Redefining the Center (Evaluating our Terms).

The past few months have been dividing, I think, to anyone involved in politics. Some Trump supporters are growing tired of this political/cultural Stalingrad, and leftists too becoming less interested in the hysteria of their own side; and like Stalingrad there are platoons of debaters on either side, standing behind their forces willing to shoot if their side retreats. In the middle of a conflict where no middle ground seems reachable I think the problem lies in a barely definable center.

If you Google the left-right denominations it will appear similarly to this, starting from the left;

Communism, Socialism, Liberalism, Conservatism, Libertarianism, Fascism,

-and I suppose a more complex system, taking into account the two forms of Liberalism and a far-Liberalism, would be displayed as follows;

Communism, Socialism, Progressivism, Social Liberalism, Conservatism, Classical Liberalism, Libertarianism, Fascism.

For those wondering, even The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics [1] has Classical Liberalism (the belief in freedom of expression/association and the reduction of government to uphold fundamental liberties) under “right wing”, I place it here next to Libertarianism (the belief in very limited government) given the considerable amount of overlapping principles, where Classical Liberalism is almost just a moderate Libertarianism.

So, first, if anyone is unfamiliar with these terms I’m going to briefly describe each one of them, from top-down, starting left (top) to right (bottom);

Communism: seizing the means of production to share amongst the people evenly by a larger government party.
Socialism: use of government to redistribute wealth evenly amongst the people.
Progressivism: the use of government to prohibit non-left leaning values e.g. certain phrases deemed “politically incorrect”, including no-platforming speakers or writers for having a conservative political position.
Social Liberalism: the use of government to enforce left leaning values e.g. affirmative action, diversity quotas, socialized institutions like the NHS and increased welfare.
Conservatism: the use of government to enforce right leaning values e.g. abortion restriction, easing on welfare for fear of a welfare cliff (an economic argument where people stay in poverty as a result of a higher disposable income provided to them by welfare payments).
Classical Liberalism.
Libertarianism.
Fascism: use of state to enforce right leaning values to an authoritarian degree, often religiously motivated.

It is important to note, regarding Fascism, that it’s use as an extreme right wing term comes from its supposed opposition to Socialism, even though they share a lot of similarities, at least in terms of outcome. The term Fascism was invented by Benito Mussolini derived from Fasces meaning “a bundle of rods”, referring to large state which proposes that the majority should never rule, and so holds itself as anti-democracy, in a sense it is similar to advocating a de-facto Monarchy, whereas Socialism/Communism is the use of government to distribute means and control its populous and so often ends up in a similar place, where the government is irremovable by democratic vote.

So, now the basic terms have been defined I would like to add something in to the mix, that being a divide of Conservatism as there is now for Liberalism, one which also takes into account the moderate Conservatism and the extreme Conservatism. This divide will go as follows between the moderate ideologies:

…Progressivism, Social Liberalism, Social Conservatism, Religious Conservatism…

In this divide, Social Conservatism, like Social Liberalism, seeks to use government to enforce right leaning values where Religious Conservatism, like Progressivism, seeks to use government to prohibit non-right leaning values. In this, the Religious Conservative would seek to make abortion illegal for example, whereas the Social Conservative would merely want to put greater restrictions in place.

Do you notice now, however, looking at the spectrum, an inconsistency? Obviously a center currently would be one between Social Liberalism and Social Conservatism, holding positions on either side or moderately one or the other. The inconsistency occurs in the rise and fall of government power as you move from far left to far right. From Communism to Social Liberalism, there is a natural decline in government power as you become more moderate, where the extreme (Communism) is all government. However, on the right, the same cannot be said, government power increases as conservatism becomes less moderate and then all of a sudden you have “limited to no government” with Classical Liberalism and Libertarianism, and then suddenly the extreme (as one up from these two, Fascism), all government.

I would propose the following denomination between the left and right, and to make it even we’ll add two other terms to the mix: far-nationalism, meaning overt pride in one’s state and people, often to the prohibition of foreign cultures in some way, and Constitutional Conservatism, the belief in a reduction of government to constitutional rights.

(From left to right, center divided by ‘//’)

Communism, Socialism, Progressivism, Social Liberalism // Classical Liberalism, Libertarianism, Constitutional Conservatism // Social Conservatism, Religious Conservatism, Far-Nationalism, Fascism.

In this model, the center is defined as Classical Liberal (left-leaning), Libertarian (base center), and Constitutional Conservatism (right-leaning). In this model, then, the right increases naturally in government control, just like the left, as it becomes more extreme but with opposing moral stances. Far-Nationalism, just as Socialism seeks to use government to distribute wealth, seeks to use government to distribute culture. And the center, where I think a lot of people can come together on, is the reduction of government to upholding people’s fundamental freedoms and constitutional rights; freedom of expression, speech, association, religion etc. there will still be disagreements to the extent of that limitation and to what it covers, which is why a separate left/center/right system is in place for this “new center” as well, but I think under these definitions we can find a lot of common ground between the left, who are now realising that large government is only ever good if it’s your guy in charge, and the right who are seeing a backlash from their own side if they dare retreat or question this Conservative counter-revolution, particularly if you’re a non-Trump supporting right-winger (this is coming from a Trump supporter as well).

Do you agree? Disagree? let me know your thoughts on this “new center”, or if you have a different view on the terms I’ve set out. I’ll be posting an article soon on how to tell which political ideology you likely fall into if you’re unsure, so stay tuned for that!

NOTE: Alt-right, and anarcho movements like Anarcho-capitalists or Anarcho-communists are removed from this analysis because I think they represent fringe elements of other ideologies rather than mainstream political leanings, particularly anarcho beliefs since they advocate for the removal of the current system of politics altogether.

[1] McLean, Iain; McMillan, Alistair (2008). The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Who is Gov. Mike Pence? (Behind the Rhetoric)

After the debate last Tuesday and leading into Trump’s second debate, I was inspired by Pence’s performance, somebody who I’ve always been critical of on policy, because of his calm and poetic way with words; he also came across as a genuinely nice and fair guy. I wanted to do a quick piece, not as a profile but rather some of the more striking, both good and bad, policies and positions he has taken over the years.

As a graduate of McKinney School of Law, Pence considered and referred to himself as “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.” He was a member of the Tea Party Caucus, and Governor of Indiana from 2013, known for his strict position on Tax, as well as his support of the coal industry. There is no doubt that Pence is an old fashioned guy, maybe in some of his positions this bleeds through but as Governor of Indiana, he managed to maintain its triple A credit rating (although unemployment rates only fell about the same as the national average ). He is an avid supporter of school choice, voucher programs and Charter schools.

As you may have seen in the debate, Pence is a smooth talker, an ex radio talk show host whose rallies, in my opinion, liken to that of Ronald Reagan, and whatever you think of his policies, he could certainly teach Trump a thing or two about rhetoric. Some of his best lines include, “it seems like there’s no aspect of our lives too small for this present administration to supervise, no provision of the constitution too large for them to ignore,” and similar to Reagan’s A Time for Choosing in 1964, Pence talks of how “strength does not give comfort to the adversaries of the United States of America, weakness does,” (Ohio rally, 2016). In many ways he gives the poetry to Trump’s policy, and you can see more of these lines in the tribute video I created, a link for which can be found at the bottom of the page.

Pence however is no stranger to controversy, and in some cases I believe it’s justified, but others maybe not so much. Many of this stems from his religious views, as a Catholic, and most famously drew fire after signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or the RFRA. Dominico Montenaro at NPR wrote an interesting piece on this that I would suggest you check out, but to sum it up, the act was about protecting the religious freedoms of certain institutions but fell under attack by people suggesting that it would not protect the rights of the LGBT from suffering from discrimination. Pence stated that if he “saw a restaurant owner refuse to serve a gay couple, [he] wouldn’t eat there anymore,” and revised the law in 2015 to help amend this criticism, however he does stand firm that, as an example, if a service decides that they do not want to do business for a same-sex marriage they should not be forced to. Personally, I happen to agree with this, only because the consequence of “picking and choosing” as far as this is concerned should, and will, be the loss of custom. If they are a private company they reserve that right, even if it’s damaging to their own business. A good example is in Walkerton, where protesters boycotted Memories Pizza, giving it low reviews, although in this case it had enough support that the business did not suffer too badly from its decision. In this vein, I’m partial to ensuring the protection of religious views under law for private companies, as Pence protested again regarding Obama’s Mathew Shepard Hate Crime Act. I don’t personally see any of this as an example of Pence being anti-gay, however there’s a rumour around that Pence was an advocate of conversion therapy, some even go as far to say shock therapy, and that worse, he funds it. Well this all came from a message on his campaign website when he was running for congress in 2000 which stated that;

“Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act [a 1990 funding HIV/Aids treatment for patients unable to do so on their own] only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”

Many have interpreted this to mean “conversion therapy”, and maybe they’re right but the issue does seem to have been blown out of proportion.

Pence is pro-tobacco, and arguably on the wrong position when it comes to safe sex, only by claiming that condoms are “poor protection” against STIs (which, at least according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is not seen to be the case). Although it should be noted this was in reference to a speech by Colin Powell and he wasn’t suggesting any form of abolition for contraceptives as some media have portrayed this as. Ironically, Pence wanted to run his own news network called “JustIn” but people considered it a “ludicrous idea,” condemning “the notion of elected officials presenting material that will inevitably have a pro-administration point of view… antithetical to the idea of an independent press.” Well, thank God the media kept their integrity.

On abortion, Pence drew fire once again for advocating the H.B. 1337, that banned abortions if the reasons were based on race, gender, or disability. In other words, he was against what could be argued as the original motive of Planned Parenthood under Margaret Sanger (who believed that “coloured people are like human weeds and are to be exterminated”); the “eugenics” motive. The law would also require that all foetus remains be buried or cremated.

Mike Pence seemed an odd pick at first by Trump for VP, mostly because of their difference in views, something which I think not only shows Trump’s desire for contrary opinions but also helps to reassure anyone strongly against some of Pence’s views that Trump is not picking him for compatibility. I think these issues should be raised if Trump loses this election and Pence decides to run for president as a republican in the future (which may happen as well if Trump wins). He should not be regarded as a “Trump” candidate, consider that a warning or a reassurance. First, Mike Pence supports free trade agreements, an advocate of both NAFTA and the TPP, both of which Donald Trump vehemently opposes. Pence stated in December 2015 that “calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional,” although (and he’s wrong about it being unconstitutional), this may be explained away by the politics of the election cycle, given he was a supporter of Cruz before he was of Trump. Recently, however, after the media’s somewhat stretched attack on a private conversation Trump had in 2005, Pence cancelled his event and stated that he did not “condone [Trump’s] remarks and cannot defend them”, although is still standing strong as VP.

Pence is a long time advocate and supporter of Israel, despite opposition to his own policies from American-Jewish communities. According to the Jewish Press, “The man [Trump] chose as his vice presidential pick, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, is a strong pro-Israel politician,” who, “signed a bill this year divesting Indians from local businesses that participate in the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement.” Pence has also stated that “if the world knows nothing else, it will know this: America stands with Israel.” This combined with Trump’s very pro-Israel stance could lead to the most pro-Jewish administration perhaps in all of America’s history.

I think the future looks bright for Pence, whatever I disagree with him on, and I think it’s an uphill battle if he ever wants LGBT support, but I do think it’s important that people are aware that he is not just another Trumpist, and if he does eventually run for office himself, to look into his views separate from this campaign. As Tom Rose said, as published in The Jerusalem Post, Pence “certainly stands on the verge of becoming one of the most important and consequential vice presidents in recent memory,” and remember too that Reagan was a governor, whose famous Time for Choosing speech was an endorsement of the then Republican candidate.

(Image by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Mike Pence) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)

Why Britain Should Care About The US Presidential Election, 2016.

Before I took the time to research into US politics, I was all against talking about it, and in so fell to the consensus as a “safe bet”, pretending as if I was somewhat knowledgeable on the subject. For anybody outside of the UK, our attitudes toward this election have varied from not wanting to engage in debate, to only wanting to engage in one kind of debate; is Donald Trump the worst human being alive, or is he just another Republican we should ignore unless prompted otherwise? Well, there are few who recognise the truth, that Trump is an acquired taste, but when acquired, it is not only by a large percentage of the voters, but is considered by them to be the only hope left for America, and when you have that kind of intensity set upon a candidate, compared with the support of Clinton (mostly summed up as, “we don’t want Trump,” or “we would’ve preferred Bernie but we’ll take a Democrat”), this election becomes more than just a stepping stone in ignorable politics, but a great change, and a movement, that can be seen erupting in every corner of the western world, like slaves who suddenly realise that it’s possible to be free.

If you’re in my special bracket of anti-globalism, you’ll agree with me when I say that Brexit won the battle, but Trump will win the war. Our country showed Americans an important lesson, that people still have a say in their own lives, and if enough of them mobilise, then something spectacular can occur; they might actually get what they want. There’s a big lie taught, and has been taught for many years, branded on the trembling corpse of World War II, that “Nationalism” is a great threat, picking the least important word out of the Nazi name – the other of course being “Socialism”. I imagine a group of professors sitting around a table in a university classroom saying “We can’t let people tie socialism, and our goals in this way, to the Nazis… no, we’ll have to shift the blame to our opponents.” Well I, like many I see all over Britain, and have great conversations with, would rather live in a detached house, on a street, where every man is willing to help his neighbour but values the privacy of his own home, than a block of flats with a crooked landlord.

Trump in America is the final blow of a one-two punch to the Glozi regime (Global Socialist), and set to be a powerful one at that. A promoter of Brexit from early on, Trump represents an uprising, and a harmful wound to the stereotypers who would be quick to label anyone who disagrees with them a racist, or sexist, without evidence because if enough people believe it, to support the enemy is guilt by association. Ostracism is a powerful tool for the left, which has led to the common utterance of what I believe to be the most dangerous sentence in the English language: “I don’t know if I can say that.”

A former KGB officer, Yuri Bezmenov, once talked about a brainwashing technique, “Idealogical Subversion.” He coined the first of four stages, Demoralisation, “It takes from fifteen to twenty years to demoralize a nation,” he said, “why that many years? Because this is the minimum number of years which requires to educate one generation of students”, moving away from normalcy, “patriotism”, and into the systems of Marxist-Leninist theory. Bezmenov tells of the process of indoctrinating “the soft heads of at least three generations of American students without being challenged or counterbalanced by the basic values of Americanism; American patriotism.” That is the basic issue of this election, from a Clinton, known advocate of the Global agenda, to Trump, who echoes the mantra that should be echoed by anyone in the US who cares about their freedoms. “Americanism not Globalism will be our credo!”

Yuri’s enlightening interview with G. Edward Griffin concludes with a warning, haunting and in which the processes are already being seen. Safe spaces, trigger warnings, language policing, journalists being fired, minorities and gay people being no-platformed, even on the left, for going off reservation.

Bezmenov: “There must be a very strong national effort to educate people in the spirit of real patriotism, number one. Number two, to explain them the real danger of socialist, communist, whatever, welfare state, Big Brother government.

If people will fail to grasp the impending danger of that development, nothing ever can help the United States. You may kiss goodbye to your freedom, including freedoms to homosexuals, to the prison inmates. All this freedom will vanish, evaporated in 5 seconds, including your precious lives.”

If you have been following the media’s colour commentary on Donald Trump you’ll have seen some of the most absurd spins and manipulations, more recently, for example, Trump was criticised for calling the September bomb in New York a “bomb”, and a reporter, moments after hearing Clinton refer to it also as a bomb, asks “Do you have any reaction to the fact that Donald Trump immediately upon taking the stage tonight called the explosion in New York a bomb?” To me this shows only one thing, that the reporter chose to ignore the facts, knowing before she asked that this was the story they were going to sell. And of course in most runnings of this interview, Clinton’s former comments were cut out.

I think people have been aware of this trend for a while but they fell into the classic trap, more common in Brits, of complacency. Turning it into something to mock rather than treating it with seriousness, and the problem there is quite simply that it allows the enemy to delegitimise you as “just a comedian”. They’ll say in 100 years, after the fall of western civilisation, that our greatest rebellion shot itself in the foot by having a sense of humour.

But this is what Trump represents, and too with Brexit, and so we’re tied together; a balancing act where if either of our countries fail, there will be nowhere left to escape to.

(Image by Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)