A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Political Definitions, beware labels.

Political Partys and political views are often labeled with Right, Left or some other definition. It has never been really clear to me EXACTLY what these terms mean and so I went looking. It is clear that very few of the “labels” really fit the actual practical application of the ideology except perhaps for the Neo-Con. Each is a mix of views LEANING, more or less, towards a particular label. It seems clear to me that the Liberals are not liberal, the Conservatives are not conservative and the NDP are not socialist. The Greens do not fit in any of the traditional “labels” except to say that they are “on the left” which also encompasses everything from communism to anarchy.

This post is my way of saying, beware labels and getting to closely attached to the terms Conservative or Liberal or any other ideology supposedly followed by any particular political party because such labels are false and misleading. Be carefull what you wish for. “Most governments while claiming to be of one sort of system are actually a combination of many. The US, for instance, many call it a democracy when in fact it is a federal republic, although at times, depending on who is running the country, has also been very capitalist, full of bureaucracy, and an oligarchy”

Here are some definitions (my highlights) of interest gleaned from the internet mostly from here which generally seems to agree with other such writings.

Conservative, the political view that things should stay the way things are. Belief in little or no socialized spending.

In politics, right-wing, the political right, and the Right are terms often defined as politics that seeks to uphold or return to traditional authorities and/or the liberties of a civil society and the preservation of the domestic culture, usually in the face of external forces for change. ...

Right-wing, rightist - Several methods of conservative, reactionary or fascist political ideologies which is supportive the main features of the current social and economic order, accepting all of its inequalities of wealth, status and privilege. Right wing ideologies tend to emphasize the values of order, patriotism, social cohesion, and a personal sense of duty. Acceptance of the status quo.

Neo-Con - A shortened term for "new conservative", which unlike the traditional conservative, is more about conserving "moral" values (pro-life, no stem cell research, prayer in school...but very much in favor of the death penalty) over traditional conservative values. Traditional conservatives do not identify with neo-cons because some of the actions of this movement are deemed to destroy the economy, environment, civil liberties, privacy and the essence of a free society in favor of a few in the class of power and it favors a vocal minority of the religious Right. The neo-cons are viewed as blinded from seeing the whole picture because they can only see their own mission and refuse to see anything else.

Liberal, having political or social views favoring reform and progress and the protection of civil liberties, tolerant of change; not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or tradition.

In politics, left-wing, the political left, or the Left are terms that refer to politics that seek to reform or abolish existing social hierarchies and promote a more equal distribution of wealth and privilege. ...

Left-wing, leftist - A broad range of political ideology that is denouncing the of economic and social inequality in the present order of society and advocating the adoption of vigorous public policies to reduce or eliminate these inequalities in opposition of the political agenda of the rightist. Common political paths include socialism , communism , social democracy, welfare statism, contemporary American liberalism and anarchy.

socialism - An "economic, social and political doctrine which expresses the struggle for the equal distribution of wealth by eliminating private property and the exploitative ruling class. ...Socialism refers to any of various economic and political concepts of state or collective (i.e. public) ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods and services.

Green politics is a political ideology which places a high importance on ecological and environmental goals, and on achieving these goals through broad-based, grassroots, participatory democracy. ...
The Greens are an ecologist political party to the left of the political spectrum

Communism - Any ideology based on pure equality of the ownership of all property, a class-less social structure, and economic production and distribution to be directed and regulated by means of an economic plan that embodies the ideals of the community.

Anarchism - The fundamental belief that the state, laws and all forms of government authority is unjustified, oppressive and illegitimate. Therefore the government should be abolished and social and economic issues be carried out by means of voluntary and consensual arrangements.


Finally just so we know what we are talking about, these terms are very relevant in today’s political world

Democracy - A government where political power is fully in the hands of the people. Governmental systems in which the citizens exercise this power directly through general assemblies or referenda to decide the most important questions of law or policy.

Capitalism - Private ownership of the businesses of a society with the freedom of private owners to use, buy and sell their property or services on the market at voluntarily agreed prices and terms, with only minimal interference with such transactions by the state or other authoritative third parties.

Oligarchy - Rule over the many by a few. While one could read this to mean any type of governmental system because there are always a few in power leading or speaking on behalf of the many, the term "oligarchy" is more in reference to the type of system where a small group with the same principles band together to assure their agenda or will is accomplished. In essence, it is a government on behalf of this small group and not for the people. The people of this government is to serve the will of the leaders to their end.

Dictatorship - Government by a single person or group of people who are in no way held responsible to the general population. Their discretion in using the powers and resources of the state is unrestrained by any fixed legal or constitutional rules.

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