far left

Rigged Elections and Whether the Right is a Threat

On this our 50th edition, Andrew puts to Nic a thought experiment where a general election is rigged in order to get freedom lovers in power.
Would that be a good thing?  What are the moral implications?  Should outcomes matter more than methods?
This leads us onto whether the political right are a threat any more and whether we should only be afraid of the left taking control of the levers of government.
Finally, what of the terms “far left” and “far right”?  Are they used appropriately in the legacy media and corporate press?
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The Left Right Game 2

After Andrew surprised Nic a few episodes ago with The Left Right Game, Nic has been thinking and planning a way of getting his own back, and taking the game a step further.

In this edition, we look at whether certain organisations and people are more “Left” or “Right” wing (or a bit of both), rather than just looking at government policies, like we did the first time.

Will you agree with our determinations? How right wing or left wing are you based on our definitions? Does it change how you think about the political spectrum?

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Please visit our website to download or stream all our previous episodes and to read our articles.
Remember, you can now subscribe on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWzAT–UxzErq_UU5SCUtFg
Please reach out to us on Twitter:
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Please subscribe and leave a review.  We don’t want your money – just share, listen, subscribe and watch!

Why people call themselves centrists

Centrism is one of those terms that people put a lot of effort into claiming. It doesn’t seem to matter where the political Overton Window is, people (and parties) always try to insist that they have the centre ground.

People tweet about how centrism is the best way. That being a centrist means realising your side doesn’t have all the answers. That centrism is somehow synonymous with reason, with the sensible middle ground. The non extreme view.

Here in the UK, there’s lots of talk about how Britain is crying out for a new centrist party.

Why is this?

I believe it is firmly routed in the way politics is taught in the West. Think about it, for a minute. What is everybody taught from a young age? Communism is on the far left and Fascism is on the far right. Most people, understandably, want to be as far away from those two abhorrent ideologies as possible. Certainly anyone who has any grasp at all of 20th century history. And where is the furthest away from both of those on the standard, left/right political spectrum? The very centre.

I believe this is the reason why so many people claim the centrist position, even when they all disagree where it is. They want to believe that their position is reasonable. That their views are what normal people should have (if only they had the same information as them, as if often the case). Stray from the very centre? That’s a slippery slope to extremism, my friend!

One of the problems here is, of course, that Communism, Socialism and Fascism are all so similar. The idea that they are somehow on opposite ends of the spectrum falls down with minimal scrutiny. One of the reasons for this is that the political spectrum is not just left/right. The political compass, with its four quadrants, isn’t perfect but is a lot better.

The additional axes on the spectrum detail the difference between authoritarianism and libertarianism, whether you believe in force or freedom. A fan of state regulation? Top half. Tariffs on external goods? Top half. Nationalisation? Top of the top half. Believe in free markets? Bottom half. Free speech? Bottom half. Think everyone should be able to run their own lives? Bottom half.

It’s that authoritarian/libertarian axis that’s far more important to me. It doesn’t bother me if you’re on the left or the right, as long as you don’t want to run everybody else’s life. If you want to live in a commune, feel free? As long as you don’t expect me to subsidise you. If you want to control my life, however, I don’t care which side you’re on.

The standard left/right paradigm doesn’t really have anywhere for classical liberals or libertarians, either. Where am I supposed to go? Liberals are usually branded right wing simply for being ‘not left wing’, but nobody can ever explain to me the connection between small government, freedom loving Austrian economists and totalitarian, big state fascists.

Ask a random person now where they’d put people who want small government & low taxes on the standard scale and I bet 99% of them would place them on the right – regardless of whether they attribute those things as positive or negative in political or social terms.  The same applies these days to freedom is speech.  Safe spaces, no-platforming, thought crime – these are features of the current left.  If you advocate true freedom of speech with no exceptions then you are automatically considered far right.

Ask those same people how those stances can lead to fascism and you’ll just hear crickets.

Maybe they’ll argue that by defending people who share (in their minds at least) abhorrent views, it somehow encourages and promotes those views and makes them spread.  Heaven forbid that the light of day would allow intelligent people to challenge and refute what is necessary, and present evidence to counter the negativity.

But what they miss entirely is that fascism was about not being allowed a voice, by having to adhere to the party line or be “disappeared” by the secret police.  Doesn’t sound like free speech to me.

And the idea that by thinking you may pay too much tax is somehow a route to racial superiority is as laughable as it is sad.  Fascism and the right wing have been wrongly equated for too long.  If anything left and right have now lost all meaning in political and social terms.

It’s no wonder people and their politicians have grabbed onto centrism with both hands as a way of distinguishing themselves from the extremists.  The trouble is though, freedom now seems to be an extreme ideology.  When did that happen?

Charlottesville Counter Protests – A Success Or A Failure?

On Sunday, August 12th 2018, A second white supremacist rally was held in Washington DC. “Unite The Right 2” was planned as a sequel to the first rally, one year ago in Charlottesville, Virginia, where far right protestors and far left counter protestors clashed violently, resulting in the death of a young woman (and many more injured).

The first rally had hundreds in attendance, possibly up to a thousand. Angry young men with their tiki torches, chanting. This year? Approximately twenty people showed up. Not even a single bus load. They were vastly outnumbered by counter protestors from around 40 anti-racism organisations.

Now, you may think this is a good thing. That the far right have been, as near as makes no difference, eliminated. But have they? Interviews with protestors state that many of their colleagues did not attend due to fear. The protests last year became very violent due to clashes with Antifa, the so called anti-fascist organisation, who have a history of administering extreme violence in their black face masks against anyone (including young women & the elderly) who isn’t far left, and other counter protestors.

So what has actually happened? Has Fascism been eliminated? Of course it hasn’t. It’s been driven underground. Which is one of the worst things that could have happened. This is exactly why we need free speech. Free speech is how individuals and groups improve their opinions. They can air their thoughts, debate, argue and have alternative opinions given to them. They can then strengthen their opinions, or perhaps change their minds when presented with other evidence. None of this can happen now for white supremacists. So how are these people ever going to have their minds changed, now that they can’t speak in public? How can young, foolish individuals ever hope to change their dumb opinions under these circumstances?

Pushing things underground never works. Look back to prohibition in the 1930s. How well did that work? Or the war on drugs. How’s that going? Pushing opinions underground never works, either. In Britain the British National Party (BNP) were a growing political movement, some years ago. Although labelled “far right”, their policies were firmly in the left wing (mass nationalisation, etc.). They were just extremely racist. The BBC invited their then leader, Nick Griffin, onto Question Time, the popular political programme. There was uproar from the left wing. People went crazy and petitioned the BBC to change their mind as they shouldn’t give such a man a platform. To their credit, the BBC went ahead with the programme. Nick Griffin came on and made himself look like a fool (without any help from the weak panellists also on the programme). Support for the BNP evaporated, almost overnight.

The way to change people’s minds is to engage with them. To converse, to debate, to counter. We should be shining a light on people with white supremacist opinions. We should be inviting them to debates, to share the stage with us. If you don’t think your opinions will stand up to scrutiny from a white supremacist, maybe you should ask yourself why.