.
YMMV?

Hope y'alls health issues are healing and becoming moot.

up
10 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Lookout

a horrible virus. Nick still not entirely himself.

up
0 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Azazello's picture

I think the terms "right" and "left" still apply and are still useful. I just don't use them the way most people do. I think "wokeness" is nothing more than a PR campaign by, and for, Wall St. and the National Security State. Anti-bigotry is a good thing but it has very little to do with actual politics.

up
8 users have voted.

It didn't have to be this way.

wendy davis's picture

as my morning is full of chores.

as far as the JCPOA ('iran deal'), i wish i had time to fetch tony cartallucci's "why it was designed to fail' (or close).

iran has never wanted 'the bomb', but has lately been enriching uranium to show what they could do. it's a high-wire act, but iranians are dying of sanctions, and biden's team re demanding they do such and such....then they'; lift the sanctions.

"Once you label me...you negate me."

~soren kierkegaard

labeling oneself? beats me, but there no leftists in the US save fr the trotskyites and some greens, imo.

up
6 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

Well, perhaps we have no choice, really, but to accept their rewriting of the dictionary.
It's pretty horrible to watch the principles I once cherished turned monstrous and discredited, but I guess there's no point in defending a lost cause.

As for not having labels, that's fine, I guess, if the only people you ever talk to are your personal intimates. In general, though, (and even sometimes with intimates) eschewing political labels is a kind of self-exile from political discourse. If you have no way of identifying yourself, not only will people have trouble talking to you, but your views will never spread and never form the foundation of any kind of organized action. "Independent" is a label. "Occupy" is a label. Even "No Labels" is a label; the oligarchy started a non-profit by that name, I think for the express intention of not allowing anyone fleeing from their binaries to identify themselves that way.

At the end of the day, what they're trying to ensure is that all roads lead to Rome, and all labels signify nothing outside their influence--even "no labels!" They want to make a world in which nothing outside their political influence can be imagined.

That's a difficult defeat for me to accept, but eventually, I suppose I will.

up
9 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Cassiodorus's picture

By the end of June of this year it should have been obvious, here in the West, that we are ruled by two competing death cults, one (D) and one (R), and that they disagree about what public stand should be taken about climate change while agreeing that nothing of importance should be done for fear of disturbing the Utopia of Money in which they both so cleverly participate. "Carbon taxes," "cap-and-trade schemes," and "clean energy" do not count as anything of importance.

As for the "death" part of the equation, David Rovics lays out the problem really well:

up
5 users have voted.

"Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.” -- Rosa Luxemburg

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Cassiodorus

Psychopathic bastards.

up
0 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

enhydra lutris's picture

The "press" had a lot to do with this, I once had an idea for a simplified version, but even it can't work anymore. Skip the chamber of deputies stuff and start with the US ca 1950 or so:

red, pink, left, liberal, conservative, ultra-conservative, reactionary

today:

far left, left, liberal, centrist, conservative, far right

there is no one to one correspondence, but the whole idea of anyone or anything being centrist is bogus, farcical, nonsense.

So called "centrist" is some shade of conservative, and probably includes a small spectrum. It can't be pinned down because it is used as propaganda, a lie to pretend that various shades of conservatives, all the way to reactionary in some cases, are really "moderates".

Conservative, used to refer to those blatantly and openly to the right of the conservatives misnamed centrist, would be ultra-conservative to reactionary,

Far right is generally reserved for actual Nazis, neofascists, the Klan, etc.

Liberal is often another word for "woke" centrist, these are the "white liberals" derided in the fifties, people who tell themselves that they did, or would have opposed segregation in the deep south, Jim Crow and all that, but, nothing more, and unwilling to act on anything in anyway except maybe cut a check to the NAACP - "cocktail party liberals".

Left is anybody at least vocally in favor of equality for all, greater economic fairness, better wages, more power for the hoi polloi, unions, regulations of any kind, breaking up monopolies, reining in the banks and all like. They are also anti-war and call for downsizing the military and openly waging peace. Likely to be environmentalists too, at least in their rhetoric.

Far Left is generally all of the above who also manifest a willingness to take action andd try to do something about it, as well as anybody proposing "socialism", cooperatives and the like. They also recognize the existence of classism and wish to defeat/destroy it.

About anti-racism, feminism, wokeism and all that as a badge of merit. In a word, Bullshit.
Being against slavery, racism, burning witches, treating women as chattels and the like in the 1400s to 1600s was indeed liberal. By the 1800s that stuff was no longer meritorious, it was a given. The reality is that those practices were unacceptable forever, but "western culture" had made them acceptable for a time. That time passed ages ago. Racism is still a major problem and needs to be overcome, starting with not being racist, and then antiracist, but nobody gets to take a bow for that kind of shit, it needs to be a presumption. That also holds true for women's issues.

What part of full equality and empowerment for all persons regardless of "race", ethnicity, sex and/or gender, class, and other such traits is or should be so fucking confusing that people are entitled to brownie points for seeing past the fog of these artificial bases for discrimination?

be well and have a good one

up
9 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@enhydra lutris

About anti-racism, feminism, wokeism and all that as a badge of merit. In a word, Bullshit.
Being against slavery, racism, burning witches, treating women as chattels and the like in the 1400s to 1600s was indeed liberal. By the 1800s that stuff was no longer meritorious, it was a given. The reality is that those practices were unacceptable forever, but "western culture" had made them acceptable for a time. That time passed ages ago. Racism is still a major problem and needs to be overcome, starting with not being racist, and then antiracist, but nobody gets to take a bow for that kind of shit, it needs to be a presumption. That also holds true for women's issues.

Nobody should get praised for not being a Nazi. Or a Klansman.

up
0 users have voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

The Liberal Moonbat's picture

Just a day or two ago, I spotted some article calling Glenn Greenwald and Tulsi Gabbard "right-wing" on the grounds that...they...don't agree with the Magic Blue Donkey? https://www.thewrap.com/rumble-greenwald-gabbard/

My counter-argument to your stance (despite my sympathy with the principles you ground it inƾ) is that "wingedness" is inherently divisive, inherently 1-dimensional, inherently unconnected to ANY objective reality save to the seating plan in one building in 18th-Century France, and hence, is inherently deceptive - and certainly obsolete.

Consider the "Wokie" cult; how are THEY "left-wing"??? They're only against racism/etc IF you accept their total inversion of the definition of that word. They're the ones who should be called the "alt-Right", because that's literally what they are. I think Neo-Nazis should be called neo-Nazis, don't you? This is a fallacy that goes at least as far back as John McCain on the 2000 primary trail, when he famously denounced the "agents of intolerance" like "Pat Robertson on the Right, or Louis Farrakhan on the Left" - now hold on a moment, HOW is Louis Farrakhan on "the Left"? I admit, I don't know what his (or Nation of Islam overall)'s economic or environmental stances, but I do know that he is/was(?) bigoted in most every respect, authoritarian, militant, conformist, nationalistic, and closed-minded - merely being dark-skinned does NOT make you "left-wing". He is/was(?) a fine example of the REAL "alt-Right": Literally, the right-wing of groups that are in conflict with the right-wing of the historically-dominant group.

American Evangelical Christians hate the Taliban, and vice-versa - ditto the Likud Party, the House of Saud, the Ayatollahs, and whatever one would call Russia under Putin these days; they are ALL enemies with each other, despite alliances of convenience. Which of THEM is "Left-wing"? Surely some of them MUST be, according to Corporate Media theory of "wingedness".

Be honest with yourself: Stupid as it is, can you imagine the Wokies being allowed to get away with what they do if only they were labeled "right-wing"? That might be all it would take to send them to the honorless historical grave they deserve: Just one totally hollow verbal switcheroo.

I might've had more/better to say, but this is literally bad for me to continue dwelling on long enough to regurgitate it.

"I don't mind being the smartest man in the world, I just wish it wasn't this one."
- Adrian "Ozymandias" Veidt

______

ƾ = - I feel much the same way about the swastika, although that turns out to be both a different issue entirely and all the more unjust because of it: https://cohna.org/swastika-is-not-hakenkreuz/ .

up
4 users have voted.

We live in a society in which "we live in a society" is considered a subversive and vaguely-threatening statement.

In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat

Be honest with yourself: Stupid as it is, can you imagine the Wokies being allowed to get away with what they do if only they were labeled "right-wing"? That might be all it would take to send them to the honorless historical grave they deserve: Just one totally hollow verbal switcheroo.

That's why I keep trying to make that switcheroo. Smile

That, and the fact that their whole schtick is a pile of nonsensical lies.

up
1 user has voted.

"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver