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Leftist vs. Liberalism *WARNING: POLITICS!*

Discussion in 'Coffee House' started by Feldon, Aug 17, 2020.

  1. Feldon

    Feldon Administrator Staff Member

    As many of us have found out in this election, liberal and leftist aren't the same thing. Liberals focus on tone and microaggressions and stuff like this. They worry about Christmas vs. Happy Holidays. About statues. About identity politics. On paper, they're inclusive, but are actually fairly comfortable with the way things are, especially the grotesque financial systems and death grip that capitalism has on all of us for basics like health care, rent, food, etc.

    Liberals will tell you how disappointing a particular policy is, and then vote for it anyway. They bail out banks and then don't hold them accountable for taking the economy for a ride and crashing it into a tree. They'll tell you we need to get money out of politics and then host a $10,000 a plate dinner attended by the health care industry. They're basically in lockstep with the Republican party on the military as far as overseas intervention, use of drones, and destabilizing undesirable governments to enact regime change. Biden, Obama, Hillary, and the whole core of the Democratic party right now is rooted in neoliberalism.

    Leftists (progressives) talk about the problems that actually affect people day-to-day -- systemic financial and racial inequality, systemic injustice, militarization of our police forces, oligarchy, profiteering, monopolies, our freewheeling military-industrial complex, universal health care, etc. And no, leftists don't want to spend MORE tax money, just the same tax money differently. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Yang, etc. have progressive policies and yes they have well-documented plans for how to pay for all this stuff. :)
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2020
  2. Clementine

    Clementine Active Member

    I have literally never seen a left leaning person complaining about Christmas. I've only ever seen far right media mention a "war on Christmas" that they themselves invented as far as I'm aware. The first I heard about it was from Fox News. It's dumb and regardless of where it came from it's only meant as a distraction.

    Which is exactly why progressive candidates have been gaining more and more support. It's why people like AOC are so popular. Even if you don't agree with their platform so much, it's really just refreshing to have representatives that actually try to represent the people that voted for them.
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  3. Zynt

    Zynt Active Member

    I don't "identify" as a liberal unless I'm being sarcastic with conservatives. I'm not registered as a Democrat. I did get waterhosed in negative temps in ND during the pipeline protests (And thrown in jail) though. All I see in politics is the continued war against the poor and people of color by both parties. One just happens to dress up the sow's ear like a silk purse.
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  4. RhodrisNZ

    RhodrisNZ Geographically Challenged

    Thanks for this comprehensive and succinct definition of the two positions from someone who, living in a social democracy with a left-leaning Labour Party government, had no idea about what 'liberal' and 'left' actually meant to people in the USA. I gather Conservatives are the highly religious ones who want to take society backwards by a thousand years or more?

    Sounds like the liberals are closer to our right-leaning National Party (think Britain's Tories - the economy is at the centre of their policy decisions). Our current government is primarily* Labour Party, which is left-leaning - they put human beings at the centre of their policy decisions (generally) and I'm incredibly grateful they are in power through this COVID-19 crisis. The other lot were clamouring to have the borders open in May, to let in 10,000 international students and restart tourism (a big part of our economy). While we currently have a resurgence of community transmission cases (68 in total), it would have been a total disaster if the Nats had been in power.

    *We have an electoral system called Mixed Member Proportional representation (MMP) - it's a coalition with one major party and at least one other minor party. Ours currently consists of Labour (major) - NZ First - Greens. This may change on October 17 when we hold a general election, but almost certainly it will be another coalition as the system is not designed for a single party to rule supreme again (we tried that, it didn't work terribly well, so we changed the system).
  5. Cheggers

    Cheggers New Member

    Liberal and Leftist are used interchangeably by most people, and trying to explain the difference to them is akin to Star Trek fans arguing the distinction between Trekkers versus Trekkies. I've been called both, and honestly I've called myself both at one time or another. Your definition of a liberal seems to be tinged with a hint of vitriol, so you seemingly have a bit of a bias there. I'm not really criticizing you for that, it's a perfectly fair assessment of what "liberal" politicians stand for, after all. But it is, nevertheless, a bit of a generalization. As Clementine said, I've literally never heard a left-leaning "liberal" friend mention anything about the "War on Christmas" or giving even half a **** about Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays other than in a mocking context calling out how ridiculous the very concept is. And most of the self-described liberals I know would take issue at basically being called nothing but virtue signalers.

    You could of course argue, that given your definitions, they're not really liberal, but leftists. Like myself I suppose. But, until the mainstream catches up with the distinction, people are going to conflate the two.
  6. Wulfgyr / Erytheal

    Wulfgyr / Erytheal Active Member

    It's almost like "government" has become a new sporting event to watch, or perhaps is in the early stages of becoming a new religion. It's amazing how many otherwise reasonable people depend on "their" political party to shape their world view and tell them how they should act, in sharp contrast to the otherwise "prime" American value of individualism. It used to be, we relied on family and neighbors during tough times... There was a great article in Rolling Stone recently about how the current state of the U.S. isn't due to the current administration; they are just the penultimate symptom of what started happening after WWII.

    After WWII, focus tended to shift from family-centric to the "rights" of the individual. Divorce rates, homelessness, and drug abuse began to increase sharply as traditional safety nets of family and community were torn down. This was encouraged by some in power, as the gulf between the rich and "everyone else" grew even wider (potentially exacerbating a sense of elitism or superiority). The expectation that the community would intervene in local issues gave way to lassitude and "it's not my job." Since nature abhors a vacuum, society had some upheavals as it struggled to adjust, before our benevolent political overlords starting accumulating as much power as possible.

    For me, the biggest difference between "liberal" and "conservative" politicians is basically who they accept money from. It's not for "the best interests of their constituents" (and certainly not the country as a whole!), it's to continue to grow their "base," so they have the power and money to really accomplish something..... as soon as they accumulate just a little more power, financial support, and favors owed.... so they can really accomplish something (starting to feel a little like the 80's anti-drug commercial: "I do coke, so I can work more... so I can make more money.... so I can buy more coke," huh?).

    What it's resulted in, is a society and culture that accomplishes nothing except satisfying their own self-interests. The country that once produced a fighter plane every hour during WWII, couldn't even produce enough paper masks and nasal swabs to protect it's citizens (paraphrased from the Rolling Stone article). We made our bed, and now we've got a real life "reality TV" president, to go along with our reality TV obsessions. And the cost?

    170,000+ DEAD

    Like the politicians hoped, the majority has become numb to the number of deaths, allowing the politicians to re-engage in the "sport" of politics. If liberal or conservative politicians really cared about us, the people, they would have been screaming from the rooftops (like they did about HRC's emails, or the impeachment of 45, etc). Over 1,000 deaths per day for the last 3 weeks straight. COVID-19 is now the 3rd leading cause of death in the US, behind only heart disease and cancer. Apologies for going a bit off-track, I guess my frustration got the better of me.

    But don't worry, this isn't the end of America.

    Just a sign that America is no longer a major power. Hopefully it doesn't result in a messy "tantrum" as it refuses to share it's toys.

    Edit: forgot to throw an anecdote in: Was chatting with my boss last week and he mentioned he had a friend that considered himself a "progressive." This individual owns a $1.5 million dollar home and 26-foot boat. Doesn't volunteer, doesn't give to charity, but considers themselves one of the most progressive, giving people out there, because they always vote for Democrat candidates. That's their way of "fighting for the people." So remember - a label is just that; a label. Actions show who a person really is (especially the actions when they think no-one is watching).
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2020
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  7. Feldon

    Feldon Administrator Staff Member

    I readily admit I have a cynical take on liberals. But really, it has become almost impossible to differentiate them from moderate Republicans. They share the same basic viewpoints on a wide range of topics, just "nicer". Mass deportations and incarceration of immigrant families started under Bush, continued at an incredible pace under Obama, and only got publicity when Trump went "mask off" and admitted they were being cruel to discourage border crossings. Obama had the same basic policies, but the cruelty wasn't publicized.

    I find this diagram particularly useful:


    They have certainly been adopted by Evangelical Christians and single-issue voters. Which is hilarious because the candidates they latch onto haven't been inside a church in decades.
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  8. Feldon

    Feldon Administrator Staff Member

    The Conservative Media are quick to disengenously label Biden a socialist despite zero evidence to support it. In actuality, in meetings between Biden and Bernie, Biden's team rejected almost every suggestion given. Biden's platform is virtually unchanged from what he ran on. And you can fit the Grand Canyon between these moderate conservative policies and world views of Hillary Clinton / Joe Biden / Barack Obama and those of Bernie Sanders and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. In any other country, the Democratic party would be at least two separate parties.

    It was a flippant example on my part and you deserve better.

    A much less sh*tty example would be how our country has addressed now TWO once-every-hundred-years economic collapses we've faced in the last 12 years. They may play fight on television, but in actual practice the Republican and Democratic leadership pretty much agreed on the basic responses:
    • Small tax breaks and stimulus checks in the amount of a one-time payment of $500-1200
    • $4-7 trillion in bank bailouts, zero interest loans to corporations, and direct stock market boosting
    • and in the case of 2008-2010, nobody went to jail despite countless fully-documented felony behaviors by bank executives
    In contrast, the socialist response to the 2009 financial crisis, as seen in Iceland, was to let the banks fail, throw the bankers in jail who did all the criming, and then financially support the people directly. It cost the same amount of money, 3 million people didn't lose their homes, and they recovered twice as fast as any other democracy.

    The socialist response to the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic as seen in France, Germany, Italy, etc. was for the government to reach out to every business, ask them what salaries they pay, and then paid the employees 80-90% of their pay to just stay home for 2 months while everyone was tested and containment procedures were determined and rolled out. Groceries were delivered to people's homes and strict mask policies were enforced with massive fines.

    The Democrat/Republican response was here's $1200 which has to last you the next 3 months. If you want food you still have to go to the grocery store. We're not going to institute ANY containment procedures whatsoever but leave it up to the states to pass voluntary measures 3 months too late. We're going to suspend evictions and foreclosures but without any other mechanism, so in 3 months you'll owe 3 months rent or mortgage or you're on the street. We're going to saddle our unemployment systems which are running on 30 year old computers with 50 times their normal traffic and just hope it all works. And oops 50 million people just lost their health coverage during a global pandemic.

    Any time you talk about any policy that might be "socialism", Americans point to Argentina or Venezuela. They pretend that France, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, etc. don't exist. And people are quick to say "but how do we pay for it?" but we've blown trillions on 9/11 (where 3,000 people died), Afghanistan, Iraq, trillions on bank bailouts, $700 billion on the Military (they only asked for $500B, we cut them a check $200B bigger than they even asked for), and something like $4 trillion on Covid-19 assistance where 83% of the money went to corporations and billionaires.

    Let us remember that the Governor, Mayor, and Police Chief in Minneapolis were all Democrats.

    So yeah, I don't see a path forward for the United States under any of the current leadership.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2020
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  9. Feldon

    Feldon Administrator Staff Member

    I'm sure I've opened a can of worms here.
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  10. Clementine

    Clementine Active Member

    I think the thing about the core Dems especially, is that they only care about issues that are safe to care about. They dislike universal healthcare because it's actually controversial in the US. Gay rights isn't nearly as controversial as it was even 20 years ago so they can safely stand behind it now. If the general opinion of medicare for all improved then I think they would support it. I don't think the current Republicans would ever openly support any form of universal healthcare no matter how popular it was.

    But yeah the end result is that the core Dems aren't much different than Republicans.

    I think having three viable parties would be greatly beneficial to our country. But of course they push the "team red vs team blue" trash so hard that it would be almost impossible for a third party to get real support.
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  11. Feldon

    Feldon Administrator Staff Member

    And it wasn't decided legislatively. It was a SCOTUS case that at least in part had to do with whether it was fair and equal for a widower to have to pay taxes on income from their spouse as if they were strangers.

    It polls at 45-50% among Republicans and 60-75% among Democrats. There's more than enough nationwide support for it. We just need courage, something nearly impossible to find in D.C.
    A great video series talking about why we have ended up with a two party system, why it's so hard to run third party, and what it would take to fix it:

    Last edited: Aug 18, 2020
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  12. RhodrisNZ

    RhodrisNZ Geographically Challenged

    We used to have First Past the Post, but ditched it in 1993. Under FPP here, the party that won the most electoral seats formed the government, but this was problematic as we had (I think) 3 successive governments that did not represent the will of the people, i.e. they got the fewest actual votes, but won the most seats. The system was deemed undemocratic, and eventually changed.

    Until 1994, New Zealand used the first-past-the-post (FPP) electoral system, whereby the political party that won the most seats in a constituency elected the only MP from that constituency. This system favoured the two-party dominance of the National Party and the Labour Party. Smaller parties found it hard to gain representation; for example, despite gaining 16% of the vote in 1978 and 21% in 1981, the New Zealand Social Credit Party won only one and two seats, respectively.

    Spurred by public disillusionment in the political system, Labour campaigned in 1981 and 1984 on a promise to establish a Royal Commission into the electoral system. Following their election into government in 1984, Labour established the Royal Commission into the Electoral System, and the commission's 1986 report recommended the adoption of mixed-member proportional representation (MMP). After the government sidelining the issue for years, the Bolger National government responded to public pressure by holding an indicative referendum on the electoral system in 1992. After an overwhelming majority for change, a second, binding referendum was held in 1993 asking voters to choose between FPP and MMP.[19]

    In 1994, New Zealand officially adopted MMP as its electoral system. Its defining characteristic is a mix of members of Parliament (MPs) from single-seat electorates and MPs elected from a party list, with each party's share of seats determined by its share of the party vote nationwide.[20] The first MMP election was held in 1996. As a result, National and Labour lost their complete dominance in the House. Neither party has yet been able to govern on its own and has had to form coalitions to govern. The closest either party has come to governing alone was the 2014 election, when National won 60 seats, just 1 short of a majority.

    Under MMP, New Zealand voters have two votes. The first vote is the electorate vote. It determines the local representative for that electorate (geographic electoral district). The electorate vote works on a plurality system whereby whichever candidate gets the greatest number of votes in each electorate wins the seat. The second vote is the party vote. This determines the number of seats each party is entitled to overall – in other words, the proportionality of the House.

    MMP is not perfect, and I personally would have preferred Single Transferable Vote (STV), but that was a little too complicated for most to get their heads around during the referendum in 1992 (I think you call this a plebiscite).

    This is a most interesting discussion. I'm learning lots - thank you!
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  13. Feldon

    Feldon Administrator Staff Member

    Unfortunately the biggest thing we are fighting in the US is a Nationalism which is closely intertwined with Nostalgia. The Constitution is treated as a sacred unalterable text -- even though there have been 27 amendments and the document explicitly and numerically quantifies the degree to which black people should (or shouldn't) be counted at 3/5ths. That alone should be the end of every argument against changing it.

    The viewpoint that our voting system can't (or shouldn't) be changed, despite endless evidence as to the harm it is currently causing, suggests that we should give more reverence to a document drafted 230 years ago than people living today.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2020
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  14. RhodrisNZ

    RhodrisNZ Geographically Challenged

    That's something we don't have - a singular written constitution. We have the Treaty of Waitangi which is an agreement signed in 1840 between the British Crown and the indigenous people (Maori) of New Zealand/Aotearoa, and a Bill of Rights Act, and that's about it, really. The Treaty, while commonly referred to as a constitutional document, actually isn't.

    New Zealand has never been very left- or right-wing. We are a centrist society, and our political parties are left-of-centre or right-of-centre, but none are very far along the spectrum.
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  15. Feldon

    Feldon Administrator Staff Member

    If I gave a list of the current political positions of the leaders of the US, you'd laugh and say "ok, but don't you have a left party?"
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  16. Dano84

    Dano84 Active Member

    As far as Germany concern's we obvioulsy have more than two parties but only the two main ones CDU/CSU (Conservative - Christians) and the SPD (Social Democrats) can have a chancellor elected. The constitutional law is like this to prevent another Nazi /Faschist Party come to power and claim "The Fourth Reich" as you may have gussed.

    We also have the strongest "Green Party" in the world and that Party changed a lot. You have now what you call "Realos" those are more centered politicians and don't live in "left Utopia" .

    Ironically the only time Germany declared War on a country after WWII was under a SPD and Green Party Coalition, which formed the "Realo" Move in the Green Party. In 1998 Germany declared War on Serbia /Jugoslawia as part of the Nato but also due to the strong (historic) ties to Croatia.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2020
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  17. Feldon

    Feldon Administrator Staff Member

    A friend's daughter just moved into student housing out-of-state to begin grad school work on her masters degree. An already stressful situation made more stressful by the virus. And now we're hearing that thousands of students nationwide have paid their first tuition check, signed their leases to move into off-campus housing or dorms, and are being told a few days later that classes will be "online only".

    Tell me that that is not the most criminally fraudulent thing ever? The board of trustees and teachers KNOW that it's going to be online only, but they wait until everyone has signed their name in blood and the checks have cleared before announcing it. I anticipate many lawsuits.
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  18. Wulfgyr / Erytheal

    Wulfgyr / Erytheal Active Member

    Yeah. We're wondering how long our oldest two will be at school before it goes all virtual versus the hybrid version. There's already an "all-virtual" option, because they limited how many students are living on campus, banned any non-school visitors after drop-off until winter break, etc. Any student that violates policy, goes home for a visit, etc., won't be allowed back on-campus (but still have to pay for room & board). I'm still waiting to hear more on testing, etc.- especially before they're released for winter break. Our oldest goes back next week (he's an RA) and our freshman the week after that. RA's always have their own room, so no issues there (aside from policing residents that aren't doing what they're supposed to). Freshman got relocated from the room they had with their best friend and is now in their own room in a four-bedroom suite (shared bathroom with one other person).

    On the bright side, their university is only about a 3 hour drive away, so we're close in case of emergency... at least until snow closes the passes. o_O
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  19. Zynt

    Zynt Active Member

    All my heroes are revolutionaries. The only historical figure I've ever considered a "role model" is John Brown. This has been true since I first left my safe, little West TN town and ventured out to see my country in 1995 at the age of 18. I was in the 9th ward of New Orleans in 2005, just over 15 years ago to the day, when I witnessed 1st hand the National Guard, local Sheriffs and police, murdering people indiscriminately. People that had just lost everything, and sometimes, everyone. They shot them from helicopters like some Kafkaesque version of a wild game hunt that more people would have found upsetting than what actually happened.

    Since that time I have been arrested, beaten, waterhosed, shot with every "non-lethal" form of munitions imaginable, and locked in cages while peacefully protesting. Now, at 43, the last time I joined a protest was DAPL, and I've gotten soft and lazy. Age, money in the bank, and comfort change a person but for all of history the most effective revolutionary class has been the middle class. The systemic undermining of the middle class is a different story. This is about John Brown, getting too comfortable, "bubbles" and lines.

    There are reports coming out today that there is evidence of mass sterilization being performed at ICE detention centers to go along with the 100s of missing children of those women. Bubbles burst and lines get crossed. Nothing has ever changed, in the history of the world, without a fight. Especially not in the U S of A.

    "It is not a case we are treating; it is a living, palpitating, alas, too often suffering fellow creature." -John Brown
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  20. Dano84

    Dano84 Active Member

    Hello my friends from across the Atlantic,
    it is less than 50 Days till You have an important choice to make. We people in Europe hope that you guys/girls making the right decision. It is not fathomable nor feasible to what will happen with another 4 years of this human life-form residing at Pennsylvania Avenue NW. The White House is a symbol of democracy and now it has become Home to QAnon.

    I took the time to go through the leftist and right-wing (Social) media from an educated European perspective in the last 2 weeks.
    I started with right-wing media as I didn't want to be biased and then the other side. The right-wing media as expected is aggressive, full of falsifications, disillusioned, and Trump praising rhetoric. For me, leftist media tend to be more open-minded and not aggressive.

    The worst-case were the killings in Kenosha and Portland, I object to both killings. But the right-wing media making that Teenager a hero and trying to justify the killings by claiming self-defense was total of the hook.
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