of elephants and men, and scumbags

jim bell jdb10987 at yahoo.com
Thu Nov 22 10:46:18 PST 2018

 My comments inline:
On Tuesday, November 20, 2018, 11:45:27 PM PST, juan <juan.g71 at gmail.com> wrote:
 On Wed, 21 Nov 2018 17:04:56 +1000
jamesd at echeque.com wrote:

> On 2018-11-21 12:39, juan wrote:
> > On Tue, 20 Nov 2018 21:31:11 +0000 (UTC)
> > jim bell <jdb10987 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> > 
> > 
> >> In any case, I think that the 'convention' that we refer to "fascism" as being "right-wing" was, and is, completely phony.�
> > 
> >     so assuming that commies and nazis and other fascists are on the left, who is on the right then?
> Whosoever wants to restore civilization against the darkness is on the 
> right.

 >   uh oh. So let's make clear what "the right" means. As Jim B. pointed out, the left/right classification comes from the french revolution. What needs to be added is that the people who sat on "the right" of the assembly were the conservatives/monarchists/theocrats or representatives of the 'ancien regime'.
That explains how it applied in France, in 1795 or so.  

 >   Now, key features of fascism are close cooperation between the 'private' sector and government and nationalism-militarism, also known as imperialism. Fascists usualy believe that they are god's chosen master race and that they have a Manifest Destiny. In other words the old mercantilists from the british empire and modern day fascists like the americunts are both 'right wingers'. And actually modern day corporatists-imperialists  are simply the continuantion of 18th century imperialists. 
I won't argue with this, now, except to point out that the so-understood "leftist" dictatorships of the 20th century (usually based on Communism) tended to have analogous beliefs.  Not identical, of course, but analogous.  For example, Juan says:
"Fascists usualy believe that they are god's chosen master race and that they have a Manifest Destiny."
My response is that "race" is fairly irrelevant:  We can't choose our race.  It's not a "variable", and certainly not in the short-term.  One could argue, "What does it matter if one person believes, and even declares, that his race is superior?  Unless he tries to act on this belief in a hostile or otherwise violent way, it is functionally irrelevant".   Yet, you will notice today that most of the American Left obsesses about "Nazis"  (seemingly their chosen label for anyone who they have come to dislike) who, they claim, believe themselves to be superior.  My response is:  "Does it really matter what THEY believe about themselves?  Is it relevant?  Is it significant?  
As for "Manifest Destiny":   Communists had the idea that their system would inexorably spread around the world, destroying all other forms of government.  (So, that is indeed akin to a "Manifest Destiny".)   
Nevertheless that never happened, and it presumably didn't happen because Communism was eventually revealed to be horribly flawed.  Even by the late 1920's and mid-1930's, Russian Communists had begun murdering over a million Kulaks (people who didn't want to give up their on personally-owned farms to the collective.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kulak     From that article: 
("The word kulak originally referred to independent farmers in the Russian Empire who emerged from the peasantry and became wealthy following the Stolypin reform, which began in 1906. The label of kulak was broadened in 1918 to include any peasant who resisted handing over their grain to detachments from Moscow.[1] During 1929–1933, Joseph Stalin's leadership of the total campaign to collectivize the peasantry meant that "peasants with a couple of cows or five or six acres more than their neighbors" were labeled "kulaks".[2]")
Another enormous flaw with Communism (and really, with all systems that purport to be 'centrally-planned') is that it is virtually impossible to run an economy by central control.   I saw an essay once that discussed, as an example, the food-distribution function in Manhattan.  It explained that it was enormously complex, and only 'worked' because all the components made their own decisions.  (Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand").    It was certainly not possible to do so in the era before computers and Internet networking, and remains impossible today.  
Does anyone remember the stories about the Soviet Union, with its "5-year plans"?   Shoe factories, for instance, were ordered by "the plan" to produce a certain number (at least) of millions of pairs of shoes.  Well, they did so, but they tended to be of a small number of styles that many people didn't want!   Sure, they met 'the plan', but they didn't meet the wants and needs of the public.   Walk into any shoe store today, in America, and there are many hundreds of styles, multiplied by dozens of sizes.  A centrally-planned system never could accomplish this.  

    China killed perhaps 20 million people in the "Great Leap Forward", a plan which no doubt was intended to bring the prosperity that Mao saw in Western nations.  Ironically, now China is achieving prosperity, but it is doing so by employing a (not-perfect) pseudo-'free market' which it had not previously attempted.  Curiously, Russia has remained economically stuck, for reasons I suppose economists and technologists can explain.  

 >   So the question for Jim Bell remains. What political doctrines are 'right wing'?

First, sorry for taking so long to respond to this.
Also, I did not mean to suggest that 'all extremist governments are left-wing', although it might have seemed that I intended that.Rather, take a look at the Nolan Chart as I usually think of it:   A diamond-shape (a square rotated by 45 degrees.)   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nolan_Chart
At the top is "100/100", complete freedom.  (Libertarian).  The left vertex is 100/0, complete social freedom but zero economic freedom.  (I do not know if there is a convention as to which number goes first, "social freedom" or "economic freedom").  The right vertex is 0/100, zero social freedom but full economic freedom.  The vertex on the bottom is 0/0, no social freedom and no economic freedom.
One of the first things I noticed about the Nolan Chart is that it seemed to explain why 'dictatorships of the left' and 'dictatorships on the right' appeared so similar. (at that time, about 1980, I was not aware that there was a challenge to the idea of "fascism" as being "right-wing").
 For example, you can imagine that as most freedoms (both social and economic) go away, the position on the Nolan Chart begins to approach the bottom-most vertex, 0/0.   Thus, as you get close to that point, say a strong "leftist" dictatorship at, say, 10/0, or a strong "rightist" dictatorship at 0/10, you see that these points are actually quite close to each other.  
This led me to the conclusion that in the limited area of dictatorships, there really isn't much difference between "left" and "right".  These labels become fairly irrelevant.  Nevertheless today, people can get into fierce arguments as to whether "fascism" is "left-wing" or "right-wing".   Does it really matter?   
True, we are today conditioned to accept the idea that "fascism" is "right-wing".  But I think a study of the relevant history shows that these labels are virtually meaningless in the extreme case of a dictatorship.  Would you have preferred living in Nazi Germany, as opposed to Stalinist Russia?
                Jim Bell 


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