[pp.int.general] Our ideology
coretx at piratenpartij.nl
Fri Jul 31 21:33:13 CEST 2009
> Go back further and the distinction between left and right is
> different again.
> left = reduce power of the monarch (and other institutions, like the
> right = retain power for the monarch
> The original categorization between left and right came from France
> and the upheaval of the French Revolution. It was originally about
> how much power you thought the King should have, with people
> favouring the King sitting more to the right. This explains why it
> is possible to associate the 'left' with freedom. However, you
> quickly morph the debate into one about 'positive' and 'negative'
> freedoms, what freedom really means and hence whether freedom means
> nobody having power over anyone else or freedom means somebody
> having power over other people in order to secure freedom. Freedom
> can mean laissez-faire capitalism, which ends up looking like what
> you now call the political right, though its roots were in
> liberating individuals, and hence markets, from impositions of an
> arbitrary ruler. The British Whigs were nominally on the left (by
> the standards of that time) because they wanted to reduce the power
> of the King, and the USA's Whigs called themselves Whigs because
> they were opposed to concentrating power in a President. Stepping
> back a little earlier, the American Revolutionaries were radicals
> who removed the power of the British King to impose taxes on their
> economic activity, and they consequently believed in strictly
> limiting the power of the state to intervene in all aspects of civil
> society, whether economic or personal freedoms. The result is
> considered, by European standards, to be a constitution and civil
> society that is now weighted heavily to the right of the political
> spectrum! So in the American revolution, 'leftist' thinking ended
> up with a conclusion that is now described as being on the 'right'
> because of the freedom given to the market.
> It can go the other way too, when it comes to leftism and freedom.
> J.J. Rousseau was a leftist thinker. He influenced the French and
> American revolutions, and emphasized the delivery of freedom via a
> social contract, where some freedoms must be given up in order to
> secure other freedoms. Robespierre, who tried to implement the
> philosophy of Rousseau, interpreted this as a mandate to kill his
> political opponents on the basis that they were essentially
> rejecting the social contract, and hence were a threat to it.
> Robespierre's political enemies were hence killed, without this
> being seen as a violation of the principles of freedom! Hence, you
> can go full circle, and argue that you need authority - and further
> still, you need authoritarian powers - in order to secure freedoms.
> In this way, you go from the left being the pole in favour of
> freedom (from the King) to the left being represented by a
> government that will kill people opposed to its will. Sad to say,
> Robespierre was not the last leftist politician to treat his enemies
> as enemies of the people, and hence to justify the need for
> repression in order to secure freedom.
> I prefer Aristotle's analysis to the left-right categorization that
> came out of the French Revolution. Aristotle thought governments
> either reflected the will of the many, the will of a few, or the
> will of one. He said if it was a good government, the government of
> one was best, but if bad, the government of one was worst. In
> contrast, he said the government of many was least best if good,
> least worst if bad. In balancing freedoms in the real world, that
> analysis does a lot to explain why democracy, the least bad of the
> bad governments, the least good of the good governments, is so
> successful. Karl Popper's analysis in the Open Society and its
> Enemies includes a critique of Aristotle's counterpart, Plato.
> Popper argues that authoritarian systems are not derived from a left-
> right division, but from an unwillingness to tolerate alternative
> points of view and an insistence that one point of view can be shown
> to be comprehensively right, with no possibility of revision or of
> allowing people to change their minds. That can equally well occur
> with Kings, or with those who claim to speak on behalf of 'the
> people'. On this analysis, trying to link the political left with
> increasing freedom, and the political right with reducing freedom,
> is fundamentally flawed.
> On 31 Jul 2009, at 13:25, Reinier Bakels wrote:
>> left = believers in government intervention for more justice in the
>> devision of power and income.
>> right = believers in the free market
> Pirate Parties International - General Talk
> pp.international.general at lists.pirateweb.net
More information about the pp.international.general