*I didn’t mean to post this today, but since everyone is posting this (it would help if stupid blogger remembered to link.  Have pity on me.  The day has included everything but a plague of locusts.) and asking my opinion, I think it’s a good time to do so.  First, remember that international news are about as accurate about Portugal as about the US.  Second, remember that Portugal doesn’t have two parties, it has fifty so every government is coalition.  This means the right might have associated with lower-voting right wing parties instead of going to the higher ranked left.  It doesn’t mean a fascist take over.  SECOND and very important, remember right and left is not right and left in the US.  One of the right-most parties in Portugal is Popular Social Democrats.  The other (anti-EU btws) is the Christian Social Democrats. There ARE NO PARTIES THAT DON’T HAVE “SOCIAL” on the program.  If my reading of the current spectrum there is right, Bernie would be dead center.  Hilary would probably be right of center.  So, when the press reports these things, remember that it’s not the US and what is going on might be a little harder ball than is normally played there, but it’s NOT a totalitarian take over (The Brits probably know this, but hate to ruin a good story/want to sound like there’s great alarm.  Whatevs.  If the anti EU left had won they’d have reported it as “Nationalist fascist take over.”  The weird part is in a way they’d have been right, just not the way it reads here.)  BUT most all of all remember right and left are not what they are here, and if there were a way they could BOTH lose, I’d consider moving back.*

Someone asked me to write this a while back, and I’d completely spaced it until he reminded me on Facebook.

But sometimes, particularly when dealing with multinational twitter mobs, I feel like we’re speaking different languages and terms like “right” and “left” wing get wildly misinterpreted, leading to a certain twit(teriac) for instance saying I hated everyone to the left of Jeb Bush (Hate, no.  Despise their politics, yes.  And I include Jeb Bush and quite a few people nominally to the right of him in that.) while others claimed I was a big Jeb Bush fan because they think that’s what “right wing” means and they’ve self-obviously decided I’m right wing since I hate Marxists.

First, right-left have almost no meaning to where I stand.  I define myself in the authoritarian/non authoritarian axis, which is completely separate, and where I’m just a little shy of the “no government nutters” (I can call them that because, you know, they differ far less from me than the “government in your face” weasels, so I can say they’re totally crazy.)  Round about where the founding fathers were.  Government is a good servant but a bad master, and all that.

Of course, in the American spectrum, uninfected by the European Spectrum, that is indeed what should be called “right wing.”

The problem of course is that the spectrum is NOT uninfected, since we’re in an era of global communications and the meaning of Right Wing in Europe has started to seep in over here, both in leftists minds and in the minds of those who are self-defining as the right.

The other problem is that technically, if you go by the original meaning, the sides should be flipped.

Clear as mud?

Don’t worry, I can confuse it more.

Let’s start with the ever-reliable wikipedia: In France, where the terms originated, the Left has been called “the party of movement” and the Right “the party of order.”[1][2][3][4] The intermediate stance is called centrism and a person with such a position is a moderate.

Let’s first correct the obvious problem.  If you’re precisely in the center, the position is called “dunderhead” — and this applies to anything, not just politics. That out of the way, if center is defined by “not following an exact party line” I think most of us would be.

OTOH look at that definition again.  “The party of movement” and “the Party of order.”

First of all impossible, since life is movement.  This is where I think the left gets their bright idea reality is leftist, except they’re missing the point of where these definitions originated and what “movement” and “order” really mean.

This was of course in revolutionary France.  Movement had a very specific meaning — mostly towards Madame Guillotine, obviously — in terms of you wanted to change everything, the hours of the day and the names of the days of the week included.  Order, meanwhile was the “not so fast, this structure works.”

So, what that actually means is that left is the side of “let’s change everything” and the right the side of “let’s keep everything as it is.”

If you apply that to the current spectrum in the US (and most of the west) where socialist-like-structures and “leftist” ideas have permeated the political lives of the citizens for far longer than anyone reading this has been alive, the spectrum does a tilt-whirl and suddenly we who are don’t tread on me libertarians and who think the cause of liberty could be justly served by taking everyone from office and putting them in jail become left wingers, in the mold of the ones who shouted “Aristo, aristo, to the lamppost.”  (And since I’ve often felt like shouting that, I empathize.)

BUT that is not really a good picture.  We know how the French revolution ended.  Having dived down that rabbit hole in order to write Through Fire, it became obvious that the French Revolution, the “leftist” movement of our time par excellence, the grandmother of the Russian Revolution and of every other movement that has fed the graveyards of the 20th century was very much a STATIST revolution.  If you ask yourself what the difference between the American and the French revolution was, it would be that in the American revolution the people were set free to pursue happiness and equality before the law, while in the French revolution, both happiness and absolute equality were ENFORCED.  (If you think happiness wasn’t enforced, read some of the trials of people who declared themselves less than ecstatic in post revolutionary times.)

So, left would be best defined as “movement towards an imaginary utopia in which the government grants all sorts of happiness, equality and other boons.”

And the right?

Ah, there we hit on the crux of the problem.  While we’re fairly sure what the left is (and btw, the definition above is why they believe they are the party of the future and they will inevitably win, because in their scatology any “progress” ends one way, with the government as a sort of smiling goddling dispensing benes to the happy people of Brutopia.) “right” can mean many things.

First let’s dispense with the left-enforced definition of right which ends in Hitler.  To quote a public figure “that’s just retarded, sir.”  Just because Hitler and Stalin had a big tiff and pulled each other’s hair, it doesn’t mean they weren’t both leftist, socialist bastards.  They were just arguing whether socialism — that utopian final stage of the revolution where the state looks after everyone like a mother or a father, depending on your language of origin — should be national or international.  And in this case “international” meant “Russian” — or at least it did in the seventies, and I have no reason to think it changed — while national meant “of the genetically related people.”

(For instance when Bernie Sanders announces he’s a socialist but a nationalist then says he’s not a communist, I believe him.  The appropriate name for his announced ideology is Fascist.)

That fascination of the fascists with nationalism, btw, explains why the left can’t seem to accept national love/pride (i.e. they’re not NATIONAL socialists) and why so much of Europe thinks patriotism is a precursor to war.  Europeans are taught that in school too.  I was.

Okay, so that’s disposed of, now … if the right isn’t National Socialism, what is the right?

If I had to hazard a definition that would fit both Europe and the US I’d say the “right wing” meant “a clinging to the essence of what the nation means and to the nation’s original idea”, as it were.

In Europe, of necessity, right wing means a lot of “our people, our land” and really in its ultimate expression “our king.”  Right wing parties in Europe are often associated with keeping or reviving ancient traditions, with the country’s state-religion and with the “way things have always been done.”  There will almost always be a reflexive xenophobia, for instance, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  It is not racist to say “our land, our customs.  You want to live here, you conform to us.”  (The left’s reflexive oikophobia tends to chew the ground out from what people know they can count on, from language in everyday interactions to things like protection of children and women. It is time the European right learns to say “No, not all cultures are alike.”) If you’re thinking that this is the same as us saying “if you want to live here, speak English and conform to our laws”… not quite.  In Europe an immigrant will never be “of the land, the people, the traditions.”  You could be Yoless from Pratchett’s Johnny Maxwell, and learn Morris dance, and you’d still not be “quite British.”  Assimilation takes generations, and sometimes not even that.  Other things come with that definition as freight.  The right will still prefer to keep women and men in traditional roles, and they’re often shocked half to death by differing sexual personas.

Now if that description sounds familiar, it is because it is what the left assumes the right here is.  And some right wing people, reflexively, will embrace it and claim it.  Just because the left hates it.

But by and large, as someone who has cruised right of center blogs in this country for a very long time, no.  That’s not what right means in the US.

This is why when the leftists (who true to their origins only understand themselves as in opposition to the European right) come cruising in, they’re always shocked when we don’t rise to the bait of “racist, sexist, homophobic.”  They’re always terribly confused a lot of people here in fact are of “non conforming religions” (or none at all) and non-conforming sexual habits, and varying shades of tan.  And the only explanation they can find is “self-hating.”

That is because the left (worldwide, really) since the collapse of their model, the Soviet Union, has gone a little loony and fallen down a time-space-funnel, in which they’re fighting “right wing” in Europe (and probably circa the eighteen hundreds, but never mind that) not in the States.

The right in the US is the side that clings to the origins and the founding.  This is the side that believes ultimately sovereignty rests in the individual and the government should bow and doff its hat to us. We’re the side that believes that no matter what color, size, sex or whomever you decide to sleep with, you’re still an individual, entitled to equal protection under the law.

We believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Which means in many ways we’re the horror of the European right.  If it weren’t for the fact that both “rights” are fighting the much greater evil of the Marxist theology unleashed upon the world (and yes, it is more evil than even the European right) we’d be going at it like two equal weight boxers in a ring.

My dad, who is Europe-right (mom weirdly is MOSTLY American-right.  Not fully, because she still thinks morality, etc. should be enforced, but I think that’s a generational thing.  And no, I don’t know how she ended up don’t-tread-on-me in Europe.  She didn’t even read Heinlein) for instance believes it is not only the government’s right but the government’s duty to look after things like health care.  Oh, and if the government periodically shoots the wrong guy, well, that’s the cost of keeping other people safe.  He’s not a bad man, understand — but he’s a man of his time and place.  He draws the line at communism, not just because it’s evil, but because it’s a stranger to his country and enforced from outside.

We’ve gone the full rounds (one of the few times we’ve yelled at each other) because he can’t understand that I don’t view the government as some thing that should “look after” me, but as something that should do the minimum possible to ensure I have the space to look after myself, and anything more than that is a violation of my rights and a thwarting of my duties as a free human being.

And that’s the difference between our right and their right.  I’ve found it easier and far more conducive to familial harmony to pretend there is no difference, and to nod along with their serene belief that “right wing” in America means the same it does there.

Since our left doesn’t see the dividing chasm, they often refer to the “right” as monolithic and what they get in their press (which is to the left of ours) is convenient in obscuring the differences.

No reason to shock mom and dad by letting them know their daughter has become a USAian radical, after all.

BUT the actual meaning is radically different (quite literally RADICALLY different.  We are the “radicals” who turned the world upside down by believing authority flows from the individual up, not from the state down.)  As I hope it shows above.  Though being a word more often defined by opponents and people with the “feels” it has the imprecise quality of a mirage rising from asphalt on a hot day.

One caveat is that the American right wing might never make any sense in Europe.  Culture is something that changes very slowly and often doubles back.  So I restrain my evangelizing impulses there.  They might come to be like us, but it won’t be in my life time.

And the right in Europe only makes upside-down sense in America.  It would be impossible to create a right-wing-in-European-terms country out of the US.  Our multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-racial country couldn’t turn into an European traditional country.  Not for a few hundred years at least.  Which is why all movies that do that are profoundly unconvincing.  And why it’s so weird that the left doesn’t see the difference between the two rights.

It is also, unfortunately, why the sf books from the fifties or so, particularly the ones by Heinlein, which show the whole world unified under the American system are such a pipe dream.

It might have seemed logical and even attainable after WWII but as he himself seems to have realized in Tramp Royale, the real world is too diverse and culture and cultural differences too real for that utopia ever to have been possible.

America is a place in the heart, and as such it can only be won one heart at a time.

88 thoughts on “Right, Left, Right — A RECENT BLAST FROM THE PAST

  1. I’m reading H. Beam Piper’s “Oomphel in the Sky” now. It was written in 1960.

    I remember being unimpressed when I read it long ago, but this time… besides very good examples of “left” and “right” mentalities, he also spends a lot of time explaining the sort of thinking we now call “SJW,” and even gives an example of SJWs promoting immigration of rioting aliens…

    It’s up on Gutenberg, if anyone cares to take a look.

    1. Beam Piper’s works are now public domain, so it is fair to download them, but John Carr has made a practice of keeping much of his stuff in order, and adding to some of his story lines. Beam Piper was in Heinlein’s league as a writer, in my judgment. He was also a good friend.

      Regarding Fascism: Mussolini insisted that he was a good Socialist all his life, but he was a Marxist deviant, and certainly not a Leninist. To the extent that there ever was an intellectual defense of Fascism, Mussolini’s son in law Count Ciano did the best one: Fascism, according to Ciano, accepts the Marxist idea of inevitable class warfare, but does not accept the Leninist notion of Dictatorship of the proletariat abolishing social classes entirely. The State can intervene, and force the social classes to work together; and this will produce a true socialist state, powerful, competent, and fair. It can not only make the trains run on time, but build the railroads, and airports as well.

      This was the original doctrine of Fascism; it was an attempt at rational statism (“Everything for the state; nothing against the state; nothing outside the state.” ) In that sense it is indistinguishable from Stalinism. Fascism thrived for a while ,and was, as Huey Long said, coming to America although not under that label. Under Mussolini, Italy opposed Hitler’s expansionism and the anschluss with Austria; when the Allies caved and Austria was incorporated into the Third Reich, Mussolini chose to ally with Hitler on realist logic. The Germans were now on his border. The Nazi regime became increasingly irrational, and increasingly dominant over Italy, and Fascism increasingly less distinguishable from the National Socialist German Worker’s Party (NSDAP), the Jewish civil servants and one cabinet minister were dismissed, and the regime became more totalitarian. Some of these changes were reflected in Iberian Fascism, which was always distinguished from Stalinist Marxism by its attitude toward religion and the Catholic Church.
      Peronism was a reflection more of Italian Fascism than German National Socialism. The point being that while on the scale of favoring state power (as opposed to the view that the state is a necessary or unnecessary evil) the NSDAP and Mussolini and Lenin/Stalin are indistinguishable, in other dimensions they are quite different.
      Incidentally, Mussolini was dismissed by the King on a motion put by Ciano; after the Germans restored Mussolini to power by abolishing the monarchy and declaring a republic in Italy, Ciano was shot by firing squad.

      1. My condolences, belated though they may be, on the loss of your friend. I don’t feel qualified to judge Piper as an author except to say everything of his I have read pleased me and left me wanting more.

        I appreciate the information on Socialism/Fascism — most of what is taught about those doctrines in school is on a par with Orwell’s “parsing” of it as “bad.” it is as if they don’t really think we need to know about it and don’t want us able to recognized it when somebody attempts to sell it to the nation.

        1. yes. One note. Portuguese National Socialism also had no problems with/actively gave refuge to Jews. Mom’s most vivid childhood memories are seeing the refugee ladies arrive. Those refugees were not like today’s refugees. One reason mom remembered them is that they were thin and their clothes often dirty/threadbare, but she thought their behavior made them “ladies” and strove to imitate them.

  2. Minor nit.

    The difference between the American Revolution and the French Revolution was that the American Revolution was more about “protecting what we already had from somebody who wanted to take control away from us”.

    IE The Colonial Governments were fighting against the British Government in order to prevent the British Government from “taking over”.

    The French Revolution was about “destroying the old ways of doing things in order to create something (in their minds) new”.

    Of course, one thing remained the same in France. The idea that the government in Paris controlled everything.

    In America, not even the government of each Colony/State tried to control everything and the States didn’t want the “federal” government to have such power.

    Our Revolution was a Conservative Revolution because we didn’t want the British Government to “change things”.

    1. I wonder how much of this American mentality is due to the frontier, or the fact that at any time, people could say “screw this” and move west to a place where the government didn’t really have any power at all. It’s been at least three generations since we’ve had that in this country (not counting Alaska), and I wonder if that’s part of the reason we’ve been sliding to the statist left since FDR.

      1. I think this too.

        Libertarians (who are their own loose coalition of philosophies) are not numerous enough to have any say in a democracy. They just aren’t. (15%ish of our population maybe). Not very many people think like us, or ever will.

        So how did our amazingly free, amazingly principled country ever form in the first place? I think the frontier acted as a filter concentrating freedom-seeking people: People who wanted to live free of interference moved to the frontier. People who wanted to scheme and meddle and end up on top of a social hierarchy clung to “places of power” in large cities.

        1. The “right” in Europe trusting their government works because that government has the same assumptions, roughly.

          We’re from everywhere, so the assumptions of the government are generally not going to be the same, on some things we’re pretty dang enthusiastic about.

          It’s usually viewed in terms of the Government not forbidding action, but it’s also supposed to be in terms of the government not forbidding inaction. Usually of individuals, but also of groups.

          Still a work in progress.

        2. People tend to be unaware of the extent to which “machine politics” dominated politics in our big cities in the not so distant past.

          M. Craig Brown and Charles N. Halaby, authors of Machine Politics in America, 1870-1945 in The Journal of Interdisciplinary History examine the period in which such political industry thrived.

          Kansas City’s James Pendergast (whose machine put Harry Truman in the Senate) described his role as

          I’ve been called a boss. All there is to it is having friends, doing things for people, and then later on they’ll do things for you… You can’t coerce people into doing things for you—you can’t make them vote for you. I never coerced anybody in my life. Wherever you see a man bulldozing anybody he don’t last long.
          Wiki, Political machines in the United States

          Wiki further notes:

          Many machines formed in cities to serve immigrants to the U.S. in the late 19th century who viewed machines as a vehicle for political enfranchisement. Machine workers helped win elections by turning out large numbers of voters on election day. It was in the machine’s interests to only maintain a minimally winning amount of support. Once they were in the majority and could count on a win, there was less need to recruit new members, as this only meant a thinner spread of the patronage rewards to be spread among the party members. As such, later-arriving immigrants, such as Jews, Italians, and other immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe between the 1880s and 1910s, saw fewer rewards from the machine system the well-established Irish. At the same time, the machines’ staunchest opponents were members of the middle class, who were shocked at the malfeasance and did not need the financial help.

          The corruption of urban politics in the United States was denounced by private citizens. They achieved national and state civil-service reform and worked to replace local patronage systems with civil service. By Theodore Roosevelt’s time, the Progressive Era mobilized millions of private citizens to vote against the machines.

          In the 1930s, James A. Farley was the chief dispenser of the Democratic Party’s patronage system through the Post Office and the Works Progress Administration which eventually nationalized many of the job benefits machines provided. The New Deal allowed machines to recruit for the WPA and Civilian Conservation Corps, making Farley’s machine the most powerful. All patronage was screened through Farley, including presidential appointments. The New Deal machine fell apart after he left the administration over the third term in 1940. Those agencies were abolished in 1943 and the machines suddenly lost much of their patronage. The formerly poor immigrants who had benefited under Farley’s national machine had become assimilated and prosperous and no longer needed the informal or extralegal aides provided by machines.[15] In the 1940s most of the big city machines collapsed, with the exception of Chicago. A local political machine in Tennessee was forcibly removed in what was known as the 1946 Battle of Athens.

          Since the 1960s, some historians have reevaluated political machines, considering them corrupt but efficient. Machines were undemocratic but responsive. They were also able to contain the spending demands of special interests. In Mayors and Money, a comparison of municipal government in Chicago and New York, Ester R. Fuchs credited the Cook County Democratic Organization with giving Mayor Richard J. Daley the political power to deny labor union contracts that the city could not afford and to make the state government assume burdensome costs like welfare and courts. Describing New York, Fuchs wrote, “New York got reform, but it never got good government.” At the same time, as Dennis R. Judd and Todd Swanstrom point out in City Politics, this view often coincided with a lack of period alternatives. They go on to point out that this is a falsehood, since there are certainly examples of reform oriented, anti-machine leaders during this time.

          Emphasis added.

          In looking for evidence of any trend toward partisan political alignment of such machines (to my memory they were affilaited with the Democrat Party, but I vaguely recall reading of one Republican-linked machine) I found this interesting observation:

          Many Progressives came from the traditional upper and middle-class establishment, and were offended by the emergence of a class of government and political professionals who threatened their own views of democratic ideals and social justice. To some Progressives, their religious beliefs and views of their social responsibilities as privileged members of society demanded that they act to improve working and living conditions for the less fortunate.

          referring to the early 20th Century Progressive Movement, in the period from the 1900 through the end of World War I in 1918.

          Make of that what you will.

  3. “That fascination of the fascists with nationalism, btw, explains why the left can’t seem to accept national love/pride…”

    Which is odd when you consider just how nationalist that Engels and Marx were. I could post several quotes from both of them that Hitler damn near copy+pasted into his grand strategy/rhetoric.

    It makes my teeth itch to hear “nationalism” listed exclusively as a right wing trait.

    1. Yes, but the spread of Marxism came under the aegis of Russia and “internationalism” meant “roll over and let Russia win.” There was a load of propaganda designed to make you despise nationalism and in europe I was actually taught the CAUSE of WWII was nationalism.

      1. No doubt, but leftist nationalist philosophers aside, there are plenty of leftist groups/movements/parties in Europe that currently espouse nationalism, or at least show nationalistic tendencies. As you’re more than aware, the Iberian peninsula alone has a few examples. The EU separatist groups gaining in popularity can hardly be considered right wing, as you so accurately pointed out.

        I guess the “nationalism is a right wing trait” we here so much about on this side of the pond comes from American leftists of any degree who simply regurgitate what they hear from Europeans. And as usual, they do so with little to no knowledge of the huge difference in concept of the left/right spectrum between our continents.

        1. The EU separatist groups gaining in popularity can hardly be considered right wing from the American perspective, as you so accurately pointed out.

          Edited for clarity.

      2. The claim of socialism as an “international” movement was, I think, a ruse. In the Soviet Union it was Russians who were in control. A Georgian might rise to the apex, but the society was fundamentally under Russian aegis. This is a large part of their “trouble” with the Maoists.

        Even the general policies and organization of the Soviet Union was essentially Russian. The claim of an international communism was simply so much boob bait for the masses — their end goal was always for Moscow to be in charge.

        1. I agree with your claim of Russians completely ruling the soviet union, may I note that there was at least one Georgian who rose to the top.

          1. If Hitler was a conservative, he would’ve put the Kaiser back on the throne (he was looking for work). As one pundit said “tell me one thing Hitler tried to conserve.”
            In _Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin_, historian Timothy Snyder claims that Stalin didn’t explicitly begin to identify Soviets with Russians until the Second World War.
            The European-style Right has to emphasize nationalism because you need a common history to differentiate your nation from other nations, and to bind your people together. As designed by Mussolini, fascism allowed class differences (they could not be erased), but insisted that all people give their primary loyalty to the state.
            Trade unionism is a great test for statism. Neither Hitler nor Stalin allowed free trade unions because they represented a locus of power that was not state-controlled. This, BTW, is why Castro claims that Cuba is more Democratic than the United States. In the U.S., you people promoting their own interests over the interests of the people. In Cuba, every activity is monitored and controlled to ensure it does not work against the interests of the people.

      3. The reason for declaring “nationalism” evil was a) to distract from the Fascists and b) on the order of bacteria denouncing immune systems.

        OTOH, yes, the cause of WWII was nationalism in the same way that the cause of rape is resistance.

  4. So how much longer do you think the European Union can stay alive, and what is going to replace it?

      1. The real question is whether the current Islamic “invasion by refugee” will generate sufficient backlash for Europe to defend herself or whether their spines are already so soft they will collapse under the pressure.

        I can’t offer odds, as I trust the Media reporting on that even less than I do the American MSM reporting on events here, but I wouldn’t invest any money on their resistance. I think their cultural immune system is so far compromised that even if they fight off the current infection they will remain enfeebled and prey to later infestations.

        1. I would not be surprised if within a couple hundred years, Europe is majority Muslim (immigration + birth rates). And honestly, I’m not convinced that that would be a bad thing.

            1. How soon until a shooting war in Europe? Slovenia (?) used tanks to keep the invading hordes at bay. Too bad the US troops aren’t in Germany anymore!

              1. I guess I’m a warmonger but..Do we have enough troops left to kick the invading refugees out of Europe?If everyone gets involved it’d be World War Five. Ridding Europe of the Pisslamic Hordes. The dirty nasty primitive savages. TYhat’s what they are.

              2. We’re already in a shooting war in Ukraine. Also, in 2008 there was Georgia, and in the 90s there was Bosnia, Kosovo, etc.

                There will probably be more flare-ups in the east with Russia, but my money is on that country collapsing before the conflict goes global. The ruble all but collapsed last year, all the regions are bankrupt, Putin has some serious troubles with the FSB (he disappeared for ten days back in March), and their economic overtures to the Chinese smack of desperation.

                What I could see happening:

                1) China falls into a recession and gradually implodes.
                2) As a result, Russia’s economy collapses, and either:
                a) Putin stays in power and continues his aggressive expansion,
                b) Putin loses power and Russia falls apart, or
                c) a strong leader emerges and takes Russia to war.
                3) The world falls into another economic downturn, driven by the Chinese implosion (and at least partially by the economic policies of Our Glorious Leader, Barak Hussein Obama). The EU survives in name, but the Euro falls apart and the Eurozone countries return to their national currencies. Germany, the V4 (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary), and the UK are the only countries that don’t fall into an outright depression.
                4) Political upheaval sweeps across the rest of Europe. Where the radical nationalists (the European Right) don’t rise to power immediately, the radical socialists (European Left) do, driving their countries to collapse even further.

                It’s around phase 4 when I expect there to be blood. Considering how more than 100 million Europeans died of political causes between 1914 and 1945, it will probably be nasty.

            2. From what I’ve read of Islamic history, the culture seems to go through phases of extremism every few hundred years, and we’re currently in a hot phase. Integration with the West could help to cool things down in the long run.

              While I don’t condone Islamic extremism in the least, I have to acknowledge that Islamic culture preserved the ancient philosophy of the Greeks and brought us important developments in medieval science, history, architecture, and literature. The culture isn’t completely evil, and to the extent that it is evil, it seems to be due to the fact that they’ve been ruled by bloodthirsty totalitarian dictators for much of their history—both before colonialism and after.

                1. Oh I know that, believe me. But when I lived in Jordan, I noticed a real hunger for liberty among the people I talked with. Most of them were Muslim.

                  1. How did they define liberty? Iraqis polled high on freedom of religion, then acted like their religion should be free to oppress other religions.

                    1. American-style democracy. A surprising number of Arabs look up to us and our way of life. I’m sure there are others who just want “freedom” for Islamists, especially in statist Egypt, but the Bedouin are much more libertarian at heart and genuinely seem to admire us.

                    2. That’s part of their religion. You don’t want to oppress them?

                      Which is part of the problem. To put it in milder terms, I have discussions in which people who would certainly claim to support religious freedom tied themselves into more knots than a pretzel when I pointed out that the Great Commission means that evangelizing is a religious duty for Christians. (One tried to loftily declare that if he were a Christian he would pay more attention to Jesus’s words than to Paul’s. Someone beat me to pointing out his problem.)

                    3. IMO, in the back of a lot of people’s mind is the idea that “You can have Freedom of Religion as long as you have the proper Religion”. [Frown]

                    1. And even as “one of the sane ones” I think they’re not any better at actual Liberty than Portugal. You also meet tons of Portuguese people who want freedom… for themselves. All those other lunatics, though? They need laws to keep them in line.

                    2. In defense of jordan I note they have a significant “refugee” problem of their own, having several times since WWII’s conclusion suffered refugee (“Palestinian”) generated attempts to take over the government, including one (1951) assassination and a civil war (1970-1.)

              1. Christians and Jews under Muslim rule protected the ancient works, and Constantinople protected more than they did. The “rediscovery” of the Renaissance was due to material flowing from Constantinople more than from Muslim lands.

        1. And American. Name one European war since the 20th century we haven’t participated in. “World’s policeman”

        2. Given the rumbles and arson that are building, and the way discontent is squirting out from under the state media lids, I’d say we’re got a mess. Germany is straining at the seams because the Länder, like Bavaria and Saxony, can’t pay for the cost and are seeing their economies plummeting. I’ve already cancelled next summer’s trip to northern Germany because of the immigrant mess, and I suspect the big tour companies are pulling back on the Christmas Market tours and next summer’s stuff. Bavaria will get hit hard, and they are already squalling.

          1. They should be kicked out of NYC with Extreme Prejudice. Don’t dump ’em in the East river. You know how long it’d take to clean the river after ’em?

            1. I’d chip in a modest amount to help relocate the UN to an appropriate place.

              North Korea. Mali? Albania? Afghanistan?

                1. As long as the subduction zone is outside the US. We wouldn’t want it in San Francisco or L.A., would we? Although, come to think of it, L.A. and the UN might deserve each other.

              1. Just curious, why Albania? I’ve heard Albania’s largest export is Albanians – do we really want to risk having the UN somehow making its way back?

              2. I suggest the U.A.E.

                They’re in a delightful climate with stupendous views over the Persian Gulf. According to the World Atlas:

                As a rapidly growing tourist destination, the U.A.E. offers travelers beautiful beaches, deserts and oasis tours. Abu Dhabi, the country’s capital, as well as Dubai, are modern cities famed for their high-rise buildings and stylish hotels.

                It sounds like just the sort of place the sophisticated UN embassies and consulates would enjoy.

                Additionally, the U.A.E. is strategically situated in Asia, the continent of the 21st Century, while NY and America are so last,/I> century.

                Besides, the damned Arabs already effectively own the UN already, so why not let them take their toy home with them?

          1. The UN is sitting on prime NY real estate. You know much money you could make if you turned the UN into apartments or condos? It overlooks the East River.

    1. I’m going to venture that the US taking a turn towards isolationism and withdrawing it’s troops would trigger a collapse.

      1. This is the worst time to turn isolationist. Pres Cruz had an uphill battle to repair all the damage BO has done.

      2. I personally don’t have anything against isolationism, but I have the impression that most Libertarians want to go at it cold-turkey, which I think would be bad for both the world and for the United States.

        If I were President, I think I’d announce (quietly, to our allies, so that our enemies don’t smell the blood in the water) that we are pulling out in four years, and that in the meantime, we encourage you to get a pistol and a rifle into the hands of as many able-bodied males and able-bodied females in your country that you can, well, muster, and start training them. We’ll be willing to sell you some of the arms, and give you blueprints if you need them to make your own, and even provide initial training for these musters…but if you insist on having silly laws that prevent your citizens from getting the weapons and training they need, then I hope your country is happy with having no US troop presence AND no citizen militia to repel invasions!

  5. It is time the European right learns to say ‘No, not all cultures are alike.’ “

    At the very least, they need to learn to say: Use the !@#@ toilets! Do NOT drop trou and go wherever you happen to be!

  6. While I generally eschew such simple generalities, i will propose one for the distinction between the two parties in America. It is not the one advocated by the Proglodytes nor their sock puppets in the Media and the Professoriate — a) they lie, b) their definitions are as rigged as a pea-&-3-walnut shell game, c) their purpose in putting forth definitions is not to enhance clarity but to reduce it and d) they lie.

    Nor do i think appropriate the movement/order dichotomy. As Sarah noted, the distinction is inane, representing an example of the rigged defintions noted above. Further, it denies the “conservative” goal of moving to increased personal liberty under the protection of the law.

    It seems to me that, even more than the authoritarian/non-authoritarian axis, the distinction is between the party of “results” and the party pf “process.” Proglodytes and Liberals are driven to impose results, what they perceive as equitable solutions without regard to the costs or consequences. They short circuit procedural safeguards, such as developing a political super-majority for any major change and just cut Gordius’ knot without regard to who gets slashed by the whipping ends. Thus we have a fifty-year battle over abortion, we have affirmative action demonstrably harming minorities (see: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2015/10/why-arent-there-more-black-scientists.php for most recent evidence) and we have devil’s deals with unions that frustrate the efforts they are intended to achieve (see any number of articles about public school achievement levels.)

    The Right, on the other hand, is focused on process, on the slow working of cultural change that requires years to develop. It is a party for the patient, for those who believe that politics follows, not leads, cultural advance. by assuring basic fundamental rights are protected conservatives rely on our system to achieve change in a lasting way, one which does not entrench special interests (e.g., unions, taxi medallion owners) and provides the necessary structures for societal growth.

    In gardening metaphor, the Left believes in forced growth by heavy application of fertilizer (and they’ve got that aplenty) while the Right believes in enrichment of the soil by careful cultivation over time.

    Of course, on top of that are the charlatans, crackpots and crony capitalists who don’t care <I<how we achieve societal development so long as they line their pockets along the way.

  7. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say again on what I think is the primary difference between the two major parties in America.

    The Democrats are the party of group rights.
    The Republicans are the party of individual rights.

    If group rights exist- individual rights cannot. Group rights and freedom cannot coexist either.

    1. That makes a lot of sense. The Democrats do seem to be the party that’s obsessed with identity politics, and as the social justice warriors have shown us, identity politics are absolutely toxic.

  8. I have a long-time friend who, whenever I discuss American politics on my Google+ page, insists on chiming in and pointing out how Barack Obama is not a leftist on the world scale.

    I have no idea why he insists on this. It’s simply not relevant to a discussion of American politics.

      1. Apparently yes. The U.S. us “The Other” and we can not be allowed to simply go about our business in an Otherly manner.

    1. Maybe they need to combine “Gun Rights” with “Immigration Now,” “Black Lives Matter,” “Take Back The Night” or some similar politically protected advocacy.

      1. Invite the local chapter of Pink Pistols or the NRA Ladies’ Auxiliary to talk about firearms and concealed carry. Then you can claim sexism and homophobia along with interference with peaceable assembly.

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