This chart shows the relative nature of the labels "left" and "right".
(One person's left is another person's right.)
"In a political system in which liberals are portrayed as leftist by government and the media, moderates are called liberals, and hardline right-wing conservatives disguise themselves as the soul of sweet reason, how can an enlightened electorate exist, let alone prevail?"from Notes on a Paradigm, by Deric Morris
The definition of "liberal" I am using here agrees with Thomas Jefferson's and Bertrand Russell's use of the term.
Bertrand Russell is the fellow who invented the "peace Symbol" in the chart above. He also developed logical positivism, set theory, and part of modern computer theory. he won the Nobel Prize in literature, Here is his definition of "liberalism".
The esence of liberalism is an attempt to secure a social order not based on irrational dogma, and insuring stability without involving more restraints than are necessary for the preservation of the community.
Througout its long development from 600 B.C. to the present day, philosophers have been divided into those who wished to tighten social bonds, and those who wished to relax them. ..The diciplinarians have advocated some systems of dogma, either old or new, and have therefore been compelled to be, in a greater or lesser degree, hostile to science, since their dogmas could not be proved empirically. They have almsot invariably taught that happiness is not the good, but that "nobility" or "heroism" is to be preferred. They have had a sympathy with the irrational parts of human nature, since they have felt reason to be inimical to social cohesion. The libertarians, on the other hand, with the exception of the extreme anarchists, have tended to be scientific, utilitarian, rationalistic, hostile to violent passion, and enemies of all the more profound forms of religion. This conflict existed in Greece before the rise of what we recognize as philosophy, and is already quite explicit in the earliest Greek thought. ..
It is clear that each party to this dispute - as to all that persist through long periods of time - is partly right and partly wrong. Social cohesion is a necessity, and mankind has never yet succeded in enforcing cohesion by merely rational arguments. Every community is exposed to two oposite dangers: ossification through too much dicipline, and reverence for tradition on the one hand; on the other hand, dissolution, or subjugation to foreign conquest, through the growth of an individualism and personal independence that makes co-operation impossible. In general, important civilizations start with a rigid and superstitious system, gradually relaxed, and leading, at a certain stage, to a period of brilliant genius, while the good of the old tradition remains and the evil inherent in its dissolution has not yet developed. But as the evil unfolds, it leads to anarchy, and thence, inevitably, to a new tyranny, producing a new synthesis, secured by a new system of dogma. The doctrine of liberalism is an attempt to escape from this endless oscillatin. The esence of liberalism is an attempt to secure a social order not based on irrational dogma, and insuring stability without involving more restraints than are necessary for the preservation of the community. Whether this attempt can succed only the future can determine."[pg xxiii, A history of Western Philosophy, by Bertrand Russell, SImon and Schuster, 1965 ]
The Nolan Chart
from, Liberties in Two Dimensions
The Political Compass
Though it seems somewhat extreme to declare, as one contemporary political philosopher has phrased it, that the end of history is at hand, it is true that all alternative forms of political organization now appear to be fighting a futile rearguard action against the liberal institutions and ideas first established in the United States in the late eighteenth century.
It is truly humbling, perhaps even dispiriting, to realize that the historical debate over the revolutionary era and the early republic merely recapitulates the ideological debate conducted at the time, that historians have essentialy been fighting the same battles, over and over again, that the members of the revolutionary generation fought originally among themselves. Though many historians have taken a compromise or split-the-difference position over the ensuing years, the basic choice has remained constant, as historians have declared themselves Jeffersonians or Hamiltonians, commited individualists or dedicated nationalists, liberals or conservatives, then written accounts in favor of one camp over the other, or that stigmatize by viewing it through the eyes of the other, much as the contestants did back then.
The Founding Brothers, the Revolutionary Generation, by Joseph C. Ellis
"Our beliefs are the very opposite of the fanatics - we believe in reason, democracy and tolerance... These beliefs are the foundation of our civilised world."
"They are enduring, they have served us well and as history has shown we have been prepared to fight, when necessary to defend them. But the fanatics should know: we hold these beliefs every bit as strongly as they hold theirs. Now is the time to show it."
"We have respect for human life. They do not. We hold essentially
liberal values. They do not. As we look into these issues it is
important that we never lose sight of our basic values."
Tony Blair, address to Parliament, Sep 15, 20001
Two Visions of Western Capitalism
Anglo-American capitalism is built on a system of values that
attributes personal liberty and political democracy to economic
prosperity and opportunities for personal wealth. These goals
are best achieved through self-interested activities of consumers
and producers in an environment fostering maximum personal economic
choice, entrepreneurial activity, free trade, and unrestricted markets.
Continental European capitalism, [on the other hand, grew out of
social democracy, a nineteenth-century philosophy that emphasized]
building a just system of economic distribution in society, not
merely a wealthy society. This entailed a commitment to equalize
wealth, control and ultimately diffuse capital's concentration,
and empower the working class with their own political parties
and labor unions.
Two Visions of Western Capitalism
Anglo-American capitalism is built on a system of values that attributes personal liberty and political democracy to economic prosperity and opportunities for personal wealth. These goals are best achieved through self-interested activities of consumers and producers in an environment fostering maximum personal economic choice, entrepreneurial activity, free trade, and unrestricted markets.
... Continental European capitalism, [on the other hand, grew out of social democracy, a nineteenth-century philosophy that emphasized] building a just system of economic distribution in society, not merely a wealthy society. This entailed a commitment to equalize wealth, control and ultimately diffuse capital's concentration, and empower the working class with their own political parties and labor unions. ...
from Sociology in the Hemisphere: Past Convergencies and a New Conceptual Agenda, Princeton Uiversity
As Marcia Rivera tells us, one of the first decisions of Chilean university authorities under General Pinochet was to suppress the career of sociology and declare economics the only “real” social science. Something similar happened in Cuba where sociology was eliminated from the university curriculum for twenty-five years, to be replaced by chairs of Marxism Leninism.
As Heilbronner has observed, classical economics did not emerge as a scientific theory, but as a polemic in defense of the trading classes. Smith and especially Malthus and Ricardo acted as intellectual spokesmen for the interests of the rising industrial bourgeoisie. Theirs was a discourse from power and, from that perspective, the poor were essentially a problem: raise their wages and the wretches would proliferate, putting pressure on the land and threatening profits; provide “excessive” welfare and they would not work, discouraging new capital investments. Modern economics has abandoned these assumptions, but retained their general orientation. Its theoretical framework has difficulty accommodating a concern for the poor or the implementation of inequality-reducing policies since the latter can easily become a fetter to competition.
Sociology in the Hemisphere
The Extereme Reaction of Metaphyisics
Communist institutions developed entire libraries of semantics on dialectic materialism. These books sometimes get as complex as the commentators on Aristotle's "Metaphysics".
In the West most philosophical writes comment on the metaphysics of Kant and Aristotle.
In the Communist countries, most philosophical writing was commentary on the Hegelian Dialectic.
Wilhelm Reich seems to have noticed this phenomenon.
from "People in Trouble" by Wilhelm Reich, 1927
"Without Marx we can comprehend neither Marx nor Marxism and
the extreme reaction of metaphysics, Fascism."
"All vital, effective human beings are interested in improving life. If, then the repeated claims of metaphysicians are correect that man makes history 'of his own free will,' we should have been living in a paradise for a long time. The fact that we are far from paradise and, on the contrary, are suffocating in the oppostite realm, verifies the correctness of scientific sociology. Humans have created among themselves 'unconscious' relationships and conditions which now control them."
 Robert Heilbronner, The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times, and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers, 7 th edition, London: Penguin, 2000, Ch. 4
also: Robert Heilbronner, The Nature and Logic of Capitalism
Wallerstein, THE DEVELOPMENT OF A WORLD ECONOMIC SYSTEM
A Summary of Immanuel Wallerstein, The Modern World System: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World Economy in the Sixteenth Century (New York: Academic Press, 1974)
In his book, The Modern World System: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World Economy in the Sixteenth Century, Immanual Wallerstein develops a theoretical framework to understand the historical changes involved in the rise of the modern world. The modern world system, essentially capitalist in nature, followed the crisis of the feudal system and helps explain the rise of Western Europe to world supremacy between 1450 and 1670. According to Wallerstein, his theory makes possible a comprehensive understanding of the external and internal manifestations of the modernization process during this period and makes possible analytically sound comparisons between different parts of the world.
"Humanism is a way of living, thinking, and acting that allows every individual to actualize his or her highest aspirations and successfully achieve a happy and fulfilling life. Humanists take responsibility for their own morals and their own lives, and for the lives of their communities and the world in which we live. Humanists emphasize reason and scientific inquiry, individual freedom and responsibility, human values and compassion, and the need for tolerance and cooperation. " American Humanist Association
fringefolk \'frinjfolk\ n
people who rise up to protest when the constitution is unraveled: Fringefolk
Nixon's Legacy. ..over two million dead.
The Virtual Wall. An interactive virtual Vietnam Memorial Wall website.
Betty Bowers has a well designed site: Betty Bowers is a better Christian than you!
This game takes only minutes to play, and is very rewarding: New Supreme Court Game!
Political and movement news sites:
Bartcop Political news and humor
Bush Brother's Banana Republic
Allied Forces Million Voter march
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