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Ser Scot A Ellison

"Statism v. Anti-Statism" will it replace "left v. right"?

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What does everyone think? I'm anti-statist I see the State as a necessary evil. It should be small and weak in my opinion. Many on the left would like ot increase the power of the State. However, in the OWS movement there is a strong undercurrent of anarchism.

Will stateism v. Anti-statism become the new polarity?

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doubtful. teabaggers have no problem with incarcerating some kid for 20 years because of some minor theft or smoking a joint or whatever, but get incensed at the imposition of having greater rights vis-a-vis health insurance.

the new polarity is accordingly stupid vs. smart.

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I can't decide if I'm a Tormundist or a Cocoist.

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Ser Scot,

Yes. I don't know whether my perception has changed or my memory is failing, but my recollection is that we used to be far more "united" than we are now. With the fragmentation I see now, we would need either a common enemy or strong state to hold it all together. I guess that isn't a popular view. :crying:

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Pushing for increases in state power is hardly exclusive to the left, though the right have rather different agendas.

It should be no surprise that I'm more pro-state than anti-, but with the strong proviso that the state should be there to defend its citizens from the vagaries of the market (and other vested interests), and not the other way round.

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I can't decide if I'm a Tormundist or a Cocoist.

The board should provide a test for new members to figure this out.

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Scot - where would you like to see the State dial back its power?

I think the issue is right now you have camps that aren't decided on genuine state vs anti-state principles (edit: sorry, principles on government power) but rather on a litmus style politics. Things like states rights and adherence to the framer's intent seem, at least to me, to be secondary things utilized to get what a side wants (medical marijuana, state control over gay marriage and abortion, other examples I can't think of at the moment).

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At least in the US I don't think that's the sole case. Limited government has been the focus of the right for the past couple of years with the Bush backlash, TARP etc., but prior to that they were all about the moral majority. And I think you can still see a lot of that in the base, it's seemed to be a big part of Santorum's support.

And I don't think the other side would define themselves primarily as statist, which makes the polarity imprecise IMO.

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I thought both Tormundists and Cocoistas were anti-statist.

In any case I always thought that Tormundist sounded better and that was before I heard they were offering pie.

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Everyone,

I know there are pro and anti statists on both sides of the spectrum. That's why I'm asking if pro and anti Statism could replace left and right as the meaningful polarity of the political divide.

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Actually, I think wealthy vs non-wealthy is more likely to be the divide. While it is more class than political, it appears to be the thing that everyone can relate to.

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Come to the dark side. We have pie.

We are currently offering a special on gluten free "chocolate revolution" cake for all our celiac participants.

On a more serious note, I think that revolution, at this point in history, is almost impossible to pull off without a couple of million people dying in a civil war - I'm in agreement with Castoriadis in a lot of ways. So we can all be small-a anarchists, but the key is going to be to change how we interact with hierarchy from within. Separating yourself from the central-planning, bureaucratic mess we've built for ourselves is tantamount to a divorce from reason itself, if we think of bureaucracy in the Weberian sense. There's only one way out, and it's not through yet another coup that replaces the head of the bureaucracy with another leader (ala Egypt).

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What does everyone think? I'm anti-statist I see the State as a necessary evil. It should be small and weak in my opinion. Many on the left would like ot increase the power of the State. However, in the OWS movement there is a strong undercurrent of anarchism.

Will stateism v. Anti-statism become the new polarity?

So-called anarchists don't necessarily want a weak government, else they'd be laissez-faire capitalists. For the most part, they believe it is necessary to control the accumulation and distribution of wealth, and to provide some level of guaranteed income for everyone. Rhetoric aside, that can't be done without a strong government, even if they choose not to call it that.

That being said, I think you've really sort of hit on the core point of disagreement regarding politics in the U.S.. Should the government do more, or less? I don't think that dividing line breaks down perfectly between parties, and some people are more consistent in their views than others. But I do agree that is the most central issue.

Actually, I think wealthy vs non-wealthy is more likely to be the divide. While it is more class than political, it appears to be the thing that everyone can relate to.

Yeah, that's another good point, and that's why I don't think the OWS types fall quite where Ser Scot thinks they do. So maybe it's more accurate to say that conservatives generally want the debate to be stateism v. anti-statism, and progressives want it to be more about wealthy v. non-wealthy.

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For the most part, they believe it is necessary to control the accumulation and distribution of wealth, and to provide some level of guaranteed income for everyone. Rhetoric aside, that can't be done without a strong government, even if they choose not to call it that.

If you can find us some posters of OWS types saying "We need more food stamps", I'd love to see it. OWS was far more about the government enforcing existing law, which hasn't happened yet in this financial crisis, than any other issue. I do mean any.

That being said, I think you've really sort of hit on the core point of disagreement regarding politics in the U.S..

This is typical American arrogance. Durkheim said quite awhile ago that all disagreements about government are about degree of application.

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I know there are pro and anti statists on both sides of the spectrum. That's why I'm asking if pro and anti Statism could replace left and right as the meaningful polarity of the political divide.

I don't think so. My impression is that anti-statism is very much a specialised taste outside of the USA, but I agree that left vs right is less useful since 1989 to describe political movements.

The new thing that you can see in parts of Europe are parties that cross and mix up the traditional boundaries, like the blond guy with buffont hair in Holland Geert Wilders. Parts of his programme seem traditionally right-wing (anti-immigrant), others traditionally left wing (pro-equal rights (so long as you are Dutch)). Or the third party candidate in the last French Presidental election (not Le Pen, the other one), there seems to be a kind of pick and mix approach going on.

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