The 'third way' experience in political debates

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Pfhorrest
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The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:55 pm UTC

So this thread is not about any particular political debate, or even about "liberals vs conservatives" in general, but I want to share a common experience I have when having any kind of political debate, and hear if other people have similar, or contrasting, experiences, and any insights into the phenomenon in general.

I consider myself politically independent, taking a "third way" kind of position, but on the political spectrum as I would construct it, the (American) Democratic Party is "less wrong", closer to my position, than the (American) Republican Party, even though I don't think of my position as lying along that same axis at all. Here, it's easier to draw a picture than to explain this in a paragraph, since what my position is isn't the real point here:
Spoiler:
ImagePlacement of American political parties is approximate, but the four corners define the spectrum.

Hereafter I'm going to use "liberal"/"left" and "conservative"/"right" as shorthand for people whose political opinions align with the aforementioned Democratic and Republican parties, even though I think those are all misnomers (and in a literal sense I would consider myself both "liberal"/"libertarian" and "conservative", as well as "progressive" and "socialist").

So the phenomenon I want to discuss is that in my experience, when weighing in with my opinion in political debates, I often feel that I receive the harshest, most critical and disapproving responses from liberals, rather than conservatives, even though I think I'm disagreeing with liberals far less than I am with conservatives. I'm unsure why that is but it distresses me a lot and is turning me away from ever discussing politics with anyone.

Maybe it's because I'm usually found among more liberal-leaning crowds anyway, so I'm seen by the liberals there as "just another conservative" for transgressing against the received opinion, but by the conservatives as "here's a liberal who's not as bad as the rest around here".

Maybe it's down to a difference in the general attitude of the two groups? I feel like I've seen plenty of hate and bigotry come from the right, and more emphasis on tolerance and reason from the left, but then the right also seems to make a big deal about "civility", and the more libertarian-leaning right seem to make a big deal about rational weighing of ideas on their merits and not letting emotions cloud your judgement. So, basically, maybe the liberals are more emotional than the conservatives, which is why I feel a harsher reaction from them, even though plenty of conservatives disagree with me too?

Or maybe it's my perceptions just expressed above, that the right is hateful and bigoted and the left is tolerant and reasonable, that make me expect the left to be more welcoming of unusual opinions, and thus their rejection of them takes me aback more, while I (on at least a subconscious level) expect the right to hate me for disagreeing, so their disagreement doesn't hurt as much? Or maybe, on a similar line of reasoning, it's because I think of myself as closer to the left than the right, I think of the left as "more my people" than the right, that I care what they think about my opinions far more than I care what conservatives might think?

Does anyone else (especially people with "third way" or independent political positions) experience anything similar, or perhaps reversed (harsher criticism from the right than the left), or have any other thoughts or insight into this matter?
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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby Lazar » Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:43 pm UTC

It might be related to generational dynamics: progressive positions like marriage equality and marijuana legalization are so rapidly gaining dominance among young people that the old-style conservatives are glad to have anyone in their fold, while the liberals may feel freer to be less ideologically welcoming. Among labor-oriented leftists, I think there's a suspicion that conservatism is trying to repackage itself as libertarian in order to seem cooler while maintaining (in their view) its basic aim of perpetuating moneyed power. I'll admit that I cringe when I hear people use the phrase "socially liberal but fiscally conservative", because the "fiscally conservative" part can mean almost anything and often indicates that they haven't put a lot of thought into their political views.

Somewhat separately, there's the so-called "social justice warrior" or academic leftist culture which predominates in places like Tumblr, and is more focused on issues like gender, privilege and intersectionality when compared with either old-school leftism or the "progressive" mainstream of the Democratic Party. This group produces its fair share of ideological rigidity and intolerance - no more so, I think, than Evangelical conservatism, but it's a lot better represented in academia, on the Internet and among young people. This strain of thought and its forebears have, for decades, fueled conservative complaints of pоlitical correctness and calls for "academic free speech" and the like - and I think the nature of universities means that this dynamic will always exist in some form.
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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby Pfhorrest » Sun Mar 23, 2014 2:46 am UTC

Lazar wrote:It might be related to generational dynamics: progressive positions like marriage equality and marijuana legalization are so rapidly gaining dominance among young people that the old-style conservatives are glad to have anyone in their fold, while the liberals may feel freer to be less ideologically welcoming.

I'm pretty much entirely with the left on those issues, so I don't think that's part of what I'm experiencing.

Among labor-oriented leftists, I think there's a suspicion that conservatism is trying to repackage itself as libertarian in order to seem cooler while maintaining (in their view) its basic aim of perpetuating moneyed power.

That could be a big part of it. I would agree with those leftists that many conservatives are trying to repackage themselves as libertarians... and that that's sullying the name of libertarianism, which (little "l") can refer to a wide range of positions all across the upper half of my spectrum. But those on "the left" conflate "up" with "right" now, so even though I'm just as left as them, I'm "higher" than them, which they interpret as right of them, because the only major group which is "higher" than them (the big-L Libertarian Party) is also right of them, even though they're equally right of me.

Somewhat separately, there's the so-called "social justice warrior" or academic leftist culture which predominates in places like Tumblr, and is more focused on issues like gender, privilege and intersectionality when compared with either old-school leftism or the "progressive" mainstream of the Democratic Party. This group produces its fair share of ideological rigidity and intolerance - no more so, I think, than Evangelical conservatism, but it's a lot better represented in academia, on the Internet and among young people.

This is sort of the kind of people I had in mind mostly, but I was afraid to name them as such because I feel like those are names used by people I don't want to affiliate myself with. I feel like this kind of group is a new thing, by which I mean this millennium, and that newness is what's throwing me — I'm not expecting people on that side of the political spectrum to be like that, because they didn't used to be. I've thought that maybe it's the kids who grew up during the Bush era and the heavy political polarization that time period generated, who grew up among the more moderate kind of liberals of my generation, and their angry resistance to the radical right of the Bush era, and thus grew into an equally radical left that's taking power now.

I wonder how much of that is my own skewed perception due to my exact age, though. I graduated HS in 2000, and just stared becoming really politically aware during the Bush election. My perception of politics prior to that was that the unusually-fiscally-conservative Democratic administration was generally doing great by everyone in the country, but that butthurt puritans in the Republican party were making a big stink about a possible blowjob in an obvious smear campaign. After that, as I became more aware of what was going on in politics, the right wing seemed to get crazier and crazier, and the left (with whom I had never fully agreed either) seemed more and more sane by comparison. And then... I think some time after 2005-2007 maybe, I started noticing the (as you say) "social justice warrior" types, and the harsh ideological intolerance and political polarization on the left, and over time it's seemed to become more and more prominent to the point that I can't recall the last time I had an argument with a crazy-angry conservative (still see plenty of them in the news though), but I seem to run into crazy-angry liberals all the time. I'm unsure on how much of that is due to some change in the attitudes of liberals and conservatives as I've constructed in this narrative though, or due to other possible biases I listed before, or if it's something that's always been there that I'm just slowly becoming aware of and didn't notice before for some reason.
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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby ucim » Sun Mar 23, 2014 2:41 pm UTC

Lazar wrote:I'll admit that I cringe when I hear people use the phrase "socially liberal but fiscally conservative", because the "fiscally conservative" part can mean almost anything and often indicates that they haven't put a lot of thought into their political views.
I don't agree with this at all. "Socially liberal" points to an attitude of "an ye harm none, do as ye wilt" - IOW I have no nose in your private behavior. Fiscally conservative points to an attitude of "if you want it, work for it; we'll all benefit." - IOW my money is not yours to spend. There are of course degrees, but those are the axes, and they are orthogonal.

My problem is with people who don't listen to what I actually say, but rather, tell me what I believe (i.e. because "all the liberals believe this"). Intelligent discussion cannot proceed. They are parroting what they read and hear without passing it through their own brains. This happens on both sides of the political spectrum, and seems to be a function of the need to be extremist in order to "win a point".

I also don't really understand your graph. Could you re-label it with the actual ideologies of the four corners? I'm not all that versed in historical figures, and it's also not clear (to me) which aspects of these figures you wish to evoke.

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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby Lazar » Sun Mar 23, 2014 5:06 pm UTC

ucim wrote:I don't agree with this at all. "Socially liberal" points to an attitude of "an ye harm none, do as ye wilt" - IOW I have no nose in your private behavior. Fiscally conservative points to an attitude of "if you want it, work for it; we'll all benefit." - IOW my money is not yours to spend. There are of course degrees, but those are the axes, and they are orthogonal.

I'm aware of what the political axes are, but my problem is with how "fiscally conservative" is used in practice: the people who identify with it typically don't use it to mean that they oppose social assistance (they very often specify that they support universal health care) or even that they have a reasoned opposition to Keynesianism; instead, they use it to mean the platitude that "we shouldn't spend irresponsibly". The fact that almost no one identifies as fiscally liberal shows that it doesn't occupy a meaningful position on any spectrum - the imagined "fiscal liberal" is the same bogeyman who in 1980 was funding "welfare queens". It's a successful bit of Republican messaging which has entered the consciousness of politically uninvolved people. If the "SL/FC" crowd were actually committed to an ideology, they'd identify as libertarian; instead, they typically view themselves as the reasonable middle and imagine that bipartisanship is the answer to the country's problems. As I indicated above, in my experience it's a very popular identification among people who haven't put much thought into politics.
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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby Tyndmyr » Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:03 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:*graph stuff*


Well, I'm curious what the right/left of your graph indicates. Up/down seems to indicate economic theory, which is fine, and accurate enough so far as such things can be, but the left/right of the graph is what puts you out of the mainstream, and seems worthy of definition.

So the phenomenon I want to discuss is that in my experience, when weighing in with my opinion in political debates, I often feel that I receive the harshest, most critical and disapproving responses from liberals, rather than conservatives, even though I think I'm disagreeing with liberals far fewer than I am with conservatives. I'm unsure why that is but it distresses me a lot and is turning me away from ever discussing politics with anyone.

Maybe it's because I'm usually found among more liberal-leaning crowds anyway, so I'm seen by the liberals there as "just another conservative" for transgressing against the received opinion, but by the conservatives as "here's a liberal who's not as bad as the rest around here".


Perhaps? I have noticed this as well, and it may, perhaps, be localized. Obviously, both sides have some straight up extremists, but...I was once in a shop where, upon meeting all my teammates, they spent a good portion of the meeting deriding all non-democrats, with various epithets aimed at intelligence and so forth. This, among other concerns(including a glaring lack of professionalism) was among my reasons for getting the hell out immediately. I had not mentioned anything even slightly political in nature, but evidently they felt secure enough in their beliefs to do this. Perhaps it's simply a result of them simply not spending a significant amount of time around "the other guys", and over time, the caricatures presented by their favored side became real to them, and they drifted more extreme. Not sure, had no real impulse to find out.

Maybe it's down to a difference in the general attitude of the two groups? I feel like I've seen plenty of hate and bigotry come from the right, and more emphasis on tolerance and reason from the left, but then the right also seems to make a big deal about "civility", and the more libertarian-leaning right seem to make a big deal about rational weighing of ideas on their merits and not letting emotions cloud your judgement. So, basically, maybe the liberals are more emotional than the conservatives, which is why I feel a harsher reaction from them, even though plenty of conservatives disagree with me too?


Maybe? There are some outlook differences, but it's also just a really human trait in general to get a little arrogant when you're sure you're right, and that gets reflected in your actions unless you take care to suppress it. And really, a LOT of people on all sides are maybe a little too sure that they have found the one true way.

I note that the media makes much of the divide between the "tea party" and the rest of the republican party...but this split only seems to exist within the power brokers. Most folks actually on the right wing seem to care fairly little about making fine distinctions here. Us libertarians DO care about a certain degree of distinction...but at a power broker level, the libertarians are mostly irrelevant, and thus, reporting tends to lump us in wherever because it's usually unimportant to the fight. IE, reporting seems to be dominated by contests of power, not ideology.

But yes, at the end of the day, I can talk about marriage equality, and the republican representatives* who disagree with me will still invite me out for lunch. Their democrat counterparts will, if not in front of cameras, refuse to even talk to me because I'm not in lock step with them.

It isn't cultural familiarity. I'm overtly urban, atheist, and not, yknow, fitting the usual Republican norms in many ways. Even when I agree with them, I tend to rely on arguments that are very distinct from theirs. Still, a novel(to them) argument seems vastly more likely to result in discussion instead of dismissal. Perhaps the college types see more diversity in arguments, and thus, value it less. *shrug*

ucim wrote:My problem is with people who don't listen to what I actually say, but rather, tell me what I believe (i.e. because "all the liberals believe this"). Intelligent discussion cannot proceed. They are parroting what they read and hear without passing it through their own brains. This happens on both sides of the political spectrum, and seems to be a function of the need to be extremist in order to "win a point".


I have a special dislike of this. It's always easier to aim at the craziest people in the group you're arguing against, and it seems to have come into fashion to do...just that. Both sides take pot shots at the craziest people in the other camp. As a result, the level of dialogue devolves into stupid insults and sloganeering. Of course, the dumbest comments provoke the most rage, get the most media attention, and thus, the cycle continues.

Politicians, even in the US, are not so dumb as we portray them, and while mockery is fun...I have little doubt that our perception of them is heavily influenced by the media focus on the unusual and extreme.

Lazar wrote:I'm aware of what the political axes are, but my problem is with how "fiscally conservative" is used in practice: the people who identify with it typically don't use it to mean that they oppose social assistance (they very often specify that they support universal health care) or even that they have a reasoned opposition to Keynesianism; instead, they use it to mean the platitude that "we shouldn't spend irresponsibly". The fact that almost no one identifies as fiscally liberal shows that it doesn't occupy a meaningful position on any spectrum - the imagined "fiscal liberal" is the same bogeyman who in 1980 was funding "welfare queens". It's a successful bit of Republican messaging which has entered the consciousness of politically uninvolved people. If the "SL/FC" crowd were actually committed to an ideology, they'd identify as libertarian; instead, they typically view themselves as the reasonable middle and imagine that bipartisanship is the answer to the country's problems. As I indicated above, in my experience it's a very popular identification among people who haven't put much thought into politics.


This is mostly a thing because general understanding of fiscal policy is poor at best. I would wager that most people could not explain in any detail Keynesian or any other economic model at all...they probably know little beyond a few basic supply/demand curves and the like. What, precisely, they mean by spending responsibly is unknown. It's as vague as "good governance" or any other number of buzzwords. Those who do learn a little bit can sometimes be WORSE off, though, clinging to a particular financial school of thought with a religious-like fervor.

Realistically, ALL models are inaccurate at country-scale economics. There is no perfect doctrine we can adhere to that will prevent all economic ills. Inaccuracy, however, is not the same as being bad or worthless. Economic models are, on the contrary, quite valuable in helping us approximate truth...but they, themselves, are not truth.


*State. I don't play at the federal level often. However, this effect seems to persist across multiple states.

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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Mar 24, 2014 1:07 am UTC

Spoiler because I don't want the focus of this discussion to be on what my political position is exactly, but on how any kind of independent/third-way people experience debates with liberals and conservatives:
Spoiler:
ucim wrote:I also don't really understand your graph. Could you re-label it with the actual ideologies of the four corners? I'm not all that versed in historical figures, and it's also not clear (to me) which aspects of these figures you wish to evoke.

If I had to label the lower corners with the names of ideologies, they would be "Communism" and "Fascism", however those words have become so overloaded and/or vague by now that it wouldn't be clear exactly what I meant by them, so I chose some particular historical examples who cluster around the kind of ideologies I mean to put in those corners of my spectrum.

Tyndmyr wrote:Well, I'm curious what the right/left of your graph indicates. Up/down seems to indicate economic theory, which is fine, and accurate enough so far as such things can be, but the left/right of the graph is what puts you out of the mainstream, and seems worthy of definition.

I don't know how you read up/down as economic theory. Up/down I thought was clearly about state power, since the top corners are both varieties of anarchism, and the bottom corners are figures considered oppressive and dictatorial authoritarians. Left/right are the original left and right from the context where those terms were coined in the French Revolution: supporters of the nobles on the right, supporters of the commoners on the left. "Nobles" and "commoners" is a bit antiquated terminology for modern politics, but I think the idea is clear: those on the far right thinking that some people just are better and deserve better than others, those on the far left thinking that nobody can have any better than anyone else and we all are and must be exactly equal. Note that in this paragraph I'm using "left" and "right" to refer to directions on my chart, not to the same factions we've been discussing as "liberals"/"the left" and "conservatives"/"the right" in the rest of the conversation.


ucim wrote:My problem is with people who don't listen to what I actually say, but rather, tell me what I believe (i.e. because "all the liberals believe this"). Intelligent discussion cannot proceed. They are parroting what they read and hear without passing it through their own brains. This happens on both sides of the political spectrum, and seems to be a function of the need to be extremist in order to "win a point".

Yeah, that drives me nuts too, and I feel like I experience it from both sides of the political spectrum equally. When conservatives disagree with me they usually read in a bunch of assumptions associated with their usual liberal opponents, and when liberals disagree with me they usually read in a bunch of assumptions associated with their usual conservative opponents. In both cases I have to correct their assumptions about me, but for some reason the assumptions the liberals make, or how they make them maybe, hurt more than they assumptions the conservatives make (or how they make them), which is what I'm wanting to explore in this thread.

While writing the above, I had a little moment of introspection. I wouldn't without qualification identify as either a "liberal" or a "conservative" with their modern political connotations (though I'd identify with either of them in an implausibly rare literal sense), but if someone mistook me for a liberal, I feel like I would be "ehh I guess close enough, why do you ask?", whereas if someone mistook me for a conservative I would be much more defensive. Using "liberal" as an epithet seems ridiculous to me (if I hear someone ranting about liberal so-and-so and their liberal such-and-such policy, I roll my eyes and think of the person ranting as probably an idiot), whereas "conservative" as an epithet sounds pretty natural to my ear and doesn't make me think anything about the speaker.

This makes me lean toward my hypothesis that the reason liberal reactions feel harsher to me than conservative ones may be because I feel (on at least a subconscious levels) that liberals are "us" and conservatives are "them"; when I disagree with liberals, I'm thinking of it as "we should do things differently", but when I disagree with conservatives it's more often "they shouldn't do that". So when liberals mistake me for a conservative, I'm feeling like I'm being "themmed", and that hurts, I feel like I have to defend myself as still one of "us"; i.e. "I'm not a bad guy, really, I just disagree about something!" Whereas when conservatives mistake me for a liberal, I feel more like "ehh nah I'm not really like the rest of them, I actually agree with you guys in a lot of ways", and I feel like I'm extending an olive branch across the divide, trying to make friends with an enemy, rather than being thrown across the divide myself as "my side" kicks me out, my friends becoming enemies.

Tyndmyr wrote:Perhaps? I have noticed this as well, and it may, perhaps, be localized. Obviously, both sides have some straight up extremists, but...I was once in a shop where, upon meeting all my teammates, they spent a good portion of the meeting deriding all non-democrats, with various epithets aimed at intelligence and so forth. This, among other concerns(including a glaring lack of professionalism) was among my reasons for getting the hell out immediately. I had not mentioned anything even slightly political in nature, but evidently they felt secure enough in their beliefs to do this. Perhaps it's simply a result of them simply not spending a significant amount of time around "the other guys", and over time, the caricatures presented by their favored side became real to them, and they drifted more extreme. Not sure, had no real impulse to find out.

So let me ask you a question. I gather from your comments that you currently identify as a libertarian. What kind of background do you come from, politically? What were your parents, your friends, etc? Did you identify with either of the major two sides in American politics before adopting libertarianism? It sounds like you (at least at one point) hung out in a very Democrat-dominated crowd, so I wonder if that's where you come from, so to speak.

I ask because I feel like I am extremely unusual in coming from a liberal kind of background (family, friends, etc), and then adopting a lot of things from libertarianism. I was really surprised when I started realizing how all of my liberal (i.e. Democrat) friends had grown to hate libertarians with a passion far exceeding even their hate of Republicans. In my mind the two have a whole lot in common (they agree pretty much completely on the "social freedoms" axis of the Nolan chart), and I would think that they would do better to side together against the Republicans to secure those common interests before resuming their bickering over economic matters. It seems really weird to me that libertarians are more commonly associated with conservatives than liberals.

But yes, at the end of the day, I can talk about marriage equality, and the republican representatives* who disagree with me will still invite me out for lunch. Their democrat counterparts will, if not in front of cameras, refuse to even talk to me because I'm not in lock step with them.

Ok, this sounds like the same kind of thing I'm experiencing. But it strikes me as odd, because I hear often how the Republican party demands everyone in it march in lockstep to the same drum beat and absolutely no dissent of any kind of allowed, while the Democrats have all kinds of intra-party negotiations and compromises and are generally more flexible and open to different ideas. I'm not sure where I hear that, now that I think about it -- possibly from Democrat-biased sources -- but that's the narrative that seems to abound. But my experience doesn't match it, and it seems like yours doesn't either. "If you're not with us, you're against us" was a Bush thing, but now it seems that everyone who hated him have adopted that attitude themselves.
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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby Lazar » Mon Mar 24, 2014 2:57 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:But it strikes me as odd, because I hear often how the Republican party demands everyone in it march in lockstep to the same drum beat and absolutely no dissent of any kind of allowed, while the Democrats have all kinds of intra-party negotiations and compromises and are generally more flexible and open to different ideas. I'm not sure where I hear that, now that I think about it -- possibly from Democrat-biased sources -- but that's the narrative that seems to abound.

At the level of national politics, I think this generalization does hold true: look at Harry Reid, who leads the Senate Democrats despite being pro-life; or the great number of Blue Dog Democrats who have been ambivalent or even hostile toward Obаmacare; or the defections of figures like Arlen Specter and Charlie Crist; or Olympia Snowe's decision not to seek reelection citing excessive partisanship (i.e. her increasing isolation as a moderate Republican). Republican rigidity has only grown worse in recent years as the Tea Party have come to dominate the primary election process, aggressively challenging incumbents who are not seen as conservative enough. But the culture of the national Democratic Party is not the same as that of a given state party, or of people who identify as Democrats, or of liberals or leftists broadly construed - in other words, the ideological tolerance of the Democratic congressional caucus is only tangentially related to that of your left-leaning friends.

To expand on this point, I think you should be wary of drawing one-to-one correspondences between "liberal/conservative" and "Democratic/Republican". The ideological tilt of the national parties is decidedly rightward, as you can see, for example, in this study, which found that politicians of both parties overestimate the conservatism of their electorate. My impression is that the far left is a lot more likely to feel disaffected from "its party" than is the far right: it's a lot more common to hear Christian Dominionist or Objectivist language from Republican politicians than to hear social justice or third wave feminist language from Democratic ones. In relation to the views of the people, the Democratic Party is better thought of as a centrist party rather than a liberal one.
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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby ucim » Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:09 am UTC

Lazar wrote:The fact that almost no one identifies as fiscally liberal shows that it doesn't occupy a meaningful position on any spectrum...
I think that's a mis-reading which comes from the implication of the words used. "Fiscally conservative" sounds like a good thing to be, and "Fiscally liberal" sounds irresponsible. But the way I see it is that it's between "my money should benefit me (which benefits you), and "my money should benefit you, (which benefits me)".
Lazar wrote:If the "SL/FC" crowd were actually committed to an ideology, they'd identify as libertarian
But libertarianism does not seem to be about money at all. It looks to me to really be a form of self-government where individual's money is the sanctioned root of power.
Lazar wrote:...instead, they use it to mean the platitude that "we shouldn't spend irresponsibly"...
Well, that applies to conservatives too. Money has no value in itself, and only becomes valuable the moment it's spent. The question isn't even "on what", but "decided by whom" that seems to separate FC from FL. And pretty much most of political discourse seems to be in platitudes; it's rare to actually be able to discuss the why of somebody's beliefs.

Pfhorrest wrote:If I had to label the lower corners with the names of ideologies, they would be "Communism" and "Fascism", however those words have become so overloaded and/or vague by now that it wouldn't be clear exactly what I meant by them, so I chose some particular historical examples who cluster around the kind of ideologies I mean to put in those corners of my spectrum.
Thanks - that makes sense. It seems to me that the vertical axis is about how much political control people want rulers to have. I would put the American Democratic Party down at the same level as the American Republican Party in that regard. Democrats want power just as much as the Republicans.

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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby Zcorp » Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:45 am UTC

ucim wrote:
Lazar wrote:The fact that almost no one identifies as fiscally liberal shows that it doesn't occupy a meaningful position on any spectrum...
I think that's a mis-reading which comes from the implication of the words used. "Fiscally conservative" sounds like a good thing to be, and "Fiscally liberal" sounds irresponsible. But the way I see it is that it's between "my money should benefit me (which benefits you), and "my money should benefit you, (which benefits me)".

I'd put it as 'my work should benefit me (which benefits us)' and 'my work should benefit us (which benefits me)'.

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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby Zamfir » Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:11 am UTC


This makes me lean toward my hypothesis that the reason liberal reactions feel harsher to me than conservative ones may be because I feel (on at least a subconscious levels) that liberals are "us" and conservatives are "them"; when I disagree with liberals, I'm thinking of it as "we should do things differently", but when I disagree with conservatives it's more often "they shouldn't do that".

There is another side to this. From your descriptions, you agree with left or Democrat ideas just as much as their typical adherents. Most of whom will have their own points of disagreement, just as much as you have. But you don't want to be associated with such movements or labels, and you seem pretty vocal about that. If. anything, you sound somewhat proud of being a capital-I Independent.

I can see why this would annoy people, especially people you mostly agree with. Imagine you like Bieber songs, and you think he's a nice guy in general. But you don't want to go to Bieber concerts with your mates, because that would make you a Bieber fan, like them.

This goes double if the people around you are active in political parties. That can be hard and ungrateful work, and it can be embarrassing. If some prominent party member turns out corrupt, or says something stupid, if you have to defend some policy you are not quite behind. But you do it anyway, because it's the best way to advance the causes you support.

In that situation, vocal independents can be highly annoying, especially if they agree with you. They criticize, but don't make their own hands dirty. You have to convince them, but they won't turn around and convince others in turn. And they can be smug about their open mind.

I don't know how much of the above applies to you, but it does sound as if you are triggering these responses.

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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:56 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:There is another side to this. From your descriptions, you agree with left or Democrat ideas just as much as their typical adherents. Most of whom will have their own points of disagreement, just as much as you have.

Not really. I'm pretty sure Democrats who think taxation is deontologically wrong and we should be aiming for a way to eventually eliminate it entirely (though only in a slow, [literally] conservative way that does not disrupt systems that major parts of society rely on, and allows us to reverse course if an idea doesn't work out so well) are, at best, few and far between. I've never heard anarchism called a Democrat idea.

My agreement with Democrats is limited to social concerns (where I agree equally with the libertarians that Democrats hate), and in short-term keep-the-country-from-falling-apart issues (i.e. directing the powers and revenue we've already granted the state to doing the most social good; stabilize and optimize what we already have first). In the longer-term plans I look more and more like not only a libertarian but an outright anarcho-capitalist, except then in the subtle details I propose things that those groups would absolutely hate and get me called a socialist (like the abolition of interest, rent in general, and contracts [other than real sales] in general beyond that).

I can see why this would annoy people, especially people you mostly agree with. Imagine you like Bieber songs, and you think he's a nice guy in general. But you don't want to go to Bieber concerts with your mates, because that would make you a Bieber fan, like them.

If "going to Bieber concerts" means "voting for Democrats" in this analogy, then the correct analogue would be: I'm definitely not a Bieber fan, but if the alternative is going to a Chris Brown concern, OK I'll come to see Bieber with you. I'd rather go see the symphony but nobody else wants to and the driver's taking us all wherever most of us want to go so alright, let's see Bieber then, anything that's not Chris Brown.
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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:49 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:My agreement with Democrats is limited to social concerns (where I agree equally with the libertarians that Democrats hate), and in short-term keep-the-country-from-falling-apart issues (i.e. directing the powers and revenue we've already granted the state to doing the most social good; stabilize and optimize what we already have first). In the longer-term plans I look more and more like not only a libertarian but an outright anarcho-capitalist, except then in the subtle details I propose things that those groups would absolutely hate and get me called a socialist (like the abolition of interest, rent in general, and contracts [other than real sales] in general beyond that).


Those are kind of unusual, and I would not go so far... Libertarian fits me best of the existing labels. I don't agree with them entirely, but it fits within the realm of disagreement found among any major party.

A big one where I disagree with democrats is firearm rights. That said, in practice, this appears to be a very fuzzy area on the ground. Yeah, perhaps the democratic base is generally against them, but there is something of a split within the dems. There's a small group that is very angrily against them, and a much larger group that either gives no fucks either way, or might like/dislike them a bit, but its something they consider basically irrelevant compared to more pressing concerns. It seems strange that such an issue would be used as such a determinant of party, but it kind of is.

Also, I disagree that adopting the label of a major party is inherently a way to "do something". Plenty of people adopt labels, then don't even bother to go to the polls on election day. You need not be a dyed in the wool partisan to become vastly more active than average...

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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby ucim » Mon Mar 24, 2014 1:28 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I'm pretty sure Democrats who think taxation is deontologically wrong and we should be aiming for a way to eventually eliminate it entirely (though only in a slow, [literally] conservative way that does not disrupt systems that major parts of society rely on, and allows us to reverse course if an idea doesn't work out so well) are, at best, few and far between.
That might be it right there. This view is closer to conservative reasoning leading to a liberal conclusion. I happen not to agree with it (but that doesn't matter here). However, you may be running into the difference between "This is (morally) wrong and therefore we should (gradually) get away from it" and "It would be nice if we could live without this, but for now we can't". The "morally wrong" part may be the source of your impressions of how other people react.

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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Mar 24, 2014 2:29 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Zamfir wrote:There is another side to this. From your descriptions, you agree with left or Democrat ideas just as much as their typical adherents. Most of whom will have their own points of disagreement, just as much as you have.


Not really. I'm pretty sure Democrats who think taxation is deontologically wrong and we should be aiming for a way to eventually eliminate it entirely (though only in a slow, [literally] conservative way that does not disrupt systems that major parts of society rely on, and allows us to reverse course if an idea doesn't work out so well) are, at best, few and far between. I've never heard anarchism called a Democrat idea.


Well, yes, if that's the view you advocate for, I'm not at all surprised that you're going to get the backs up of many liberals. There is a rather large (underserved, in the US) constituency of liberals who believe that social freedom and economic freedom are intertwined, and that both taxes and government are necessary goods that must be used to protect rights and correct social inequality. They believe that you can't advocate for social liberalism without also advocating for economic liberalism--at least, you can't do so seriously--because the latter is what permits the former.

To them, your position basically amounts to "let's give all the money to rich people and corporations", because that is what they believe would happen if your ideas on taxation were implemented.

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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:29 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:To them, your position basically amounts to "let's give all the money to rich people and corporations", because that is what they believe would happen if your ideas on taxation were implemented.


This is...something of a strawman, though, because this is definitely not what Pfhorrest view is advocating. It may be wrong(and I happen to disagree with it), but one must be careful not to treat one's view of an ideology as something that other people are mindfully pursuing. This is what leads to people levying accusations at each other about seeking horrible evils, when, really, a lot of people do want the best, but simply have a less accurate model of the world(probably. I mean, I certainly could be the mistaken one). The difference in intent should matter in how you treat people.

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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:02 pm UTC

Spoiler because I'm just discussing my position, not the topic of this thread.
Spoiler:
Tyndmyr wrote:Those are kind of unusual

That's the idea. Instead of picking a side in a never-ending back-and-forth between two sides who both make good points (and bad ones), I try to find a new synthesis of the good points of both, avoiding the bad points of both. That synthesis has changed and evolved over the years as I've heard new points from all sides (though its rate of change has slowed as more and more frequently the points people make are ones I've already heard). When I was very young, in the argument between conservatives and liberals, the liberals seemed to have all the best points -- hell yeah, liberty and equality for all, down with authority and injustice of every sort -- so I sided with them, and said in fact why don't we take those points to their logical conclusion and go for full on socialism. But then I heard good counterpoints from "conservatives" (actually libertarians) about handing power to the state and how that can actually go against the kind of liberty and equality I wanted, so I became a libertarian for a while, and said in fact why don't we take those points to their logical conclusion and go for full on anarchism... individualist anarchism (i.e. anarcho-capitalism, a term I never much liked). But then I continued to hear more good counterpoints from liberals about runaway concentrations of power and the need for a social safety net, and... nobody seemed to have satisfactorily reconciled that with the libertarian points about avoiding statism, and that's when I stopped being able to identify with any existing ideologies and started bringing up unusual new ideas and trying to spur collaborative discussion between libertarians and liberals.

ucim wrote:That might be it right there. This view is closer to conservative reasoning leading to a liberal conclusion. I happen not to agree with it (but that doesn't matter here). However, you may be running into the difference between "This is (morally) wrong and therefore we should (gradually) get away from it" and "It would be nice if we could live without this, but for now we can't". The "morally wrong" part may be the source of your impressions of how other people react.

I'm not sure I see the difference between those two though, except the second seems to avoid saying an important part of the first. Why would it be nice to live without it? What is it that's less than ideal about living with it? If it's accomplishing good things, why would we want to be rid of it if we could; and what would qualify as "we could" (since strictly we could just stop whenever we want, but we don't want to)? The answer is that it's something that we would otherwise normally consider morally wrong, but are tolerating for the moment because we think it's doing more good than bad. The reason it'd be nice if we could do without it is because "we could do without it" would mean we could keep the good its doing and being rid of the bad. The only way I can make sense of "it'd be nice if we could live without this" is that there's something wrong about it, but we don't know how to get rid of that wrong without inviting worse wrongs.


LaserGuy wrote:Well, yes, if that's the view you advocate for, I'm not at all surprised that you're going to get the backs up of many liberals.

I'm not surprised that they disagree either. But as I mentioned there are other points where conservatives (including libertarians) disagree just as much -- I've never met a conservative who was at all amenable to the idea of abolishing interest and rent, for example, as the would consider that a violation of property rights (even though I construct it as a stricter enforcement of property rights). I get disagreement from both sides and that doesn't surprise me. What surprises me is how the disagreement from the left seems so much emotionally harsher than disagreement from the right.
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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby sardia » Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:31 pm UTC

Can you explain how the idea of interest on a loan and renting affect property rights?

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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby Zamfir » Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:55 pm UTC

Instead of picking a side in a never-ending back-and-forth between two sides who both make good points (and bad ones), I try to find a new synthesis of the good points of both, avoiding the bad points of both.

This is rather much of an accusation. You are saying that your conversation partners cannot separate good ideas from bad ideas, but you can. In this thread, you are portraying yourself not so much as someone who disagrees with mainstream politics, but as someone who is above it, superior to it. Literally, in that picture above where you put reviled dictators at the bottom, yourself at the top, and all of mainstream American politics in between. Does it really surprise you that people get emotionally charged when you describe your position that way?

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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby Zcorp » Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:50 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:Does it really surprise you that people get emotionally charged when you describe your position that way?
He doesn't seem surprised that people get emotionally charged it seems, but by this:
Pfhorrest wrote:I get disagreement from both sides and that doesn't surprise me. What surprises me is how the disagreement from the left seems so much emotionally harsher than disagreement from the right.

You start your thread by suggesting that your perception of this greater amount of emotion could just be something you are fabricating. If this is really the only question you are asking in this thread...no one can answer it but you. If you can rule out your own bias you might then be able to start asking the right questions here, and thus get help with answering them.

This TED talk might be an alright start toward your understanding.
http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt ... moral_mind

If you can rule out your bias you will also want to look at the things you are disagreeing on, and if those topics are more emotionally charged in general. I the way you are going about trying to an answer to this question is absolutely backwards.

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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:32 am UTC

And quite honestly, politics resembles a horseshoe more than a diamond. The far left and right both tend to be so dogmatic and authoritarian that implementation is almost identical in spite of being radically different in their fundamentals. The whole "I am right and if I force You it's because it's For Your Own Good". Those people tend to be far worse than simple dictators; many dictators know they are monsters and will take as much as they want and that's that, but the person who oppresses you For The Greater Good won't stop once he has everything.

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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby ucim » Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:34 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
ucim wrote:However, you may be running into the difference between "This is (morally) wrong and therefore we should (gradually) get away from it" and "It would be nice if we could live without this, but for now we can't". The "morally wrong" part may be the source of your impressions of how other people react.
I'm not sure I see the difference between those two though, except the second seems to avoid saying an important part of the first.
Exactly. The first makes a moral issue of it, and the second does not (and by not doing so, implies that it is not a moral issue). It would be nice if we could live without disease too, but disease is not immoral. The liberals frame their agenda more in moral terms than the conservatives do, and if you are making a moral argument for something that they disagree with, the liberals may see more discord with it for that reason.

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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:29 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:This is rather much of an accusation. You are saying that your conversation partners cannot separate good ideas from bad ideas, but you can. In this thread, you are portraying yourself not so much as someone who disagrees with mainstream politics, but as someone who is above it, superior to it. Literally, in that picture above where you put reviled dictators at the bottom, yourself at the top, and all of mainstream American politics in between. Does it really surprise you that people get emotionally charged when you describe your position that way?

This seems like a rather emotionally charged response itself.

I'm not at all saying others are incapable of separating good ideas from bad and I alone am polisci jesus who can lead them to enlightenment, as you make me out to be. I'm saying I hear both sides making what seem to me like good arguments, but also clinging to things that it seems like the other side has good arguments against, and of course I want to accept all of the good arguments and reject everything there's a good argument against, so I want to figure out what the conjunction of all the good arguments leaves open as a possibility, and go with that -- and encourage everyone else to come along with me in trying to figure out what that is.

But inasmuch as both sides seem to take a stand like "We can't get this thing I think is important without sacrificing that thing you think is important, and my thing is more important than your thing, so your thing just has to be sacrificed and you'll have to suck it up and deal with it!", I do feel kind of "above" that. Both sides are denying that there is any way that both important things could ever possibly be achieved together, without sacrificing either. I think they're both important things and that this impasse where it seems impossible to win either way means there is some fundamental error shared by everyone or some insight that we haven't come across yet, and the way forward is to think way outside the box and look for new options that might get both important things without sacrificing either. When neither side seems interested in having that discussion, to that extent I do feel "above" or "outside" them, but not in a "I'm better than you nyah nyah" way, but in the way of someone trying to mediate a fight between two friends and help redirect away from opposition and conflict and more into coming up with a constructive solution to the problem that will satisfy everyone.

And in that capacity I generally don't (or try not to) say "I have the solution, follow me!" but rather "I have an idea, let's brainstorm". More than anything else I just want people to take interest in dissolving the conflict more than defeating their enemies, to discuss unusual ideas (not just mine, I'd love to hear others') with an aim more toward building them into something that will work than toward shooting them down as fast as possible so they can get back to the fight already in progress.

Zcorp wrote:You start your thread by suggesting that your perception of this greater amount of emotion could just be something you are fabricating. If this is really the only question you are asking in this thread...no one can answer it but you.

One way to tell if your own perception of something is wonky is to compare notes with others. The main reason I brought this topic up was to hear if other people, who find them selves in-between or above or outside or in some other way not on either side of the usual political dichotomy, have similar or contrasting experiences. I expected mostly libertarians to weigh in as they're one of the bigger "third way" groups, but I don't know if there are other socialists or anarchists or others not well represented in mainstream politics who might have experiences to compare, too. Maybe libertarians find Republicans seem to hate them more than Democrats do? Maybe anarcho-socialists find Democrats seem to hate them more than Republicans do? Or not, in either case? Reports like that are what I was hoping to hear.

This TED talk might be an alright start toward your understanding.
http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt ... moral_mind

That was very interesting (no sarcasm, honest thanks), but I'm not sure what your comment about it means.

Spoiler again for digressions from the topic:
Spoiler:
sardia wrote:Can you explain how the idea of interest on a loan and renting affect property rights?

Do you mean what libertarians/anarcho-capitalists/etc object to about my proposal, or why I propose it? (Since we're both trying to justify our positions on the grounds of property rights). Either would be a bit off-topic for this thread, but I'd be happy to describe it elsewhere if you want; I just don't want discussion about it to explode in here and derail this thread.

ucim wrote:It would be nice if we could live without disease too, but disease is not immoral.

Disease isn't something that people actively do to each other (or, when it is, we do consider it a moral issue), and nobody ever suggests that we shouldn't try to abolish disease because we need it for something, so I don't think that really works as an analogy. It taxes were just some natural phenomenon that happened to us all and we weren't sure how to make it stop (but everyone thought it'd be great if we could, and we funded lots of research into making that happen as much as possible), then you'd have an analogy there (and taxes wouldn't be a moral issue). Or if we were talking about some program of intentionally spreading disease because it's the only way anyone's come up with to stave off some kind of Malthusian catastrophe, that would be a better analogy (and disease would be a moral issue).
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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby Lazar » Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:44 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:But inasmuch as both sides seem to take a stand like "We can't get this thing I think is important without sacrificing that thing you think is important, and my thing is more important than your thing, so your thing just has to be sacrificed and you'll have to suck it up and deal with it!", I do feel kind of "above" that. Both sides are denying that there is any way that both important things could ever possibly be achieved together, without sacrificing either. I think they're both important things

It would help if you could identify what exactly these two important things are. Social freedom and economic freedom? If so, I think you're looking at things the wrong way: neither side views its goals as a simplistic "we want our thing, and we'll sacrifice your thing to get it" arrangement. From a leftist perspective, broad acceptance of personal differences and a government-mediated social welfare economy are both positive things to be sought after; and from a rightist perspective as well, preservation of traditional mores and an unfettered free market are both positive things to be sought after. Neither side is going to see much appeal in giving up half of its core tenets in order to secure the other half, especially since (as LaserGuy notes) social and economic issues are often intertwined. Despite what you say about not claiming to have all the answers, I think you're coming at this from the perspective that each side is naturally about half-right on things, and that some sort of third-way synthesis between the opposing sides is naturally the correct course of action - and you can't assume that politically engaged people are going to share this presumption. Many people believe passionately in their ideas, and are willing to conceive of the political process not as an exercise in experimental synthesis but as a struggle - if necessary, a very long one - to bring the other side over to their point of view. Relatedly, I think you're mistaken in imagining that we can find solutions that satisfy everyone: there are deeply opposing worldviews in contest, and on many important questions one side has to win and one side has to lose.

But I fear that this discussion is becoming too abstract, and I'd like to get a better understanding of what your political views are - you'll forgive me if I find your self-description as "liberal", "libertarian", "conservative", "progressive" and "socialist" to be unhelpful. I know that you don't want to make this thread about yourself in particular, but I think it's hard to talk about the "third way experience" in American political culture if we've only got a nebulous idea of what the third way is.
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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:17 am UTC

Lazar wrote:It would help if you could identify what exactly these two important things are.

I intentionally didn't specify any two particular things, because there are a lot of different debates between the two sides on a lot of different issues and this is a recurring pattern across many of them.

Social freedom and economic freedom? If so, I think you're looking at things the wrong way: neither side views its goals as a simplistic "we want our thing, and we'll sacrifice your thing to get it" arrangement. From a leftist perspective, broad acceptance of personal differences and a government-mediated social welfare economy are both positive things to be sought after; and from a rightist perspective too, preservation of traditional mores and an unfettered free market are both positive things to be sought after.

Just to go over these for examples: I think there are free-market ways to provide for social welfare, and that the government can participate in those ways, without fettering the free market; and that anyone can preserve their traditional mores all they want, without having to force anyone else to change their ways. (The latter of these is a much easier problem to solve than the former). Yes, that means that I think that both sides are wrong about some of the particulars of the specific outcomes they're demanding (i.e. they are wrong to demand those particulars); the point is that I think the interests they are trying to satisfy are all valuable and all deserve to be satisfied, which demands a way of satisfying them all mutually, which can be a hard problem that requires lots of creative thinking.

Really I'm just applying principled negotiation here, specifically the "focus on interests, not positions" (and "invent options for mutual gain ") part. (Note: I haven't actually read the book that wikilink redirects to, but long ago someone gave me that name to label my approach to conflict resolution, and I like it. I should probably read the book some time).

Despite what you say about not claiming to have all the answers, I think you're coming at this from the perspective that each side is naturally about half-right on things, and that some sort of third-way synthesis between the opposing sides is naturally the correct course of action

That's not an a priori assumption, but a conclusion I've come to after hearing the arguments back and forth over and over again. I also don't think it's an even split; as I said in the beginning, I think the liberal side in American politics is "less wrong" than the conservative side, in the sense that there are more good arguments that have been levied against conservative claims than have been levied against liberal claims. But that doesn't mean I think the liberals are right; there are still good arguments that have been levied against their claims. In essence, both sides are trying to show why the other is wrong -- but the fault everyone makes is in thinking that that proves themselves right. If they are both successful in that endeavor to show the other wrong, as I think they have been, then the logical conclusion is that the correct position is neither of theirs, it is something else. But that doesn't directly tell us what the correct position is, it just limits what it could be, rules out some possibilities; there is still a large space of possibility to be explored and argued about. Libertarians rallied around another point in that space of possibilities, but there are other good arguments against them, which means it can't be quite there either. But there are still more possibilities to explore.

But I fear that this discussion is becoming too abstract, and I'd like to get a better understanding of what your political views are - you'll forgive me if I find your self-description as "liberal", "libertarian", "conservative", "progressive" and "socialist" to be unhelpful. I know that you don't want to make this thread about yourself in particular, but I think it's hard to talk about the "third way experience" in American political culture if we've only got a nebulous idea of what the third way is.

Well, the reason I didn't want to make this thread about me in particular is because there are a whole lot of "third way" positions. There is not a "the" third way. A third way is any position that doesn't fit comfortably into the left-right boxes that frame the mainstream debate. There are a lot of possibilities there, a lot of them very different -- libertarians, anarchists, socialists, full on Stalin/Mao-style communists, pretty much anyone along the upper and left halves of my spectrum, hell if there were neonazis here I'd be interested to hear if maybe (counter to my expectations) Republicans might hate them more then Democrats, that would be interesting to know -- and I wanted in this thread to hear from anyone pursuing any of those possibilities, not just people who agree with me.

But since you ask, and people keep asking, just for reference here is a bit about me, spoiled:
Spoiler:
First to clarify the senses of those words that I do identify with:
  • Liberal/libertarian -- in the sense that I oppose authority of any sort, and support self-determination for everyone
  • Socialist -- in the sense that I am concerned with the general welfare, pursuing politics for altruistic ends, looking out for all
  • Progressive -- in the sense that I think there is a lot of room for improvement and we need to be making changes for the better all around
  • Conservative -- in the sense that I think any changes need to be made very cautiously, without breaking any of the good stuff we already have going

But for a more concrete idea of where I stand, this would be my to-do list, in chronological order, if I could somehow direct the course of politics for as long as it took to get it all done:
  • Abolish all victimless crimes (except tax evasion, for the time being) and end all foreign military interventions (unless someone requests our defense and we think they are the legitimate victim and we can afford to get involved without starting WWIII or something). Focus the police and military on defending people from aggressors only, and otherwise leave people alone.
  • Redirect the money that was going to the various wars on abstract concepts cancelled above, and put it into subsidizing affordable education and health care for everyone, so we have a mentally and physically capable workforce, and into network infrastructure (communication, transportation, power, etc) needed to connect them all together into a productive economy.
  • Implement a negative progressive tax at a rate sufficient to replace minimum wage, with no other expenses coming out of this tax yet. (This is to say, everyone 'pays' a flat percentage of their income, that money gets pooled, and then divided up evenly and 'paid back' to everyone; so you lose money in the deal the more above average you make, you get money out of it the further below average you make, and you break even if you make exactly average -- except all this happens in the mathematical calculations and you just either pay or get paid, you don't have to send it in and get something different back later). Then cancel minimum wage, because this effectively sets an elastic 'minimum' and 'maximum' wage -- as the income discrepancy grows, this automatically pulls harder center-ward from both the top and bottom, but if everyone was middle class it would be negligible to people on both ends of the income spectrum.
  • Cancel all other taxes and ramp up the negative progressive tax rate so that it can provide the same level of revenue (so after the tax money gets pooled, the needed revenue gets taken out of that, and then the remainder is divided up evenly and paid back as before -- except, again, all done in the math, not actually paid back and forth step by step like that -- and with a rate adjusted higher such that there's as much money left to be divided up after taking the needed revenue from it, as there was before we started taking revenue from it).
  • Turn all service-providing government agencies (except law enforcement and military, for now) into ordinary commercial businesses (i.e. charging for their service, needing to turn a profit to stay operational), but still owned by the government, with their profits offsetting the revenue that gets taken out of the negative progressive tax pool. Redirect all the money that would have gone into providing those services for free into the negative progressive tax pool, so that the poor can still afford those services just as they could before.
You now have a much-simplified government which pretty much only does two things:
  • Keeps the strong from physically abusing the weak
  • Keeps the rich from economically abusing the poor
And is otherwise a completely free and free-market society. Note especially that in none of this did I raise or lower taxes overall, or add or remove any services overall -- only rearranged how those taxes are raised and how those services are paid for. The government as I envision it at this point is free to sell off the service-providing businesses it owns, or to start or buy others, or to adjust the tax rate up or down, as necessary to balance various needs and solve various problems. I don't have much of a stance on any of those particulars.

But then comes the hard part where we have to start getting creative, and I don't think I have perfect solutions to these steps, so I would proceed extra cautiously and want to get a lot of collaboration on a lot of different ideas to figure out the best way to do it, and whatever it is we do, do it in a way that we can step back from to this stable if philosophically suboptimal state we've got now. The last two items on the to-do list are to figure out how to provide those two services above:
  • Without demanding payment for them by force (in other words, figuring out how to be rid of taxes and still keep doing the same good work), and
  • Without claiming a monopoly on them by force (in other words, figuring out how to treat police and military — the only things left — like every other service, and not a special protected job that nobody else is allowed to do on threat of we'll shoot you if you try, without everything falling apart in the process).
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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:13 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:
ucim wrote:However, you may be running into the difference between "This is (morally) wrong and therefore we should (gradually) get away from it" and "It would be nice if we could live without this, but for now we can't". The "morally wrong" part may be the source of your impressions of how other people react.
I'm not sure I see the difference between those two though, except the second seems to avoid saying an important part of the first.
Exactly. The first makes a moral issue of it, and the second does not (and by not doing so, implies that it is not a moral issue). It would be nice if we could live without disease too, but disease is not immoral. The liberals frame their agenda more in moral terms than the conservatives do, and if you are making a moral argument for something that they disagree with, the liberals may see more discord with it for that reason.

Jose


I'm kind of split here...I mean, the right makes a LOT of moral arguments too*...maybe not as many, but it would be challenging to say for sure. However, I tend to argue strictly from a pragmatic standpoint in real life(online, I mix it up occasionally for practice), so I don't think a reaction to a moral claim explains the differing reactions. And I definitely DO disagree with the right on issues they think are moral ones. Gay marriage would be a fine example. Both sides think it is moral, but even online, my stance of "I'm fine with gay marriage, but also fine with organizations and businesses opting to not participate in it" attracts flak entirely from the left.

Also, my view on taxation is as something that has a cost, and is best minimized, but can probably never be reduced to zero. One could play with words and use "fees" or a lottery or whatever in place of the current taxation model, but it seems likely that SOME government is always necessary, and this will have a non-zero cost. Really, this is the difference between libertarians and anarchists. We don't believe in an post-governmental end state. To tie this back into the aforementioned horseshoe, this is an odd point of similarity between anarchists and traditional communistic ideology.

Edit: The police portion of that is quite simple, actually. Look up Peelian principles of policing...the idea of the dedicated massive law enforcement system with special rights is actually quite recent. Historically, justice was something that everyone participated in, it's just that some people were paid to work on it full time. Sometimes. In many periods, the law enforcement system was largely volunteer driven. We retain some element of this via jury selection, but some concepts(such as police being part of the community and not having special rights) have faded.

*At a minimum, the religious component certainly does.

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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby ucim » Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:33 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:If taxes were just some natural phenomenon that happened to us all and we weren't sure how to make it stop (but everyone thought it'd be great if we could, and we funded lots of research into making that happen as much as possible), then you'd have an analogy there (and taxes wouldn't be a moral issue).
Taxes are not some natural phenomenon, but the necessity of funding government is, (given that government exists). Government exists to mediate conflicting interests of different people. These conflicting interests are a natural phenomenon.

It would be nice if people would "just get along". But the fact that they don't is not a moral issue.

Liberals seem to come more from a moral perspective, and conservatives seem to come more from a rights perspective. You frame your opinions as a rights thing, but frame those rights as morals, and it could be for that reason that liberals see more friction with your view than conservatives. Or it could be that the way you justify your position is more at odds with what liberals think is important than with what conservatives do.

Jose
edit: quote attribution corrected from morriswalters to Pfhorrest
Last edited by ucim on Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:55 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:34 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:To them, your position basically amounts to "let's give all the money to rich people and corporations", because that is what they believe would happen if your ideas on taxation were implemented.


This is...something of a strawman, though, because this is definitely not what Pfhorrest view is advocating. It may be wrong(and I happen to disagree with it), but one must be careful not to treat one's view of an ideology as something that other people are mindfully pursuing. This is what leads to people levying accusations at each other about seeking horrible evils, when, really, a lot of people do want the best, but simply have a fewer accurate model of the world(probably. I mean, I certainly could be the mistaken one). The difference in intent should matter in how you treat people.


I'm not saying that this is what Pfhorrest is advocating for, specifically. He's asking why even though he feels that his positions are more aligned with those of liberals, they seem to feel that he is getting the most uncritical and dogmatic responses from liberals. My answer to that is that among liberal circles (I will note in passing that a typical liberal is rather to the left of the Democrats), eliminating taxes, privatizing everything, and demolishing the social safety net is viewed as a complete capitulation to corporate interests, and is a position that is consistent with those on the far right of the political spectrum, and definitely not the political center (on the economic axis) where he places himself. In practice, based the spoilered political opinions that he expressed above, I'd put him a bit southwest of the Libertarian camp, rather than north and center.

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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby morriswalters » Tue Mar 25, 2014 5:45 pm UTC

morriswalters is listening not speaking.

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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:27 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:morriswalters is listening not speaking.

Yeah that confused me, I thought for a sec maybe the Madness had filtered my name to yours for some reason. How did ucim end up quoting my words as yours? You haven't even posted in this thread (other than to say that you haven't posted in this thread, right now).
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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:53 pm UTC

ucim wrote:It would be nice if people would "just get along". But the fact that they don't is not a moral issue.

Liberals seem to come more from a moral perspective, and conservatives seem to come more from a rights perspective. You frame your opinions as a rights thing, but frame those rights as morals

These statements seem confused to me, or else confuse me as to what you mean by all these different terms.

As I understand these terms, rights are the subject matter of one's political philosophy (a political philosophy is about who has [or if you like, 'should have'] what rights: what liberties, what claims, what powers, and so on). One's political philosophy follows pretty directly from one's ethics (or if it doesn't, it seems like it would be at best unfounded and at worst hypocritical). Ethics is the philosophy of morality (i.e. morality is the subject matter of ethics). And morality is all about how for people to get along, how people are supposed to treat each other.

So if people aren't getting along, then someone is doing, or trying unsuccessfully to do (depending on how villain/victim and victor/loser align), something immoral, i.e. unethical, i.e. something in violation of someone's rights, i.e. something that should be illegal. A political philosophy and its underlying ethics give answers to questions about how to distinguish the victim from the villain in such conflicts, and how to make sure that the victim ends up the victor and the villain the loser.

I'm not clear on how you think these closely-related concepts come apart in such a way that neither rights nor interpersonal conflicts are at all moral matters.
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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Mar 25, 2014 9:46 pm UTC

*shrug* Depends on your basis for rights. Those who posit a religious basis for rights tend to take a view of them that is...fairly indistinguishable from morals, since they view religion and morals as intertwined. There IS another view, that I personally adhere to, that believe rights simply stem from natural law, and religion has naught to do with it.

However, such a view would seem to be definitely in the minority on the right side of the spectrum, given that they trend religious. Therefore, such an explanation is contraindicated by demographics. Non-moral views on rights SHOULD be more common on the left.

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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby ucim » Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:09 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:morriswalters is listening not speaking.
Ch*rp - did I mustard that up? (I type the tags in by hand in a text editor; the wrong name must have been in proximity when I did so). Anyway, I fixed it in the edit. Sorry morriswalters and Pfhorrest.

Pfhorrest wrote:So if people aren't getting along, then someone is doing, or trying unsuccessfully to do (depending on how villain/victim and victor/loser align), something immoral, i.e. unethical, i.e. something in violation of someone's rights, i.e. something that should be illegal. A political philosophy and its underlying ethics give answers to questions about how to distinguish the victim from the villain in such conflicts, and how to make sure that the victim ends up the victor and the villain the loser.
No, it could be as simple as "I want this, and you want this too. The "this" is fair game for either of us, but only one of us can have it. There is nothing moral about wanting it, or taking it. But the one who gets out-witted, out-timed, out-matched, out-bid, out-whatever, and is left holding the bag, may well be miffed. That is a natural reaction. It is not immoral. And if one person manages to win most of the time, the tables will turn in favor of that person, and the two may end up not getting along any more. No morality involved there either.

It might be as simple as "I want you to give back what is rightfully mine." "No, it's not rightfully yours. It was stolen fair and square from your ancestors by my ancestors five hundred years ago. You have no claim to it."

These are not moral questions. They are legitimate disagreements, which cause people to "not get along". It might be nice if people didn't disagree, but disagreeing is not a moral issue, and anyway, it's not going to happen.

Jose
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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Mar 25, 2014 11:58 pm UTC

How are claims about what is "rightfully mine" or what other people "don't have claim to" not moral claims?

Tyndmyr wrote:*shrug* Depends on your basis for rights. Those who posit a religious basis for rights tend to take a view of them that is...fairly indistinguishable from morals, since they view religion and morals as intertwined. There IS another view, that I personally adhere to, that believe rights simply stem from natural law, and religion has naught to do with it.

I don't see the distinction. Natural law is an approach to moral philosophy, not an alternative.
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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby ucim » Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:58 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:How are claims about what is "rightfully mine" or what other people "don't have claim to" not moral claims?
They are mere statements of fact. As such, they can be true, false, or undefined due to the question not being well formed. The last is the most common.

Now, how to form the question of whether someone has a claim to something is more about social conventions than about morals. Morals are more about how to behave once it's established that somebody does (or does not) have a claim on something.

It then comes down to which social conventions are "best", and to that there is no answer, moral or otherwise. "Best for whom?" is what it comes down to, and "best for everyone" is an undefinable notion.

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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:17 am UTC

ucim wrote:Now, how to form the question of whether someone has a claim to something is more about social conventions than about morals.

I think this is false with respect to how people normally talk about such things. For example, the person in your example is asking for something that she thinks is "rightfully hers." Does she mean that it is hers by social convention? Of course not; if the social convention were that it were hers, she wouldn't have to demand it. She is making a claim about her moral rights, not about the rights that she is afforded by society.
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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby ucim » Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:25 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:the person in your example is asking for something that she thinks is "rightfully hers." Does she mean that it is hers by social convention? Of course not; if the social convention were that it were hers, she wouldn't have to demand it.
No, it may be that the people keeping it from her are the ones defying social convention. Or that the social convention is unclear.

In any case, it's often the case that she believes it is hers. It is not immoral to follow one's (possibly mistaken) beliefs; morality is about the framework in which to form those beliefs in the first place. "Not getting along" does not occur solely because somebody is being immoral. But more to the point, I don't think that people in general buy into the idea that "not getting along" necessarily involves people being immoral.

I would posit that were this brought up in discussion, conservatives wouldn't really care, but liberals would get in a twit about it, and that this is what Pfhorrest is running into.

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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Wed Mar 26, 2014 3:55 am UTC

ucim wrote:In any case, it's often the case that she believes it is hers. It is not immoral to follow one's (possibly mistaken) beliefs; morality is about the framework in which to form those beliefs in the first place. "Not getting along" does not occur solely because somebody is being immoral. But more to the point, I don't think that people in general buy into the idea that "not getting along" necessarily involves people being immoral.

I think you're responding to a point other than the one I meant to make. I am not saying that it is morally right or morally wrong to take the stance that she does. I am saying that she is taking a stance about a moral fact; she is expressing her belief about the moral question of what she is entitled to.
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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby Zcorp » Wed Mar 26, 2014 4:42 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:One way to tell if your own perception of something is wonky is to compare notes with others. The main reason I brought this topic up was to hear if other people, who find them selves in-between or above or outside or in some other way not on either side of the usual political dichotomy, have similar or contrasting experiences.

I don't share your experience, but I do share one somewhat related.

Rarely do I find people on the right who are willing to discuss their views, let alone supply reason for their belief or debate them.



Maybe libertarians find Republicans seem to hate them more than Democrats do? Maybe anarcho-socialists find Democrats seem to hate them more than Republicans do? Or not, in either case? Reports like that are what I was hoping to hear.

I don't run across many liberals that know what to call themselves, and those that do don't fit well on the spectrum you've provided. Where would you place secular humanists or rationalists for example? If you do place them, do you feel that placing them then gives a valuable understanding for that ideology is?

Identifying as liberal in the States means so little, even in the chart you've shared you put the Democrats in the middle. When your country doesn't even discuss or recognize the area left of Democrats it is often difficult for people to really know how to think of themselves or how they might think about the world. If Liberals are giving a greater emotional reaction this likely has a part to play in that.

This TED talk might be an alright start toward your understanding.
http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt ... moral_mind

That was very interesting (no sarcasm, honest thanks), but I'm not sure what your comment about it means.

It is further conjecture on what might cause greater emotional reactions, if that is indeed something you are experiencing. When you value less things highly there is greater emotion in defending them. Or there is greater apathy when you hold all ideas as equal and someone one attacks one of many.

So while I don't share your experience, there are quite a few reasons you might be getting more emotional reactions out of the left. Those reasons are likely weighted differently with each person you are speaking with as well, if indeed your experience is accurate.

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Re: The 'third way' experience in political debates

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Mar 26, 2014 5:07 am UTC

This is getting away from the topic of this thread, and TheGrammarBolshevik has got my line of thought on it pretty much down already, but I am really curious to understand ucim's conception of what "moral" means, as it's unclear from what he's said so far here and inasmuch as I can understand it at all it seems very different from how I understand that word. Maybe that could be on topic after all, as I gather ucim is a liberal himself, and maybe there is some merely linguistic miscommunication that could be underlying my experiences, if mainstream liberals mean something radically different by "moral" than I am used to, and so maybe think I mean something other than I do.

Tyndmyr wrote:*shrug* Depends on your basis for rights. Those who posit a religious basis for rights tend to take a view of them that is...fairly indistinguishable from morals, since they view religion and morals as intertwined. There IS another view, that I personally adhere to, that believe rights simply stem from natural law, and religion has naught to do with it.

However, such a view would seem to be definitely in the minority on the right side of the spectrum, given that they trend religious. Therefore, such an explanation is contraindicated by demographics. Non-moral views on rights SHOULD be more common on the left.

These comments seem to conflate "moral" with "religious", and to contrast "natural law" with "religion". Ucim, do you agree with Tynmyr's understanding of these concepts? As TheGrammarBolshevik has already said, the usual relation of these terms (as I'm familiar with them) is that natural law is an approach to moral philosophy, not an alterative to it. Religion is another approach to it, which can sometimes but doesn't always overlap with a natural law approach. Rights topics are a subset of moral topics, and a natural law approach to the topic of rights results in an natural rights approach. And there are religious approaches to moral topics, including rights topics, sometimes but not always overlapping with natural law and natural rights approaches, as well as non-religious approaches to all of those, and religious approaches to other completely unrelated things.

I drew a graph. I like graphs.

Image

ucim wrote:No, it could be as simple as "I want this, and you want this too. The "this" is fair game for either of us, but only one of us can have it. There is nothing moral about wanting it, or taking it. But the one who gets out-witted, out-timed, out-matched, out-bid, out-whatever, and is left holding the bag, may well be miffed. That is a natural reaction. It is not immoral. And if one person manages to win most of the time, the tables will turn in favor of that person, and the two may end up not getting along any more. No morality involved there either.

There's no morality involved so long as the loser in these competitions is just feeling miffed, as you say, and frustrated with themselves or with chance for just not getting them what they want. As soon as they start going "that bastard keeps beating me, it's not fair! He doesn't deserve to win all the time! I have a right to some of the goods too!", then they're invoking moral concepts of fairness, desert, and rights, and they're either correct in those claims, in which case they have been wronged; or not, in which case he's at least wanting to wrong the other person, who has been winning fair and square and doesn't deserve to have his hard-won prize taken by someone with no right to it. Or if, as seems to be your intended scenario, winning doesn't give you any rights to what you've won, then the loser is at liberty to take it back as he pleases, and there's just a legitimate competition still going on as both vie to keep the prize, which I wouldn't call "not getting along", at least not in any sense that would ever warrant any kind of politicking to resolve. Why would we as a society (establishing a government with things like police funded by taxes, which is how we got to this scenario) care about that competition unless there was a concern that one competitor might do something wrong or unfair by the other? At which point we've invoked moral concepts to justify those things, QED. (No, stupid Madness, not quantum electrodynamics, the other one! The Latin-for-"which was to be demonstrated" one.) Unless your concept of "moral" is vastly different from the one I'm familiar with, which I'm curious to find out.

It might be as simple as "I want you to give back what is rightfully mine." "No, it's not rightfully yours. It was stolen fair and square from your ancestors by my ancestors five hundred years ago. You have no claim to it."

As TheGrammarBolshevik has already said, this dialogue is invoking concepts of rightfulness, fairness, and claims, which are all moral concepts as I (and he) know the word. Though to be fair, the second person is only invoking fairness, and denying the applicability of rightfulness and claims the other person is invoking. If the second person had simply said "It's not 'rightfully' anybody's, I've got it and I'm keeping it until you can pry it from my cold dead hands", then the second person wouldn't be invoking any moral concepts, only denying them. But even then, a moral question has been raised (is it rightfully the first person's or not?), and to say that the second person is correct, to deny the first person's moral claims, is for us to take a moral stance -- even that turns out to be a moral nihilist stance.

ucim wrote:
TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:How are claims about what is "rightfully mine" or what other people "don't have claim to" not moral claims?
They are mere statements of fact.

"Rightfully mine" and "don't have a claim" employ normative or prescriptive rather than descriptive concepts, despite having the superficial grammatical form of ordinary indicative sentences, and as such these assertions are very difficult to take as statements of fact in the ordinary sense -- what exactly do assertions like that purport to tell us about how the world is? "Is" being the key word there, in contrast to "ought to be", which seems the natural way to read such assertions -- as making claims about what ought to be, that is to say, moral claims.

Now, how to form the question of whether someone has a claim to something is more about social conventions than about morals. Morals are more about how to behave once it's established that somebody does (or does not) have a claim on something.

This is the closest to a statement of what you think "moral" means I've seen in this thread, but I still don't quite understand it. It sounds in the first sentence that you are saying that claims are not a moral matter but rather a social-conventional matter, which would seem to distance you from a cultural relativist view of morality (on which view moral matters just are matters of social convention). But then the second sentence seems to claim that morals have something to do with behavior in relation to (socially conventional) claims, so I'm not sure you mean to distance yourself such, and in either case I'm not sure what relation exactly you take to hold between "morals" and "social conventions" if they're not merely equated as a cultural relativist would have them.

ucim wrote:
TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:the person in your example is asking for something that she thinks is "rightfully hers." Does she mean that it is hers by social convention? Of course not; if the social convention were that it were hers, she wouldn't have to demand it.
No, it may be that the people keeping it from her are the ones defying social convention. Or that the social convention is unclear.

Just to clarify my understanding how you understand these words, can you answer me: would you take a claim that (one's own society's) social conventions are wrong to be simply incoherent? Or maybe just prima facie false? For a poignant example: was the first abolitionist in America incorrect (or incoherent) when they claimed slavery was wrong, since it was socially accepted at the time? Was slavery genuinely not wrong back then, but then became wrong as the tide of opinion turned against it?

Though this subtopic seems superficially very off-topic I think we might be approaching something genuinely insightful here (if ucim is a mainstream liberal as I take him to be), because I do think I've seen this (from my view) bizarre, incomprehensible kind of moral relativism a lot on the left, and as much as I disagree with the right's religious conception of morality, I can at least understand what they're claiming and make straightforward arguments against it, whereas with this leftist concept of morality I feel like the only way to approach it is to try to unravel it and show how it's not even wrong, it's just a confused tangled mess of distorted ideas, which probably comes off a lot more condescendingly than a straightforward point-by-point argument does on the right.

Spoiler for talking about just me again:
Spoiler:
LaserGuy wrote:I'm not saying that this is what Pfhorrest is advocating for, specifically. He's asking why even though he feels that his positions are more aligned with those of liberals, they seem to feel that he is getting the most uncritical and dogmatic responses from liberals. My answer to that is that among liberal circles (I will note in passing that a typical liberal is rather to the left of the Democrats), eliminating taxes, privatizing everything, and demolishing the social safety net is viewed as a complete capitulation to corporate interests, and is a position that is consistent with those on the far right of the political spectrum, and definitely not the political center (on the economic axis) where he places himself. In practice, based the spoilered political opinions that he expressed above, I'd put him a bit southwest of the Libertarian camp, rather than north and center.

I place myself more left than it seems you would because I'm not just advocating for "eliminating taxes" in the usual way conservatives do, I'm advocating for (eventually) replacing taxes with something else which serves the same function without the same flaws. Conservatives seem happy to just discard the function as not worth the flaws; I desperately want to keep the function and will gladly put up with the flaws until a better solution is found, but I acknowledge the flaws as flaws and want to find a better solution eventually. I basically say (to liberals) "you're more right for right now, but they do have a good point that needs to be addressed eventually". That's actually a pretty good summary of my whole view of the left-right debate: some people on the right have some good points in the abstract that deserve eventual addressing, but those points don't justify sabotaging the system we've got going when there's nothing better yet ready to replace it with. They do justify working on building a replacement, though.

Likewise I'm not advocating "privatizing everything" in the usual way conservatives do. I'm not saying the government should stop paying to provide these services, and let the free market figure out how to feed/house/heal/educate/etc the poor. I'm saying the government should just handle the "paying" part of that, and let the poor each choose who gets paid to do the actual providing for themselves individually. (Or in the longer scale of my plan, just straight up pay the poor, and let them choose what services they even want to put that money toward, in what proportions -- basically letting everyone decide how their share of the welfare budget is going to be allocated, what services it's going to pay for).

And I don't know where you saw anything about demolishing the social safety net in there. I proposed a guaranteed basic income (via the negative progressive tax), I don't know how much more social safety net you can get than that. Just giving away money to the poor, for nothing, to spend on anything they want, just because they're poor? That's socialism!</sarcasm?>

And then in the even longer term plans, I propose a reevaluation of what private property entails, with consequences that effectively demolish most of the institutes of capitalism. No interest, no rent, no contracts other than the most straightforward agreements to trade X from Y? Why... the only way the wealthy could benefit from their wealth would be to sell it to the poor who need it, in exchange for their labor, but that could only last for so long without some way of making money from having money, and eventually the rich would have to start working just to feed themselves, and the poor would be able to work just to feed themselves (instead of to dig themselves out of unending debt incurred because they couldn't afford to buy the things they needed and instead had to borrow them at interest). I'm aiming for a world where the places people live and work are owned by the people who live and work there and stay that way stably, where there's no way for capital-owners to extract surplus value from other people using their capital... really Marxist kind of stuff here that totally pisses off people on the right. I'd be a straight up anarcho-socialist except that I really like the idea of my bedroom and my toothbrush belonging to me and me alone, i.e. private property -- but I still agree with them about all of the bad stuff they worry private property will bring, and I aim to find a way to have my toothbrush be mine without the rest of the world belonging to a handful of super-rich... and eventually, to do so without just taking money from the rich, but rather stopping it from flowing to them in the first place.

I'm also unclear on why you would place me "south" of Libertarians, seeing as how I'm an [eventualist] anarchist, and there's mostly only minarchists.
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)


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