The Illusion of Left And Right

What goes where?

You probably think that politics can be neatly divided into two sides. There is the Left and there is the Right. Everything has to fit in somewhere on that line. You probably think there is some clear and logical principle that will tell you where to put every political persuasion on that line.

A simple political spectrum

A lot of people do see it that way. 

The reality though is that things are not that simple. The reality of human thought and political belief can’t be captured on a single one-dimensional line. There are many dimensions by which we can measure political persuasions. 

Before we look at those other dimensions we need to understand where this one came from. It is a surprisingly simple story.

Left & Right came from where people sat.

The terms “Left” and “Right” in politics came from where people sat in the French National Assembly leading up to the French Revolution in 1789. Those who supported the rights and privileges of the King, the aristocracy, and the clergy were on the right of the president  (the “Right Wing”). Those who were on the left (the “Left Wing”), angered by those same privileges for the elite sought to establish a more egalitarian society. 

That happened over two centuries ago. So how did that work out? 

It didn’t end well.

Not very well actually. The First Republic dates to 1792. In 1793 they executed King Louis XVI. The dictatorship of the Committee of Public Safety and the Reign of Terror soon followed with some 17,000 public executions. As many as 10,000 died in prison without a trial. Historians don’t agree on the count in the Vendee Genocide, numbers ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands. After interminable turmoil, Napoleon Bonaparte took control in 1799, and was declared Emperor in 1804. This led to the Napoleonic Wars that finally ended in 1815 with the final defeat of Napoleon.

The French Revolution started out with the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. It ended with a bloodbath, dictatorship, and wars that decimated France and Europe. 

Continue reading “The Illusion of Left And Right”

Net Neutrality – The Internet Was A Success Without It!

A lot of techies and millennial types are going apoplectic over the FCC’s current move to roll back provisions for Net Neutrality adopted under Obama. A lot of people I know who are technically literate consider it blasphemy to be against Net Neutrality.

Net Neutrality

I guess then I am a blasphemer.

In principle I rarely support increasing the scope and power of government unless someone can show a large, unambiguous, and clear benefit of government regulation. There are good arguments for regulation and government oversight, sometimes. One example of where government regulation clearly fits is in assuring that large enterprises be 100% responsible for cleaning up the messes they make instead of passing the buck to taxpayers which is clearly a subsidy for those enterprises.

A lot of the arguments I hear for Net Neutrality come down to something like “big powerful corporations controlling access to the Internet will block access to those sites they don’t like.” So I guess the Koch brothers are scheming to buy large ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and block access to Left leaning websites?

In reality if you want to see real examples of businesses discriminating against a particular point of view you don’t have to look much further than Google, Facebook, and Apple, all heavily Left leaning corporations heavily in favor of Net Neutrality.

Josh Steimle made a lot of good points in Forbes back in 2014 when Net Neutrality was first being discussed. He wrote that:

“I don’t like how much power the telecoms have. But the reason they’re big and powerful isn’t because there is a lack of government regulation, but because of it. Government regulations are written by large corporate interests which collude with officials in government. The image of government being full of people on a mission to protect the little guy from predatory corporate behemoths is an illusion fostered by politicians and corporate interests alike. Many, if not most, government regulations are the product of crony capitalism designed to prevent small entrepreneurs from becoming real threats to large corporations.”

In the long run more regulation more often than not ends up favoring the largest corporations which can most easily deal with the red tape (and then pass the cost on to you and other taxpayers). Josh Steimle goes on to say that:

“Free speech cannot exist without privacy, and the U.S. government has been shown to be unworthy of guarding the privacy of its citizens. Only the latest revelation of many, Glenn Greenwald’s new book No Place To Hide reveals that the U.S. government tampers with Internet routers during the manufacturing process to aid its spying programs. Is this the organization we trust to take even more control of the Internet?”

We can with some version of Net Neutrality guarantee some version of Internet service that some perceive as “fair,” but I prefer the idea of competition. We don’t know what clever people will come up with in the future if we regulate the opportunity out of existence today.

The Left often views everything as a zero-sum game where there is only so much to go around and everyone is trying to get the biggest share of the pie. The other point of view held by proponents of free markets is that we need to keep on building bigger pies so there are ever growing opportunities and resources for everyone (and yes, the pie is still not evenly distributed).

Communism and Socialism are in effect zero-sum games. Capitalism, whatever the practical faults in its historical implementations, is a non-zero-sum game dedicated to building bigger and better pies. Net Neutrality is the group-think of zero-sum thinking.

The Internet came about originally from a government project called ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) but it soon spread to the private sector with explosive results in information sharing (and stealing) that heralded in the modern Information Age. The world changed. It would have changed whether or not the government started out with a Defense Department project we now call the Internet. It would have changed because it was time for it. Period.

The major principle was freedom, a “Wild West” of opportunities. What some people don’t seem to understand too well today is freedom also applies to the businesses that work and scheme to bring the Information Age into our homes and businesses. We can shackle them with a mantle of government regulation today to try to preserve what we think is good about the Internet today, but we sacrifice at the same time the opportunities for innovation that originally birthed the Internet.

If we can keep government hands off the Internet, at least as much as possible, then some truly clever folks are going to create things no one has yet imagined.

 

DACA Is Not What the Democrats Say It Is

More facts about DACA and other interesting stories.

DACA Is Not What the Democrats Say It Is. Here Are the Facts

Some members of Congress are threatening to block government funding unless Congress provides amnesty to so-called Dreamers—the illegal aliens included in President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which President Donald Trump is ending.

Responsible members of Congress should not give in.

Such an effort would be fundamentally flawed and would only encourage even more illegal immigration—just as the 1986 amnesty in the Immigration Reform and Control Act did.

Hans von Spakovsky, READ MORE at The Daily Signal


Hallelujah! Trump Will Recognize Jerusalem as Capital of Israel Wednesday, Begin Moving Embassy

President Donald Trump will announce Wednesday that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and that the State Department will begin a process to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Trump will first announce that the “United States government recognizes that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,” according to one of three senior administration officials who spoke with reporters on Tuesday.

MIichelle Moons, READ MORE at BREITBART NEWS


I Hate The New York Times

My hometown paper drives me crazy.

I read The New York Times because it often has good coverage. The newspaper pays to send reporters to dangerous places all around the world.

But mostly I read the Times because my neighbors read it, and I need to understand what they think.

John Stossel, READ MORE at Townhall


December 6, 2017 In America