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Monday, November 26, 2007

What's left now?

There must be something in the air. The two previous blogs below, on the Australian election and on the failure of Canadian socialism, suggest that the political Left bears increasing scrutiny.

Coincidentally, this is exactly what my current Face to Face debate column in the Tri-City News attempts to do. Here's unrepentant leftie Mary Woo Sims' offering, and here is mine. Interestingly, we both seem to agree that the NDP can't win as true lefties. But, while Mary Woo celebrates the "third way", I advance a harsher analysis.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on November 26, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink


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Two points here ...

First point:

"I believe the left is alive and continues to evolve whereas the right has no new ideas — its mantra is “let’s leave it all up to the free market.”"

-- That is the best idea ever, so no new ideas are required Mary.
Second point:

"Anthony Giddens of the London School of Economics describes the Third Way as a rejection of top-down socialism and traditional neo-liberalism. The Third Way is in favour of growth, entrepreneurship, enterprise and wealth creation but it is also in favour of greater social justice and it sees the state playing a major role in bringing this about."

-- This "Third Way" sounds a lot like let the free market prevail, but take more of their wealth creation from them and redistribute it to the less motivated. .. Have I got that right Mary?

Posted by: John | 2007-11-26 10:07:07 AM

The Left must have come to the realization that they can't protect the poor anymore because, well, they aren't many left anymore - thanks to capitalism.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2007-11-26 10:41:23 AM

""I believe the left is alive and continues to evolve whereas the right has no new ideas — its mantra is “let’s leave it all up to the free market.”"

-- That is the best idea ever, so no new ideas are required Mary."

Reminiscent of the "New Math" - and all other new ways of bettering society these Leftoids try to devise and shove down our throats.

Haven't they learned yet that all the "new" stuff has failed? Can today's children read and do math better than their grandparents did at the same age?

The answer is: A resounding NO!!!

Posted by: obc | 2007-11-26 10:55:43 AM

The reality is that the revolution called Liberty has been seriously pushed backwards by statists of all parties. Trudeau implemented most of Tommy Douglas' policies years ago.

The sad truth today is that so-called conservative (mixed-economy merchantilists mildly influenced by classical Liberalism) governments can barely handle the workload of legislating quick fixes for unintended consequences of previous quick fixes from the slightly more left wing modern Liberals (or NDP's union lackeys) let alone push back leviathan. All agendas seem to be set from the left.

BC's Liberals are an example of Sim's third way as described above. Why would BC's moderate left need to re-elect the NDP when their legacies are protected and reinforced every day. The same could be said of the newly elected Sask Party after scanning their platform.

Ralph Klein was a former Liberal who kept his popularity through folksy populism sprinkled with conservative rhetoric. The Socreds made much better conservatives in both Provinces (BC, Alta)

Even a revolutionary leader like Margaret Thatcher leaves just a temporary setback on the road to serfdom. Does anyone remember "eternal vigilence"?

The practical political necessity is keeping the somewhat mutated cow of Capitalism (remnants of liberty) alive enough to feed all the unproductive elements of the modern welfare state. The only "new ideas" are the differences of opinion on PC encroachments on real civil liberties and property rights and on the sustainable levels of milk consumption from the cow - all at the margin.

The debate should be over the wisdom in people getting their own cows and cutting the state out of the equation or minimizing it's influence in the extreme. I don't see that debate happening in mainstream politics.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2007-11-26 11:42:25 AM

I'm not sure how success is defined.

With pure Capitalism, you basically have the "law of the jungle". Through unrestricted markets and competition, you have increased productivity and wealth. In other words, you teach people to work themselves to death, chasing after many things (beyond necessities) that they don't even need.

You have exploitation. The rich and powerful exploit the weak and ignorant. The environment is exploited by unsustainable productivity. It all comes down to: with competition, you have winners and losers. And the losers really do lose harshly. That creates social unrest.

Corporations get legal "person" status, equal in many ways to real humans. You get inbuilt waste and false productivity for its own sake, with such concepts as: Planned Obsolescence and Holiday Spending.

The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. Economic booms and busts. Uncontrolled spending, followed by debt and economic depression. A replacement of human values with the almost pagan worship of wealth and power.

People like to say that this system (or watered down variants of it) is the best system we have so far. That may be true, but it's obviously still very lacking, and we should be looking on the horizon for new, better ways of helping our civilization to best express our human condition.

But wait. Communism and socialism is no better. Forced communal group-think leads to often conflicting regulations and restrictions in every facet of life. Government begins to encroach on every aspect of our existence. Personal freedoms get traded away for false promises of safety and security.

Safety nets, medicine, insurance, and pensions are guaranteed for all, but at such a low level of quality, that they are an insult relative to the taxes paid for their upkeep.

Without any competition or mandated need, we find ourselves robbed of any desire to strive for excellence, ingenuity, and innovation. We become demotivated, depressed, and apathetic serfs of the state.

All this leads to mediocrity, equal misery for all, poverty, authoritarianism, and all its accompanying social unrest.

But both systems looked so good on paper. Perhaps the problem isn't with the systems per se, but with the human animal. We've been bio-programmed by two billion years of Darwinian evolution, existing on the brink of starvation and annihilation, as do all living things. It is through death and birth, failure and success, that bio-organisms have evolved, been selected for, over these eons.

The current paradox is that while we still respond to the evolutionary primal needs of competition and "survival of the fittest", our current level of technology, when applied to this "law of the jungle" paradigm, now endangers us, and everything alive around us. So the very bio-processes that got us this far, have become suddenly deleterious, when combined with our technology. Can we adapt?

Okay, so how do we harness our desire for competition in the striving for excellence without turning into Darwinian self-destructive techno-barbarians?

Bloody good question, that.

I don't have the answers, either. Not most of them, at least.

I think that liberty and true democracy (where the citizens actually play an active part in state policy, not just a voting exercise once every few years) are two important keys. People need to feel empowered; they need to feel like they matter. People need to interact as relative equals within the common discussion of: "where do we go from here."

Government, corporations, and money are artifacts of our own creation. They are here to serve us, to make our lives better; not the other way around. They are not pagan symbols to be worshipped for their power; a power that we as a civilization have mistakenly given them.

The most important values are human-centric values. Peace, love, goodwill, family.

A very useful thought process is true scientific inquiry. Science is the only human logical thought process, that if practised correctly, seeks to constantly disprove its own truths. That leads away from dogma, and towards a continuous evolution and refining of ideas.

Well, those are bits of the puzzle, but sadly incomplete. Then again, that's what human interaction is for. So interact, please. Constructively is best.

Posted by: Harph | 2007-11-26 1:13:12 PM

The 'Third Way' is marketing spin, there is no 'Third Way'. Socialists know that everyone realizes their policies are complete failures so they're trying to re-brand old garbage.

Posted by: philanthropist | 2007-11-26 1:18:42 PM

"Socialists know that everyone realizes their policies are complete failures so they're trying to re-brand old garbage."

SPOT ON, phil! They are liars, triangulators, and hucksters.

And Harpoon's comments above are socialist Leftoid drivel. NO ONE is forcing anyone to work and buy goodies.

But, truth be told, socialists ALSO want you to work - hard so they can tax you hard - and then TELL you how you may spend what little remains in your wallet.

Posted by: obc | 2007-11-26 1:32:19 PM

The left does not have new ideas--in fact all they can do is regurgitate an idea that was an analysis that was useful for a very short period of time.

Case in point--there are many many public services that have been worked through different not-for prophit organizations, over the years, in order to reduce the numbers of unemployed--and yet none actually did reduce the numbers of unemployed. Free-market work agencies, and the free market--along with the improved economy has actually reduced unemployment more than any of those programs ever could have imagined. If anything all those programs actually did was keep people busy--and thinking that they were progressing, until the economy--as organized and run by business, could shake out the socialistic lethargy.

Even today, we have far too many people who are not working. We talk about low unemployment rates, but there are many times that who have been lulled into permanent welfare or disbility--or whatever--that could be out there making a difference in the workforce.

Meanwhile, the leftist ideas are in regards to how to build a new progam that will keep them working for awhile--as in make work projects--whereas the conservative thinkers are out there, busy being the entrpreneurs, getting the economy going, taking risks, and making a difference in peoples lives.

Posted by: Lady | 2007-11-26 1:41:00 PM


"But, truth be told, socialists ALSO want you to work - hard so they can tax you hard - and then TELL you how you may spend what little remains in your wallet."

Right on the mark! So you can be a worker--overtaxed and under praid and never appreciated--always alienated--just like everybody else.

Sure--in their minds--and not just like everybody!

Posted by: Lady | 2007-11-26 1:43:22 PM

Virtually all of my taxes goes to women and children one way or another, whether I care or not.
(most goes to the administration of various causes that champion women and children)

Of course the women who get it don't have any test to indicate whether they cared to get married or stay married or were able to support the children that they had.

In addition, it doesn't matter whether it is Canadian women and children that are the recipients of my taxes or if it is in foreign aid, health care, or military and police protection.

What is a point worth making, is that the Left encourages women to get pregnant out of wedlock, to leave their marriages out of dissatisfaction, encourages women to have babies and then leave them to pursue careers which in any event are necessary because of over taxation to pay for social welfare schemes and Unionized Health care and Unionized Education,(both of which are major driving forces of inflation, and now the Left is the champion of the creation of Unionized government Daycare).

To sum, if they weren't enough poor people in Canada(which are the Left's core voting base) to champion, the Left would import and create poor people where there was none before.
Not surprisingly that is exactly what the Left has done and are doing.

So YES, the Left cares about poor women, poor children, and poor people in general.
The idea that someday Canadian society might reduce the numbers of poor and become a nation so prosperous and truly just that the poor or any identifiable group who receives government largess may become vanishingly rare horrifies the Left because the Left is all about dividing people into classes and exploiting those classes for political gain.

The Left really don't want an equal classless society, if they did there would be no class warfare to exploit and no need for the Left.
(not that there really is a need for them, the Left is the disease rather than the cure)

So YES, the Left really cares, but not in a good humanitarian selfless way.

There is no third way.

The is liberty of the individual and there is the collective.

The Left is the champion of the collective at the expense of individual liberty.

Both the Left and the Right want Equality.

The Right wants Equality of Opportunity which recognizes and rewards individual merit and ability furthering liberty through individual responsibility.

The Left wants Equality of Outcome which ignores individual merit and individual ability in the interest of an idyllic collective justice without individual responsibility.

Posted by: Spelle | 2007-11-26 2:24:23 PM

Spelle ~

Are you related to Speller? :)

Posted by: obc | 2007-11-26 2:28:08 PM

OOP, Yeah.

I got hasty and missed the 'R'.

Posted by: Speller | 2007-11-26 2:34:03 PM

Speller ~

R you sure? :)

Posted by: obc | 2007-11-26 2:35:17 PM


You outline the human condition here.

1. If people want to work themselves to death for things they don't need ... that is their choice. None of your business.

2. The strong exploit the weak etc. That is the way of life on the planet. That is why all animals in the animal kingdom are so agile and beautiful and adept. The weak are eaten by the strong. It makes for a stronger genetic strain. We used to have that long ago before we kept the sick and defective alive forever and have them breed.

The weak and stupid had degraded our species and that is why we continue to have so many problems and so much poverty.

Look at what came of the genetic manipulation in the Black Slave trade in the Southern USA. a few generations of forcing the biggest and strongest to breed for better plantation workers has let to the superior athletes we now have in the professional sports world today. The percentages per capita of Blacks in football, basketball, baseball ... far out number the other races.

This fact was stated in Las Vegas a few years ago by Jimmy the Greek (betting guy) and he lost his career over stating these facts.

The point is that not everyone can compete in today's world, but almost anyone is capable of earning a living on their own. They may have to forgo the new wide screen, but nobody has a right to a wide screen.

The problem is that the Left believes that everyone has a right to all the same stuff. If that were a true fact the entire world would all have bread, water and gray blanket.

Capitalism is the uneven distribution of wealth where anyone (not everyone) can succeed to a high standard of living. You will get what you work for if you are willing to do what it takes. If not you will have to settle for what comes your way. you can choose to lose in the real world, but cannot choose to win in the ideal world of the Leftist.

Socialism is the equal distribution of poverty and misery with no hope of improvement. (Cuba comes to mind)

I know what I will vote for ... the hope and opportunity that comes with freedom and enterprise. Anyone who votes differently is grossly misinformed and delusional.

Posted by: John | 2007-11-26 3:03:59 PM

How good is 'socialism'? Well, right now it's being used to justify segregating Ontario's school system between the races. Sad.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2007-11-26 4:49:31 PM

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