Sean LaFreniere

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Sean's Political Dictionary
So that YOU know what SEAN is talking about when he opens his big mouth:

 

Conservative:

Date: 1831. From Latin conservare, for "to keep", "guard", or "observe". A Conservative relies upon family traditions and figures of authority to establish and maintain values. 

A Conservative puts group security above personal freedoms. 

A Conservative believes that successful use and maintenance of power proves God's favor for the government. 

A Conservative believes that social values, religious rules, and forms of governments may only be altered gradually. 

Stability and continuity are the goals of government.

 

Liberal:

Date: 1820. From Latin liberalis for "free". A Liberal uses reason and logic to set personal, social, and religious values. 

A Liberal places personal freedom above group security. 

A Liberal believes that governments rule by the consent of the governed. 

A liberal believes that governments may be changed or removed at the will of the people.  

A Liberal supports rapid change in the pursuit of progress and reform.

Freedom and Justice are the goals of government.

 

Note: a nation, and an individual, may move back and forth between these positions often. They rarely sum up a personality completely. And they should never be permanent blinders for anyone to view the world.

When a people succeed in a Liberal revolution, for instance, they often find themselves in the Conservative position protecting these gains. Similarly a person might have a Liberal view on public financial assistance and then move into a conservative position once these demands are met.

One might say that Affirmative Action is a prime example. At one point instituting Affirmative Action was a Liberal position, it was needed to reverse decades of discrimination following the end of Slavery. However, today the Liberal position might well be the ending of Affirmative Action, as it has largely completed its task and now stands as a stumbling block to truly moving the nation beyond race as a discriminatory trait. Meanwhile, the position of defending AA is now actually a Conservative stance (whether its so-called "liberal" defenders realize it or not).

Another way to think about this is that these terms describe a way of thinking about issues, not the positions on those issues. That is a Conservative might support a war because politicians they respect urge it, because the enemy scares them, and ultimately because it just "feels right". A Liberal might also come to support the war in spite of the position of authority figures and celebrities, not because it feels right, but because hours of research and consideration support the cause.

Neither is a "better way" of coming to a position, necessarily. Sometimes too much thinking interferes with a solid moral judgment, such as on the Abortion issue. And then other times only rational examination can skip over the emotional baggage and come to the most reasonable decision, as we see in the Abortion issue.

I realize this might be difficult for some people to accept after a long time of hearing party dogma on the issue. Personally I find value in BOTH positions. On some issues I am myself rather Conservative and on others I am quite Liberal. The same with the terms Radical and Reactionary, noted below. I found that stepping beyond these labels opened up my thoughts and cleared my head of a lot of bs.

 

Reactionary:

Date: 1840. From Latin reagere for "to act". A Reactionary uses government pressure as a means of containing and responding to changes in society.

 

Radical:

Date: 14th century. From Latin radicalis from radix for "root". A Radical supports social movements and political pressure groups as a means of affecting change in government.

 

The Right:

Date: early modern. The term comes from  English Parliamentary Rules; which place the party in power on the right of the Speaker. As the Conservatives held sway for a long time, the term Right came to be associated with the "Establishment" and thus with Conservative politics.

 

The Left:

Date: early modern. The party in Opposition sits on the Speaker's left. The Left came to be associated with labor movements, the lower classes, and socialist politics. It has also come to be associated with Liberalism. This was useful for Conservative politicians, and Socialists as well, during the 60's. But I find this to be a big intellectual and political mistake.

 

Capitol Goods:

Date: circa 1639. From the French from Latin capitalis for "top", used in French for "principal" or "chief". (1) : a stock of accumulated goods; especially at a specified time and in contrast to income received during a specified period (2) : accumulated goods devoted to the production of other goods (3) : accumulated possessions calculated to bring in income

 

Capitalism:

Date: 1877. An economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market

 

Socialism:

Date: 1837. From Latin socialis for "friend" or "companion" or "associate". Any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods; usually there is no private property; in Marxist theory this is also considered just a transitional stage between capitalism and communism and it is distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done.

 

Communism:

Date: 1840. From French communisme, from Latin communis for "common". A doctrine based on revolutionary Marxian socialism and Marxism-Leninism in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed. It is the final stage of society in Marxist theory in which the state has withered away and economic goods are distributed equitably. In its only examples of practical application, in the USSR, China, and Cuba it became a totalitarian system where a single authoritarian party controls state-owned means of production and the people are enslaved in production geared to support the power of this party.

 

Note: in Marxist theory these three systems represent a sliding scale, with Capitalism on the Right, Socialism in the middle, and Communism on the Left. A nation was supposed to move from one to the other over time. However, in practice few systems in the world have ever been purely one or the other. Most national economic models employ some of all three.

While the US and Europe are considered the paragons of Capitalism, they both retain many Socialist elements. Both the US and Europe offer state sanctioned monopolies of public utilities. The American Postal Service is a state owned enterprise, as are the European aerospace entities. Europe offers state run healthcare, as do many American states, and both regulate the health industry heavily.

Through out history Europe and the US have also held some Communist elements. The common grazing lands of town centers and the great unfenced Western plains were both representative of these traditions. One might say that Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, and the Dole are also holdovers from our more communal days.

On the other hand, while China has long been a paragon of Socialism / Communism, it still has many elements of free enterprise. They allow small farmers and craftsmen to sell excess production on the open market, they have private telecoms and industrial companies, and now they have a stock market, the ultimate symbol and apparatus of Capitalism.

When one system or the other fails to serve a nation, many proponents argue that actually the system simply was not implemented purely enough. However, attempts to purify these systems require a heavy hand in government, education, and economic practice. And this has led to oppressive regimes and brutalized citizens.

 

Democracy:

Date: 1576. From Greek dEmokrati, from demos "people" + kracy "rule". A government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections; usually accompanied by the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges.

 

Republic:

Date: 1604. From Latin respublica; from res "thing" + publica "of the people". A government having a chief of state who is not a monarch and who is elected by popular vote.

 

Note: that the root of the word Democracy is Greek, while the root of the word Republic is Latin. These terms are NOT antithetical, they do not even derive from the same language.

In common use they both have come to describe types of Liberal governments, specifically the one is a type of the other. It is possible for a nation to be a Democracy, but NOT also a Republic. However, a nation that is a Republic is ALWAYS also a Democracy. A Republic is a TYPE of Democracy.

The UK is a Democracy, but not a Republic, because of the Queen. Ireland became a Republic only after it dropped from the Commonwealth and replaced the Queen with an elected President

 

Fascism:

Date: 1921 From Latin fascis for "bundle" or group. Last, but not least, is this term, which actually combines the economic system and the political system entirely. In this system the state and large corporations merge, the rights of the individual are subordinated to the glory of the State, and all dissent is suppressed. It often utilizes a racial or religious cause to motivate the people into giving up their rights in the first place. These states usually rise out of an economic collapse or hardship with high inflation and unemployment.

 
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Tuesday, January 28, 2003

I am borrowing liberaly from EjectEjectEject website... but I think this is important



Reasons for the upcoming Iraq war:

1. The impending military action is not the pre-emptive opening of hostilities against a sovereign nation, but rather the continuation of hostilities began by Iraq in 1990 with their invasion of Kuwait; said resumption being a direct result of repeated and flagrant violations of the ceasefire signed by Iraq in 1991.

2. Failure to turn over known WMD components, and not the failure of UN Inspectors to find them, puts Iraq in material breach of UN Resolution 1441 and authorizes the US and her allies to enforce previous UN resolutions by means of military force.

3. Saddam Hussein has the means and the motivation to develop nuclear weapons, and there is irrefutable evidence that he has tried to do so. He has shown staggering errors in judgment and a belief in his own personal infallibility by attacking Iran, Kuwait, and Israel. Iraq attaining nuclear capability therefore provides a potent and immediate threat to our allies in the region and the vital interests of the United States.

4. Saddam Hussein shows irrefutable signs of mental impairment in the form of Clinical Paranoia and Narcissistic Disorder. Given control of nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction, his temptation to use them against the US on American soil is not mitigated by normal behavioral inhibitors, and indeed is amplified by his aberrant mental state. This poses a potent, immediate and intolerable threat to the safety and security of the people of the United States.

5. Saddam has repeatedly shown his contempt and bitter disregard for the welfare of his own people. He has totally neglected all of the misery they have endured since his ascension to power, and is therefore



Reasons not go to war:

1. Innocent people, innocent children will die in this war.

That is true. Innocent people will die at our hand. But let us never forget that action is visible and direct, but that inaction also bears consequences.

We will do everything in our power to limit civilian causalities in this war. In fact, during the days and weeks ahead, we will see something unheard of in military history: a campaign designed not only to minimize civilian casualties, but one aimed at killing as few enemy soldiers as possible. We have already dropped leaflets on Iraqi regular army units, telling them that if they remain in their positions they will not be harmed, but if they mass for a counterattack, we will destroy them. As Steven Den Beste repeatedly has pointed out, they have recent experience in this matter, both with our destructive capabilities and our generosity and kindness to prisoners of war.

Those that do chose to fight will be the hard core element of Saddam’s blood-stained police state, the sadists and executioners who have tortured and murdered their own people on Saddam Hussein’s orders for decades. Don’t forget that. Don’t forget the number that have disappeared in the night during his monstrous reign of terror. Don’t forget well-documented, disgustingly common accounts of the children tortured to death in front of their parents, of girls raped in front of their fathers, not to mention the roll-calls of horror that will emerge when that evil is finally swept away.

And finally, don’t forget your friends and family, the good people you work and play with, the innocent men women and children of New York or Los Angeles or Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Boston, or whichever city we may condemn to radioactive vapor because we were too cowardly and indecisive to act on what we knew to be a threat.



2. We have thousands of nuclear weapons…it’s hypocritical to say Iraq cannot have them also.

We have had nuclear weapons for almost sixty years now. They have been used, twice, within the first days of that ownership to end the most horrible war in history and prevent many times the number of casualties, on both sides, that would have been lost had the war continued through the invasion of Japan. Despite many provocations, they have not been used since then. We have had Chemical weapons for even longer.

Saddam, on the other hand, used his chemical weapons the instant he got his hands on them: first on the Iranians and then on his own Kurds – this after not once being used by any nation in the desperate six decades between 1920 through 1980. What does that tell you?
Many adults are given alcohol, credit cards, automobiles, guns and jet aircraft, once they have shown themselves worthy of the responsibility. We do not put these things in the hands of four year olds, and with very good reason. It may seem hypocritical to you; to me, the idea of keeping a drunken second-grader from waving around a loaded automatic while behind the controls of a hurtling 747 just makes sense.



3. This war is all about oil.

Demonstrably false for the reasons listed above. Nevertheless, let’s grant the premise. Oil is the only power source currently available to meet the needs of our post-industrial society. Not only our automobiles depend on this oil: it is also a primary source of electrical energy in this country, and is essential to the plastics we use in everything from MRI machines to CD players.

To say this war is all about oil is factually identical to saying that this war is all about maintaining our society and lifestyle. If that is not worth fighting for, what is? One may find that offensive ideologically, but my experience with the people who have SPLIT WOOD NOT ATOMS on their bumper stickers have actually split very little wood in their lives. If one feels deeply about NO BLOOD FOR OIL, you must either drive a solar-powered electric car, ride a horse or a bicycle, or walk. You must remove your home from the city power grid. You must discard all plastic items. You must also abandon television, radios and movies, all of which rely on electricity generated by oil. You must forgo modern medicine, surgery and dentistry, likewise driven by oil-fired electricity at many stages. You must grow your own food.

Do all of these things, and you will have my frank admiration for your dedication to a moral cause. Do anything less and you are a hypocrite mouthing an easy lie in an attempt to strike a pose of moral superiority.



4. We need a ‘smoking gun’ from the UN inspectors.

It is clear from documented reports of bribery attempts on UN Inspectors on the part of the Iraqis, to French inspectors tipping off Saddam about team destinations, that to accept this argument we de facto lose the game. This is why it is so popular. It ignores reams of testimony from defecting scientists, and all of the other evidence stated above. In fact, it raises the question that ignoring such a mountain of existing evidence requires such a willful burying of one’s head in the sand as to make any proof insufficient. To such people, the smoking gun they require is a pile of radioactive rubble where Tel Aviv once stood, or legions of dead commuters in the London Underground, or the wildfire spread of smallpox through greater Chicago and beyond. Scores of independent sources repeatedly and emphatically demonstrate that Iraq has massive quantities of biological and chemical weapons, and is working frantically to attain nuclear ones.

Those unconvinced by the existing evidence will be convinced by nothing less than their actual use against our military or civilians.
To hell with those people.



5.The United States has no right to launch a pre-emptive attack; we can only respond if we are attacked.

This is the most pernicious and dangerous argument of all, because it plays directly into our natural revulsion at being an aggressor and causing the deaths of innocent civilians.

As I mentioned, I see both Iraq’s attack on Kuwait, and the Islamicist attacks on 9/11, as the pre-emptive attacks that started this pending conflict. But perhaps you do not buy that argument. Well, consider this:

We were attacked before, on December 7th, 1941, by a vast navy that had been assembling for years. We watched the Japanese build the Pearl Harbor fleet. We did nothing. We – the French and English especially – also did nothing as a bitter and vengeful Germany grew stronger and more daring. Appeasement was all the rage back then.

In the years following that naval sneak attack, and after a war in which unchecked militarism nearly brought civilization to ruin, it made sense to think that we could stay free by being strong enough to deter or repel any invasion. We would do – indeed, we have done – whatever it took to create a defense so formidable that the mere idea of defeating it has become unthinkable, and to willingly provoke it becomes an act of state suicide.

Those days are gone.

We face an enemy willing – eager – to carry a suitcase into Times Square, press a button, and in one millisecond inflict more casualties on the United States than we have seen in all the wars of our history, combined.
It is an image so horrible that many simply refuse to believe it.
Believe it.

We ignore September 11th at our mortal peril. We no longer have the luxury of watching an enemy build military and naval strength over years or decades. We no longer face uniformed divisions massing at the borders. We face instead a group of depraved murderers to whom nothing is off-limits, who fear no earthly retribution, who love and glorify death for its own end and who hate not only all that we do, but all that we are with a black bitterness that we cannot begin to imagine.



Sean: Tuesday, January 28, 2003 [+] |
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