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Ser Scot A Ellison

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

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I also feel we are poorly informed about the EU. During the worst of my tin-foil hat wearing moments, I sometimes belive I am poorly informed, because if I was properly informed I'd be quite unhappy about it.

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Except that if control of the Senate hinged on an obscure legislative contest in Ohio, aforementioned special interests would spend vast sums on trying to influence that legislative contest. Every state legislature election would suddenly become of national importance, and the money would follow (to say nothing of legislators getting bribed: that happened all the time before the 17th amendment).

This already happens.

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No, because politics is never simple enough to divide into two opposing camps, and because most Right-wingers today insist that the left is statism and the right is anti-statism and good luck to you if you can persuade them otherwise. On top of that, left and right are both one syllable words that people have heard since they small, were statism and anti-statism are multiple syllable words used only by those who've had a term term association with libertarians.

The attitude of being conservative is not an ideology, so yeah, conservative in the sentence "The Russian Communist party and other conservative forces opposed Yeltsin's plan." is not an ideology. But the political view called conservatism in the anglo-world is not an attempt to maintain status quo, the conservative Margaret Thatcher led a radical government which completely changed the country.

To elaborate further, there is a tension on the Right between classical conservatives (who believe in tradition and oppose radical change) and classical liberals (who support radical market-driven change). The only thing keeping the two together is the common enemy of the Left, which (obviously) regards tradition as the bastion of privilege and regards the unregulated market with suspicion. Hence the argument that the Right is better defined as opposition to the Left than as a specific set of ideas.

The term some use is 'meta-ideology.'

In Italian political thought we have the incredibly useful word 'Liberism', which means those who support free-market economics but are not philosophically liberal. Conservatives like Thatcher are attracted to monetarism and privatisation because they are convinced it's works (Thatcher was influenced by Austrian school economics and believed thus believed the economic polices she was following were scientifically proven to work), not because they are 'liberals' in any deep sense. It's important to note that however 'radical' the effects of Thatcherite policy were you can't understand Thatcherite ideology through the prism of a Neo-Liberal revolution alone. Thatcher's policies may have been drastic but they were Conservative, because they were based on turning back changes made to the country by the Post-War Consensus and restoring mythologised 'Victorian values.' Remember, Thatcher was only able to privatise the public sector because previous Labour and Liberal governments had created a public sector which moderate Conservatives had been unwilling or unable to stop. Big Unions, Council Houses and Nationalised Industries didn't fit the romantic picture of how traditional Britain was supposed to be.

So, why would Dr. Haynes offer Cuba and Yugoslavia as examples of the State withering away? It makes no sense to me.

Because he's bought into a myth prevalent on the left that because Tito opposed Stalin and gave lip-service to worker's democracy he wasn't authoritarian. He was, the entire Yugoslavian system depended on the personality cult and the dictatorial strong-manship of Tito, a man with very few principles (he opposed the Soviet Union but was welcomed in North Korea and Pol Pot's Cambodia, and the likes of Mummar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein can be counted among his admirers). That, and a constant flow of Western aid that patched up the holes in the Yugoslavian economy. Many left-wingers get bought into the Yugoslavian myth because they maintained a facade of direct workers ownership of industry and because state propaganda constantly called on 'the people' to actively engage with the government. However, those who lived inside that system tell a very different story. Zizek, a Slovenian dissident whose now a Marxist, relates how the whole system was shot through with cynicism and if you actually did what state propaganda said you should do (i.e become an active citizen in our glorious workers democracy) you were punished. For example, a student magazine decided to cover the Yugoslavian elections as if they were really democratic (with headlines like "It looks like the Communists may win this year!") it's editors were promptly put on trail. When they asked what they did wrong, the judge replied 'you know what you did.'

This isn't to say Yugoslavia wasn't "liberal". People were allowed to get on a boat to work and shop in capitalist Italy, own small amounts of property and listen to pop music but this is hardly a real example of the 'withering of the state.'

Cuba's just illogical. Castro is an unrepentant Stalinist, he only allows reform because he has a strong survival instinct. It's also true that in both cases the supposed laxness of this regimes brings their societies closer to capitalism, not communism.

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