Sunday, July 29, 2007

Response to the Janitor

Because you are so, so far from right, this will probably do us, but you're welcome to comment, of course. I'm making it a post because it stretches the comment format to answer that way.


Well, if point-by-point response is what this has devolved to, then so be it.
--

It's how I do my answers, dude. IYDLIYWTFO.

"I like parrots."
What's bad is you don't stand for much else.


I stand for all sorts. I haven't suggested you shouldn't disagree.

"Conflating ideas is the mark of a master writer. Getting confused about ideas is the mark of a poor reader."

This is absurd. You and your "marks" of greatness. You have put together multiple ideas that do not belong together and abused them.


Luckily for my sanity, I've done no such thing. These ideas are central to how I look at politics, and I have thought a lot about them.

[snip]

""Your very example demonstrates it. ""

"You what?"
I'm sorry? What is the question?


"You what?" is English for "what the fuck are you even talking about, you clown?"

"""You claim the left tends to be statists, yet in the case of "reefer madness" it is traditionally the right seeking state intervention in the name of the common good."

"No, in the name of the morality they personally ascribe to. The right does not care about 'the common good' and often agitates for legislation that is not in the common good but serves narrow interests."

Eeh. This is another abuse of sticking two ideas together that don't belong.



It doesn't become truer for simple repetition, dude.

Are we speaking about ideologies or the people that espouse them? And amongst those that espouse them

Ideologies don't actually have an existence outside the people who espouse them.

I imagine that we'd see both those seeking narrow interests and those that seek broader ones.

Both what? Really struggling to see what you're actually talking about here.

No matter how wrongly the "Right" so often goes, I don't doubt for a second that there are many convinced that they act in a way to establish a greater social order.

This does not answer to my point at all. Besides, it is only correct in that the rightist equates "a greater social order" with "a social order that coincides with my personal tastes". Which is precisely my point, right there.


""The crux of the matter is that both the "right" and the "left" seek "protection by authority" for their particular causes (the one, gun control, environmental protection, consumer rights--the other, sexual taboos, reefer, abortion)."

"This is a very poor analysis of how politics actually is. It sounds a lot like the Beltway journos' take on the political debate."

It's certainly a slip-shod analysis, I don't claim otherwise, but it is not a hair worse than yours!


You're going to have to do a bit more showing and a bit less telling.


What I'm cautioning you against is making such broad generalizations about what you clearly don't know. Even such a fool as I am can see through it.


Well, that's telling me.

"Think for a minute before answering. Gun control, environmental protection, consumer rights: these are all issues that affect the common people. The left takes positions that favour the common people.

"Abortion, sexual taboos, reefer: these are all issues of personal or religious morality, which the left generally prefers to leave to the individual."

WTF? So we are contrasting "the left tak[ing] positions that favor the common people" with the right taking up issues of common morality?


No. I absolutely did not say that. I quite purposefully used the phrase "personal morality". That rightists believe that their personal morality coincides with "common morality" does not mean it actually does.

These are not mutually exclusive!

No, indeed I did not suggest that they necessarily are.

Not that this even matters for my point to hold--the condition needed is actually far weaker--they only need not be mutually exclusive by the point of view of one of the ideologies in question.


This is nonsense though. When analysing an ideology, it doesn't make sense to allow its claims about itself.

"The only reason you can consider gun control to be an outlier is that you see it as a freedom issue"

No. Others see it as a freedom issue. I'm pro-control. But don't you see? That's the point. It hardly matters what I see as being the issue when what is being discussed is how an ideology comes down on the issue of statism (or, yet again, the issue of the common will). It is their rationale that matters for *that* question, no matter how fucking demented it is. Be a little clearer what it is you are addressing, eh?


I was only addressing why you think it is an outlier. Statism and the common will are not germane to this point, although the right generally opposes statism, as I noted, when it is a question of protecting the many from the few. And this is true *even if they deny it*.

"...a matter of choice (no one outside America in the West would see it this way, maybe you're not aware). The left sees it as a matter of protecting the many from the few, which is the business of the state."
And is the (albeit ridiculous) debate in America on gay marriage not the Right's attempt at protecting the many from the few, via the state?


Absolutely not. It is about the right imposing their morality on others. They believe that they are protecting something *dear to them*, under attack from others who do not hold it dear. This is precisely what I say that the right do.

"Dude, think. Stopping you from smoking reefer has the aim of preventing you from doing something I personally disapprove of but harms no one but yourself. Stopping you from having a gun has the aim of preventing you from harming others."

You are so on the wrong track. The correctness of the viewpoint isn't at issue. It is amazing that you seem unable to allow for the briefest moment that someone even *possesses* a differing viewpoint.


Well, maybe asking you to think was just too much. I am not discussing the correctness of their viewpoint. I am saying that it is motivated by the reasons I set out.

[snip]

"It's ridiculous to claim that both sides simply push personal issues with no underlying ideological theme."
I've done no such thing.


Except that you did.

"The crux of the matter is that both the "right" and the "left" seek "protection by authority" for their particular causes (the one, gun control, environmental protection, consumer rights--the other, sexual taboos, reefer, abortion)."

I am at this point hoping you've been drinking or smoking the weed, because not only are you not coherent, you don't seem able to remember anything that either of us has said. You keep claiming I am wrong without ever showing that I am, or coming close to it. I suggest a liedown.

Or thinking. When you're capable of it again.

I've simple said that the *particular* theme that you've identified doesn't fall nicely along the right/left allegiances at the present time.


But you are yet to show *in any way* that it does not.

Gun control is your best shot. I demolished that easily though.

Gay marriage isn't even close. It's a clear example of pushing individual morality onto others, and, as I said, not believing that others should be permitted to choose (or in this case even define the choice).

[snip]

"I do not confuse libertarianism with liberalism, because for me, libertarians are simply rightists who hate authority and liberals are what intelligent, thinking people inevitably turn into."

This is a point that I can generally agree with.


Well, I'm glad there's one.

""answering the question of statism one way for a particular issue, and the converse for others.""

"Dude, this simply isn't true, and perhaps shows a lack of understanding of what statism is.

If you were arguing that authoritarian systems are more statist than social democracies, then yes, that's true. Statism is a feature of the left, not its exclusive preserve. But rightists are more generally opposed to state intervention than for it, and generally only favour it in terms of imposing their personal morality on others."

Nice hand waving.


FFS. I can't win.

If I don't say that rightists can be statist, you will say blah blah fascism.
If I do, you claim I am "handwaving".

Dude, I claimed the theme of the common vs the individual differentiated left and right, not that rightists could not support statism. As I have carefully explained, but you have ignored, they can reach similar positions from a different ideological basis.

What you are doing is yelling that the positions are the same, so the road to them must be the same. I am trying calmly to explain that yes, some of the positions are superficially similar, but on deeper analysis they are quite clearly different.

Statism is a very good point.

A fascist dictatorship is statism run wild, is it not? But it is not "for the common good". Fascism completely subsumes the common good into the good of the state, which exists solely to enrich those who control the levers of power. The notion of a strongman clearly fits the theme we're discussing. It fits both themes, in fact (authoritarianism vs communalism and personal vs general will).

In my view, a leftist should never support a dictator, and if they do, they will shortly be shown by history to have been mistaken to do so. I have huge qualms about Chavez, whom I mostly admire, for this reason. A populist who deploys the will of the people for the good of the people is admirable; a man who believes his will is superior to that of the people is dangerous.

The right "generally only favour it in terms of imposing their personal morality on others." That's a trick I need to learn. You dismiss that imposing one's personal morality on others can be an exhibition of statism

No, I don't. I said that statism on the left is an outcome of the Rousseauian theme we discussed. And you are again mistaking "statism" to be a simple synonym for "state intervention". It is not.

My original point was that the right does believe in state intervention. Just for other reasons than the left does.

while simultaneously denying the possibility that the right's idea of morality can in any way connect with their idea of the good of society.

They do not believe in society! That's the fucking point, man. But of course I am not denying that the rightist believes that what is good for him is good for society.

That is precisely the fucking point I am making in the first place!

The rightist believes in the imposition of their personal morality on people they do not trust to choose.

What's key is that you've forced "personal" where (in the mind of a rightist) it doesn't belong.


The rightist would use language such as "it is just right". I mean, FFS, dude.

""Furthermore, what exactly you mean "clearly conflicts with the Rousseauian theme", I don't have a clue."

"Well, that's not my problem. Perhaps you should go and read Rousseau and it will become clear."

I have read Rousseau, thank you very much. As much as you like to protest otherwise, your writing isn't always immediately clear. What exactly you meant to be the precendents for all the damn "it"s was a bit of a problem.


Man. You must be drunk.

"It's a theme..." the difference I pointed to is a theme

"and it's..." the "and" should give you a clue. I'm still talking about the difference I pointed to. "It" also refers to "a theme", naturally.

""As it reads, one would think that either it's being a "theme, not a law" does or "the theme" does"

This theme conflicts with the other, as that clearly says in English."

"It's a theme, not a law, dude, and it clearly conflicts with the Rousseauian theme that the communal will is superior to the individual will, which leads leftists to be statists and rightists to be fuckyoujackI'mallrightists."
Does not clearly state anything, not even in dickese.



It (the difference I am pointing to) is a theme, not a law, and it (same referent) clearly conflicts with the Rousseauian theme (to give you a clue, I even gave another theme that it conflicts with, so the two conflicting things have the same quality)...

Any other reading is perverse.

Problem 1) is your use of "it". What you meant as a theme, what you meant conflicts.

The last sentence of your comment. Read it:

"The generalization is nonetheless hasty."

It (the generalisation, the difference I pointed out) is...

FFS, man. Your line of argument is plain demented here. It's absolutely clear what "it" refers to.

(It could indeed have meant "it's a theme, not a law" that conflicts.

What? That hurts my head, it's such nonsense.

Generally, such ambiguities can be resolved as usually one alternative tends to make more sense. Sense here, however, is all around lacking; rendering that quite impossible).


We are discussing what you described as "a generalisation". So I use "it" to refer to the "generalisation", which in answer to your comment, I say is a theme not a law.

Then I conjoin another clause with "and" and use the same pronoun "it" to refer to the exact same thing.

Had I meant to refer to something else, I would have written something else.

You are not just splitting hairs. You do not even have a hair.

Problem 2) is "Which", which could mean any number of things (the Rousseauian theme, the conflict, god knows?)


Dude, it's a rule of English, although sadly not one that you're acquainted with, that "which" refers to the closest available referent, which in this case is "the Rousseauian theme that the communal will is superior to the individual will". Again, if I had meant to refer to something else, I would have written something else, maybe "which conflict leads".

""which again "the theme" is at best there being an "eternal difference..." (funny how eternal difference is watered to "theme", isn't it"

"They are not antonymous, dude. It is an eternal difference generally speaking -- thematically, IOW -- but it does not hold in every instance."

this is disingenuous.


I don't understand why you would think that.

Even you know there is a difference in their intensity.


Sigh. They are different in kind, dude.

Oh, and, being watered down and being antonymous are not synonymous, dude.


No, but I'm saying that "theme" is not a watering down of "law". They are different in kind.

As I go on to explain:

"In science, one would say x tends to y, not that x is always y. But that x always and everywhere tends to y can be true without having to say that x is always y."

Science, dude, is far more precise than this. "Tends to" would have a measure.


You are being silly. You understand the difference perfectly well.

""--but, hey I suppose it's all for rhetorical effect, anyways, so why the hell should I expect you to mean what you say?"

"Dude, it's the big difference between left and right. That doesn't say that on every single issue they will split on these lines, but that generally they do.

Because you tried to argue that I had said that it would always be the case that they differed in this way, which of course I had not, I explained that it was a theme, not a law. I'm mystified that you struggle to understand what I meant by that."

I'm mystified that you fail to understand that my point goes much further (regardless of what you did in fact initially say). The only theme is the one you imposed.


I have illustrated it more than once. You have not given even one instance that refutes it.

"A theme is something recurrent, something that occurs over and over, and more generally speaking, something that characterises a thing. It's what a thing is about.

But of course ideologies, or political standpoints, are too complex to be included entirely in unitary themes. There are going to be outliers, particularly when one considers that whether a position fits the theme is sometimes a matter of interpretation."

Jesus Christ. Outliers. They are only outliers because *you* have marginalized them and ignored the rest. The theme you have chosen is a particularly bad fit, and you should realize that.


Did you even read what I wrote? I said that whether a position fits the theme can be a matter of interpretation. You interpreted gun control as an outlier, not me. I believe it is motivated by the very theme I'm outlining. Try to keep up.

"This is rather like Don's saying "I'm not a rightist because I think pot should be legalised". I would answer him in the same way. He thinks he's disproving a law, but I have identified a theme, not a law. Ideologies do not come with checklists."

Do not come with checklists? Who is the one attempting to identify a measure that the right/left follows? I am surely not!


It is the theme that underlies their ideology, dude. I don't even know what a measure that they follow would mean, or what it would be.

""But how the existence of the eternal difference "conflicts" with anything I can't gather."

"The theme is that the left trusts individuals to make choices. This clearly conflicts with the idea that the general will is superior to the individual will. If you can't see why, I'm not sure that I can help you, because it's elementary."

Taking this paragraph on it's own, it is clear what you mean.


It was clear in the first place.

Unfortunately, it directly contradicts with your assertion that the left "tends to be statists". Please explain to me, however elementary it might be, however low your almighty must stoop to do so, how statists trust the indivuals to make choices.

You must be drunk. I said it conflicts!

But in fact there is no contradiction. Leftists are statists because they believe that the common good supersedes individual good, and the common will is superior to individual will. However, they also believe that the state should not intervene in the personal if the common good is not affected.

So the two themes conflict, but they are readily resolved.

Really man, you're barking up the wrong tree here.

It would be much appreciated, because, I tell you, I'm not seeing it.

""Sure, it's probably not what you mean, but whatever you mean you sure as hell haven't said it."

"You mean you didn't hear it. That's different."

No, I mean that you haven't said it. Whether or not it was there to be heard is a quite different question that what I meant. This is a distinction you consistently have failed to recognize.


The two themes conflict but they are readily resolved. Actually, Rousseau resolved them. I'm surprised, given that you say you've read him, that you don't recognise this discussion from him.

""I'd like to be a little more polite when on your blog, bud, but you sure do make it difficult."

"I don't care about politeness. Feel free to be as rude as you like. I'd suggest not being so witless though, because that's not going to bring the rewards you hope for."

You know, you probably don't care about politeness. I doubt you'd care if I called you a cunt as long as I said you were right. Well, you, your gracious, are dead wrong.


I do not much care for being told I'm right. I know I am already, so it doesn't bother me one way or the other. I don't know why you think I like it. Maybe because I'm willing to disagree with someone who says I'm wrong. That is not a way of seeking assent, dude. You are free to disagree. You've done a stunningly bad job of it though. If you had done a good job, I'd be applauding you for it. Who knows, maybe you would change my mind on this subject.

Address the point. Do not waffle around it. Show that the theme I suggest does not apply. Do not try to sidetrack the discussion into complaining that you can't understand my writing. That's your problem, not mine. I was clear enough for anyone sober.

We could actually have an interesting discussion about the difference between leftist statism and rightist authoritarianism, their merits and otherwise and how they can end badly. Instead, you're simply being passive-aggressive, endlessly yelling that I'm wrong but not showing it. Show it, or fold your tent.

6 Comments:

At 6:02 pm, Anonymous bickerfest blurbees said...

Zen: "I'm making it a post because it stretches the comment format to answer that way."

LOL

yikes.

 
At 6:05 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

I mean it as a courtesy to the Janitor, so that he can read it more easily.

 
At 6:55 pm, Anonymous bickerfest blurbees said...

you both were quite welcome to take your argument over to bickerfest.com

which has way better threading capabilities among other numerous benefits.

i'm just saying.

...

anyway, too bad Alan's gone fishing.

he'd surely get a kick out of this.

 
At 2:23 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zen you must be in love. There's and old Usenet saying "Take it to e-mail"

 
At 7:15 am, Blogger The Janitor said...

"Because you are so, so far from right, this will probably do us, but you're welcome to comment, of course. I'm making it a post because it stretches the comment format to answer that way."

Well, it certainly won't "do us" by my taking offense, because I haven't really. Sure, you have
engendered a certain abrasiveness on my part, but I'm generally not very concerned with your opinion on my position. This has not always been the case; I must say, it makes quite the difference in how I react.

I have three points that I would like to make:
1) That the right exhibit statism in the moral (political) sphere
2) That your assertion that the left are statists contradicts with you assertion that the left trust the individual to make decisions and that this is not resolved by Rousseau by (I assume you mean) the formulation of the Social Contract.
3) That the left do not exhibit statism in the moral (political) sphere

Of course, strictly speaking the "right" and "left" are not ideologies at all, but are loose alliances of more or less competing ideologies. I'll take you to mean "Neo-Conservativism" when you say "right" as it is currently the most dominant--or, at least, most salient--amongst the right. I am also assuming that you are speaking primarily about the right/left split as manefest in the US (which, as I understand it, differs slightly from the rest of the world).


1) That the right exhibit statism in the moral (political) sphere

"Ideologies don't actually have an existence outside the people who espouse them."

This seems to be the theme of our general disagreement. While it is true that ideas of any kind cannot exist outside those who [beleive] them, it is not germane to the discussion. What is at quesiton is you assertion that (I paraphrase):
"The right (in the US) do not exhibit the doctrine of statism, as the right's interventionism is only that of imposing a personal morality."

Elsewhere, you had specifically denied the equating of "state intervention" to statism. I would agree with this statement, but only because you are not being very precise in what I gather you to actually mean.

State intervention is an act. Interventionism is a policy of state intervention. Statism is the philosophy that the individual be wholly subject to the state and that the state guide him (note the direct contrast to your assertion that the left, who are statists, trust the individual). Statism adheres to this because, as it holds, it is the state (a direct extension of the common will) that is the only agent capable of directing the individual and thus establishing justice because the state is the very agent of the common power. If you have an alternate understanding of statism, I beg you to give it. (Surely you must realize that we cannot proceed without it.)

So, the question is, does the current rightist interventionism exhibit statism? In any very strict sense, I would say that statism is dead everywhere (and in a sort never truly existed beyond its formulation), but there are still currents of thoughts heavily influenced by it, and rightest interventionism is certainly one place in which it does.

The right attempt to impose a moral standard it sees as both integral to the functioning of society and as one that has been mandated by the common will. I say, then, that the right exhibit statism because it exhibits the *idea* of statism. This, furthermore, is the only way in which statism (or any philosophy) is ever exhibited, precisely because the practice of such is always inextricably couched within the situation of the present moment. The right believe in statism, pursues it to its own end; and that is enough.

To address another related point:
"It is about the right imposing their morality on others. They believe that they are protecting something *dear to them*, under attack from others who do not hold it dear."
This is a neccessary, but not sufficient condition to show that the right's actions are not an exhibition of statism. I do hold that it is true that they are protecting something dear to them; but it is also true that:
a) They believe that they have a mandate and that this coincides with the common will
b) That this coincides with the common good
c) Any apparent resistance is the result of factions that have misled the public and hence does not represent the common will

And finally:
"Fascism completely subsumes the common good into the good of the state, which exists solely to enrich those who control the levers of power."
You can't possibly mean this and try to turn to Rousseau at the same instant, can you? Crucial to Rousseau is that the good of the state *is* the common good. And let us, please, separate the sovereign from the ideology.

2) That your assertion that the left are statists contradicts with you assertion that the left trust the individual to make decisions and that this is not resolved by Rousseau by (I assume you mean) the formulation of the Social Contract.

Statism, as formulated, designs to compel the individual to the common will, via the state. This is most definitely *not* trusting the individual (in an overall sense), but rather trusting the "sum of the differences" of opinion (the common will). I'll allow that it may be the common will to trust the individual in a particular regard, and that then in an statist government we might see the individual so trusted. However, this trust is not inherent to statism but rather the particular state.

The Social Contract, moreover, does not touch this issue (perhaps I am not on track for how you mean Rousseau has resolved this--I'd appreciate it if you would expound on this). The Social Contract resolves the inherent unjust nature of compulsion by the state by the following observations:
a) That the contract is doubly-binding of both parties (the individual and the collective)
b) That the contract is the abolition of "might is right" that inevitably exists in its absence
c) That the contract is between each and every member of a collective to the collective on the basis of shared interest; hence the contract is little more than a re-affirmation of self-interest.

So, while it is just and in the interest of the individual, the contract does not contain an inherent "trust" of the individuals will. In fact, its very formulation recognizes that the individual is partial and that his will is likely to diverge from that of the common will. It is only the "sum of the differences" between the wills of all individuals qua individuals (not factions) that is given any regard.

3) That the left do not exhibit statism in the moral (political) sphere

I do feel somewhat ridiculous being forced to argue this as it is widely held that the left are Politically Liberal, while being Economically Conservative while the right are the converse (this is the defining theme of the spectrum, in fact); this is, naturally, held while at the same instant maintaining a strong contra-distinction between liberalism and statism, particularly as evident in Classical Liberalism. Classical Liberalism (the foundation of the modern left, though there have been distinct changes particularly as regards to the economic sphere), was against state intervention in general (though it tolerated it as a sometimes necessity) and against statism in particular.

As I mentioned before, the alliance of competing social doctrines that we loosely call the left differs amongst itself on where to come down on statism. Anarchism, traditionally associated with the left, comes down entirely against it. Social Liberalism, however, comes down very favorably but only in the economic sphere.

I mean, the notion of liberal itself, (*always* strongly associated with the left) carries itself the idea of "free from restraint". The split among the left has been identifying the source of that restraint--whether it be the state, whether it be factions--and where exactly intervention should take place. Nonetheless, the left lean *against* statism, while being most strong for it in economic matters (anti-trust, etc).

But the left most clearly are not statists because they believe in codifying protections (rights) to protect the individual from the state. A statist holds that the state cannot violate the individual's will because at some core the individual will is the common will, is the state's will.

----
Meta-discussion:

Instead, you're simply being passive-aggressive:
"I was clear enough for anyone sober."
"I do not much care for being told I'm right. I know I am already"
"Because you are so, so far from right, this will probably do us"
""You what?" is English for "what the fuck are you even talking about, you clown?""
"Well, maybe asking you to think was just too much. "
"I am at this point hoping you've been drinking or smoking the weed, because not only are you not coherent, you don't seem able to remember anything that either of us has said. You keep claiming I am wrong without ever showing that I am, or coming close to it. I suggest a liedown.

Or thinking. When you're capable of it again."

Zen, we've both had two discussions going on simultaneously. One at the matter at hand, and another as a sort of commentary. I say that you are being rude because (given the slightest disagreement) you go straight for the jugular and begin attacking your correspondent personally. I can't help but take it as your having taken something I've said personally. I'm sorry, Zen, if that's the case.
---
Do not try to sidetrack the discussion into complaining that you can't understand my writing:
""I imagine that we'd see both those seeking narrow interests and those that seek broader ones."
Both what? Really struggling to see what you're actually talking about here."

"Address the point. Do not waffle around it. Show that the theme I suggest does not apply. Do not try to sidetrack the discussion into complaining that you can't understand my writing. That's your problem, not mine. I was clear enough for anyone sober."

And I believe that I was perfectly clear. "I imagine that we'd see both A) and B)." Furthermore, you explained yourself after my complaint; I'm not sure how else to let you know when there is a difficulty.
---
We could actually have an interesting discussion about the difference between leftist statism and rightist authoritarianism, their merits and otherwise and how they can end badly. Instead, you're simply being passive-aggressive, endlessly yelling that I'm wrong but not showing it. Show it, or fold your tent:
Umm, why must I "show it, or fold my tent"? Why the forceful bullying? Can we not have the "interesting discussion" that you just menitoned? Who is being passive-aggressive? I'll have you know that my closing comment to my last response was *entirely* aggressive. :-p

 
At 9:17 am, Blogger Dr Zen said...

As I noted, we were pretty much done. You're not getting any closer to it with this comment. I'll stick to making a couple of observations.

"That your assertion that the left are statists contradicts with you assertion that the left trust the individual to make decisions and that this is not resolved by Rousseau by (I assume you mean) the formulation of the Social Contract."

I noted that the two ideas conflict, but they readily resolve because Rousseau recognises two spheres: the strictly personal and the public. Most issues of morality are within the strictly personal, where the left, essentially liberal, does not traditionally intrude.

I disagree, by the way, that leftism and rightism are not ideologies. And I disagree that this discussion only applies to the States. That's far from my intention. The broad distinction I am discussing applies just as clearly to politics in Europe, even if the structure of the representative parties differs a great deal. The same themes are clearly discernible, after all.

"Statism is the philosophy that the individual be wholly subject to the state"

This is a caricature of statism. It's more easily understood as a tendency to allow the state to assume responsibility for (generally) public matters. The more you tend to do that, the more statist you are. The notion that an individual is "subject" to the state is tangential to this.

Your discussion of statism is well meant, but you are again simply equating "statism" with a willingness to have the state intervene. This simply opposes "statism" to "libertarianism", which makes it rather useless as a concept (although it's absolutely correct that the spectrum of statism begins at the point at which individuals, rather than freely associating and contracting rights and responsibilities as individuals, do so through the medium of a state). I consider a statist to more clearly accept the state as their representative, as an actor on their behalf. The founding fathers of America were statists. No surprise, they were also liberals in the main.

"Statism, as formulated, designs to compel the individual to the common will, via the state."

This is an outcome of allowing a state responsibility for certain areas rather than necessarily part of statism. If the state administers justice, for instance, it is clear that the individual will be compelled to abide by the common will -- as expressed by the state. But this is by no means necessary for a statist. Laws in a democracy are generally taken to be agreed to by common consent. But in a dictatorship, there is no suggestion of consent, yet there can still be a strong state. The difference should be quite clear.

This is more interesting:

And finally:
"Fascism completely subsumes the common good into the good of the state, which exists solely to enrich those who control the levers of power."
You can't possibly mean this and try to turn to Rousseau at the same instant, can you? Crucial to Rousseau is that the good of the state *is* the common good. And let us, please, separate the sovereign from the ideology.


You are ignoring a crucial difference between Rousseau and the fascists. Rousseau sees the state as an expression of the general will; fascists absolutely do not. The fascists, as I say, completely subsume the general will to the will of the leader. Rousseau does not believe the populace are sheep, but that they are ingredients in a soup if you will. You cannot distinguish the ingredients, but each is important to the soup. The fascists believed the people are sheep, who need a shepherd. This is the clear difference between left and right that we are discussing, once more.

I'm sorry, I have no idea what separating the sovereign from the ideology means. Since political ideologies have a bearing on the formulation of government, I don't see how that would be possible.

"So, while it is just and in the interest of the individual, the contract does not contain an inherent "trust" of the individuals will. In fact, its very formulation recognizes that the individual is partial and that his will is likely to diverge from that of the common will. It is only the "sum of the differences" between the wills of all individuals qua individuals (not factions) that is given any regard."

In the public sphere. Rousseau recognises a tension between the personal and the public.

"That the left do not exhibit statism in the moral (political) sphere"

Well, clearly it does.

"But the left most clearly are not statists because they believe in codifying protections (rights) to protect the individual from the state. A statist holds that the state cannot violate the individual's will because at some core the individual will is the common will, is the state's will."

You are conflating the individual's will with his person! The individual is protected from an abusive state. There's no requirement at all that this should be viewed in terms of the individual's "will". Statists do not necessarily believe the state has absolute power!

 

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