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Liberals, NDP, Terrorism & All That


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So? If one disagree with every one of the man's policies, one is probably not going to go out of one's way to find nice things to say about him.

....

Oh sure, there's an element of irrational hatred, don't get me wrong. But what I'm, saying is that they are a minority element is used as a cudgel for bashing the majority and ignoring legitimate criticism.

It seems, though, the 'right' can never be critical of their own actions, and assume that any opposition can only come from either jealousy or hatred. The 'left' is often critical of our (and the US') actions and 'hegemonic' foreign policy, but this is often twisted into catch phrases such as 'the left's self-loathing' and other such rubbish.

That's it? Maybe I'll have to start posting politely on rabble or enmasse.

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Shady has this quote of John F. Kennedy as a signature:

"Now we are face-to-face once again with a period of heightened peril. The risks are great, the burdens heavy, the problems incapable of swift or lasting solution. And under the strains and frustrations imposed by constant tension and harassment, the discordant voices of extremism are heard once again in the land. Men who are unwilling to face up to the danger from without are convinced that the real danger comes from within."

Despite what one says about him now, Kennedy was a "Leftist" in America - perhaps the most Leftist President America has ever had. All things considered, Kennedy's an icon for Sixties boomers, Clinton's idol and an intriguing politician for anyone. There was a time when a "liberal" was popular in America.

Then again, reading his speeches, it's clear that Kennedy defended individual freedom. He fought in the war, lost a brother, and could accurately say that the torch of freedom, tested in a crucible, had been passed on to a new generation born in a new century. In 1960, both Nixon and Kennedy were the first US presidential candidates born after 1900, and they both had accepted the personal risk to defend freedom for others. They were a new generation, and both politicians could say that they understood what freedom is.

Somehow, Kennedy's defense of liberty, his courage to stand up to Nazis and Soviets alike, has been lost on this modern Left. Jack Layton is no Jack Kennedy. I'm not even certain Ignatieff is a Kennedy. Even a Kennedy is not a Kennedy.

IMV, to succeed, a Canadian Leftist or Liberal must explain why the State exists to foster collective work, but also why it exists to defend individual choice - against all threats.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Dear August1991,
True, the Left seems all over the map on this issue but I have yet to see anyone on the Left admit that confronting directly and forcefully these Muslim terrorists is the right thing to do.
I would say that the 'left' is critical of both sides, as they are generally critical of any kind of religious fundamentalism. That includes radical Muslims, Zionists, and kimmy's

I have seen little - actually NO criticism from the Left directed at the Muslim world. No doubt here and there one can find isolated leftists who find the vicious anti-semitism, homophobia and extreme mysoginy of the Muslim world problematical and have said so. But overall, the Left as a group seems eager to demonize any attacks on the Islamic world, on Islamic practices or Islamic cultures. One can therefore fairly say that the Left spends far, far more time defending the Muslim world and attacking its detractors than criticising.

The question then becomes: why? Is it because they have brown skin? Is it because the Left reflexively stands shoulder to shoulder with anyone America doesn't like?

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I have seen little - actually NO criticism from the Left directed at the Muslim world. No doubt here and there one can find isolated leftists who find the vicious anti-semitism, homophobia and extreme mysoginy of the Muslim world problematical and have said so. But overall, the Left as a group seems eager to demonize any attacks on the Islamic world, on Islamic practices or Islamic cultures. One can therefore fairly say that the Left spends far, far more time defending the Muslim world and attacking its detractors than criticising.

Bang on.

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Many, many people have an opinion about the events of the past few days but it seems to me that the Liberals and NDP have largely been silent. Despite having an ongoing leadership campaign, I don't know what Bob Rae or Stephane Dion think about these arrests. On the CBC, I heard Michael Ignatieff say that Parliament was the heart of Canadian democracy and must be protected.

On rabble.ca and enmasse.ca, it seemed at first that posters believed that the RCMP, under the direction of the White House, planned and executed this entire charade. Later, I saw arguments that these were Columbine kids manipulated by authorities. (The intention was to terrify the population and justify the introduction of draconian martial "patriotic" laws.)

Later still, I have seen arguments that these 17 kids were totally frustrated Westerners reacting, you know, to the oppressed plight of Palestinians and Afghanis suffering like under the jackboot of US militarism. Whatever.

More generally, CUPE recently (talk about bad timing) went to the trouble of taking a controversial position in favour of Palestinians that had nothing to do with union business.

I have posted in other threads blatantly homophobic, misogynist comments made by people associated with the 17 accused. Why would the Progressive Left come to the defense of these people when the Progressive Left usually refers to such people with the harshest terms?

It seems to me that the Left wants to champion the rights of the oppressed but that is not a coherent ideology. It has lead the Left to defend gay rights while also leading to the defence of homophobic Islamists. As Karl Marx famously said, there's an "internal contradiction".

Ideology aside, is the Left simply in the position of 1930s Chamberlain Conservatives and Socialist French after Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland? Awestruck bewilderment? The events of the past few days remind me of the Danish cartoons. Then too, the Left seemed to face a dilemma. For the NDP and the Bob Rae Liberals, this is no small matter. John Kerry lost the last election in part because he had no credible plan to deal with Iraq.

So, I start this thread with a query. Whither the Left with this issue? What will the NDP do? How will the CBC/Toronto Liberal Anglo-MSM respond? (The Toronto Star, to its credit, or perhaps the credit of Michelle Shephard, has been in the forefront of this story.)

Will the Liberal Party of Canada pull a John Kerry and fudge the issue?

I think you raise interesting points and I would say precisely for the reasons you have highlighted the Liberals will continue fudge on this issue as have Democrats in the US and Labourites in the UK.

When it comes to state security and terrorism, the Left usually is afraid to say anything.

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Many, many people have an opinion about the events of the past few days but it seems to me that the Liberals and NDP have largely been silent. Despite having an ongoing leadership campaign, I don't know what Bob Rae or Stephane Dion think about these arrests. On the CBC, I heard Michael Ignatieff say that Parliament was the heart of Canadian democracy and must be protected.

On rabble.ca and enmasse.ca, it seemed at first that posters believed that the RCMP, under the direction of the White House, planned and executed this entire charade. Later, I saw arguments that these were Columbine kids manipulated by authorities. (The intention was to terrify the population and justify the introduction of draconian martial "patriotic" laws.)

Later still, I have seen arguments that these 17 kids were totally frustrated Westerners reacting, you know, to the oppressed plight of Palestinians and Afghanis suffering like under the jackboot of US militarism. Whatever.

More generally, CUPE recently (talk about bad timing) went to the trouble of taking a controversial position in favour of Palestinians that had nothing to do with union business.

I have posted in other threads blatantly homophobic, misogynist comments made by people associated with the 17 accused. Why would the Progressive Left come to the defense of these people when the Progressive Left usually refers to such people with the harshest terms?

It seems to me that the Left wants to champion the rights of the oppressed but that is not a coherent ideology. It has lead the Left to defend gay rights while also leading to the defence of homophobic Islamists. As Karl Marx famously said, there's an "internal contradiction".

Ideology aside, is the Left simply in the position of 1930s Chamberlain Conservatives and Socialist French after Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland? Awestruck bewilderment? The events of the past few days remind me of the Danish cartoons. Then too, the Left seemed to face a dilemma. For the NDP and the Bob Rae Liberals, this is no small matter. John Kerry lost the last election in part because he had no credible plan to deal with Iraq.

So, I start this thread with a query. Whither the Left with this issue? What will the NDP do? How will the CBC/Toronto Liberal Anglo-MSM respond? (The Toronto Star, to its credit, or perhaps the credit of Michelle Shephard, has been in the forefront of this story.)

Will the Liberal Party of Canada pull a John Kerry and fudge the issue?

Reading this reminded me of a proverb, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." That too may have been why the lefts' first response was nothing, or assumed bad behaviour from CSIS and the RCMP.

The left tends to believe the terrorist problem could be solved if only we could learn what has provoked them and then right the wrong that must have occured. The sympathy clouds the vision to such a point that when a terrorist bomb goes off the reaction is to assume that the terrorists are justified.

At the base of this is a wrong assumption that they tend to conduct their lives as everyone else and are reasonal people at heart.

So, if those accused as terrorists are reasonable people who've had some kind of monstrosity committed against them, where do you think that leaves the RCMP, CSIS, and Canadians that disagree with the Lefts' assessment? In the wrong, and that's why so little was coming from the left on this issue. They were waiting for 'all' of the facts, or that poriton they assumed would exonerate the bomb makers. It's the Right that needs to be resisted, not these poor misquided boys.

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I'm cringing at the definitions of 'left' and 'right' as they get flung around on these forums. Often, it seems to come down to things posted on those cartoon right-and-left bookends - Rabble and FreeDominion. Good forums posters tend to develop nuanced, intelligent, and fully independent views over time. MLW is the best of these forums, IMO, and there are many posters whose political foundations I can't even label.

So why do we contantly have to tie ourselves to the embarassments at Rabble, and Free Dominion ? Or, more accurately, why do we have to tie our political opponents to those forums ?

Auguste:

If I had to pick a strawman to represent Canada's moderate Left, Bob Rae seems a reasonable choice.

Yes, and he had a reasonable response. Threats to public safety should be dealt with, and there's no need to play 'CNN Crossfire' and bring up tangential issues. Mr. Rae got it right, and he's a leftist.

BD:

I see a shitload of threads on this board like August's o.p. that try to ascribe a unifomr set of beliefs or traits to the left. I see very little of the reverse.

Wrong. The left is always tying conservatives to the most extreme conservative views out there just as the right does the same to liberals.

I'd like to see us stop talking about those lousy boards, and the closed-minded posters there.

Argus:

I have seen little - actually NO criticism from the Left directed at the Muslim world.

And has our prime minister made any admonishments to the Muslim world ? I don't remember any such thing. This is an example of the reverse - the right is here given CREDIT for hard line views of their extreme cousins.

There was a threat made to public security, and the RCMP and CSIS dealt with it. It sounds like the Liberals sensibly left this alone as there's no politics to be played here. If some people on Rabble want to write that this shows we're a police state, etc. etc. etc. they should represent no one but themselves.

Kimmy:

Certainly "the left" is not a monolith. Certainly there are some cooler heads and broader thinkers who could be counted among "the left". Certainly painting "the left" with a broad brush based on the ramblings at certain message boards is as unfair as characterizing "the right" based on ranting at freedomininon or similar.

The cooler heads on both sides are marginalized in a sensationalized news world, IMO. I read that 28% of NDP voters approve of Harper's government, so it seems there are still some people who have open minds out there.

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I have seen little - actually NO criticism from the Left directed at the Muslim world. No doubt here and there one can find isolated leftists who find the vicious anti-semitism, homophobia and extreme mysoginy of the Muslim world problematical and have said so. But overall, the Left as a group seems eager to demonize any attacks on the Islamic world, on Islamic practices or Islamic cultures. One can therefore fairly say that the Left spends far, far more time defending the Muslim world and attacking its detractors than criticising.

The question then becomes: why? Is it because they have brown skin? Is it because the Left reflexively stands shoulder to shoulder with anyone America doesn't like?

That's it, Argus. You've stated the "contradiction" better than I can.

Why does it exist? I'm suggesting that the Left does this because the Left has raised oppression to an ideology - but oppression cannot be a coherent ideology.

The left tends to believe the terrorist problem could be solved if only we could learn what has provoked them and then right the wrong that must have occured. The sympathy clouds the vision to such a point that when a terrorist bomb goes off the reaction is to assume that the terrorists are justified.

At the base of this is a wrong assumption that they tend to conduct their lives as everyone else and are reasonal people at heart.

Sharkman, you go down the "victim/root causes/oppression" path there.

If a gang of Christian fundamentalists beats up a gay teenager in small town America, the Left's reaction is that this is a reflection of power politics in Bush's America. If a gang of Islamic fundamentalists beat up a gay teenager in a small town in the Middle East, the Left looks for "root causes".

My point, Sharkman, is that the Left extends its sympathy according to some secret code of victimhood. The problem is that the secret code has a contradictory flaw: what happens when a Muslim beats up a Gay? Whose side do you choose?

On the balance, I'd say there's a lot more unity on the right side of the spectrum. And, come to think of it, those of the left tend to be pretty nuanced when talking about the right: hence "neocon"," religious right" and other qualifiers.
I don't really want to turn this thread into a general discussion of the Left and Right but I agree with you BD. The recent Rabble split would not be likely at Free Dominion.

Well, to respond to Michael's post, I'll have to turn this into a discussion of the merits of the Left/Right.

I'm cringing at the definitions of 'left' and 'right' as they get flung around on these forums. Often, it seems to come down to things posted on those cartoon right-and-left bookends - Rabble and FreeDominion. Good forums posters tend to develop nuanced, intelligent, and fully independent views over time. MLW is the best of these forums, IMO, and there are many posters whose political foundations I can't even label.

So why do we contantly have to tie ourselves to the embarassments at Rabble, and Free Dominion ? Or, more accurately, why do we have to tie our political opponents to those forums ?

We don't, I think. A long time ago, I started a thread with a political test that made the distinction between "social" conservative and "fiscal" conservative - there's not a simple Left/Right dichotomy.

Moreover, there are several posters on this forum (you MH, come to mind) with well-thought out opinions, but who are not partisan. (If I can use a hockey analogy, these posters can discuss the merits of different players regardless of the player's team.)

Perhaps most important of all, good posters here are never afraid (and have the patience) to go back to their first and cherished principles to defend a point.

At the very beginnings of modern western democracy some 200 or so years ago, different men fell into different camps. In Europe, it was "radical change" against "established order". In America, it was a "central state" against "diffused power". It seems to me inevitable that most legitimate debates will simplify to two positions - to have three positions or more is just too costly. Ask a biologist.

----

Let me return now to this thread's main point, by first advancing an opinion.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the obvious failure of socialism, state-planning, centralized economics and so on, I think the Left sought support among the young by appeals to sexual freedom, and so on. The Left (the NDP) is now identified with Gay Rights. But Gay Rights are an expression of the freedom to choose - indeed, the Soviet Union failed because it denied individual choice.

My reference to JFK above (and Shadys signature) is an attempt to state that the Left can defend individual liberty, while also defending collective action. The modern Left seems utterly confused about this.

Auguste:
If I had to pick a strawman to represent Canada's moderate Left, Bob Rae seems a reasonable choice.
Yes, and he had a reasonable response. Threats to public safety should be dealt with, and there's no need to play 'CNN Crossfire' and bring up tangential issues. Mr. Rae got it right, and he's a leftist.
Won't wash. Rae can't walk away so easily. In purely partisan political terms, Harper has divided the Liberal pigeons. To what side will Dion jerk his head?

Historically, like the US, French Canada has been isolationist. I think ordinary Americans understand now that isolationism is not an option. OTOH, most Quebecers view the WTC, kids in Toronto, Indonesia, Madrid bombs as not their problem. (At most, there should be fewer of these people in Montreal.)

So, what will the Liberals do? Will they fudge? No, they'll choose Dion. He'll give them Quebec isolationism combined with a rigorous, intellectual defence of individual freedom.

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Dear Argus,

That's it, Argus. You've stated the "contradiction" better than I can.
I had written a lengthy reply, but there was a horrible accident (my home computer crashed) and the post was lost. However, this...
I have seen little - actually NO criticism from the Left directed at the Muslim world
is not entirely true, but certainly the 'left' has been more critical of the US and it's support of tyrannical Muslim regimes than of the regimes themselves. Saudi Arabia is one example.

The 'left' though, is generally critical of all religions, and I certainly haven't singled out Islam for any particular condemnation.

(The rest of my post had basically agreed with a lot of Mr. Harner's post above.)

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I'm cringing at the definitions of 'left' and 'right' as they get flung around on these forums. Often, it seems to come down to things posted on those cartoon right-and-left bookends - Rabble and FreeDominion. Good forums posters tend to develop nuanced, intelligent, and fully independent views over time. MLW is the best of these forums, IMO, and there are many posters whose political foundations I can't even label.

So why do we contantly have to tie ourselves to the embarassments at Rabble, and Free Dominion ? Or, more accurately, why do we have to tie our political opponents to those forums ?

I'm new here, and am not sure if this is where to introduce myself. I've been a loyal and dedicated poster and contributor at freedominion for a long time. Recently, I wound up on the wrong end of false accusations that I was part of an anti-so-con "cabal". So here I am.

I'm a Yank from the NYC area, a bankruptcy lawyer. I know almost nothing about Canada, and want to learn.

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I'm new here, and am not sure if this is where to introduce myself. I've been a loyal and dedicated poster and contributor at freedominion for a long time. Recently, I wound up on the wrong end of false accusations that I was part of an anti-so-con "cabal". So here I am.

I'm a Yank from the NYC area, a bankruptcy lawyer. I know almost nothing about Canada, and want to learn.

Welcome. You're probably as informed about Canada as many of us Canadians here.

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  • 3 weeks later...
I'm new here, and am not sure if this is where to introduce myself. I've been a loyal and dedicated poster and contributor at freedominion for a long time. Recently, I wound up on the wrong end of false accusations that I was part of an anti-so-con "cabal". So here I am.

I'm a Yank from the NYC area, a bankruptcy lawyer. I know almost nothing about Canada, and want to learn.

Welcome. You're probably as informed about Canada as many of us Canadians here.

How could that possibly be the case? If Rick Mercer's to be believed in cannot be.

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I'm new here, and am not sure if this is where to introduce myself. I've been a loyal and dedicated poster and contributor at freedominion for a long time. Recently, I wound up on the wrong end of false accusations that I was part of an anti-so-con "cabal". So here I am.

I'm a Yank from the NYC area, a bankruptcy lawyer. I know almost nothing about Canada, and want to learn.

Welcome!

You'll find that you -- being from a northern state -- probably have much more in common with Ontarians than with your cousins in say, Alabama.

We are divided politically; with the Conservatives being right of centre (but not as far right as your Republicans), the Liberals being more to the centre, and the NDP (New Democratic Party) a bit left of centre, but wayyy more left than your Democrats. ;)

Currently with what's going on in the world, Canada has elected a Conservative minority government. Not much different than the Liberal government IMO.

I too was a longtime member of freedominion but they considered me a freaked-out-tin-foil-hat-wearing-moon-bat-feminazi because I work fulltime and had my kid in daycare.

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Brian Mulroney (1984-1993) was prime minister during Canada's most disastrous terrorism incident (June 22, 1985). He largely took the attitude that it was an "Indian" problem rather than a Canadian one.

So we see how the Conservatives dealt with terrorism not such a long time ago.

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This thread seems to largely have taken on a new life in the form of a thread about the faults of left/right wingers. It also seems each have tried to not only defend, but also redirect the wrongs they have been accused of to the other.

Anyone with a sense of reason knows neither is guilty of any less than the other when the sides are judged as a whole. Both sides regularly ascribe to their political rivals the viewpoints of extremists. Conservatives regularly tell whomever will listen that every Liberal is a marxist, socialist, communist and environmentalist. Similarly Liberals scream out to everyone within earshot that every Conservative is a heartless, racist, bigotted, religious zealot.

Both are masters of the knee-jerk reaction. If you are against affirmative action you are automatically a racist to a Liberal. If you are against a document like the Patroit Act, you are assumed to be a terrorist sympathizer. I'll leave it at these two examples even though I could sit here all day listing more.

Neither seems to be able to comprehend that they can be wrong about anything. Moreover, neither side seems willing to be wrong in order to be correct. To that end both sides set up all kinds of faulty logic to prove their point, from circular logic to a red herring to the infamous straw man.

I'm not sitting here 'holier than thou'. I have been guilty of some of these things from time to time. I just think that neither side is any better than the other.

The only such generalization I think can be anything close to true applies equally to both sides as well. Both sides are sheep. The majority of both liberals and conservatives are willing to buy whatever their leaders are selling wholesale and usually don't see how flawed it is until they run to their local watercooler or message board to vet it. We like to think we're free-thinkers but we are not. Just about every point made here you'll find either came from party literature, the media or the mouth of a high profile sympathizer to their point of view.

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I too was a longtime member of freedominion but they considered me a freaked-out-tin-foil-hat-wearing-moon-bat-feminazi because I work fulltime and had my kid in daycare.

I suspect that some of the core members have plunged off the deep end.

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