posted by jurassicpork @ Wednesday, July 15, 2009
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As usual, you conflate "liberal" with "left", and restrict your perception of politics to a framework that is predominantly informed by the U.S. media. If you you read the international press and international independent media, if you talk to self-described "left wingers" in New Zealand, Italy, Brazil, Ireland, Indonesia, and yes, the U.S., you will find attitudes and opinions substantially at odds with the perception of Obama suggested in your picture.
No, what I'm saying is that both sides are willfully blind. The media is equally blind as to what the true liberals represent ideologically and do not really advance our ideology. Therefore it is impossible for them to inform me on what I and my side think.We liberals do not look at Obama as a liberal yet by dint of conspicuous relief, considering his predecessor, it's it necessary for many liberals to ignore his obvious glaring faults as a Chief Executive and to virtually deify him. The other side find it equally necessary to demonize him.Lastly, liberalism, as with conservatism, is largely defined upon the needs of a particular nation. What defines an American liberal wouldn't necessarily define, say, an Irish or New Zealand liberal. Liberalism, for instance, wouldn't need to address health care in a nation that already has universal health care.Therefore I think it would be highly dangerous to allow myself to be informed as to the virtues or character of liberalism from other nations that define it differently from us.
Your follow up comment is not responsive. Your original comment uses the phrase "left wingers", not "liberals". This elision one your part (on that you still do not appear to see) belies a fundamental and deep-seated inability to understand the extent to which your conception of political difference is, itself, an expression of ideological hegemony. That reflex, on your part, is demonstrated in your reference to "both sides" -- as if political difference is in the final analysis reducible to one of two positions located in two dimensional space.The remainder of your remarks -- "liberalism, as with conservatism, is largely defined upon the needs of a particular nation" -- is so generalized as to border on incoherent. "Needs of a particular nation" (whatever the heck that is supposed to mean) does not "define" "liberalism". Furthermore, your proposition assumes that the subject position of national identity predominates, overrides and supercedes other subject positions.Make no mistake . . . Like Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, and Clinton, Obama implements an imperial policy -- one that presupposes as self-evident that the U.S. gov't has the inherent and self-justified authority to exercise power unilaterally if and whenever U.S. access to resources and markets are in any way perceived as threatened.
Whatever, Ms. Spock. I don't see the point in continuing this needless debate when I respond with a well thought-out response and you call me "incoherent."I've said it before (as in couple of days ago) and I'll say it again: It's the height of folly to try to reduce my perception of the political world as one of white and black. There are left wingers and there are right wingers and there are a lot of independents in between. The volleys fired from either side of the Great Ideological divide, as I call it, is such that it would be easy for a misinformed person to assume that the nation is completely polarized but that's nit the case. I've used to make my point the Bell Curve, which would show the hump in the middle, the centrists, independents, undecideds, whatever you want to call them, making up the vast majority of the electorate. Tapering off at either side of the Bell Curve would be the pure partisans, the left wingers anf right wingers.And yes, liberalism, as well as conservatism, is defined by the needs and agendas of a particular nation. If you can't understand that, then I simply don't see the point in debating with you any further.Now go slink back to your concern troll bridge and smugly imagine that you've won this "debate."
Sonya said, "Make no mistake . . . Like Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, and Clinton, Obama implements an imperial policy"Well, duh! The powers-that-be are not going to allow non-imperialists into the White House. Don't forget, Douglas Adams said, anyone capable of getting themselves elected President is far too corrupt to be allowed to do the job.And what I find strange is Sonya's taking JP to task for saying, "liberalism, as well as conservatism, is defined by the needs and agendas of a particular nation" when her rebuttal says just that, different nations have different definitions.Sonya seems to be picking an argument over nothing of substance. JP is one of the few left-of-center bloggers that isn't blinded with love for Obama.
Sorry I hurt your feelings. What you provide remains constrained by reference to and reliance upon metaphors of two-dimensional geometry Witness, for example, your "bell curve" metaphor. References to "centrists", "independents", "undecided" serve to occlude what is in greatest need of elucidation. Furthermore, those categories presuppose that political practice is reducible to American presidential voting.It takes little effort to realize that many forms of social engagement have consequences that are political in nature. Yet, one learns little of great importance in that respect by adopting the categories you deploy. Thus, one may be: a practicing vegetarian; a prosecutor; an advocate of the death penalty for human rights violations; a proponent of supply side economics at the municiple level in agricultural provinces in New Zealand; an atheist who, nonetheless, attends Christmas eve services with her Lutheran neighbors; in favor of development of nuclear energy; in favor of allowing Muslim women the right to wear the buhrka in France; opposed to enforced co-education; in favor of a local school dress code; opposed to a state ban on the right of schools to adopt a policy of 60 seconds each school day for silent meditation; an advocate for increased funding of a provincial police department. One might quite reasonably wonder how terms like "centrist", "independent", "liberal", "conservative" and the like provide any kind of analytic value in the face of such facts.
Mr. Rutherford,Not picking a fight. Just pointing out how the blogger's thinking tends to stay soundly within the framework of "liberal" ideology.You say: "And what I find strange is Sonya's taking JP to task for saying, "liberalism, as well as conservatism, is defined by the needs and agendas of a particular nation" when her rebuttal says just that, different nations have different definitions."You'll have to explain how you reach your conclusion. I merely note that there are "self-described" left-wingers who reside in different countries. I say nothing about "different nations hav[ing] different definitions" of anything. (Incidentally, "nations" do not "have" definitions except insofar as state laws define specific terms. I am unaware of whether any of the countries I mentioned actually provide a state definition of "liberal", "left", etc. That would interesting to verify.)The initial post speaks of "nations" having "needs". That formulation carries within it and invites an understanding of the nation-state as somehow unified and reflecting the "needs" of a heterogeneous civil society. In fact, "nations" are simply legally sanctioned geo-political entities that reflect that specific "needs" of dominant groups within civil society.I disagree that reaching the corridors of state power necessarily requires corruption. What is required is that the individual have already deeply internalized certain values and practices that most readily predispose them to performing their jobs in ways that reflect dominant interests.
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