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What Political Ideology do I believe in?

rockwater
Posts: 273
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1/24/2014 9:22:54 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I know everyone is unique in their political and other beliefs, and so party or movement can match them perfectly. But I wonder sometimes if there is any party or movement in any country that would closest match my beliefs and that I would support if such a party or movement existed in my country. So if you have any suggestions let me know. If all you can say is that I am stupid or wrong or misguided - I'm not here to debate whether I am right or wrong, but what category I best fit into.

I've taken lots of different "political quizzes" online, some better than others. The ones based on European political labels offer more diversity in terms of what I could be categorized as, but I've tried the American ones as well.

I think I am either a:

European-style social liberal: in favor of individual freedom in terms of social issues and civil/human rights. The economy should be based on a free market but there should be government intervention to ensure equality of opportunity, to provide a safety net for the worse off, to provide some positive rights like education and healthcare, some New Keynesian economic intervention, etc. This is very different from a European "Classical Liberal" or "Market Liberal" ideology. This could be represented by the left wing of the British Liberal Democrats, the Dutch Democrats 66, the Scandinavian Radical Liberal Parties, etc. These parties are also strongly in favor of international multilateralism, and increasing the power and role (and democratic governance of ) supranational bodies like the EU and UN. These parties are definitely to the left of the mainstream of the US Democratic Party.

Social Democrat: like the above, but unsure whether the free market really is the best basis for society. The market is accepted more as the lesser of all evils because completely central planning is, or at least no longer is, practicable. Capitalism, while allowed to exist, should be tamed and driven to promote social justice and a certain degree of equality of outcome, not just equality of opportunity. People can be rich, but excessive income inequality can be a problem in itself to address if it prevents the floor of economic prosperity from being able to rise. Labor unions, either in the Anglo-Saxon, German, or Scandinavian model (all different in terms of the government's role) are a very important way to address income inequality. This is represented by the left wing of British Labour and the German Social Democrats.

Third Way: Hard to define, but it is the set of policies undertaken by leaders of center-left parties who move to the center (or what was formerly the center-right) in response to globalization, the end of the Cold War, the reducing effectiveness of the welfare state and labor union power, etc. Multiculturalism, women's rights, and gay rights become more important as economic equality becomes less important. A strong police presence, toughness on crime and terrorism (even if civil rights and privacy are curtailed), and an increased willingness to engage in military intervention for the sake of human rights, fighting terrorism, etc., are all aspects that differ the Third Way from these other political movements. This describes Tony Blair, Gerhard Schroeder, etc., and their supporters.

Democratic Socialism, or Fabian Socialism: Captialism is a bad thing. We need to replace it with some kind of economy where ownership of large amounts of land, large shares in corporations, etc., is not in the hands of wealthy individuals but where the resources of the community can be used and managed by the community as a whole. This should not be achieved by revolutionary means but through democratic politics and gradual peaceful change. The Soviet Union and similar states were dictatorships that rode roughshod over human rights in order to achieve a just society and produced a new form of inequality in doing so. Modern economics has also made some of the tenets of traditional Marxism/Marxianism obsolete so it needs to be re-envisioned for the 21st century or replaced with a new economic and political philosophy for achieving a just society, but we definitely need to reject captialism and be much more radical than social democrats. This was the traditional stance of the left wing of British Labour but few people in that party support it now. In continental Europe, it is the stance of "Eurocommunist" parties, although some Marxist-Leninist holdouts might remain in them (especially in Die Linke in Germany, which includes politicians from the former East German regime).

Green politics: The priorities of the other political parties are off. We should emphasize, above all, environmentalism, social justice, participatory democracy, nonviolence, sustainability, and respect for diversity. All issues should be addressed at the most local level that is effective, so there is a good deal of decentralization. Consensus in decision making, the avoidance of violence and aggression as ways to solve problems, gender equality, the voices of marginalized groups, and the long-term sustainability of any policy are emphasized more than in traditional parties.

I think the reason I don't feel I fit into any of these labels is that I think that capitalism and socialism are both pretty ineffective at producing a just society, although I think that a mixed economy built on a capitalist base is a lesser evil than an attempt at socialist central planning. I abhor fascism, corporatism, third-position, and ultra-nationalism, so don't even think of suggesting them as alternatives. Green politics seems like kind of a conservative, don't-put-that-factory-in-my-backyard policy that benefits an educated upper middle class but doesn't help the poor that much. I am an environmentalist though. What I like about Social Liberalism in the European sense is that it aims to create a sovereign federal government for regions like Europe and eventually for the whole world. I think that nationalism is so limiting and we need to have a global government with the power to tax, with an army, etc.

I also want to see a complete transformation of the global economy away from the capitalist free market that brings an end to poverty and to massive inequalities of privilege. I just don't think that it can be achieved in my lifetime, and I definitely think that Karl Marx was wrong in his suggestions of how to get there. We also have to get to a just society through democracy and nonviolence.

So, do any of the ideologies I have listed seem to describe me, or is there another ideology that you would suggest as more descriptive of my views. I am definitely not a conservative (not Burkean, moderate, or Red Tory/One Nation), libertarian, fascist, populist, anarcho-capitalist, anarcho-syndicalist (I think we need a sovereign government that can use force), centrist, Christian Democrat, or Islamist (I am totally for separation of Church and State).

Any thoughts?
rockwater
Posts: 273
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1/24/2014 3:26:17 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I'll add that I think that government should not only make sure society is just and fair, but should also try to create as ideal a society as possible - so I'm a utopian of sorts. I respect personal freedoms including the freedom to choose one's own career, whether or not to have a family and whom with, and where one lives, but I still think that some kind of communal society would be a vast improvement over the current society based on nuclear family households operating in a market economy.

However, I think that rapid nationalization of industry, appropriations of private property, setting of prices or eliminating prices for goods altogether, etc., would be disastrous. I think it would take centuries to build the kind of society I would like to see. I am not sure what political ideology encompasses both my idealism and my practical admission that we can only gradually work towards such a society within the context of the mixed market economy that we have.
AnDoctuir
Posts: 11,060
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1/24/2014 4:12:14 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I think your politics are very like to mine and awesome, though I do see anarcho-syndicalism as a pretty cool utopian final destination. I dunno man. I call myself collectivist, communist, good guy =)

What was Marx's idea about how we achieved communism though?
AnDoctuir
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1/24/2014 4:34:32 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I guess in the end I have a bit of faith in humanity as regards the anarcho-syndicalism bit.
rockwater
Posts: 273
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1/24/2014 6:38:19 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/24/2014 4:12:14 PM, AnDoctuir wrote:
I think your politics are very like to mine and awesome, though I do see anarcho-syndicalism as a pretty cool utopian final destination. I dunno man. I call myself collectivist, communist, good guy =)

What was Marx's idea about how we achieved communism though?

Marx thought that a captialist society had to first go through socialism in order to eventually reach communism. Socialism is where the government owns all the means of production: basically all industries. Marx thought that when the working class (the proletariat) controlled the government and the government controlled the economy by owning all industry, society would become so productive, prosperous, and technologically advanced that there would always be a huge surplus of all the necessities of life. This surplus (and end to the scarcity of goods under which people had existed for all of history) would mean that people would no longer have to spend most of their waking hours working in order to afford food, shelter, etc. People would then have a large amount of time to spend in pursuits of their own choice and interests, such as learning, the arts, scientific inquiry, and recreation. With no scarcity of resources and hence little to no war, crime, violence, etc., government would become obsolete and people would live in stateless peaceful communities. This final utopian vision is what Marx called communism.

I know that the whole thing sounds pretty naive, and that Marx's economic theories can be criticized right down to his labor theory of value, but a huge error in his assumptions was that central planning of the economy under socialism would be vastly more efficient than the free market at allocating resources. Central planning, at least in an form that has yet existed, is actually much less efficient than the free market because a bureaucrat in a central planning office is very far removed from the conditions of all the factories, farms, etc., that s/he is making decisions over and it is both costly, time-consuming, and impossible to collect all the information needed for that central planner, even with the aid of computers to be able to make decisions with the same level of expertise as the people actually working on the factories and farms. No amount of statistics gathered into a central office can replace the worth of "working knowledge" gained from experience in a specific context. Also, central planners only have the incentive to do whatever gets them a promotion or a raise, which may not necessarily what is best at maximizing the profitability for society of any given factory or farm. Private owners of factories and farms, though, because they enjoy the fruits of their labor, have an incentive to cut costs, reduce waste, and maximize profit. The free market is also much better than central planning at setting prices efficiently so as to avoid shortages or wasteful overproduction of goods.

So Marxism, even democratic Marxism that respects human rights much more than Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, etc., did, doesn't work in practice. That does not mean that Marxian (ie, Marx-influenced) theories could not incorporate knowledge from modern economics and all of the sciences to come up with a new alternative to capitalism. But it might be just as impractical as central planning - we'll never know until we try it.

That is why the mixed market economy, which is at least a little more fair than pure laissez-faire capitalism (which has never existed anywhere, is impossible because of the way the human mind works, and exists only in the wet dreams of University of Chicago economics professors) is a status quo that should be respected by reformers but not worshipped. A better society that lets all people and not just the privileged live to the fulness of their potential is possible, but we have to be humble, slow, and above all democratic in implementing any changes intended to bring us there. The mixed market economy came about through trial and error, along with a lot of compromise and consensus building (and, unfortunately, in response to revolutions, imperialism, World Wars, and the Cold War). So any new vision for society has to acknowledge that it too is just an experiment and not a guaranteed recipe for success. Marxists thought their theories were irrefutable scientific fact (not that there is any such thing as an irrefutable scientific fact) and their hubris had disastrous consequences even when you consider that Marxist regimes were hijacked by bloodthirsty dictators.

So does that mean I am a social democrat? A democratic socialist? A leftist green? Or a left-wing European social liberal?

The answer probably has to do with whether or not I think the fundamental basis of society is the individual and individual rights (liberalism) or the community and social justice/social cohesion (social democracy). Green politics complicates this because it denies the dichotomy of individual vs. community and asks that politics address overlapping and fluid holistic systems of ecosystem, culture, subculture, etc. And the third way seems to abandon ideology in favor of technocratic pragmatism (let's not build a better society but just tweak the status quo here and there based on what the experts say - and let's adopt whatever we want from conservative parties if it makes our poll numbers go up). The Third Way is the only form of Center-Left politics that seems able to win an election in any of the world's most prosperous and advanced democracies, so we can't be too critical of it.

I think I'm either a social liberal or a social democrat. I like that social liberals put human rights, free global movement of people and ideas, and international cooperation and interdependence above all else while uniting these with social justice and equality of opportunity. I don't think, though, that they are daring enough in addressing the root causes of inequality of privilege. Social democrats, on the other hand, overemphasize the concerns of labor unions and other left-wing interest groups over universal concerns of all individuals and households - and social democrats are often protectionist and myopic in opposing free trade and other aspects of globalization. Greens are much better at opposing bad things (like war and pollution) than they are at proposing good things (and implementing policies with teeth (ie, enforceability)).

And I can't just say that the best thing is to take the best from each ideology and found an "eco-liberal social democratic" party because this would probably just be a catch-all populist, or worse, centrist party that exists just to do well in the polls but doesn't really believe in anything in particular. The followers of the Third Way have done precisely this and conservative forces have used it to move the political center more and more to the right. Clinton, Blair, and Obama have done "conservative" things that Thatcher and Reagan could not have dreamed of doing given the relative power of the left in their day.

So, knowing that I'm on the left of things economically, I need to figure out whether or not my vision of society is one of (European) left-liberalism, social democracy, or green politics. Can supporters of one of these three positions maybe voice why one is better than the others?
AnDoctuir
Posts: 11,060
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1/24/2014 6:49:50 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I think you should be my communist friend. I'm inclined to agree with Marx that the free market makes for huge inefficiency as regards planning. All it adds, I think, is speed. I mean how hard to calculate that we need x amount of food and that thus it takes x amount of land and x amount of labour to produce it? It's just basic math all the way, for pretty much everything. Decentralisation, I think, just makes more reactive production say, but not more efficient production.
AnDoctuir
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1/24/2014 7:03:03 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Recessions being a failure of a reactive rather than a hugely calculating system. It's just the former system gets the jump on the latter system, I think, degrading it.
xXCryptoXx
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1/24/2014 7:05:58 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Stop trying to conform yourself to a set of beliefs and be your own man who is passionate in his own individual ideals.
Nolite Timere
Tophatdoc
Posts: 534
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1/24/2014 7:44:19 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/24/2014 9:22:54 AM, rockwater wrote:

Any thoughts?

If your an American, I would inform you of some things pertaining to American political identification. Americans aren't ideological like Europeans. I would suggest it is best to avoid Democratic Centralism if your an American because it only polarizes. After all I am writing as a former Libertarian Socialist. Be as you wish, believe as you wish, and don't accommodate to a set doctrine.
"Don't click on my profile. Don't send me friend requests. Don't read my debates. There are many interesting people on DDO. Find one of them. Go find someone exciting and loquacious. Go click on their profile. Go send them friend requests. Go read their debates. Leave me alone." -Tophatdoc
Kc1999
Posts: 1,037
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1/25/2014 8:25:32 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I have no idea what I am.

On one hand, I believe in the nation and the creation of the legitimate government of the people, which would have total control over the media and all other aspects of public life, with big welfare programs and a huge army, which I will use to unite all other people of our race under one border.

On the other hand, I believe that trade unions are the only way to improve the mass's current state of depression, and ensure the future prosperity of the masses of the great nation. I believe that capitalism is effective, and reforms should be taken within the borders of capitalism.

What am ideology do I believe in
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R0b1Billion
Posts: 3,716
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1/25/2014 10:29:11 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 1/24/2014 9:22:54 AM, rockwater wrote:
I know everyone is unique in their political and other beliefs,

No, you are not unique snowflakes, you are all-singing, all-dancing turds that all believe in about the same thing. Mostly selfishness :P
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
rockwater
Posts: 273
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1/25/2014 4:58:09 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
In the past, I identified as a (European) social liberal. Now I think the best label for me is a social democrat.
rockwater
Posts: 273
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1/27/2014 7:06:35 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Left-Leaners :

Which of these ideologies best describes you:

Social Democracy: keep the free market but use its
Prosperity to reduce social inequality.

Democratic socialism: end capitalism through democratic means

Green politics: achieve social justice through local, consensus-based, peaceful, and ecologically conscious means. The means are more important than any particular economic system that is the end goal.
sadolite
Posts: 8,833
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2/2/2014 5:47:22 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I believe in capitalism, the rule of law and a Republic form of govt. I am against any political party that tries to pollute it or change it with their wealth redistribution tyranny. Which is all of them.
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

If you think I will give up my rights and forsake social etiquette to make you "FEEL" better you are sadly mistaken

If liberal democrats would just stop shooting people gun violence would drop by 90%
Wallstreetatheist
Posts: 7,132
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2/3/2014 10:31:54 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/2/2014 5:47:22 PM, sadolite wrote:
I believe in capitalism, the rule of law and a Republic form of govt. I am against any political party that tries to pollute it or change it with their wealth redistribution tyranny. Which is all of them.

Republics are incredibly anti-capitalist. Why do you "believe" in that form of government?
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sadolite
Posts: 8,833
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2/4/2014 3:31:43 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 2/3/2014 10:31:54 PM, Wallstreetatheist wrote:
At 2/2/2014 5:47:22 PM, sadolite wrote:
I believe in capitalism, the rule of law and a Republic form of govt. I am against any political party that tries to pollute it or change it with their wealth redistribution tyranny. Which is all of them.

Republics are incredibly anti-capitalist. Why do you "believe" in that form of government?

Well I read some history books and learned that capitalism is the fastest way to generate wealth for all. Until capitalism came into existence only those with ties to the ruling class could become rich. I also learned because of capitalism the middle class was created, a very wealthy middle class at that. I also checked to see which forms of govt would allow capitalism "Not to be confused with crony capitalism" That is just corruption and tyranny attempting to cloak itself in the name of capitalism, much like evil cloaks itself in religion. Rome and America are the only two that have tried to embrace it from what I can tell from history. All the rest try to control everything. America will fall for the exact same reasons Rome fell. The rule of law being dismissed and rampant socialism sucking the life out of wealth creators. You can make your arguments that fighting to many wars caused Romes demise but you have to become a pilfering wealth confiscator of the private sector to fight them. Both Rome and America were once Republics and both embraced capitalism. (Past tense) America is no longer a capitalist country and no longer a Republic by any sense of either definition.
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

If you think I will give up my rights and forsake social etiquette to make you "FEEL" better you are sadly mistaken

If liberal democrats would just stop shooting people gun violence would drop by 90%
rockwater
Posts: 273
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2/4/2014 4:00:08 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Ancient Rome, even the Roman Republic did not have Captialism. Capitalism did not exist as an idea or a reality until around the time of the early industrial revolution. You can't have capitalism without capital: machines (mostly) that take raw materials and human labor to make a manufactured product. Ancient Rome was basically an agricultural economy. It had trade but that was largely of either agricultural or mineral products. The wares made by artisans, weavers, metalsmiths, etc., had value more due to the skill of the cratsmen/women than from any machines that they used. These goods were also usually sold by the people who made them. Captialism usually involves a separation of capital and labor: the people who own the machines are different from the people who work with the machines to produce the product. Capitalism, therefore, does not just mean private ownership of property. It means private ownership of capital (which for the purposes of our discussion mostly means machines).