Left vs. Right or Extreme vs. Moderate?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Terr_Mys, Aug 9, 2002.

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  1. Terr_Mys Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    Just a while back, someone created a thread regarding The Daily Show's host John Stewart's comments to his guest, conservative author Ann Coulter. He said something along the lines of, '...there is no more fight between left and right...now it's between extremists and moderates...'

    Now the original thread was locked, so I thought I'd revive the debate here...but let's keep it civilized, people.

    First of all, I'd like to say that I agree with Stewart's comments in some respects. The traditional left vs. right debate is now an ancient artifact of the early 20th century, and certainly does not incorporate modern social issues. In fact, the traditional debate was essentially all about the economy. Liberals wanted things to change, conservatives wanted things to stay the same. And in fact, the dictionary's definition of the words 'liberal' and 'conservative' mean just that. However, although the liberal ideals applied to Democrats and the conservative ideals applied to Republicans back then, things have changed. It's impossible to classify one's political persuasion based solely on their economic ideals these days.

    Browsing the Internet, I was able to find this article which supports my statements. In today's world, you can no longer place someone on the old left/right line, as politics have become much more dimensional. The Political Compass is a great example of this. Basically, The Politcal Compass is a test that determines your location on the 'compass' of political persuasion. I urge everyone to take this test and carefully read the last page, which describes the problems of the traditional left vs. right argument.

    But going back to John Stewart's comment, indeed there is much more than the left vs. right argument today. However, I'm not sure that the fight is really between extremists and moderates, either. Although I believe that the majority of the Western world is 'moderate' in a sense, and we are fighting the 'extremists' such as terrorists and tyrannical leaders. And I think that Stewart's comments were directed at the Republican party, where the center-right (Powell, McCain, etc.) is being ignored by the traditional conservatives (Bush, Cheney, etc.), who have been strongly supporting the ultra-conservatives (Helms, Lott, etc.). So in some ways Stewart was right, but it doesn't take into consideration the fact that the fight between extremists and moderates is a multi-dimensional thing, occurring in multiple parties.

    The Political Compass is essentially divided into four boxes: Authoritarian Left, Libertarian Left, Authoritarian Right, and Libertarian Right (I was placed in the central corner of the libertarian right). But it's still difficult to say where Republicans and Democrats fit into this square. Traditionally, the line went straight across, and then it began tilting to pass through the libertarian left and the authoritarian right. So, the two parties have always remained somewhere close to a central line...which today often ignores the authoritarian left and the libertarian right.

    Now, this brings up a very interesting question. Is it possible...that the American party system is too constricting? I mean...does that mean that we need more than two major parties? It certainly seems that way to me.
  2. Terr_Mys Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    Anyone have an opinion on this?
  3. DarksiderGeorge Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2002
    star 2
    I agree, I have always wanted there to be a strong representation from at least 4 distinct political parties. BTW, Im going to take the Political Compass test, then I will come back in the thread and converse some more....
  4. Terr_Mys Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    Ah, good. :)

    Btw, if anyone's interested, my exact plot on the compass is (Economic left/right)0.75 (right), (Authoritarian/Libertarian)-1.54 (libertarian).

    I'm interested to hear more opinions about this.
  5. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    Terr, I think more parties would be appropriate. Then, of course, Moderates would probably rule everything, so I'm not sure if that's fair.


    -sj loves kevin spacey
  6. JediSmuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 1999
    star 5
    Mine is:

    Economic: Right 7.38
    Authoritarian by 1.03.

  7. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    Mine was Authoritarian by like, 1 point and left by like, 1 point.

    I have no idea what this means [face_plain]

    -sj loves kevin spacey
  8. Ramius Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2002
    star 3
    I just took the test.

    Economic Left/Right: -0.38
    Authoritarian/Liberatarian: 1.28

    I'm almost completely in the middle. Maybe I should retake the test.
  9. Lieutenant Tschel Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 1999
    star 2
    I'm 1.60 Right and 1.08 Authoritarian
  10. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Like Ramius (and probably surprising my brother, JediSmuggler), I am almost perfectly in the middle.

    L/R: -0.25
    A/L: -1.18

    But then, I've been saying that for years.

    Kimball Kinnison

    EDIT: Forgot a minus sign.
  11. Terr_Mys Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    Wow Kimball, that's very similar to mine :).

    So does anyone believe that the United States needs more than 2 major parties? Because it seems like there's enough bickering within the 2 parties as is...

    And then there's another question. Although the Democratic party is traditionally 'left' and the Republican party 'right', do you think that they're really 'cornered'? And if so, which corner? Are all Democrats libertarian and all Republicans authoritarian? Because I tend to agree with Republicans more often than Democrats, yet I am also a very moderate libertarian.
  12. AJA Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 1998
    star 4
    Economic Left/Right: 3.75
    Authoritarian/Libertarian: 1.59

    As an exercise, I entered what I perceive to be the views of the Republicans and Democrats:

    DEMOCRATS
    Economic Left/Right: -6.50
    Authoritarian/Libertarian: -5.18

    REPUBLICANS
    Economic Left/Right: 6.12
    Authoritarian/Libertarian: 2.46
  13. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    Terr- I agree. I almost always agree with Republicans on issues, but I came up somewhat left. Very strange. I think it goes to show that you can't generalize about one party, and indeed we may need more parties.


    -sj loves kevin spacey
  14. phantom31415 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2002
    star 1
    Economic left/right: 3.5
    Authoritarian/libertarian: 1.59

    I think the test is flawed, actually. A number of the questions were much more complicated than the simple agree/disagree. As a result, I think the test placed me closer to the middle than I would place myself, at least on the left/right axis. The authoritarian/libertarian position for me was about right for me, I think.
  15. Terr_Mys Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    I was also a little baffled at the religious section of the test. How exactly do your religious beliefs determine your political persuasion? :confused:

    I'm not sure, but in my mind, religion and politics don't belong in the same boat.
  16. Darth Fierce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2000
    star 4
    Ha! The test put me on the LEFT! I took it twice just to make sure. :D This comes as quite a surprise. But that's what it said - slightly left, and a few notches down on the libertarian side.

    I might have to change the entirety of the content on my website. :eek:

    EDIT - Solojones, I see you had the same experience. I'm not sure the test is entirely accurate.
  17. Terr_Mys Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    Hey, Fierce, I like your website :).

    I'm now beginning to think that any strict classifications as to one's political persuasion can be unfair. For me, and everyone else who came out anywhere close to the middle, it's obvious that that test does not truly take into consideration mixed idealogies.

    First off, every question regarding one's political stance can be constricting. There are always circumstances and occasions where you feel and think differently. No matter how much some of us like to think this way, we never have a truly firm stance. We always question our own beliefs at one point or another.

    Secondly, I think the questions on the test were a bit...eh...absurd, so to speak. I mean, the statement "The businessman and the manufacturer are more important than the writer and the artist"...?!? How can that possibly determine what political party you belong to?!? I mean, it could reflect the extremes of your personality, but...well, I don't know. I'm just really fed up with generalizations.

    I mean sure, I tend to agree with Republicans on most economic issues, and I have deeply rooted morals, but I try not to even involve them in my political stance. And sure, I'm pro-privacy, but I'm also for the war on drugs. I'm pro-environment, but I'm also strongly for free market. It's very confusing....
  18. Cheveyo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    I just took the test, and it seems I'm the only one so far to dip so far southwest in my views:
    economic left/right: -4.75
    Authoritarian/Libertarian: -5.95
    (yep, right in there with Gandhi ;))

    I didn't realize I was so far away from moderation, but I understand and agree with(based on the questions asked) how and where I was catalogued. I don't think the test is flawed.

    I believe neither Democrats NOR Republicans truly represent what they used to. I get the impression that they do not act as a single body as they did in the early to mid 20th century. My grandfather comes from the generation that votes for the president on the sole basis of affiliation (Vote Republican... period) because the party generally carried with it the same viewpoints, goals, ideals, etc. that its members carried. Today's politics are far more individualized.

    And, yes, I think that's a good thing. ;)

    Also, I do believe more political parties are required to give a more accurate representation of the public. They are on the rise in this generation; I believe we will slowly see a change in the political structure.
  19. gwaernardel Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2001
    star 4
    That test was cool. I scored almost the exact same as Gandhi. :)
  20. Darth Fierce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 6, 2000
    star 4
    Terr_Mys
    Hey, thanks! :)

    Yes, some of the questions were leading, and even biased. For example (and I'm paraphrasing) "Is all abstract art rubbish?", "Are a corporation's profits always more important than anything else?" and "Does someone not working deserve to starve to death?". Come on... of course I answered "no" to all of those, and I'm sure they were all considered left-wing answers.

    If the questions were phrased "Should art be federally protected at all costs?", "Do corporations have the right to put their financial needs above the financial needs of their employees?" and "should everyone have to work for a living?", I would have given the right-wing responses.
  21. Terr_Mys Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    Yeah, some were biased like that. Of course, other questions were biased the other way as well. Hehe, and I think you misread that quote about eating :). It went, "Those who are able to work and do not should not expect to eat." May still be biased, but not as bad as what you said :p :D.
  22. jedi-girl Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2000
    star 4
    Terr_Mys thanks for linking to the "Political Compass" - how interesting! I found it surprising accurate - and learned about my own approach to politics. My results were "leftist libertarian" -5.25 and -4.00 quadrant of the graph.

  23. Terr_Mys Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    Yes, jedi-girl, it's a very interesting site. :)

    Now...it seems like most of the more 'Democratic' posters came up with leftist libertarian views...whereas the 'Republican' posters came up with right authoritarian views. So...do the two parties really represent these corner idealogies? If so, then where do the 'misfits' and 'moderates' like myself fit in? i.e. the authoritarian left and libertarian right? Or are there still Authoritarian Democrats and Libertarian Republicans? If so, are they being well-represented in Congress?

    I find this quite interesting. Because, in a sense, the two 'corner' idealogies in which Democrats and Republicans seem to fall under, are in many ways 'mixed' idealogies...and, in some ways, hypocritical. Basically, Authoritarian means more government influence in society. Libertarian means less. The economic left represents more government influence in the economy, the right represents less. So, if the Democrats are for less government in society but more government in the economy, and Republicans are for more government in society and less government in the economy, aren't both parties in a way hypocritical?

    Please share your thoughts.
  24. jedi-girl Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2000
    star 4
    Terry_Mys if we find that most 'Democratic' posters here are leftist libertarian and 'Republican' posters are right authoritarian, that is interesting too. Could this mean that Star Wars fans are more likely to fit either one category or the other? For example the right/authoritarian quadrant would find SW appealing because its themes reinforce conservative / traditional beliefs. On the other hand, the left/libertarian quadrant would find SW because of its essential idealist view of humanity. ( and I am trying to phrase this as objectively as I can :p)

    The religious section makes sense to me, because personally I don't think you can separate religious or moral beliefs from political ones. For example, whether we believe that people are basically good or basically evil according to our religious beliefs is going to have a big impact on our political beliefs. Separation of church and state is a basic tenet of US Constitution, but even that decision was informed by the Founders of our country who were Deists, like Benjamin Franklin, who basically believed that God was a Watchmker who had simply set everything in motion for the Universe. Also the Founders of our country knew of terrible religious persecution by the State and saw it as essential protect individual liberties.

    More government or less government? Democrats want more useful government, government to meet the needs of the people. Whereas Republicans want less taxation and more fewer business regulations while at the same time supporting more regulation from the government to protect certain interests (like school vouchers for private schools).

    I really do believe the Right /Left debate in general however has played out its usefulness. I think there is common ground for people on all sides of a debate to find agreement. It would be nice if we could minimize the influence of "Big Money" on politics. Of course the credit card banks would want to make it difficult for individuals to file bankruptcy... the banks have been the largest campaign contributors. And ironically, the latest bankruptcy legislation, if passed, would still provide the same level of protection for companies.
  25. Terr_Mys Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    Just thought I'd start discussion of this topic back up again...

    Terry_Mys if we find that most 'Democratic' posters here are leftist libertarian and 'Republican' posters are right authoritarian, that is interesting too. Could this mean that Star Wars fans are more likely to fit either one category or the other? For example the right/authoritarian quadrant would find SW appealing because its themes reinforce conservative / traditional beliefs. On the other hand, the left/libertarian quadrant would find SW because of its essential idealist view of humanity. ( and I am trying to phrase this as objectively as I can )

    Well, I think this is true to people in general. I'm not really sure of the connection, however...seeing as how left/authoritarian both mean MORE government, whereas right/libertarian both mean LESS government...

    The religious section makes sense to me, because personally I don't think you can separate religious or moral beliefs from political ones. For example, whether we believe that people are basically good or basically evil according to our religious beliefs is going to have a big impact on our political beliefs. Separation of church and state is a basic tenet of US Constitution, but even that decision was informed by the Founders of our country who were Deists, like Benjamin Franklin, who basically believed that God was a Watchmker who had simply set everything in motion for the Universe. Also the Founders of our country knew of terrible religious persecution by the State and saw it as essential protect individual liberties.

    Well, I'm not sure about my religious beliefs, but I have certain moral beliefs that may or may not have been influenced by my religion which may be considered rather conservative. However, in the world of government, I see no need to force my moral beliefs upon others. I think that the government has a responsibilty to guide its people to do good, but not force them, unless the citizens pose a threat to others. This reflects a slightly libertarian idealogy in me, but it has nothing to do with Democratic or Republican views. And remember, Democrats may use the seperation of church and state argument for issues such as prayer in school, but the founding fathers were also strong supporters of free creed and practice of religion. So, as far as I see, schools should...in fact, I'll go as far as saying that schools must allow students to pray if they want to. Of course, schools should not hold mandatory prayer sessions that involve students of a different religion.

    More government or less government? Democrats want more useful government, government to meet the needs of the people. Whereas Republicans want less taxation and more fewer business regulations while at the same time supporting more regulation from the government to protect certain interests (like school vouchers for private schools).

    Well, I think that's a fairly biased statement. Remember, as far as social issues go, I'm slightly libertarian. Thus, I believe the government should guide it's citizens...not control them (i.e. fascism/extreme authoritarianism), but it also shouldn't allow them to run wild (i.e. anarchism/extreme libertarianism). However, I am against excessive government spending on rather ridiculous programs. Democrats may have good intentions, but in my opinion (remember, I'm speaking from a slightly economic-right viewpoint), they don't get much done. I mean, I believe that we should guide the poor to living better lives, but we can't make them entirely dependent upon the government for everything. They don't need hand-outs, they need a hand-up, as the saying goes.

    I really do believe the Right /Left debate in general however has played out its usefulness. I think there is common ground for people on all sides of a debate to find agreement. It would be nice if we could minimize the influence of "Big Money" on politics. Of course the credit card banks would want to make it difficult for individuals to file bankruptcy... the banks
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