Wednesday, May 03, 2006

left, right and far left

Reflecting on my last post, I was thinking that there is a clear difference between the left and the right in this country right now. It is this difference that is costing the left a lot of votes. It most likely cost them my vote in the last election, and there is a good chance it will cost them my vote in the next election.

Currently the party in power, at least as far as the executive branch is concerned is neoconservative. That is the more or less official ideology of the current administration. Neoconservatives diverge from conservatives in many many ways. Neocons are not isolationists. Conservatives can go either way. Neocons are not Christian fundamentalists. Conservatives are. Neocons are not anti-abortion. Conservatives are. . . Neocons do not have much to say about stem cell research. Conservatives are opposed. Neocons are not opposed to some pieces of a welfare state. Conservatives generally are. Neocons are not opposed to big government. Conservatives are. Conservatives favor big business. Neocons, at least officially, have no stated preference. There is a long history of toleration for minorities in the neocon tradition, though not in the conservative one. The list goes on and on.

On the other hand when one thinks of the left and the radical left, there is very little real difference. They both favor an increased welfare state. (Perhaps the left is not asking for a real communist government, whereas the radical left sometimes does.) They both favor abortion, gay marraige, no foreign military interventions, anti-unilateralism, increased government intervention in matters of equality, safety, etc.

Moreover the rhetoric always binds together every facet of the movement, so that you can't really taken anything singly. So if you are ever opposed to a view you are opposed to all of them. A rally for one position always turns out to be a rally for every left-wing and far left wing opinion out there. So the rally for the illegal immigrant amnesty had pro-palestinian people, anti-war demonstrators, the usual anti-Bush crowd. From the stories the paper carried there seemed to be nothing on the left you could not be supporting. If you loved Mexian immigrants but also favored the war in Iraq, you were alienated. There is no way to be a good leftist these days without favoring some whole package.

The right is now split. You can have a Christian fundamentalist view, and be a traditional conservative, or you can be a neoconservative. They have to join forces for the moment because there is no hope for such a schism on the left. So as long as the left is a package, the right will be one too.

Those on the left seem to feel that any agreement with the right is selling uout. Leiberman traditionally gets branded a traitor to the left because he is a democrat who does not seem to vicerally hate Bush, even though Bush beat him in an election. The left has a lot of work to do before it can declare itself in line with mainstream America.


Shosh said...

I lost you a little bit--how come the right has to become a package if the left is one?

Karl said...

because the left, as a whole can muster up almost half the vote. If the right split, they would certainly loose. The left tried this with their little Nader experiment. It failed miserably for them and I assume that the right is not about to make the same mistake. Nader acctually caused the left, I think, to become more radical, and thus less relevant, because the mainstream is now scared that that the far left will leave for a Green party or something.