Left or Right?

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Left or Right?

#1  Postby Landrew » Feb 21, 2012 2:52 pm

Socialist: Someone who believes in spending other peoples' money.

Capitalist: Someone who believes in taking other peoples' money.

Thank God most of us are somewhere in between.
Those two couldn't exist without our constant support.
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Re: Left or Right?

#2  Postby Animavore » Feb 21, 2012 7:07 pm

Every political test I've done shows I'm a (just left of) centralist. I don't have the single-minded dedication to fully embrace either side. Politics is not something which has a particular right and wrong so joining either cause as if there is is odd to me. This is not like choosing oblong spheriod Earth over flat.

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Re: Left or Right?

#3  Postby chairman bill » Feb 21, 2012 7:29 pm

Landrew wrote:Socialist: Someone who believes in spending other peoples' money.

Capitalist: Someone who believes in taking other peoples' money.



Clever stuff. Very funny. Or not. Certainly not true, but let's not let that get in the way of anything.
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Re: Left or Right?

#4  Postby Landrew » Feb 21, 2012 7:45 pm

I don't know which side is more righteous, but I do know that if political beliefs follow a normal distribution, (the Ol' Bell Curve) then most of the good content is in the fat middle, and much less truth is contained out in the rat-tail extremes of the Right or the Left Wings.
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Re: Left or Right?

#5  Postby chairman bill » Feb 21, 2012 7:53 pm

How on earth does that follow? Imagine a similar statement made about murderous tendancies, with the x axis showing a variation from 'psychopathic', through something like 'murderous', to 'violent tendancies', and onto an extreme of 'peace-loving'. By your analysis, the ideal position would be somewhere between murderous & violent tendancies.
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Re: Left or Right?

#6  Postby Animavore » Feb 21, 2012 8:01 pm

chairman bill wrote:How on earth does that follow? Imagine a similar statement made about murderous tendancies, with the x axis showing a variation from 'psychopathic', through something like 'murderous', to 'violent tendancies', and onto an extreme of 'peace-loving'. By your analysis, the ideal position would be somewhere between murderous & violent tendancies.

No. It's more like a curve between two sets of opinions than between two pathologies. Say between, "Cheese is awful shite which should be eradicated," and, "Cheese is the best stuff ever, people who don't agree are arseholes.' With most people falling between.
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Re: Left or Right?

#7  Postby Landrew » Feb 22, 2012 1:22 am

Animavore wrote:
chairman bill wrote:How on earth does that follow? Imagine a similar statement made about murderous tendancies, with the x axis showing a variation from 'psychopathic', through something like 'murderous', to 'violent tendancies', and onto an extreme of 'peace-loving'. By your analysis, the ideal position would be somewhere between murderous & violent tendancies.

No. It's more like a curve between two sets of opinions than between two pathologies. Say between, "Cheese is awful shite which should be eradicated," and, "Cheese is the best stuff ever, people who don't agree are arseholes.' With most people falling between.

Right. When your axes are wacky, so is the midpoint. With politics, there only seem to be two ways to go; right or left. It seems to me that the only way you can get anywhere is on the middle of the road. Anywhere else, you only get stuck. Gridlock is caused by over-polarization, where one side opposes everything the other does and vice-versa.
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Re: Left or Right?

#8  Postby Mr.Samsa » Feb 22, 2012 1:41 am

chairman bill wrote:How on earth does that follow? Imagine a similar statement made about murderous tendancies, with the x axis showing a variation from 'psychopathic', through something like 'murderous', to 'violent tendancies', and onto an extreme of 'peace-loving'. By your analysis, the ideal position would be somewhere between murderous & violent tendancies.


Indeed - it's called the golden mean fallacy, the idea that if two extremes exist, then the "correct" or "best" position is somewhere in between. As you correctly point out though, sometimes the most appropriate position is one of the extremes. For example:

"Bob says we should buy a computer. Sue says we shouldn't. Therefore, the best solution is to compromise and buy half a computer."
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Re: Left or Right?

#9  Postby Animavore » Feb 22, 2012 1:57 am

I get how that fallacy works in the example given but I don't see how it applies to the divide between socialism and capitalism when both those sides have strengths and weaknesses and either of them unfettered tend to be a bad thing.
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Re: Left or Right?

#10  Postby Landrew » Feb 22, 2012 11:39 am

Animavore wrote:I get how that fallacy works in the example given but I don't see how it applies to the divide between socialism and capitalism when both those sides have strengths and weaknesses and either of them unfettered tend to be a bad thing.

I get how all systems are a blend of the two, and how it gets dysfunctional whenever someone tries to purify things towards the extremes.
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Re: Left or Right?

#11  Postby Mr.Samsa » Feb 22, 2012 12:52 pm

Animavore wrote:I get how that fallacy works in the example given but I don't see how it applies to the divide between socialism and capitalism when both those sides have strengths and weaknesses and either of them unfettered tend to be a bad thing.


My comment was more aimed at Landrew's argument here:

...but I do know that if political beliefs follow a normal distribution, (the Ol' Bell Curve) then most of the good content is in the fat middle, and much less truth is contained out in the rat-tail extremes of the Right or the Left Wings.


which is a good example of the fallacy. The argument you point out in your comment is not fallacious though.
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Re: Left or Right?

#12  Postby Saim » Mar 17, 2012 9:04 am

Except ideas don't actually exist on a left-right spectrum that's just a simplified way of thinking about it. Not to mention our political ideologies are specific to our time period.
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Re: Left or Right?

#13  Postby chairman bill » Mar 17, 2012 9:27 am

Indeed. I wonder where Landrew would place an authoritarian dictator on his scale of right to left. Was Ghengis Khan a right winger, or of the left? What about Caligula? What puts Hitler on the far right, and Stalin on the far left? Or is it that Hitler & Stalin were authoritarian dictators who espoused a politics that drew on bits of both left & right wing politics in establishing their positions? Stalin's USSR was a state capitalist system, which included socialist ideas about workers' control of means of production. Both were bastardised & twisted to suit a particular person's ideology. Hitlers National Socialism incorporated no socialism at all, and he persecuted socialists (gas chambers, ovens, the whole nine yards), but as Hugin would no doubt point out (were he here), having 'socialist' in the title makes it socialism. I'm not claiming Landrew is taking this idiotic position, but I'm sure that if we looked hard enough, we could argue that Nazism combined elements that fit with both left & right-wing thinking. Does that place them in the centre?

Politics isn't a bi-polar world, it is far more complex than that. And of course, every complex question has a simple wrong answer.
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Re: Left or Right?

#14  Postby advaitya » Mar 17, 2012 9:56 am

Mr.Samsa wrote:

"Bob says we should buy a computer. Sue says we shouldn't. Therefore, the best solution is to compromise and buy half a computer."


This example is disingenuous. It conflates beliefs with wants/needs. They are related but not substitutable. A bit of a strawman.
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Re: Left or Right?

#15  Postby Mr.Samsa » Mar 17, 2012 10:01 am

advaitya wrote:
Mr.Samsa wrote:

"Bob says we should buy a computer. Sue says we shouldn't. Therefore, the best solution is to compromise and buy half a computer."


This example is disingenuous. It conflates beliefs with wants/needs. They are related but not substitutable. A bit of a strawman.


You don't think there are any cases where conflicting wants/needs cannot be resolved by an extreme, rather than a middle or compromise?
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Re: Left or Right?

#16  Postby mindhack » Mar 17, 2012 10:07 am

Landrew wrote:Socialist: Someone who believes in spending other peoples' money.

Capitalist: Someone who believes in taking other peoples' money.

Thank God most of us are somewhere in between.
Those two couldn't exist without our constant support.

God made most of us HR managers? :ask:
(Ignorance --> Mystery) < (Knowledge --> Awe)
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Re: Left or Right?

#17  Postby advaitya » Mar 17, 2012 10:14 am

Mr.Samsa wrote:
advaitya wrote:
Mr.Samsa wrote:

"Bob says we should buy a computer. Sue says we shouldn't. Therefore, the best solution is to compromise and buy half a computer."


This example is disingenuous. It conflates beliefs with wants/needs. They are related but not substitutable. A bit of a strawman.


You don't think there are any cases where conflicting wants/needs cannot be resolved by an extreme, rather than a middle or compromise?


But this thread is about beliefs and not wants/needs so the example you furnished is superfluous.

Another problem with your example. It individuates the problem whereas we often talk of ideological beliefs at a societal level where it's a lot more problematic.

To your question - yes wants/needs (beliefs too for that matter) can be resolved by adopting an extreme position. It's routinely done and it's a function of power. The appropriate question is if it should be.
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Re: Left or Right?

#18  Postby Mr.Samsa » Mar 17, 2012 10:54 am

advaitya wrote:But this thread is about beliefs and not wants/needs so the example you furnished is superfluous.

Another problem with your example. It individuates the problem whereas we often talk of ideological beliefs at a societal level where it's a lot more problematic.

To your question - yes wants/needs (beliefs too for that matter) can be resolved by adopting an extreme position. It's routinely done and it's a function of power. The appropriate question is if it should be.


But the thread is about political beliefs, which are a particular breed of belief which have implications for what people should want or need. Regardless, whether we're talking about beliefs or needs, or individuals or societies, the point remains that the middle ground is not necessarily the best position to adopt.
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Re: Left or Right?

#19  Postby THWOTH » Mar 17, 2012 10:54 pm

Landrew wrote:I don't know which side is more righteous...

The right of course. The left are lefteous.

Asserting that 'the left' or the 'the right' should be adopted as a normative political stance is a waste of time as it puts aside evidence in favour of ideology.
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Re: Left or Right?

#20  Postby laklak » Mar 18, 2012 4:12 am

Mr.Samsa wrote:
"Bob says we should buy a computer. Sue says we shouldn't. Therefore, the best solution is to compromise and buy half a computer."


Sue should just STFU and listen to Bob. Just sayin.
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