Or: The Right-Left Division Isn’t as Real as it Seems
This article is a sequel to A More Relaxed Economy which discussed the UBI aspect of a shared video by NonCompete which I felt needed more mulling over. This sequel now gets into another interesting issue that came up in that video, namely that many “conservatives” or Republicans (or right-wingers) are actually leftists deep down without knowing it . Excavating this hidden treasure could do a lot for all of us. Hence, I will now make the attempt:
What the mentioned video described at one point was that highly traditionalist long-term Republican loyalists who see themselves as “conservatives” and/or attach themselves to right-wing politicians actually have a decidedly leftist core such as caring about the health of their communities and helping out their community members. It is exactly what leftist a.k.a. socialist principles are all about: benefit for everybody via a common good.
The examples were referring to rural or small-town communities.
I think that a main difference that distinguishes many right-wingers or “conservatives” from official leftists – many of whom aren’t even leftists but liberals or even neoliberals (with neoliberals/neocons being the opposite of leftists) – is the feeling about local power vs far-off federal or state power. Traditional leftists often promote large-scale measures like federal government actions, something that traditional conservatives/Republicans/right-wingers gravely distrust.
There was an interesting historic split between populist left- and right-wingers, that I have read a little about. It is insightful, I think. Namely, when the Bolshevik revolution in the Soviet Union took off, it tried to implement socialist/communist goals through large measures, a central government arranging everything, all the way to creating collective farming in agriculture. This is not necessarily bad, when done correctly, because collective farmers can share their expensive equipment, protecting small farmers from being driven into ruin by big farming companies, like it has happened in the U.S. Still, many rural people in Italy who otherwise approved the socialist ideas wanted to own their own small fields and farms. That’s how the syndicalist movement (originally rather left-wing) moved in a right-wing direction later known as fascism.
The idea then was that the government should act as a mere mediator between worker organizations and the industrialists (big business owners) rather than being the sole power as in the Soviet Union. This was further linked up with Italian nationalism (easily placed in opposition of the traditional left idea of “workers of the world unite”) and then quickly warped by the surviving big business owners who bribed the fascist leaders and other government officials onto their side, creating the marriage between government and Big Business which was then given the name fascism.
The Nazi leaders in Germany took this as a model to follow and thus got a significant number of working people on their side as well, only to betray them in the end. For instance, the Nazis canceled the power of worker unions turning German unions of the time into extensions of the Nazi party oppressing workers on behalf of the big industrialists who in turn financed the Naxzi party. (The right-wing sheepdogging of suffering working people originally leaning left may even help us understand the odd name the German fascists gave themselves: national socialists, in German Nationalsozialisten a.k.a. Nazis.)
This is how corruption at the top works whenever huge inequality is allowed to exist. And thus, people who are not at the top and suffer from the corruption and massive inequality – and who largely agree on the kind of humane and caring community of mutual support they would like to live in – can get split into two segments: (A) a right wing that’s worried about an overreaching corrupt government running their lives and (B) a left wing that’s worried about an overreaching corrupt private sector running their lives.
Clearly, both camps are correct in one worry but wrong in overlooking the other.
Clearly, both the local level and the state, national, and global level must be structured in a healthy way that supports a Good Life for All.
We really all want to run our own lives ourselves and corroborate for mutual benefit and a healthy comfortable community with our fellow human beings, especially those we locally know (more so than far away ones like foreigners who we easily distrust based on ancient animal instincts). When everybody contributes to the common good it makes all our lives good and meaningful, and – when it’s done with little to no coercion and with fair distribution – it actually maximizes our individual independence.
So, one thing we – the non-rich people – must manage to work out in our minds is a system that corrects our living conditions at both levels: the local level as well as the state, federal, and global level. And if the rich who sit in power don’t agree to let go of their power, the rest of us must unite enough and become knowledgeable enough to overcome their rule through massive bottom power coming from massive uniting around measures we all agree upon. To do this, we must realize that we fundamentally agree about the best world to live in. We merely must put aside the false idea that we are fundamentally opposed, and we must work out real solutions that are good on both the small local and the bigger state, national, and global level.
So, as much as possible should be arranged with local democracies that may even be direct rather than delegate-run democracies. At the same time we must democratize state and national governments thoroughly. And to avoid the sliding slope from reasonable property ownership to unreasonably excessive capital ownership (the former securing people’s basic needs such as their homes, the latter creating huge inequality that feeds money in politics and other forms of corruption), we must come up with a reasonable line to draw. (the previous article went into that No Rich and No Poor move in more detail)
So, rural and city folks please learn to communicate, understand each other, and unite! (and please throw nonsensical excuses for division like skin color, ethnic backgrounds, gender, religion, and so on by the wayside, or we will never manage to unite — how about that: equal rights for all with no ifs or buts, OK?)
There is another important consideration, namely the divide between the haves and the have-nots, and in this case I am not only speaking of the rich and poor but also the middle classers who are often overlooked in this scenario. There is a theory out there that middle classers are always the main force behind fascism. That they are the necessary people power accessible by the rich and eager to either retain the status quo or return to the former status quo of a wealth and power pyramid where they – the middle classers – stood on the backs of the poor. As someone once mentioned to me, “conservatives” are people who want to conserve their privilege. That makes for an egoistic part of the population who are psychologically motivated to regard poorer people as nasty enemies deserving poverty, oppression, or even concentration camps, so that they (these middle classers) can internally justify the injustice machine of the inequality system they want to maintain or restore because they can somewhat benefit from it.
This consideration makes it plausible that fascist movements (while run from the top) can be populated not only by misled sections of utterly under-educated, desperate, and hateful people at the bottom but also (and possibly more so or in ever-shifting waves) by selfish middle classers for whom a collective improvement of society carries a potential conflict of interests, at least in their manipulated imagination: the fear to lose more than they may win.
An example is the game that the Republican Party, after it was turned from the left-wing party it originally was into a right-wing party (by the bribing rich in our so very bribable political system), has been playing with middle classers’ heads. It’s a game sadly played in conjunction with the “Democratic” Party in the last bunch of decades, namely the trick of ratcheting up middle class taxes and pointing at the poor as the culprits based on social spending and lower income taxes for the poor. The winners, of course, were the rich who enjoyed huge tax cuts while laughing on their way to the bank.
There is something to that idea of dangerous middle classers supporting, forming, or even driving much of fascist movements. Back before the middle of the 20th century, America and Europe had only a tiny middle class, but still they were in important positions. Back in the 19th century, Karl Marx and other leftist leaders wrote about the danger from the so-called “bourgeoisie”. These were merchants, business owners, money lenders, or even guild-attached craftsmen living in the cities. And, historically, whenever poor people, the vast majority of whom I the past were peasants, had tried to topple the aristocracy, the bourgeoisie people in the cities, who often sided with them at first, had eventually switched to the side of the aristocrats (for fear of losing their minor privileges) and backstabbed these revolution attempts. Since cities were the industrial and military power centers, even a minority of people boosted in power by controlling the cities could have a powerful effect.
So, in addition to understanding fascist movement leaders who clearly are mafiosi-style gangsters in political power peddling and who will tell all sorts of lies and spread lots of hate in order to rise up in power, wealth, and status at the tip of growing misled movements; and in addition to understanding that these movements are always astroturfed and funded from above by some of the rich who want to divert a people’s uprising from going after them and the rigged system that places them on virtual thrones throughout their lives; there remains a question about the foot soldiers of fascism: Are these two explanations written above about the major bodies of people in fascist movements in conflict (one true and one false theory), simply side-by-side forces, or connected?
Determining a real connection could be helpful in an effort to stop these cruel movements from taking over our societies and in having people power work for national and global improvements instead.
It occurs to me that there may be a connection, one that is about the tension between collectivism and individualism. It then is hardly a surprise that over the last few generations the ‘elites’ in politics and mass media (incl. Hollywood) have been preaching to us the loveliness of individualism and the ugliness of collectivism.
What I propose is this: Both isms have their rightful place in our lives. Accepting only one and demonizing the other is an extremist stance that causes lots of harm. Individualism is good because we all want to be ourselves. And collectivism is good because only when we pool our forces can we fight bully institutions, bully businesses, and bully individuals who won’t let us be ourselves turning us into obedient foot soldiers and serfs (or even slaves) instead.
So, what we must spread among the American people (and the peoples on Earth) is a healthy balance between the two. Since governmental and corporate power are at a historic all-time high – what with the rigged system of money, property, and labor; or the intense digital surveillance and the top-controlled mass media; and the ever more rigged political mechanisms; to mention a few – we, the people, are so intensely controlled from all sides, and not only physically but mentally too, that our prime move must be to grow our consciousness and mentality. We must grow our consciousness and mentality to a point where we can’t be played by political TV ads (funded by Big Money) anymore, won’t support corrupt politicians and corrupt political parties anymore, won’t let ourselves be pitted against each other anymore, and may be able to take drastic steps that sidestep the entrenched power systems. Drastic steps like national general strikes, boycotting the banks or even taxes, the members of police and military forces refusing to suppress public uprising, establishing a revolutionary government, and so forth. We may even be able to make the necessary changes in a smoother gentler way when we are all of a more or less same mind on what needs to be done and what corrupt setups by the establishment are no longer acceptable.
Since all the media are under heavy corporate control (even the Internet at a rising level!), we may have to to this on the ground level, in personal conversations, and building personal enlightened circles that may grow and connect into larger organizations and movements.
In the meantime, you can help spreading these ideas (subscribe, share, or even participate on this platform while it is available and gets us to think more clearly). Thanks for reading this article, despite its big length and not all too smooth and short sentences. And thanks a million for sharing it or its ideas. Best wishes.
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