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Democracy or Socialism?
by Conservative (umbrella_1942)
at September 20th, 2006 (10:14 am)

One of the things that I have always wondered about Liberal Left Wingers, is do they really support Democracy and individuals right to express whatever they want so long as its not defamatory? In Adelaide, and Australia in general, the leading Left Wing Liberal youth group is called Resistance.

http://www.resistance.org.au/

They will claim to support and back democracy and freedom of expression to the hilt. But at the same time they wish to curb freedom of speech of the centre, conservative-right and radical right. They also wish to outlaw just about every one of these parties.
They are also the same group of people who come down to meetings of the Young Liberals, Young Nationals and Family First Society at uni and throw eggs at us as we exit the building and break into the lecture theatres when we have guest speakers. They when we retaliate by writing negatively about them in the Liberal newsletter, The Reporter, they complain that we're slandering and it shouldnt be allowed.
When, as a coalition of conservative students at university emailed the Resistance team, we recieved a half page reply to the Liberal president, Pat Giam full of expletives and calling conservative students f**ksticks and calling former president Xavier Wintersfield a "Rude son of a bitch".

There is no way of proving all of this to any of you, whether we're right or wrong. Nor do I expect any of you to judge (or even comment on) the behaviour of Resistance based on my probably biased version of events.

But what is definately the case is that the views of Resistance and the general Australian public (which in general is centrist with very slight left leanings) are so far apart that Resistance's ideas will never be implemented in a democractic Australia.
They frequently cite that Australians would love free education back, free healthcare, more police, no foreign debt and for nobody to be unemployed and therefore they would be the most popular group the country has ever seen. However, they do not cite that to do so would a massive tax rise, probably even imposing a 100% tax rate which would make them widely hated, and nationalising property (which they actively support), which is expressly forbidden under British Commonwealth Law as well as Australian Law.
They commonly cite Cuba as a bastion of their ideals. We all know that Cuba has no socialism, and that its current regime founders, Che Guevara and Fidel Castro were both tyranical murderers who support the destruction of their opponents by violent force but they supported most of Resistance's Ideals.

So that brings me to my question to each and all of you.

Which is more important, the democratic will of society and free speech from all political spectrums on any topic no matter how taboo, or the implementation of unpopular policies which are progressive and good for society as a whole?


My thoughts
Without Democracy and Free Speech a society has nothing and Free Speech should be encouraged, no matter how unpopular or controversial it is.
People should never be gagged on any topic as long as it is not causing defamatory damages. For that reason, we should never ban any political party. Even wacko groups and individuals like Satanists, Ann Coulter or the alarmingly racist Australia First Party should not be barred from giving thier spiels, they should just be bashed with a weapon called rebuttal from their political opposites, or conservative moderates.
Againm if the majority of a country want water fluoridation, we should give them water fluoridation. If the majority of the country wants nuclear technology, we should start researching nuclear technology. Hell, if they want to sing der Horst Wessel Lied while using Blitzkrieg to acquire Aryan Lebensraum across the Russian Steppe then we should start preparing the Wehrmacht for Barbarossa 2006.

Just my thoughts, I look forward to hearing yours.

Comments

Posted by: The tragic combination of liquor and jazz (cicipsychobunny)
Posted at: September 20th, 2006 01:15 am (UTC)

Nothing warms my heart like seeing people assume democracy is the only way to run a nation. Ooh, and with a serving of Tyranny of the Majority on the side! Be still my heart.

Posted by: Conservative (umbrella_1942)
Posted at: September 21st, 2006 02:04 am (UTC)
Farting

Thankyou for your thoughts!

Posted by: The tragic combination of liquor and jazz (cicipsychobunny)
Posted at: September 21st, 2006 11:21 pm (UTC)

Riiiiiiiiiiight.

Posted by: The Great Ideas Fairy (scorpi084)
Posted at: September 22nd, 2006 03:23 am (UTC)

I'm trying to decide if I should ban this.

Posted by: The Great Ideas Fairy (scorpi084)
Posted at: September 20th, 2006 03:43 am (UTC)
Clueless: hmmm

Is there a reason you joined my community, or was it just to spew out ignorant regurgitated crap you heard on Rush Limbaugh's program?

Posted by: Conservative (umbrella_1942)
Posted at: September 21st, 2006 01:54 am (UTC)

I made that post to find out what the Liberal community abroad thinks, and whether it is the same line of thinking as our far-left here.

I despise Rush as much as any of you do, and the thought that he's democratic is a joke.

Posted by: morality_play (morality_play)
Posted at: November 3rd, 2006 04:53 pm (UTC)
Thoughts on free speech commitments.

"Which is more important, the democratic will of society and free speech from all political spectrums on any topic no matter how taboo, or the implementation of unpopular policies which are progressive and good for society as a whole?"

It seems that what you want to do here is force left-political ideologues to strangle themselves upon the opposing leashes of their political commitments. You anticipate their egalitarian sympathies, correctly I think. Most leftists will make some rhetorical concessions to 'free speech' on the one hand. On the other hand, they'll often favor an interventionist model of government that will be popularly opposed.

The first problem I see with your questionnaire is that these commitments are not actually inconsistent with one another, but you treat them as though they were diametrically opposed. You accomplish this treatment by means of a minor deception.

When you initially injected the concept of 'free speech' into this forum, you explicitly treated it as the activity of 'popular public participation in dialogue.' You described it as "an individual's right to express whatever they want, so long as it's not defamatory." And that sounds fairly reasonable; doesn't it? At a minimum, it's an ordinary and uncontroversial description of 'free speech.' To put it another way, all people should be able to reflect upon ideas and submit them for consideration in a public forum where their merit can be appraised. How else, after all, are we to determine how to proceed with legislation or public policy if we can't submit opposing positions to rational scrutiny?

It's this last part that's important for understanding your first description of 'free speech.' It necessarily connotes submitting ideas for _appraisal_. We participate in the exchange of ideas so that we can determine which ideas can withstand _scrutiny_.

As your narrative proceeds however, your definition of 'free speech' goes through a strange transformation. By the eighth paragraph, your description of speech becomes the democratic 'will of the people.' That this seems to mean a will to _install legislation and policy_ from majority preference doesn't remain ambiguous for long; because by the end of your submission your definition mutates further. You declare...

"Again, if the majority of a country want water fluoridation, we should give them water fluoridation. If the majority of the country wants nuclear technology, we should start researching nuclear technology."

This definition of speech is now completely inconsistent with the first one you submitted. In fact, it's not even a description of 'free speech' anymore. Instead you seem to be describing some populist libertarian fantasy of _legislative rule_ from majority opinion. The important distinction is that the _critical component_ has been completely removed from this new definition to make it antagonistic to left-political state interventionism. Where before, free speech meant 'we shall all submit ideas to be tested,' now you simply intend that we are obligated to defer to popular sentiments _completely uncritically_.

Posted by: morality_play (morality_play)
Posted at: November 3rd, 2006 05:04 pm (UTC)
More thoughts on free speech

The problem with such a model is obviously that it makes no inquiry into why any conditions actually ought to prevail over others. _Should_ water sources be fluoridated? _Should_ nuclear technologies proliferate? What sort of consequences do these procedures have for other moral patients? What are our obligations to those patients? Instead of making that inquiry, you only offer a standard market-libertarian ploy: You make declarations of your position, in the affirmative, as if those positions were already resolved from dispute. Simply declaring water _should_ be fluoridated means absolutely nothing unless you can qualify _why_ this should be so. Further declaring that 'lots of folks want fluoridation' isn't sufficient as a qualification either! Any number of people could favor or oppose it without respect to the actual merit of the idea! You're only telling us about their feelings. In order to determine how we should proceed with fluoridation, we would need to know if their position was descriptively consistent with what we know empirically. And in a normative sense, we need to determine if their position satisfies the requirements of moral activity. It simply doesn't matter (as you contend) that a majority of any demographic favors an idea. It only matters if they are in error or not.

My own left-political commitments are difficult to summarize. I simply don't possess any meaningful egalitarian commitments though. What I advocate is something like 'the rule of scientists.' Or perhaps 'the rule of the mentati?' Something following from Veblen's appraisal of the social justice project, as being better served by an intellectual elite than by a popular movement. And like Veblen, my model of that elite probably emphasizes the role of scientists prominently, in the same manner of the 'enlightened minority' Herbert Green sought to supplant our current legislative class with. This doesn't mean that I necessarily privilege scientists. I'm as likely to emphasize the roles of philosophers, artists, systems theorists, mathematicians, etc. in determining appropriate legislation. I do most often contrast that current legislative class with scientists and engineers though, recalling T. Swann Harding's description of it as the "inferior money minds" of "lesser mental ability."

My commitment to free speech is intrinsic to this, as well. It's also, I think, considerably more involved than the sort of generic, purely cosmetic concession to free speech celebrated by the market-libertarian ideologue. It doesn't confuse 'free expression' with 'dictatorial authority' for example. That's a popular libertine deception.

Basically, I suppose my ideology could be said to privilege competency. The right to set policy follows from meaningful understanding of what is, and what ought to be. So naturally, the left must assume authority in those domains that are their purview. That includes the whole post-enlightenment project of civilization. Moral justice. The amelioration of quality of life. The extension of human ability, and the enlargement of human knowledge. The right-political ideologue, with it's market-libertarian commitments, is necessarily more limited in authority to command legislation. I guess in my model, their legislative authority would be limited to _their purview_. NASCAR and hayrides. That sort of thing.

Posted by: Conservative (umbrella_1942)
Posted at: November 4th, 2006 08:12 am (UTC)
Re: More thoughts on free speech

Thankyou for your thoughts!

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