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Author Topic: The Next Right and the New Left: Dialectics for the free man  (Read 5546 times)
Scam of God
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« on: June 30, 2009, 04:32:53 pm »
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From my blog of the same name:


It's always been a curiosity to me that conservatives ought to place a high value on the 'purity' of Western civilization (which in itself has always been far more eclectic than that of the Orient), but even stranger seems to be the end they desire to seek.

Certain conservatives, of course, recognize the basic nature of human society - that is, that societies change - and simply seek to make sure that change, when it comes, comes slowly and carefully, so as to not radically upset the established paradigm. This form of conservatism can be genuinely respected, even if its Burkean appeals to collective wisdom are asinine and irrational.

Other conservatives (most of them, I'd say), take a radically different view: for them, society must not only remain static, but it must begin going backwards: they by no means wish to conserve the social changes that have happened since the counterculture of the 1960s, and actively seek to roll back the progress made in individual liberty since then. In this they are not conservatives but reactionary-revolutionaries, motivationally similar to the 'revolutionary conservatism' of such 'luminaries' as Edgar Jung - chiefly, they are motivated out of hatred for the man himself and fear of his individual powers. They are, once more, socialists-of-the-spirit. Their ideal collective may be grounded on traditional idealism rather than dialectical materialism, but the essential focus of the philosophy lies in the community, of blud und boden. These are the enemies of free men everywhere.  To phrase it differently: there is a cleft here, between these two essentially different praxi, that a skillful political theorist ought to be able to hue, in order to emasculate the reactionary-revolutionary movement, but it would require the co-option of the language of the Right on the part of the Left (for the reactionary-revolutionaries are neither of the Right nor the Left). That is the task set before the Left today - to divorce liberty-minded men from the socialists they have hopped into bed with for the sake of political expediency. Likewise, it is not enough to mindlessly quote the fusionist mantra that "libertarianism is the heart of conservatism" as justification enough to cloud one's eyes to the basic fact that the old Reaganist alliance is finished, and has been for quite some time.

Similarly, a disturbing tendency to automatically dismiss the accomplishments of the Left in American history on the part of libertarians has long confounded me. We need not hearken back to the immediate post-colonial era to prove this point - Jefferson's opposition to the establishment of an oceanic navy, or Jackson's enfranchisement of a multitude of landless whites, though these are proof enough - to demonstrate the close bond between the lovers of freedom and the men of the Left. In almost direct parallel with the popular opposition against the Vietnam quagmire of the 1960s, our intellectual forebears were men who saw themselves in opposition to established interests, not conservators of the same. As Rothbard declaims in the opening paragraphs of his excellent Betrayal of the American Right:

Quote
Individualism, and its economic corollary laissez-faire liberalism, have not always taken on a conservative hue, has not always functioned, as it often does today, as an apologist for the status quo. On the contrary, the Revolution of modern times was originally, and continued for a long time to be, laissez-faire individualists. Its purpose was to free the individual person from the restrictions and the shackles, the encrusted caste privileges and exploitative wars, of the feudalist and mercantilist orders, of the Tory ancien régime.

Accordingly, Rothbard says, we see an interesting turn of events that would seem almost unimaginable in today's political clime: free-marketeers and other individualist radicals actively opposing America's entry into the Great War, going so far to denounce it, in some cases, as a war of imperialism:

Quote
By the advent of World War I, however, the death of the older laissez-faire generation threw the leadership of the opposition to America's imperial wars into the hands of the Socialist Party. But other, more individualist-minded men joined in the opposition, many of whom would later form the core of the isolationist Old Right of the late 1930s. Thus, the hardcore anti-war leaders included the individualist Senator Robert LaFollette of Wisconsin and such laissez-faire liberals as Senators William E. Borah (Republican) of Idaho and James A. Reed (Democrat) of Missouri. It also included Charles A. Lindburgh, Sr., father of the Lone Eagle, who was a congressman from Minnesota.


These great individualists, and their intellectual progeny, were not limited in their radicalism to anti-interventionism. Henry Louis Mencken, one of Rothbard's idols and perhaps the most forceful of any American individualists to live, was himself fundamentally a modern, temperamentally related more to men such as Karl Hess than to Ronald Reagan.

Writing in response to the great religious backlash of his day, embodied in the then-novel Fundamentalist movement, wrote in November 1925 that

Quote
(u)nder Prohibition, Fundamentalism, and other complex ideals of the Klan there runs a common stream of bilge: it issues from the ghostly glands of the evangelical pastors of the land. The influence of these consecrated men upon the so-called thinking of the American people has been greatly underestimated by fanciers; in fact, most of the principal professors of such forms of metabolism overlook it altogether. Yet it must be obvious that their power is immense, and that they exert it with great gusto... The pastor got into public affairs by the route of Prohibition. The shrewd shysters who developed the Anti-Saloon League made a politician of him, and once he had got a taste of power he was eager for more. It came very quickly. As industry penetrated the rural regions the new-blown Babbits began to sense his capacity for safeguarding the established order, and so he was given the job; he became a local Billy Sunday.

Such honesty concerning our erstwhile 'allies' on the Right is sorely missing from present classical liberal/individualist dialogue, and much to our discredit: for these very men who we have regarded for so long merely as a means to power now desire to usurp that power for themselves. By inviting them into a grand coalition, we have in fact weakened our position, defiled our own purity, and suffer all the more for it.

What, then, is to be done? I myself do not dare to profess to have all the answers, but one consideration ought to be to establish some form of rapprochement with those surviving veterans of the New Left, who alone share with us our antipathy towards the Establishment, that is, towards Big Government, Big God, and Big Generals. Only united with them - only by dialectically absorbing their idées fixes and, ultimately, themselves into our fold, can we ever hope to establish anything remotely resembling a genuinely libertarian consensus.

Towards that end, it is necessary for us who believe in freedom and esteem it above all else to put our money where our mouths are, to uphold 'social issues', much scorned, as the exact equal of economic liberty. For free men and free minds are equally important as free money and free markets; without all of these things, the people perish.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2010, 12:35:19 am by Scam of God »Logged

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« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2009, 01:28:10 pm »
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It's always been a curiosity to me that conservatives ought to place a high value on the 'purity' of Western civilization (which in itself has always been far more eclectic than that of the Orient),

Do you really believe in a 'western' civilization and an 'oriental' civilization?
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Vepres
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« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2009, 01:46:34 pm »
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I like your analysis.
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Scam of God
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« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2009, 05:50:48 pm »
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It's always been a curiosity to me that conservatives ought to place a high value on the 'purity' of Western civilization (which in itself has always been far more eclectic than that of the Orient),

Do you really believe in a 'western' civilization and an 'oriental' civilization?

To an extent, yes. I certainly believe that at least environmental factors have played a role in shaping two rough 'spheres' of thought that fundamentally differ - though not necessarily clash - in their modes of operation.


I like your analysis.

My effort here is twofold: to break up the monopoly that the Right has over libertarian discourse, and to make inroads in reconnecting libertarianism with its roots on the Left.

Which is exactly what needs to be done: libertarians are worried about means, not ends; but for too long the Right has tried to merge libertarian means to conservative ends (e.g., shrinking the government so as to lead to a greater social space for institutions like the Church and their bizarre conception of the "family"). This has led to predictably disastrous results, because the core libertarian credo, from which its praxis stems - the value of essentially unbridled individual liberty - is in fundamental conflict with the aspirations of those institutions to a state of social despotism, to return to a sort-of-feudalism.

So, I again propose that we synthesize a formula by which we can derive a libertarian means to a liberal end. But let's ask ourselves some questions first:

* Can the coming environmental and energy crisis be met through the free-market?

* Can a more egalitarian distribution of resources be had in such a way that does not create a perpetual underclass?

* Can technology be allowed to develop at its own clip?


I believe the answer to all these things, from such a perspective, is 'yes', and that they generally share one answer. We can appropriate the tools necessary to meet these challenges; we can provide jobs without also bankrupting the government in these desperate times. What I envision is essentially a society of artisans and entrepreneurs: where most households have technologies like the 3D Printer, and most people are employed creating goods for sale within their own communities, with an especial focus on environmentally-sound technologies.

By relocating the means of production into the individual home, we can drastically reduce the environmental damage of mass industry; we can cut back on gasoline usage, until some other alternative can be found; we can make it easier for everyone to have and hold a steady job; we can almost totally end the exploitation of workers by the capitalist classes; we can minimize the need for governmental regulation while we get Big Business out of the business of facilitating its monopolistic practices by influencing the government through lobbyists; we can increase the opportunities and choices available to individuals to choose their own career field; and we can reconnect individuals with their local economies and their local cultures, which is a concern of many people on either end of the spectrum.
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« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2009, 06:51:46 pm »
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There is at least one error in your analysis. You separate the Burkean Conservatives from the Reactionaries stating that Burkean Conservatism wishes to restrain and delay reforms while the other wishes actually to move society backwards and does this because of a "fear of mans individual powers. I could argue that the same view was held by Burk in that the individualistic impulses of free men need to be suppressed, that is why he, origianlly a whig, moved to the right following the French Revolution.


Also your ideas for the way to move the Economy forward seem unlikely and impractical.
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« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2010, 11:29:06 pm »
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With the new influx of libertarian-oriented posters, I shall bump this again.
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New worlds to gain
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And be alive
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- Jefferson Airplane, "Crown of Creation"

The right to die in Iraq was a right not previously possessed by Americans for twelve long years.  Bush rectified that.
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2010, 11:57:56 am »
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With the new influx of libertarian-oriented posters, I shall bump this again.

Good idea.
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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2010, 01:45:47 pm »
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I think the reason libertarians by-and-large side with conservatives over leftists is that the country has been moving to the left in both economic and social issues since the new deal. Thus, the force of history and society is generally behind moving to the left socially, but moving to the right economically is much more difficult from a political standpoint. Conservatives claim to be pro-life, yet there has not been any real effort to end Roe v. Wade. They claim to oppose gay marriage, but once it is legalized in a state, they largely ignore the issue. So, libertarians tend to not worry about social conservatism.

Just my 2 cents.

Edit: That said, I agree that social issues are more important. That is why I do not support Republicans in state elections because the Colorado GOP is very socially conservative, and the state governments have much more immediate influence on social issues.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2010, 01:48:02 pm by OFKA Governor Vepres »Logged

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« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2010, 08:52:28 pm »
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I think the reason libertarians by-and-large side with conservatives over leftists is that the country has been moving to the left in both economic and social issues since the new deal. Thus, the force of history and society is generally behind moving to the left socially, but moving to the right economically is much more difficult from a political standpoint.

Except it hasn't. The New Deal was dead by 1938; had the threat of global war never reared its head, Roosevelt would have been defeated in 1940. Every President after Roosevelt began to gradually dismantle the social welfare system he implemented, starting with Truman's threat to nationalize the steel industry to break the steelworker's strike.

Bear in mind that I'm not advocating left-wing statism; that has been proven to not work. But I certainly find laissez-faire über alles libertarians intellectually shallow.
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Life is change --
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I've seen their ways
Too often for my liking

New worlds to gain
My life is to survive
And be alive
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- Jefferson Airplane, "Crown of Creation"

The right to die in Iraq was a right not previously possessed by Americans for twelve long years.  Bush rectified that.
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« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2010, 09:02:02 pm »
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I think the reason libertarians by-and-large side with conservatives over leftists is that the country has been moving to the left in both economic and social issues since the new deal. Thus, the force of history and society is generally behind moving to the left socially, but moving to the right economically is much more difficult from a political standpoint.

Except it hasn't. The New Deal was dead by 1938; had the threat of global war never reared its head, Roosevelt would have been defeated in 1940. Every President after Roosevelt began to gradually dismantle the social welfare system he implemented, starting with Truman's threat to nationalize the steel industry to break the steelworker's strike.

Bear in mind that I'm not advocating left-wing statism; that has been proven to not work. But I certainly find laissez-faire über alles libertarians intellectually shallow.

Perhaps, except maybe the great society.
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« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2010, 09:20:57 pm »
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I think the reason libertarians by-and-large side with conservatives over leftists is that the country has been moving to the left in both economic and social issues since the new deal.

..What?
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« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2010, 06:23:36 pm »
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The country has been moving right on economic and social issues since the 1960s. I don't think that is disputable.
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« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2010, 06:16:40 am »
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The country has been moving right on economic and social issues since the 1960s. I don't think that is disputable.

Precisely. And it's not the right-ward drift on economics we need to be concerned about -- but the contradictory right-ward trend towards social collectivism. This we must fight, and we must fight it with every fiber of our being, for it is directly antithetical to our belief in freedom.
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Life is change --
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I've seen their ways
Too often for my liking

New worlds to gain
My life is to survive
And be alive
For you


- Jefferson Airplane, "Crown of Creation"

The right to die in Iraq was a right not previously possessed by Americans for twelve long years.  Bush rectified that.
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« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2010, 10:32:31 am »
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The country has been moving right on economic and social issues since the 1960s. I don't think that is disputable.

The country has been moving right on social issues only if by "country" you really meant "Iran". If you meant "United States", it's just not true. Abortion on demand, flag burning, sodomy, affirmative action are all recognized constitutional rights in 2010 that were partly or completely unthinkable in 1960. This is without even mentioning statutory slide to the left like gay marriage in many states and same-sex unions in others.

Only big social issues where there has been very little success in insuring significant liberalization over last 50 years are death penalty (well, that was unconstitutional too, but for like 10 minutes) and drug enforcement policy.
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« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2010, 10:37:20 am »
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Ah, the old litany of conservative "sins":

Abortion on demand, flag burning, sodomy, affirmative action are all recognized constitutional rights in 2010 that were partly or completely unthinkable in 1960.

If the nation has been moving "left" on these issues, it is all the better, because it means we are moving in an individualistic direction. You, as a spiritual communist, wish it were otherwise, but you will be defeated, just as the economic communists were.
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Life is change --
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I've seen their ways
Too often for my liking

New worlds to gain
My life is to survive
And be alive
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- Jefferson Airplane, "Crown of Creation"

The right to die in Iraq was a right not previously possessed by Americans for twelve long years.  Bush rectified that.
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« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2010, 10:49:33 am »
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Well for the record, I oppose affirmative action, support abortion on demand, support death penalty and sodomy as long as I'm not the passive side of either action, oppose flag burning and support drug enforcement in most cases, and I'm agnostic on gay marriage. I don't find any need to cover my social views under a coherent philosophy and prefer to view these issues on seperate basis.

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« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2010, 10:50:47 am »
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Well for the record, I oppose affirmative action, support abortion on demand, support death penalty and sodomy as long as I'm not the passive side of either action, oppose flag burning and support drug enforcement in most cases, and I'm agnostic on gay marriage. I don't find any need to cover my social views under a coherent philosophy and prefer to view these issues on seperate basis.

We'll discuss this later; I'm using the computer from college. I shall return.
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Life is change --
How it differs from the rocks
I've seen their ways
Too often for my liking

New worlds to gain
My life is to survive
And be alive
For you


- Jefferson Airplane, "Crown of Creation"

The right to die in Iraq was a right not previously possessed by Americans for twelve long years.  Bush rectified that.
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« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2010, 11:21:27 am »
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I think the reason libertarians by-and-large side with conservatives over leftists is that the country has been moving to the left in both economic and social issues since the new deal.

..What?

How can you say any differently? Except for a brief reversal during the Reagan and Clinton administrations, the government has grown (though overall it grew even under Reagan and Clinton too)
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« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2010, 11:24:04 am »
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I think the reason libertarians by-and-large side with conservatives over leftists is that the country has been moving to the left in both economic and social issues since the new deal.

..What?

How can you say any differently? Except for a brief reversal during the Reagan and Clinton administrations, the government has grown.

The size of government != equivalent to the political Left. Washington, Adams, Hamilton, and the Federalists were all proponents of an increase of Federal involvement in the economy, but were considered 'Tories' in comparison to Jefferson's Democratic-Republicans, as promoting monarchical mercantilism over and against Jeffersonian yeoman agrarianism.

This is the entire point of my article: it is entirely feasible for a fully consistent 'conservative', or 'reactionary', or 'right-winger', to support an increase in the State's scope, just as it's possible for a 'progressive', or 'left-winger', or even a 'socialist' to oppose the growth of a State, particularly the growth of State-capitalism.
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Life is change --
How it differs from the rocks
I've seen their ways
Too often for my liking

New worlds to gain
My life is to survive
And be alive
For you


- Jefferson Airplane, "Crown of Creation"

The right to die in Iraq was a right not previously possessed by Americans for twelve long years.  Bush rectified that.
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« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2010, 12:46:10 pm »
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To say the country has gone "right" or "left" on fiscal/economic issues is too sweeping of a statement.  The country has gone laissez-faire on many business interests: less tarriffs and regulations, free trade agreements, tax cuts, etc.  But the government has simultaneously moved to control/manage the market to the favor of big business what with corporate welfare/bailouts, rabid printing of money and manipulation of interest rates.  The country has also been in the red while congress has been spending it's tail off for the better half of the past 20 years.  The paleo-conservatives of the early 20th century would certainly not like the nepotism of Haliburton, nationalization of GM and mandatory purchase of health care.   
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« Reply #20 on: March 30, 2010, 08:38:26 pm »
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I think the reason libertarians by-and-large side with conservatives over leftists is that the country has been moving to the left in both economic and social issues since the new deal.

..What?

How can you say any differently? Except for a brief reversal during the Reagan and Clinton administrations, the government has grown (though overall it grew even under Reagan and Clinton too)

"Government size" is not a measure of anything.
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« Reply #21 on: March 30, 2010, 08:43:50 pm »
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I think the reason libertarians by-and-large side with conservatives over leftists is that the country has been moving to the left in both economic and social issues since the new deal.

..What?

How can you say any differently? Except for a brief reversal during the Reagan and Clinton administrations, the government has grown (though overall it grew even under Reagan and Clinton too)

"Government size" is not a measure of anything.

True. Though its growth is anti-libertarian, which is what Einzige was addressing.
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« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2010, 05:15:09 am »
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Ah, the old litany of conservative "sins":

Abortion on demand, flag burning, sodomy, affirmative action are all recognized constitutional rights in 2010 that were partly or completely unthinkable in 1960.

If the nation has been moving "left" on these issues, it is all the better, because it means we are moving in an individualistic direction. You, as a spiritual communist, wish it were otherwise, but you will be defeated, just as the economic communists were.

Einzige: the country has moved right

Guderian: no, see, it has not.

Einzige: rawr, communist, enemy, silent, grr.

It will never cease to amaze me how someone can keep up such a pretense of being an intellectual while clearly ignoring all such things as thoughts.
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« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2010, 05:18:51 am »
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Ah, the old litany of conservative "sins":

Abortion on demand, flag burning, sodomy, affirmative action are all recognized constitutional rights in 2010 that were partly or completely unthinkable in 1960.

If the nation has been moving "left" on these issues, it is all the better, because it means we are moving in an individualistic direction. You, as a spiritual communist, wish it were otherwise, but you will be defeated, just as the economic communists were.

Einzige: the country has moved right

Guderian: no, see, it has not.

Einzige: rawr, communist, enemy, silent, grr.

It will never cease to amaze me how someone can keep up such a pretense of being an intellectual while clearly ignoring all such things as thoughts.

And lo, Gustav again uses his position of authority to make unwarranted ad hominem attacks against me. It's like I'm really surprised.
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Life is change --
How it differs from the rocks
I've seen their ways
Too often for my liking

New worlds to gain
My life is to survive
And be alive
For you


- Jefferson Airplane, "Crown of Creation"

The right to die in Iraq was a right not previously possessed by Americans for twelve long years.  Bush rectified that.
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« Reply #24 on: April 01, 2010, 05:29:50 am »
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Ah, the old litany of conservative "sins":

Abortion on demand, flag burning, sodomy, affirmative action are all recognized constitutional rights in 2010 that were partly or completely unthinkable in 1960.

If the nation has been moving "left" on these issues, it is all the better, because it means we are moving in an individualistic direction. You, as a spiritual communist, wish it were otherwise, but you will be defeated, just as the economic communists were.

Einzige: the country has moved right

Guderian: no, see, it has not.

Einzige: rawr, communist, enemy, silent, grr.

It will never cease to amaze me how someone can keep up such a pretense of being an intellectual while clearly ignoring all such things as thoughts.

And lo, Gustav again uses his position of authority to make unwarranted ad hominem attacks against me. It's like I'm really surprised.

My position of authority? You really are obsessed with conspiracies and myths aren't you? But I note you still ignore the fact that your statement was proven wrong and you are not man enough to admit it.
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This place really has become a cesspool of degenerate whores...

Economic score: +0.9
Social score: -2.61

In MN for fantasy stuff, member of the most recently dissolved centrist party.
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