The Problem with the Left-Right Spectrum

In political discussion if one wants to quickly identify a person they describe them as ‘left’ or ‘right’. However this scale is woefully inadequate in properly discussing the array of ideologies. For one people will describe Donald Trump as “far right.” However he supports ideas that would not be described as right traditionally. He supports ‘fair trade’, a protectionist economic policy that runs contrary to previous norms of the Republican Party. He supports LGBT rights, breaking years of social norms within the Republican Party. He wants to replace and repeal the Affordable Care Act. If he was ‘far right’ he would only go with repeal and not implement a replacement.

When the phrase “far left” is used Communism or Socialism is inferred. When “far right” is used Nazism and Fascism is inferred. However how could two opposite ends of a spectrum both result in authoritarian styles of government? If it were to be sensible Nazism and Communism would be at one end and Anarchism at the other.

The current mode of describing political positions needs to be replaced with one that can more properly take into account various positions.

The above chart is a far better one to go off. It takes into the account the various forms of authoritarianism and liberty based angles. It judges your overall position by your views on social and economic questions. It is possible to be socially liberal and authoritarian while being economically liberal and socially authoritarian.

It is important to remember the true meaning of the word ‘liberal.’ Liberal derives from the political school of thought classical liberalism. It is defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary as the following.

  1. a theory in economics emphasizing individual freedom from restraint and usually based on free competition, the self-regulating market, and the gold standard
  2. a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy (see autonomy 2) of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties; specifically : such a philosophy that considers government as a crucial instrument for amelioration of social inequities (such as those involving race, gender, or class)

In both we see that it advocates both economic and social freedom. The modern use of the world liberal then is a degradation to its original meaning. This just shows the laziness of the left-right spectrum that fails to take into the account all aspects of a belief system.

The above chart displays where I fall on the political spectrum after taking a test on https://www.politicalcompass.org/ . We should strive to broaden our understanding of political identity so we can have better discussion. These tests may not be perfect, but it’s a start.

 

Try for yourself and post your results!

https://www.politicalcompass.org/

https://www.isidewith.com/

End the War in Afghanistan

Afghanistan can be said to be America’s forgotten war. We have been involved in Afghanistan for fifteen years, which provides plenty of time to grow accustomed to the situation and eventually ignorant. Since the Taliban have not been able to directly attack us it is in a sense a peaceful war. We are much more inclined to the situation involving ISIS as they have launched a barrage of terrorists attacks through Europe and the United States. It’s easy to forget you are at war when there are no visible signs of it in your daily life. As George Orwell wrote in 1984 “War is peace.”

Breaking the trend of silence the Trump administration recently stated they could send up to three thousand additional soldiers to bolster the Afghanistan government and help in the fight against the Taliban. However sending more of our men in harm’s way has garnered little media attention. I would be surprised if anyone knew since the media obsesses over anything that could be treated as a scandal regarding President Trump. 

“But when war becomes literally continuous, it also ceases to be dangerous… It would probably be accurate to say that by becoming continuous war has ceased to exist.”

The Afghanistan War seems to be the best proof of Orwell’s sentiment.

After fifteen years of armed conflict and a price tag of a staggering $685.6 billion dollars we are no closer to securing peace in Afghanistan. Our policy of foreign intervention has failed spectacularly and it’s time to end it. We should no longer put the lives of our brave men and women at sake for wars that we gain nothing from.

It’s time to end the war in Afghanistan once and for all. I am for the full withdrawal of all US military personnel and equipment from Afghanistan.

Now I am sure some will be concerned that without our help Afghanistan will be faced with a power vacuum, and that the Taliban may use it to their advantage. It is certainly possible given the outcome of the US withdrawal from Iraq. However the number of US troops in Afghanistan is only 8400, and even then is limited in its roles. It mainly trains and supports the local soldiers, as well as providing support to counter terrorism operations. It is also worth noting that even after the surge of ISIS the Iraqi army is pushing them out of their country. They are only three districts away from liberating Mosul, a key ISIS stronghold. Iraqi army officials say by taking it they could drive ISIS out of Iraq.

It is far more important for Afghanistan to become self reliant rather than continuously depend on us. If they can not learn to stand on their own two feet after all this time it is not our problem. Iraq, along with the help of the Kurds, learned to adjust without US ground troops and are managing to fend for themselves.

Meanwhile those in power in Afghanistan seem little worried about the fate of their country. Corruption runs rampant, soldiers are given little ammo and are paid little money. Major General M. Moein Faqir, commander of the 215th Corps of the Afghan National Army was arrested in 2015 for misuse of money to supply food to his soldiers. Faqir was originally appointed to end corruption, and like many others in command are now being charged with what they pledged to eliminate. If we were to leave it just might encourage them to spend more on trying to preserve their country instead of lining their pockets. Nothing encourages accountability when you have a massive safety net.

We should stop making countries reliant and instead have them be able to preserve themselves. If only the Donald from a few years ago was the one we had today.

The FCC’s Needless Interference with Free Speech

The Federal Communications Commission is launching an investigation into Stephen Colbert after numerous complaints have been filed over his “homophobic” remarks. Colbert, host of The Late Show, included in a rant against President Trump the following insult.

“The only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c—k holster.”

FCC chairman Ajit Pai said in a radio interview on 1210 WPHT that “Traditionally, the agency has to decide, if it does find a violation, what the appropriate remedy should be. A fine, of some sort, is typically what we do.”

The FCC’s investigation into Colbert’s remark is completely worthless and a waste of taxpayer money.

The idea that we should pay money for an agency to watch a thirty second tape, have them decide if its offensive, and then punish the offender is ridiculous. If people are so outraged by Mr. Colbert’s remarks they should punish him through their power as consumers. Refuse to watch his show, pester CBS to drop him, or pressure him into an apology. The free market gives the individual the power to financially punish a business or person already. Relying on government to do it for you is not the solution.

For once you are able to hamper the free speech of someone you find offensive what stops the other side from hampering the free speech of someone you agree with? You cannot afford to act in the short term for small victories without considering the long term implications. (Not that censoring someone should ever be considered a victory. It is far better to have opposing views than be in a vacuum of unchanging thought.) Taking back power from the government is nearly impossible so you can never afford to give them any.

On the taxpayer side of things it gets even more ridiculous. Why should our hard earned money go to some government agency to decide whether something someone said is obscene? Surely we all have the ability to determine for ourselves what is obscene or not. If we do view something as obscene we have the power to withdraw ourselves from it. Those who do enjoy Mr. Colbert’s remarks should have the ability to continue to watch his show without having a false version of himself afraid of being censored.

Earlier in the article Pai said that the most likely action would be a fine. I’m sure that’s just going to devastate Colbert and his $15 million dollar salary. Glad to see our tax dollars are going to such an effective use.

If it were up to me any speech, besides that which would encourage or incite violence, would be allowed on television. One of our country’s founding principles and rights is the freedom of speech. It is crucial that anyone be allowed to speak their mind, no matter how much we may personally find it reprehensible. For once we find it acceptable to punish someone else for their opinions free speech dies.

Saudi Arabia Elected to Women’s Rights Commission

No, this is not an Onion article.

Saudi Arabia, one of the most oppressive countries towards women, has been elected to the Women’s Rights Commission for a 2018-2022 term. Picked up by UN Watch, executive director Hillel Neuer said “Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief.”

Saudi Arabia according to the World Economic Forum ranks 141 out of 144 countries when it comes to gender equality. Under law all women are required to have a male guardian which make critical decisions in their life.

Neuer also stated that “Saudi discrimination against women is gross and systematic in law and in practice. Every Saudi woman must have a male guardian who makes all critical decisions on her behalf, controlling a woman’s life from her birth until death. Saudi Arabia bans women from driving cars. Why did the U.N. choose the world’s leading oppressor of women to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women?”

What makes the vote all the more insulting is that Saudi Arabia was elected on a secret ballot. If countries cannot publicly show their support then they should not vote at all. By voting in secret they do not have to directly face backlash from electing such a misogynistic country. The women of the world deserve better than this.

The Dangers of a Reactionary Foreign Policy

Last week on the 6th of April the United States launched fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles at an airbase in Syria in response to a chemical attack carried out by the government. Trump said in a statement following the attack “Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the air base in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched. It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.” This is a dramatic reversal from his prior statements and indications during the campaign that he would stay out of Syria.

His explanation for his changed policy is seeing the images of the chemical attack. “When you kill innocent children — innocent babies — babies — little babies with a chemical gas that is so lethal, people were shocked to hear what gas it was, that crosses many, many lines. Beyond a red line, many, many lines.” There is no questioning or debating the heinous attack upon civilians, but it is no reason to entangle the United States in Syria.

Despite what President Trump says there is no national security interest in attacking Assad. The chemical attacks did not harm Americans, nor does it place any of us at risk. What does place us at risk is bombing an ally of Russia. Attacking Assad will only weaken his ability to fight ISIS, a group we both want eradicated. In an interview in September 28, 2015 Trump told an interviewer, “Why can’t we let ISIS and Syria fight? Let Russia, let them fight ISIS.”

Not to mention the increase in tensions between Russia and the United States that will naturally come from attacking one of its allies. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a conference at Moscow “The current state of U.S.-Russia relations is at a low point. There is a low-level of trust between our two countries. The world’s two foremost nuclear powers cannot have this kind of relationship.” A proxy war between opposing Syrian forces would benefit no one, and would only instill more hatred for the west in the middle east.

If Trump’s recent reactionary foreign policy holds it could be detrimental to the United States and the rest of the world. Prematurely reacting to foreign crises will only create more problems. Syria is currently engulfed in six year long civil war, with various groups fighting for control. You have the government, ISIS, and the various rebel groups fighting against each other for dominance. It is a multi front war with no clear group that would be best to lead if Assad and ISIS were taken out. With the United States long record of making countries worse by removing the current leaders you would think we would have learned by now not to meddle in other countries.

Sadly there seems to be no shortage of politicians and leaders who think they know the solution to other countries affairs. Their arrogance in believing they know how to fix other countries has only made the world a more dangerous place. Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya are the prime examples of our failed nation building policy. The establishment politicians couldn’t even understand the support for Trump, so why should we expect them to understand the intricacies of foreign politics?

The other dangers posed by a reactionary foreign policy is the debt it would cause for the country. A study by Brown University’s Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs reveals that the War on Terror has costed the United states $4.79 trillion dollars. And what do we have to show for it? A more turbulent Middle East, dead and injured soldiers, and wars drawn out for far too long. With the already massive national debt of $19 trillion very close to reaching $20 trillion we can not afford to squander additional money. We should be focusing on ways to reduce our debt problem instead of wasting it on foreign wars that do not serve our national interest.

Most importantly however is the ceding of power from Congress to the executive branch. Congress holds the power to approve and declare war, and attacking another country with Tomahawk missiles is undoubtedly an act of war. However due to prior precedent Trump felt no obligation to go before Congress and ask for permission. Only a few Democratic and Republican voices brought up the legality of the strikes, but they were drowned out from the praise of fellow lawmakers and foreign leaders.

If there is so little opposition to Trump initiating military action against an ally of Russia then what is stopping him from reacting to other events he finds distasteful? The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists passed in September 2001 gives blanket ability for the president “To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States. Whereas, on September 11, 2001, acts of treacherous violence were committed against the United States and its citizens.” While Assad is not responsible for September 11 this act of Congress began the transfer of power between the two branches. It has been abused to the point where the president does not even feel the need to bother with asking congress. If Congress does not act to reign back its constitutional authority we will only find ourselves in more conflicts.

Perhaps the best closing statement would be an old quote from the Donald himself.

The Reward of Fighting for Free Speech

It’s been known for a while now that anything you say can and will be turned against you. As soon as the social justice warriors seize upon a single utterance that can be taken as mildly offensive they will quickly misconstrue it to stunning degrees. It’s almost a work of art how quickly they can slander someone, although it is most certainly a decadent art. This collective of thought police seem to treasure nothing more than the obliteration of any individual that opposes their view.

This intolerance has once again displayed itself in response to Colin Moriarty, a game journalist and former member of Kinda Funny. On International Women’s Day Colin posted the following tweet.

Ignoring the irony of well off women taking the day off to protest, while women that need to work to make ends meet had to continue with their jobs, the normal onslaught of outrage poured onto Colin. Immediately the calls of sexism were shouted, but perhaps the most amazing is a headline from the International Business Times.

“Kinda Funny’s Colin Moriarty Resigns After Targeting Women In Racist Joke; Insists It’s His Personal Decision.”

Now I am fairly certain women are not a race, nor was it intended for a certain race of women.  However in this crusade for political correctness the social justice warriors have seen it necessary at times to make up offenses. If you lack the material to destroy your opponent it then becomes necessary to produce your own. With the ability of the internet to quickly spread false information it has become ever harder to clear yourself of accusations.  Colin, just for posting a mild joke, will be vilified by many.

And yet there is hope. While the social justice warriors have their tools, those fighting for free speech now have their own. The old saying put your money where your mouth is has been amazingly demonstrated on Colin’s Patreon page. As of April 1st 6229 people have donated, totaling a whopping $40,602. This outpouring of support serves not only as a way to support a wrongly framed man but as a way to send a message.

People fighting for free speech are beyond words now. Their willing to put their money together to display their resistance. This has been also seen with Dave Rubin’s Patreon page, and a firm supporter of Colin Moriarty. Despite them only meeting a week before for an interview Rubin quickly went to Colin’s rescue.  In a video where the two sat down after the tweet Colin said the following. “When I was out there drowning, you were the first one to lend me your hand…. Your my newest friend and you treated me like you were my oldest friend.  When people out there that I have known forever just abandoned me. And thank you.”

Its sad times we live in when people are too afraid to defend their friends because some anonymous twitter users and muck racking journalists decide its time to launch a crusade.  One would hope they would chose their real life relationships over some outrage from people they may never meet. Sadly not for Colin. He chose to leave Kinda Funny so he would not bring any harm to their reputation in respect for his friends, while they decided not to defend him.

However out of this maybe a new coalition will arise. A formation of people around the internet coming together under a united cause. One dedicated to fighting for free speech, no matter how hard the social justice warriors fight against them. One banded together in a new brotherhood hoping to expand and explore new ideas, instead of silencing them. Instead of having to defend themselves they will defend each other, and reap the freedom given by free speech.