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Red v Blue

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Aug. 20th, 2004 | 02:45 pm

Recently one of my coworkers was talking about a right-wing essay one of the few really right wing scientists around here forward him. He found it to be more comprehensible than the usual polemic, apparently the thesis was that since we're having such a hard time reaching a compromise, perhaps we should just divide up the country and let each group go its merry way.

My coworker thought this was reasonable right up until the essayist ended it with the phrase "freedom loving red states".

It just occurred to me that the split between "red" and "blue" is about differing conceptions of what is freedom. In my understanding the "blue" (traditional left wing) is valuing personal social freedoms, but at the expense of a larger governmental bureaucracy to administer conflicts in a multicultural society. Whereas the "red"s want more economic freedom by reducing the role of government, but then conforming to cultural traditions take a larger role to to keep society organized and orderly.

It would seem under this theory both groups are fighting for the freedoms they consider most important, while viewing the other sides freedom as inherently dangerous.

I know I as a pretty extreme left winger view the conservatives love of military power and unfettered consumerism as dangerous and find their focus on conformity incredibly oppressive. But then I don't fit into their culture. They conversely view my views about how we are responsible for providing for the unlucky as theft.

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Comments {2}

her other side

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from: saltbox
date: Aug. 20th, 2004 02:58 pm (UTC)

You might be interested in Amartya Sen's (who, though on the left side of the spectrum, is not an extreme left winger by any means) "Development as Freedom".
The premise of the book is that human freedom is not only the primary end of development, it is also the principle means. Development consists in enhancing the quality of human life and increasing the substantive freedoms we enjoy, and therefore freedom is constructive in development (that is, the process of development is the process of making our freedoms larger). But, in addition, freedom of one kind tends to facilitate freedoms of other kinds. For example, economic opportunities, political liberties and social facilities strengthen each other, in addition to each being directly important in increasing the individuals' freedoms."

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Diane Trout

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from: alienghic
date: Aug. 23rd, 2004 08:38 pm (UTC)

The only consistent way to avoid this corruption is to not spend the money, and keeping the power of government small.

Though my typical argument against small government is if other institutions are are large, without a similarly sized government there isn't a way to provide checks and balances.

For instance during the reign of the roman catholic church, the various states were small and couldn't effectively compete against the power of the church. Today small governments can't really limit the power of large transnational corporations.

I'm reminded of one of the ideas from the collapse of complex societies, that corruption is so common in complex societies that it might as well be considered a tax on complexity.

Though I'd love to know how you can vote no for president?

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