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Labels...are they really helping us?

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 
There has been much discussion across many thread in this forum that tend to group people into some labelled faction in a very broad sense without much consideration beyond caricatures.

Labels such as:
  • liberal
  • conservative
  • progressive
  • Republican
  • Democrat
  • Socialist
  • leftie
  • rightie
  • "winger"
  • etc.

But are these labels actually helpful? Are they useful? Are they applied appropriately? To broadly?

Some definitions would help.

People rarely define their terms.

For example, I would consider myself a "liberal" in the classical sens of that word meaning that I advocate the greatest amount of personal and economic liberty. However because of my positions in favor of economic liberty, I have often been called a conservative, "rightie" (even a "winger") or a Republican (even though I oppose much of what the modern Republican party has done and proposes to do.)

Some terms are cleverly chose to imply a negative opposition.

For example, the term "progressive" is meant to suggest that a person favors forward progress while subtly implying that those who do not call themselves "progressives" are either in favor of stagnation or regression.

But, perhaps more importantly, can these labels always be consistently applied to an individual or are they more appropriately applied, in order this way:
  1. the actions they actually take
  2. the words they speak
  3. the entire collection of actions and words (what happens when these are not consistently part of any one of these definitions?)
  4. the label they claim for themselves

Perhaps we can get some clarity on the definition and applicability of these labels.

The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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post #2 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

There has been much discussion across many thread in this forum that tend to group people into some labelled faction in a very broad sense without much consideration beyond caricatures.

Labels such as:
  • liberal
  • conservative
  • progressive
  • Republican
  • Democrat
  • Socialist
  • leftie
  • rightie
  • "winger"
  • etc.

But are these labels actually helpful? Are they useful? Are they applied appropriately? To broadly?

Some definitions would help.

People rarely define their terms.

For example, I would consider myself a "liberal" in the classical sens of that word meaning that I advocate the greatest amount of personal and economic liberty. However because of my positions in favor of economic liberty, I have often been called a conservative, "rightie" (even a "winger") or a Republican (even though I oppose much of what the modern Republican party has done and proposes to do.)

Some terms are cleverly chose to imply a negative opposition.

For example, the term "progressive" is meant to suggest that a person favors forward progress while subtly implying that those who do not call themselves "progressives" are either in favor of stagnation or regression.

But, perhaps more importantly, can these labels always be consistently applied to an individual or are they more appropriately applied, in order this way:
  1. the actions they actually take
  2. the words they speak
  3. the entire collection of actions and words (what happens when these are not consistently part of any one of these definitions?)
  4. the label they claim for themselves

Perhaps we can get some clarity on the definition and applicability of these labels.

I wish you the best of luck in this thread. Well asked question.
NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
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NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
Reply
post #3 of 68
Labels themselves are punctuated with mischaracterizations and carry the weight of hatred and respect equally. But more often than not they're used derogativly as an easy way to, as you have correctly and rightly said on this forum, to perpetuate ignorance and stifle discourse. It remains imperative that the intentions and effects of any understanding within issues go beyond labels if we are to reach out in good faith to those we label.
"I have been made victorious by terror~ Muhammad

"The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam," ~ Barack Obama

Reply
"I have been made victorious by terror~ Muhammad

"The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam," ~ Barack Obama

Reply
post #4 of 68
I think in a way- from one perspective - all these labels are the same thing.

I suspect there really is only ONE form of extremism. Let's call it Right-wing. Because I truly believe it is.

Look at it like this:

Right-wing thought leads naturally to Fascism and Nazism - and Fascism and Nazism lead naturally to something like the Holocaust.

This is inherent in Right-wing thought...it is based on a cult of the promotion of the individual, glorification of 'Nationalism'a and Leaders, over-emphasis on the Military, talk of 'Freedom' leading to war to achieve it.

All these things are naturally Right-wing and lead naturally to the horrors we saw in the 20th century if one goes far enough to the extreme of the Right.

Oth, Left-Wing thought does NOT lead naturally to these things. It is based on equality, peace, real freedom and justice etc.

That is not to say that Left wing entities cannot also lead to their own atrocities but where they do it is because they have been contaminated with Right-wing ideals somewhere down the line.

Don't take my word for it, check it out for yourself...name a Left-wing perp of atrocities and you will find Right-wing contaminants.

1) China: massive human rights abuses in the name of Communism - massive Capitalistic and materialistic production.

2) Russian gulags: Communism for the starving masses - Rolls Royces and champagne for the Politburo.

And on and on...

In the final analysis it seems pretty undeniable that there is really only two camps:

1) Sane rational humanist people who want to live in harmony and peace

2) Extreme violent maniacs - whether they be individuals or Governments and their troops

Unfortunately, it is pretty much proven that crossing from 1) to 2) above is really indistinguishable from moving from the Left to the Right.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #5 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius View Post

I think in a way- from one perspective - all these labels are the same thing.

I suspect there really is only ONE form of extremism. Let's call it Right-wing. Because I truly believe it is.

Look at it like this:

Right-wing thought leads naturally to Fascism and Nazism - and Fascism and Nazism lead naturally to something like the Holocaust.

This is inherent in Right-wing thought...it is based on a cult of the promotion of the individual, glorification of 'Nationalism'a and Leaders, over-emphasis on the Military, talk of 'Freedom' leading to war to achieve it.

All these things are naturally Right-wing and lead naturally to the horrors we saw in the 20th century if one goes far enough to the extreme of the Right.

Oth, Left-Wing thought does NOT lead naturally to these things. It is based on equality, peace, real freedom and justice etc.

That is not to say that Left wing entities cannot also lead to their own atrocities but where they do it is because they have been contaminated with Right-wing ideals somewhere down the line.

Don't take my word for it, check it out for yourself...name a Left-wing perp of atrocities and you will find Right-wing contaminants.

1) China: massive human rights abuses in the name of Communism - massive Capitalistic and materialistic production.

2) Russian gulags: Communism for the starving masses - Rolls Royces and champagne for the Politburo.

And on and on...

In the final analysis it seems pretty undeniable that there is really only two camps:

1) Sane rational humanist people who want to live in harmony and peace

2) Extreme violent maniacs - whether they be individuals or Governments and their troops

Unfortunately, it is pretty much proven that crossing from 1) to 2) above is really indistinguishable from moving from the Left to the Right.

Still that leaves us as pawns. I agree with you on many things but must take issue with you that independence leads to tyranny. The US alone in my opinion is good proof that a people empowered creates liberty and freedom.

Your point though has truth. We are always one until divided and the left ultimately keeps that at it's core.
"I have been made victorious by terror~ Muhammad

"The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam," ~ Barack Obama

Reply
"I have been made victorious by terror~ Muhammad

"The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam," ~ Barack Obama

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post #6 of 68
Thread Starter 
segovius, perhaps you've missed my point. First is the issue of defining the labels and second is the issue of properly applying them in a way that is helpful (if that's even possible.)

Let's take your post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius

This is inherent in Right-wing thought...it is based on a cult of the promotion of the individual, glorification of 'Nationalism'a and Leaders, over-emphasis on the Military, talk of 'Freedom' leading to war to achieve it.

It appears that you are trying to define what "right-wing" means or is. That's a good start.

You seem to be saying that if someone or some group engages in one or more of these things (and there might be others):
  • cult of the individual
  • glorification of nation and leaders
  • over-emphasis on military
  • talk of 'freedom' leading to war

They are to one degree or another "right wing." Is that correct?

Furthermore you begin a definition of what "left-wing" means here:

Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius

It is based on equality, peace, real freedom and justice etc.

So a person or group who promotes one or more of these things:
  • equality (of what?)
  • peace
  • "real" freedom (what is "real" freedom?)
  • justice

is to one degree or another "left wing." Is that correct?

Some additional questions. Can a person "be" both left and right wing if they do some of each of these things? Admittedly they might be muddled or inconsistent in their thinking and actions...but certain actions they engage in or promote might be considered left or right wing so getting a line on how to classify (i.e., label) that person as a whole might be tough.

In summary I'm trying to get more clarification on what you mean by "right" vs. "left" (by the way these are the two worst labels since they seem the least anchored in any kind of objective reality. They are relative terms and relative terms that suggest only a single, horizontal, linear spectrum or scale.)

The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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post #7 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius View Post

I think in a way- from one perspective - all these labels are the same thing.

I suspect there really is only ONE form of extremism. Let's call it Right-wing. Because I truly believe it is.

No, let's not...because that is freaking crazy. Really, it's straight-up delusional.. Extremism can be all the things you described...the desire to deprive people of life, liberty, property. Do you mean to suggest that only those on the Right are capable of such actions and desires? If so, how do you reconcile that with all of the progressive Left-wing politicians who favor massive regulation, confiscatory tax rates and onerous restrictions and controls on everything from what we watch on TV to what we put into our bodies? That's not extremism? How do you reconcile your thoughts with existence of groups such as the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front? They are certainly far Left organizations, ones who use violence against people and the environment (quite ironic, btw).
I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow doesn't look good either.  
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I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow doesn't look good either.  
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post #8 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius View Post

I think in a way- from one perspective - all these labels are the same thing.

I suspect there really is only ONE form of extremism. Let's call it Right-wing. Because I truly believe it is.

Look at it like this:

Right-wing thought leads naturally to Fascism and Nazism - and Fascism and Nazism lead naturally to something like the Holocaust.

This is inherent in Right-wing thought...it is based on a cult of the promotion of the individual, glorification of 'Nationalism'a and Leaders, over-emphasis on the Military, talk of 'Freedom' leading to war to achieve it.

All these things are naturally Right-wing and lead naturally to the horrors we saw in the 20th century if one goes far enough to the extreme of the Right.

Oth, Left-Wing thought does NOT lead naturally to these things. It is based on equality, peace, real freedom and justice etc.

That is not to say that Left wing entities cannot also lead to their own atrocities but where they do it is because they have been contaminated with Right-wing ideals somewhere down the line.

Don't take my word for it, check it out for yourself...name a Left-wing perp of atrocities and you will find Right-wing contaminants.

1) China: massive human rights abuses in the name of Communism - massive Capitalistic and materialistic production.

2) Russian gulags: Communism for the starving masses - Rolls Royces and champagne for the Politburo.

And on and on...

In the final analysis it seems pretty undeniable that there is really only two camps:

1) Sane rational humanist people who want to live in harmony and peace

2) Extreme violent maniacs - whether they be individuals or Governments and their troops

Unfortunately, it is pretty much proven that crossing from 1) to 2) above is really indistinguishable from moving from the Left to the Right.

Probably the Most slanted and partisan post ever...
NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
Reply
NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
Reply
post #9 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

There has been much discussion across many thread in this forum that tend to group people into some labelled faction in a very broad sense without much consideration beyond caricatures.

Labels such as:
  • liberal
  • conservative
  • progressive
  • Republican
  • Democrat
  • Socialist
  • leftie
  • rightie
  • "winger"
  • etc.

But are these labels actually helpful? Are they useful? Are they applied appropriately? To broadly?

Some definitions would help.

People rarely define their terms.

For example, I would consider myself a "liberal" in the classical sens of that word meaning that I advocate the greatest amount of personal and economic liberty. However because of my positions in favor of economic liberty, I have often been called a conservative, "rightie" (even a "winger") or a Republican (even though I oppose much of what the modern Republican party has done and proposes to do.)

Some terms are cleverly chose to imply a negative opposition.

For example, the term "progressive" is meant to suggest that a person favors forward progress while subtly implying that those who do not call themselves "progressives" are either in favor of stagnation or regression.

But, perhaps more importantly, can these labels always be consistently applied to an individual or are they more appropriately applied, in order this way:
  1. the actions they actually take
  2. the words they speak
  3. the entire collection of actions and words (what happens when these are not consistently part of any one of these definitions?)
  4. the label they claim for themselves

Perhaps we can get some clarity on the definition and applicability of these labels.

Good thread. I think that labels can be useful for sorting ideas and actions. The issue is that many people disagree about or don't know what the actual, modern definition of many of these terms are. For example, take the term "progressive." In the 2008 election, Obama was the beneficiary of many younger white voters who stated they were voting for him because they "wanted to be progressive." Obviously they don't know what the term means in a modern political context. They simply felt it meant that they were being forward-thinking. I also think many wanted to "be progressive" so they could help alleviate their white, liberal guilt, but that's another matter.

I agree that the terms themselves can be misleading, such as with the "progressive" example you mentioned. Of course, I think that term was designed to imply that the movement favored forward progress, when in fact the movement had far more sinister motives. I also agree about the term "conservative." Same problem there, I think. It implies that one doesn't favor progress. Not always true.

In the end though, while a thread like this is useful, I also think that in reality we live a world of labels. As far as I can tell, that is not going to change anytime soon. So in our political discourse, we essentially need to accept it. I often describe myself as socially libertarian or even liberal on some issues, but very conservative in terms of economic and military matters. It's just easier to communicate that way given the world in which we live.
I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow doesn't look good either.  
Reply
I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow doesn't look good either.  
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post #10 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

segovius, perhaps you've missed my point. First is the issue of defining the labels and second is the issue of properly applying them in a way that is helpful (if that's even possible.)

Let's take your post:

It appears that you are trying to define what "right-wing" means or is. That's a good start.

You seem to be saying that if someone or some group engages in one or more of these things (and there might be others):
  • cult of the individual
  • glorification of nation and leaders
  • over-emphasis on military
  • talk of 'freedom' leading to war

They are to one degree or another "right wing." Is that correct?

Yes. And contra-wise the Left would traditionally attempt to avoid war, promote Peace, oppose Nationalism, oppose racism etc, emphasise the majority rather than the individual.

Quote:
Furthermore you begin a definition of what "left-wing" means here:

So a person or group who promotes one or more of these things:
  • equality (of what?)
  • peace
  • "real" freedom (what is "real" freedom?)
  • justice

is to one degree or another "left wing." Is that correct?

Not sure I'd say that these things constitute ACTUAL left or right but rather they are constituent parts.

If you see a flower waving peace-nik for example you'd probably guess rightly they were a Leftie.

A skinhead racist thug shouting "Immigrants Out" or "Bomb Iran" is more likely (massively) to be Right.

Quote:
Some additional questions. Can a person "be" both left and right wing if they do some of each of these things? Admittedly they might be muddled or inconsistent in their thinking and actions...but certain actions they engage in or promote might be considered left or right wing so getting a line on how to classify (i.e., label) that person as a whole might be tough.

Yes, I think so.

I have issues in this regard myself. Although I despise Right-wing 'thought' (or what passes for it) and can find no greater abomination than Rightist political views, I must say I am more at home in the company of Conservatives (not extreme ones) than Lefties.

There are several reasons for this: they seem less 'obsessed' and more 'normal' somehow. In my circle they are better educated and more cultured and they are traditionalists...which I am also.

This last point is a biggie for me: I have several what you might call "Right wing traits" - Particularly regarding moral standards and current culture but I should probably stop there hahahah.

Quote:
In summary I'm trying to get more clarification on what you mean by "right" vs. "left" (by the way these are the two worst labels since they seem the most un-anchored in any kind of objective reality.)

What I mean is that on the Political Spectrum I would argue there is no 'Left end' and 'Right end'. In fact it may not be a spectrum at all.

I would see it as a ladder: at the bottom is the crude, animalistic, nose in the trough neanderthalism with which we are so sorrowfully familiar. At the top are the higher values of liberty, justice and freedom.

My point is that the Right is most often positioned at the bottom of this ladder. It's a sad fact.

But you're right, it is besides your initial point which is a good one and deserves more attention than I gave it...sorry for derailing a bit...
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #11 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

No, let's not...because that is freaking crazy. Really, it's straight-up delusional.. Extremism can be all the things you described...the desire to deprive people of life, liberty, property. Do you mean to suggest that only those on the Right are capable of such actions and desires?

My theory is that when they happen they are a drift to the Right. Even if they happen in a Left-wing context.

Similarly, where Freedom and Justice occur they are a drift to the Left - even in a Right-wing context.

Quote:
If so, how do you reconcile that with all of the progressive Left-wing politicians who favor massive regulation, confiscatory tax rates and onerous restrictions and controls on everything from what we watch on TV to what we put into our bodies?

That is a drift to the Right. Check the Nazis for the text-book example of all you have just stated.

Quote:
That's not extremism?

I'm not talking about extremism....I am an extremist myself in a certain way.... extremism is something different. Sometimes it is even necessary.

Quote:
How do you reconcile your thoughts with existence of groups such as the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front? They are certainly far Left organizations, ones who use violence against people and the environment (quite ironic, btw).

They have adopted Right-wing tactics then - the use of violence. That's not necessarily wrong.

If a burglar breaks into my house I'm going to knock his lights out with a blunt object...that's a classic Right-wing approach (defend the castle by violence) and I'd adopt it temporarily to achieve my ends at that time.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
Reply
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #12 of 68
Seg, maybe the ones on the right you know are the more ok ones. I have friends on the right I have high regard for but they're not the trash (at least most in most ways) that many are.
"I have been made victorious by terror~ Muhammad

"The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam," ~ Barack Obama

Reply
"I have been made victorious by terror~ Muhammad

"The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam," ~ Barack Obama

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post #13 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius View Post

My theory is that when they happen they are a drift to the Right. Even if they happen in a Left-wing context.

Similarly, where Freedom and Justice occur they are a drift to the Left - even in a Right-wing context.



That is a drift to the Right. Check the Nazis for the text-book example of all you have just stated.



I'm not talking about extremism....I am an extremist myself in a certain way.... extremism is something different. Sometimes it is even necessary.



They have adopted Right-wing tactics then - the use of violence. That's not necessarily wrong.

If a burglar breaks into my house I'm going to knock his lights out with a blunt object...that's a classic Right-wing approach (defend the castle by violence) and I'd adopt it temporarily to achieve my ends at that time.

I am beginning to understand your black and white view point. Similar to your Christian vs Xian definition. Youa re not talking left and right, but merely using those terms as they make sense in your mind. You are talking more utopian vs base and violent (well that may be taking it too far but...).

Unless I have missed your meaning again. I may have, you have a tendency to ramble sometimes.
NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
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NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
Reply
post #14 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoahJ View Post

I am beginning to understand your black and white view point. Similar to your Christian vs Xian definition. Youa re not talking left and right, but merely using those terms as they make sense in your mind. You are talking more utopian vs base and violent (well that may be taking it too far but...).

Unless I have missed your meaning again. I may have, you have a tendency to ramble sometimes.

No, you've pretty much nailed it...

I wouldn't call it black and white though - just going by what the original thing is.

Take the Christianity example: if you take the original thing you would say that killing and amassing riches (for example) are antithetical and opposed to it.

Yet, historically these things have not only found their way in but arguments have been structured to say why they SHOULD.

If you take the original - or essential - Left and Right formulations you'd get something like this (and I think most people would agree):

Left: tends to oppose war, tends to oppose rampant capitalism etc

Right: tends to accept war is sometimes necessary, tends to embrace capitalism.

Those are some of the essentials no? And there are others.....

The confusion arises when the Left or Right drift into each other's territory and then apologists try to point to this as a typical example that proves their point.

You can see a classic text-book example of this in the many Right-wingers who try to argue Hitler was Left-wing.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #15 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius View Post

No, you've pretty much nailed it...

I wouldn't call it black and white though - just going by what the original thing is.

Take the Christianity example: if you take the original thing you would say that killing and amassing riches (for example) are antithetical and opposed to it.

Yet, historically these things have not only found their way in but arguments have been structured to say why they SHOULD.

If you take the original - or essential - Left and Right formulations you'd get something like this (and I think most people would agree):

Left: tends to oppose war, tends to oppose rampant capitalism etc

Right: tends to accept war is sometimes necessary, tends to embrace capitalism.

Those are some of the essentials no? And there are others.....

The confusion arises when the Left or Right drift into each other's territory and then apologists try to point to this as a typical example that proves their point.

You can see a classic text-book example of this in the many Right-wingers who try to argue Hitler was Left-wing.

Makes things a bit clearer. Lack of understanding of what you are basing your premise on typically leads to frustration since we are meaning different things when we are talking and assumptions about what the other is actually saying are incorrect. Not saying this will usher in an era of agreement between us, but should lower frustration levels a bit on my side.
NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
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NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
Reply
post #16 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoahJ View Post

Makes things a bit clearer. Lack of understanding of what you are basing your premise on typically leads to frustration since we are meaning different things when we are talking and assumptions about what the other is actually saying are incorrect. Not saying this will usher in an era of agreement between us, but should lower frustration levels a bit on my side.

See...Left Wing Harmony and Peacemaking in action!!!

What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #17 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius View Post

See...Left Wing Harmony and Peacemaking in action!!!


Are you calling me a lefty?
NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
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NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
Reply
post #18 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoahJ View Post

Are you calling me a lefty?

Hahah...well...if the cap fits!

Seriously though, I think the original point about labels is interesting. to some extent labels are needed more when the actual reality is missing don't you think?
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #19 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius View Post

Hahah...well...if the cap fits!

Seriously though, I think the original point about labels is interesting. to some extent labels are needed more when the actual reality is missing don't you think?

So long as there is agreement as to what the label actually means it can be useful.
NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
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NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
Reply
post #20 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius View Post

My theory is that when they happen they are a drift to the Right. Even if they happen in a Left-wing context.

Similarly, where Freedom and Justice occur they are a drift to the Left - even in a Right-wing context.



That is a drift to the Right. Check the Nazis for the text-book example of all you have just stated.

I can't stand the irony! You're posting this in a thread about labels! Just to be clear: What you're saying is that when violence is committed, it's always "Right wing." That is polarized in the least.

Quote:

I'm not talking about extremism....I am an extremist myself in a certain way.... extremism is something different. Sometimes it is even necessary.

You know what I mean by extremist. Don't be coy.

Quote:

They have adopted Right-wing tactics then - the use of violence.

Wow, again. Let me ask: Why is the use of violence always a "right wing tactic." Where did this notion of yours come from?

Quote:
That's not necessarily wrong.

It's not?

Quote:

If a burglar breaks into my house I'm going to knock his lights out with a blunt object...that's a classic Right-wing approach (defend the castle by violence) and I'd adopt it temporarily to achieve my ends at that time.

Your point is entirely academic at best. At worst, you're just playing semantical games again. You know full well that we are talking about acts of violence committed in the name of a particular religion. We're not talking about violence in general. We'd be here all week discussing that.
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post #21 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius View Post

No, you've pretty much nailed it...

I wouldn't call it black and white though - just going by what the original thing is.

Take the Christianity example: if you take the original thing you would say that killing and amassing riches (for example) are antithetical and opposed to it.

Yet, historically these things have not only found their way in but arguments have been structured to say why they SHOULD.

If you take the original - or essential - Left and Right formulations you'd get something like this (and I think most people would agree):

Left: tends to oppose war, tends to oppose rampant capitalism etc

Right: tends to accept war is sometimes necessary, tends to embrace capitalism.

Horse shit. That is not the argument you're making. You're going much, much further.

Secondly, opposing war doesn't mean one opposes violence in general. And what about those who oppose capitalism AND embrace violence, such as...oh, Joseph Stalin? The notion that is exclusively right-wing is just...well.....completely ridiculous.

Quote:

Those are some of the essentials no? And there are others.....

The confusion arises when the Left or Right drift into each other's territory and then apologists try to point to this as a typical example that proves their point.

You mean apologists...like you? How many times have we read you justifying and excusing the actions of terrorist groups, while simultaneously excoriating your opponents? Several hundred, I would guess.

Quote:

You can see a classic text-book example of this in the many Right-wingers who try to argue Hitler was Left-wing.

There is something to that argument. Hitler was the head of the National SOCIALIST party. That said, the topic is far more complicated. It's not a question of whether Hitler was Left or Right. Here is an interesting blog post on the topic. I present it only as an interesting read. The author definitely has a point of view, so be forewarned.

http://democraticpeace.wordpress.com...s-a-socialist/
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post #22 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius View Post

I think in a way- from one perspective - all these labels are the same thing.

I suspect there really is only ONE form of extremism. Let's call it Right-wing. Because I truly believe it is.

Look at it like this:

Right-wing thought leads naturally to Fascism and Nazism - and Fascism and Nazism lead naturally to something like the Holocaust.

This is inherent in Right-wing thought...it is based on a cult of the promotion of the individual, glorification of 'Nationalism'a and Leaders, over-emphasis on the Military, talk of 'Freedom' leading to war to achieve it.

All these things are naturally Right-wing and lead naturally to the horrors we saw in the 20th century if one goes far enough to the extreme of the Right.

Oth, Left-Wing thought does NOT lead naturally to these things. It is based on equality, peace, real freedom and justice etc.

That is not to say that Left wing entities cannot also lead to their own atrocities but where they do it is because they have been contaminated with Right-wing ideals somewhere down the line.

Don't take my word for it, check it out for yourself...name a Left-wing perp of atrocities and you will find Right-wing contaminants.

1) China: massive human rights abuses in the name of Communism - massive Capitalistic and materialistic production.

2) Russian gulags: Communism for the starving masses - Rolls Royces and champagne for the Politburo.

And on and on...

In the final analysis it seems pretty undeniable that there is really only two camps:

1) Sane rational humanist people who want to live in harmony and peace

2) Extreme violent maniacs - whether they be individuals or Governments and their troops

Unfortunately, it is pretty much proven that crossing from 1) to 2) above is really indistinguishable from moving from the Left to the Right.

Pretty much in a nutshell. Yup!
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post #23 of 68
This thread.

MJ1970 wants to have a serious discussion on the subject of the helpfulness of labels.

And he's a willing participant in a thread in which an entire segment of the American electorate is labelled as "psychotic."

MJ1970. Are you OK with that label? "Psychotic"?

You think that label's "helpful"?

Or do you have the moral courage to make a stand and say it isn't, that it's all right to disagree with people without labelling them mentally ill?

If you do, then great. We can engage on this thread. Until you do that, then no. Your viewpoint, I believe, does not permit to you to discuss the topic impartially.
post #24 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mumbo Jumbo View Post

This thread.

MJ1970 wants to have a serious discussion on the subject of the helpfulness of labels.

And he's a willing participant in a thread in which an entire segment of the American electorate is labelled as "psychotic."

MJ1970. Are you OK with that label? "Psychotic"?

You think that label's "helpful"?

Or do you have the moral courage to make a stand and say it isn't, that it's all right to disagree with people without labelling them mentally ill?

If you do, then great. We can engage on this thread. Until you do that, then no. Your viewpoint, I believe, does not permit to you to discuss the topic impartially.

Be gone. I know one label that probably perfectly and accurately fits you and what you're doing right now.

The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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post #25 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

Be gone. I know one label that probably perfectly and accurately fits you and what you're doing right now.

Wait.

You're OK with labelling millions of Americans "psychotic" and you seriously want to discuss labels?

Are you OK with labelling millions of Americans "psychotic"?

I knew you wouldn't answer the question. You want to have your dignified discussion on labels and you want to reserve the right to label people you disagree with as psychotic. So you know what? If you take this subject seriously then maybe you should take a stand.

Im not expecting much.
post #26 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mumbo Jumbo View Post

Are you OK with labelling millions of Americans "psychotic"?

If the label is properly defined and applies, then yes that label could be applied to a person. Otherwise no. Now be gone.

The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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post #27 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

If the label is properly defined and applies, then yes that label could be applied to a person. Otherwise no. Now be gone.

I see. Labels are bad. Unless it's labelling people you disagree with mentally ill.

Labels are bad apart from 'psychotic'.

That's ok because it's only liberals.
post #28 of 68
We label things in order to classify them.

This helps us know what we are dealing with. It also enables us to add to the store of human knowledge in fact, from the first time a human applied a name to an object that signified its usage down to the classification of insects or the Periodic Table, labelling things has been the method of human progress and the development of civilization.

It helps us classify facts.

What we have in the last decade though is a new phenomena: one group of people (they will remain unclassified as they are obvious) does not like the labels applied to themselves and things they are concerned with.

They do not like facts. They do not like facts being labelled for what they are.

They do not like a spade being called a spade. Especially when a spade is a fascist. Or a racist.

So they just change the labels.

If they are evil - why change? just change the label?

If a sinner can't renounce sin - hey...I know... just stick this label on yourself "Christian".

Hate freedom and want to oppress people? No problem - here's a label "Freedom Lover".

Right-wing fascist? Have "Compassionate Conservative".

They think its clever.

They think no-one will know.

They think that even though it's a form of lying you'll get tired of having the label "Liar" stuck on YOU instead.

And they're right.

We're all fucking tired. That's one label you can put on me and we'll all agree: "Tired of the Fucking Morons"
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #29 of 68
I agree with a lot of this.

Words are important. And this is, not to put too fine a point on it, about hate.

"Psychotic", for example, is a word with decades of associations.

A "psycho" is someone who kills women in the shower in a Hitchcock film. It's someone who hits you in the street for no reason. People commit murders on "drug psychosis" and "go psycho" in a fight, and so on. Those are the associations in popular culture and everyday speech, for better or worse.

It isn't enough any more to label people you disagree with as wrong-headed, or hypocritical, or full of themselves. Now they have to be mentally ill. "Psychotic", indeed. Psychos, of course, should be jailed and hospitalised. Liberals? Well, I'll let you make your own mind up. BUT THEY ARE PSYCHOTIC!

When people object, properly, you can pull out a medical definition and say "Look, this is what psychosis is!".

And every time, again and again, you get to repeat the word "psychotic", pretending you haven't chosen it for its associations. "Liberals are psychotic!" "Liberals are psychotic!"

It makes it easier to hate. It makes it easier to convince others to hate.

To start a thread calling for a discussion of labels, insisting on the right to call people you disagree with "psychotic"? Come back when you're prepared to admit that you want to the right to call people any damn thing you like, and besides, liberals deserve it anyway.
post #30 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mumbo Jumbo View Post

I agree with a lot of this.

Words are important. And this is, not to put too fine a point on it, about hate.

"Psychotic", for example, is a word with decades of associations.

A "psycho" is someone who kills women in the shower in a Hitchcock film. It's someone who hits you in the street for no reason. People commit murders on "drug psychosis" and "go psycho" in a fight, and so on. Those are the associations in popular culture and everyday speech, for better or worse.

Psychos, of course, should be jailed and hospitalised. Liberals? Well, I'll let you make your own mind up. BUT THEY ARE PSYCHOTIC!

Yes, it isn't enough any more to label people you disagree with as wrong-headed, or hypocritical, or full of themselves. Now they have to be mentally ill. "Psychotic", indeed.

And when people object, properly, you can pull out a medical definition and say "Look, this is what psychosis is!".

And every time, again and again, you get to repeat the word "psychotic", pretending you haven't chosen it for its associations. "Liberals are psychotic!" "Liberals are psychotic!

It makes it easier to hate. It makes it easier to convince others to hate.

To start a thread calling for a discussion of labels, insisting on the right to call people you disagree with "psychotic"? Come back when you're prepared to admit that you want to the right to call people any fucking thing you like, and besides, liberals deserve it anyway.

Exactly.

It is no coincidence that labels are the first thing that any oppressive ideology addresses. The very first thing. The first thing the Nazis did was to make people wear Yellow stars.

Once the label is in place - like the 'pyschotic' label which is now being applied to Liberals (supported by false claims of Eugenics and violence etc) - then it is a fait accompli.

The thing in question is labelled. It is official. It is a "fact".

All that remains then is decisions as to what to do with the star-wearers. What to do with the 'psychotics'.

All in the name of being helpful, compassionate, purifying.

But the first step is always the label and the fight to implant it.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #31 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mumbo Jumbo View Post

I see. Labels are bad. Unless it's labelling people you disagree with mentally ill.

Labels are bad apart from 'psychotic'.

That's ok because it's only liberals.

I didn't say that or anything like it. You've now confirmed my initial suspicions.

The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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post #32 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius View Post

We label things in order to classify them.

This helps us know what we are dealing with. It also enables us to add to the store of human knowledge in fact, from the first time a human applied a name to an object that signified its usage down to the classification of insects or the Periodic Table, labelling things has been the method of human progress and the development of civilization.

It helps us classify facts.

I agree. This is what they are supposed to be used for, yes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius View Post

What we have in the last decade though is a new phenomena: one group of people (they will remain unclassified as they are obvious) does not like the labels applied to themselves and things they are concerned with.

You claim this is only one group of people. One homogenous group? Always the same individuals? What you claim this group is doing is not being done by anyone else?


Quote:
Originally Posted by segovius View Post

They do not like facts. They do not like facts being labelled for what they are.

They do not like a spade being called a spade. Especially when a spade is a fascist. Or a racist.

So they just change the labels.

It seems to me that this is a widespread problem in our culture today, especially where that culture intersects with politics. If the "one group" you refer to is politicians, political operatives, media "pundits" and the general "ruling elite" then I'd say you're probably right. Additionally, I'd agree that they have dragged along large chunks of un-thinking sheep in their wake.


The purpose of this thread was to try to see if we could shed some light on some of the labels that are frequently used, maybe even get some clearer, commonly agreeable definitions for them and see where they apply most appropriately.

I contend that the usefulness of labels increases with the degree to which a common definition is understood and accepted and when applied to describe actions first, words second (in the absence of words), with self-applied and other-applied labeling probably being last and the least reliable.

I also believe that the words like liberal and conservative...and even Democrat and Republican...and almost certainly...right and left have lost fidelity and meaning. They have become almost useless.

The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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post #33 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

Be gone. I know one label that probably perfectly and accurately fits you and what you're doing right now.

See you're not above labels!
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post #34 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

I didn't say that or anything like it. You've now confirmed my initial suspicions.

Im honestly sorry for the confusion.

Let's just clear this up once and for all.

Do you believe that the American left is psychotic, MJ1970?

You, personally. Do you believe that?
post #35 of 68
Apparently the label psychotic is bad.

However labels like racist, sexist, warmonger, denialist, misogynist, right-winger, greedy, corporate overlord, etc. are all fine. They in no way are attempts to associate a person with hate.

When having a discussion of labels, it is also apparently okay for one poster to spam and harass another poster with claims of hypocrisy and tell them they cannot participate in discussion until they jump through whatever mental hoops the other has crafted.

Everyone here has used labels. Harassing someone to repudiate all labels before they can have a discussion on labels isn't the point nor is it the topic.

Labels like many other things are amoral. They can clarify thinking or they can limit it. The choice is up to the individual.

That said, don't harass or attempt to govern your fellow posters. Please discuss content, not their personal actions for that is clearly a ruse for personal attacks which will be reported as such.

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #36 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmac View Post

See you're not above labels!

I don't believe I claimed I was.

In fact labels can be perfectly fine...if their definitions are clear and well understood (in the political realm this doesn't always seem to be the case) and when they are properly applied (again this is often untrue in the political realm.)

Let me give you an example. Let's say that, hypothetically, a person was using words and taking actions that were consistent with what is commonly understood and considered to be "trolling" in an internet forum. Applying the label of "troll" to that person might be appropriate. At the least it might be appropriate to label some of their actions as "trolling."

But labels can often be applied too broadly. For example, would it appropriate to label Obama a "liberal?" Setting aside for a moment the ambiguity of the label...I would still say it might be inappropriate because the target is too broad. It is too broad because Obama means a wide array of things depending on specific actions, policies, votes, bill signings, speeches (in the absence of actual actions) and so. Are some of the thing he does "liberal" (again setting aside the ambiguity of that term)? Probably. Are some things he does considered "conservative?" Perhaps.

This is what I'm trying to get at. In politics in particular, labels seem to have lost meaning and clarity and, to compound issues, they are often inappropriately applied.

I gave one or two examples of this issue in my OP.

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The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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post #37 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by trumptman View Post

Apparently the label psychotic is bad.

However labels like racist, sexist, warmonger, denialist, misogynist, right-winger, greedy, corporate overlord, etc. are all fine. They in no way are attempts to associate a person with hate.

When having a discussion of labels, it is also apparently okay for one poster to spam and harass another poster with claims of hypocrisy and tell them they cannot participate in discussion until they jump through whatever mental hoops the other has crafted.

Everyone here has used labels. Harassing someone to repudiate all labels before they can have a discussion on labels isn't the point nor is it the topic.

Labels like many other things are amoral. They can clarify thinking or they can limit it. The choice is up to the individual.

That said, don't harass or attempt to govern your fellow posters. Please discuss content, not their personal actions for that is clearly a ruse for personal attacks which will be reported as such.

Person A: hi this is my first post! I'm Miss Smith from Pakistan - how is everyone?

Person B: you fucking immigrant bastard - piss off back to bongo bongo land darling and take your pretty ass with you. We'll be invading your country soon anyway. And no we don't ever fabricate reasons for it. Now bugger off - I have to take this cash to my Private Bank and pay my share dividends in before I go to my English Defence League meeting.

Person A: excuse me? That's a bit racist - how dare you label me? It's almost like you're a misogynist the way you use those sexist terms. YOu might be a right-winger but you're attitude seems greedy - it's almost denialist and comes over like a warmonger. Are you some sort of corporate overlord?

Person B: apparently labels like 'immigrant bastard' are bad. However labels like racist, sexist, warmonger, denialist, misogynist, right-winger, greedy, corporate overlord, etc. are all fine....
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #38 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by trumptman View Post

Apparently the label psychotic is bad.

However labels like racist, sexist, warmonger, denialist, misogynist, right-winger, greedy, corporate overlord, etc. are all fine. They in no way are attempts to associate a person with hate.

When having a discussion of labels, it is also apparently okay for one poster to spam and harass another poster with claims of hypocrisy and tell them they cannot participate in discussion until they jump through whatever mental hoops the other has crafted.

Everyone here has used labels. Harassing someone to repudiate all labels before they can have a discussion on labels isn't the point nor is it the topic.

Labels like many other things are amoral. They can clarify thinking or they can limit it. The choice is up to the individual.

That said, don't harass or attempt to govern your fellow posters. Please discuss content, not their personal actions for that is clearly a ruse for personal attacks which will be reported as such.

Are you a moderator?

No. You are not. So fucking leave me alone or address the content of my post instead of giving me orders. Do you understand?

A propos the opening of your post, if someone says something racist that makes them a racist.

If someone uses hyperbole that does not make them "psychotic." You can disagree with people without labelling them mentally ill. Americans have been capable of that for generations.

Suddenly, now, apparently, in 2010, for the first time in the history of your nation, according to your vile thread, an election has made millions of people "mentally ill."

Using that tactic is pissing on the proud history of difference which served in part to make your nation the most spectacularly strong of our planet's history.

Labelling an entire swath of the American electorate "psychotic" is a deliberate tactic using a word with sensational overtones in order to make discussion impossible. It is provocative and counterproductive to the national conversation, and it is childish.

Get over it.
post #39 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by trumptman View Post

Sego,

Is there a particular reason why when posting you make up conversations and quotes instead of addressing actual content here in the forum?

I understand chanting and mantras and so forth for I use them when running and doing certain exercises or activities. Why reaffirm this caricature in your brain when you have people right here in front of you acting differently? When I chant, it is to either focus or sometimes to ignore certain things like pain when running longer distances.

What are you ignoring?

I just thought that allegorical metaphors might help people understand Trumpy - it seems the hard, logical facts outlined in a rational sequential pattern are a bit hard to grasp so I thought it might help us all if we used analogies.

The 'actual content' you refer to is also analogical in a way - certainly none of it has any basis in tangible reality.
What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs the peace of your heart, give it up - Prophet Muhammad
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post #40 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by trumptman View Post

That said, don't harass or attempt to govern your fellow posters. Please discuss content, not their personal actions for that is clearly a ruse for personal attacks which will be reported as such.

...except when I do exactly that, in which case it's perfectly fine.



But on topic.

"Progressive" and "conservative" are oppositional terms with a long history.

"Psychotic" is a word with evil scary resonance that has no place in any civilised, adult discussion of politics.

It is not comparable. Not even to "racist", which is a social/ political position to be argued against, rather than a mental illness to be cured or locked away. It's eliminationist, provocative and, I believe, childish.
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