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Variations on an argument...

A number of comments in a couple of diaries have gotten me thinking about what I mean when I try to define where I stand on the Liberal/Conservative spectrum. I don't think it matters which comments they were, except that they gave me a jumping-off point to take a fresh look at the whole concept.

I have no idea whether I'm a Progressive, or a Liberal, or any other tag that can be used. (The internet questionnaires I've taken usually put me solidly on the left of the spectrum, but yeah - internet questionnaires.)

In any case, what I have been nibbling at in the back of my head since then is whether there is any simple statement that I can make that will actually say where I'm coming from, where I can stand to take a look at how those definitions might be re-thought. And it's brought me back to what is perhaps the only belief I hold strongly: There Is No One True Way.

There Is No One True Way.

It's my first litmus test for initial checking of any diary or comment or outside pronouncement - from a pastor, or teacher, or politician, close friend or chance met acquaintance - usually before I even look at the actual information contained in the statement. It's served me pretty well as a way to choose which information I'll check most carefully. But now I've found a place that I think it may have failed.

My OneTrueWaydar never went off when I heard the concept of the political spectrum. It's so commonly accepted as to not need to be defended, so none of my triggers came up, and it kind of slid into place without any fuss. Hmm.

Okay, what does this have to do with being a Liberal? Or a Progressive, or a Whatever?
Liberals, I thought, get to think more. And ask questions. And come to conclusions based not on authority, but on as much real data as can be found. More than Conservatives. Sometimes. It's generally a more comfortable place for me to be. So why am I running into the same problems with arguments here as I did when I used to argue with Conservatives? Okay, it could be me, but....

What if it's not a spectrum we're on?

What if it doesn't have to be? If current Conservatism is a box, squeezing in a tighter and tighter hold around its followers, then Liberalism is of necessity outside that box, even if much of it sits in its own, larger box and has many of the same problems with out-of-the-box thinking. What if, rather than seeing a spectrum, one imagines the varieties of political thought as a series of nested boxes, with each larger box tending to promote better and/or more creative thinking. Note: this scenario doesn't require someone in a larger box to reject the concepts within the smaller boxes; they must be included in the larger picture as a component of that picture.

Look at political thought as a spectrum, and you can see it as a chain of boxes, of different sizes, some interpenetrating, but mostly requiring their inhabitants to reject the concepts and thinking of any point of view not immediately adjacent to their own. It's a sure prescription for ongoing, continuous battles between various points along the chain. Looking at the boxes as nested brings up a whole new set of potential interactions between various conceptions of political reality.

Here's where I stop, for now. The implications of shifting the paradigm in this way are setting off whole bunches of small explosions inside my head. Scary, but intriguing.

Please, think about it. Try to visualize it. Tell me what you see.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (19+ / 0-)

    At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

    by serendipityisabitch on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 02:38:32 AM PDT

  •  Ah, but no true liberal... (5+ / 0-)

    With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 03:25:43 AM PDT

  •  If you start with 'we all have a right to be on (4+ / 0-)

    this planet', all came here the same way..with a bang.. leave out the ego, and get out of the boxes/groups/labels we seem to put ourselves in so that others will 'accept' us would be a good start.

    Group dynamics are all the same-eventually they
    start EXCLUDING people and that's my big objection to Denise's rant-she's doing exactly what she has protested her whole life.  Being excluded is wrong.  Period! Demanding people to leave who may have some disagreements in said group is cray-cray..Doing the SAME thing over and over again expecting a different result is an addiction to insanity. Which is what our phony democracy political system is these days.

    The constant slicing and dicing of people is beyond sad. I think it comes from feeing insecure. And these days who in the 99 percent isn't feeling some insecurity? But this constant exclusion behavior is just fodder for the 1%. I mean how do you slice and dice 1??

    Time to Change one's thinking...that would be PROGRESS.

    "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

    "It's said that the honest man has nothing to hide. Not true. The honest man has to hide himself, because honest men are the prime targets of those who lie."

    by roseeriter on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 03:31:11 AM PDT

    •  Except I think it's possible that moving away from (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      roseeriter, Yasuragi, Hey338Too

      the idea of a spectrum might be a way to change the paradigm here. What results did you have when you shifted the visualization?

      At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

      by serendipityisabitch on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 03:37:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I stopped fighting with others on a personal level (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        serendipityisabitch, skohayes

        for starters- you can't think out of the box if you're stuck in the box.

        I realized that until I changed my thinking, nothing around me changed. Knowing the difference between good and bad etc., etc.

        Then pay attention to what others are doing, more than what they are saying.  Trusting myself first, doing my own research on various topics or personal concerns, especially in politics and religion and stand with people who are seeking the greater good for the many over just those who want something good for a few.

        It can be very much like a ping pong game when someone good messes up cause they had a bad day...lol

        "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

        "It's said that the honest man has nothing to hide. Not true. The honest man has to hide himself, because honest men are the prime targets of those who lie."

        by roseeriter on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 03:49:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thoughtful questions (13+ / 0-)

    which I'm not sure I have firm answers for since how people see themselves and where they are on the political spectrum shifts, may vary according to issue - and may not dovetail with how others see them or categorize them.

    I know for myself how I see me is fluid -  I don't use the term liberal a self descriptor simply because when younger I had the word "liberal" pounded into my head as a pejorative  as in "liberalism is a corrosive" - Marxist Maoist thought ;)  

    Have never shaken off that early training.

    I don't know much about the genesis of the term progressive - in US terms - since I probably put myself in the box of "radical activist" when younger.  

    You sent me on a hunt and I found this on wiki:

    The term "progressive" is today often used in place of "liberal".Although the two are related in some ways, they are separate and distinct political ideologies. In the U.S. in particular, the term "progressive" tends to have the same value as the European term social democrat, which is scarcely used in American political language.The reason for this confusion in the U.S. might partly be rooted in the political spectrum being two-dimensional; social liberalism is a tenet of modern progressivism, whereas economic liberalism (and its associated deregulation) is not. According to John Halpin, senior advisor on the staff of the center-left Center for American Progress, "Progressivism is an orientation towards politics. It's not a long-standing ideology like liberalism, but an historically-grounded concept ... that accepts the world as dynamic."

    Cultural liberalism is ultimately founded on the belief that the major purpose of the government is to protect rights. Liberals are often called "left-wing", in contrast to "right-wing" conservatives. The progressive school, as a unique branch of contemporary political thought, tends to advocate certain center-left or left-wing views that may conflict with mainstream liberal views, despite the fact that modern liberalism and progressivism may still both support many of the same policies (such as the concept of war as a general last resort).

    American progressives tend to advocate progressive taxation and oppose what they describe as the growing and negative influence of large corporations. Progressives are typically in agreement on an international scale with left-liberalism in that they support organized labor and trade unions, they usually wish to introduce a living wage, and they often support the creation of a universal health care system. In the United States, liberals and progressives are often conflated, and in general are the primary voters of the Democratic Party which has a "large tent" policy, combining similar if not congruent ideologies into large voting blocs. Many progressives also support the Green Party or local parties such as the Vermont Progressive Party. In Canada, liberals usually support the national Liberal Party while progressives usually support the New Democratic Party, which traditionally has had provincial electoral success in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and, since the recent federal election, in Quebec.

    We  have similar discussions in my Dept. at school about what is or isn't a "feminist" .

    They never get resolved, but the conversations are often quite interesting and can become quite heated.

    Thanks for posting this.

    "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition." Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 03:34:19 AM PDT

    •  Thanks. I really want to know, though - did you (8+ / 0-)

      try the visualization? First of the spectrum, then of the nested boxes? For me, it started off multiple chains of thought about how the concepts might have to change just to be able to handle the new structure. Which is to say I have the beginnings of a headache and I expect it to get worse, because it feels as though every change necessitates several others...

      At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

      by serendipityisabitch on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 03:44:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thinking does the heart good..lol sorry 'bout the (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ratcityreprobate, Yasuragi, Hey338Too

        headache.

        "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

        "It's said that the honest man has nothing to hide. Not true. The honest man has to hide himself, because honest men are the prime targets of those who lie."

        by roseeriter on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 03:55:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think the two coexist (7+ / 0-)

        Actually, I think that lends itself to much confusion. For instance, some people get tagged as "far left" because the boxes they use to define permissible thought are rather small; some people clearly are "far left" in terms of the spectrum, but they don't have tiny boxes.

        Contrariwise, "centrists" may have very small boxes or very large ones. (Also, sometimes people who aren't really centrist get tagged as centrist because their big-tent outlook seems centrist to others.)

        Most if not all of us are small-minded about something — well, many things — only some of which fit into a political philosophy.

        "Democracy is a political system for people who are not sure they are right." —E. E. Schattschneider

        by HudsonValleyMark on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 04:33:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, you're certainly showing me the limitations (4+ / 0-)

          of the language I'm trying to use. Damn. I got the initial visualization first and tried to put it into verbal terms, and I can't blame anybody except myself for not stating it clearly enough to follow.

          I need a moving 3D representation of this, which I can probably do, but I think I need a whole lot better way to say what exactly I mean when I say "thinking outside the box" because it's not really well defined, and... well, we'll see what kind of responses this gets, and then wait until it settles down some and try it again.

          Rats.

          At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

          by serendipityisabitch on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 05:26:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  :) (4+ / 0-)

            If we're missing what you mean by the boxes, maybe you can try explaining that part another way. I was taking my cue from 'no one true way.' It seems to me that OneTrueWayism can exist at any point on the political spectrum. Possibly it's more common at the ends; presumably it's more obvious.

            (The whole notion of a political "spectrum" is limiting, but hey, we have to start somewhere.)

            "Democracy is a political system for people who are not sure they are right." —E. E. Schattschneider

            by HudsonValleyMark on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 05:47:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Damn. I'd better bold the part that says that (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              HudsonValleyMark, Yasuragi, Hey338Too

              I thought TINOTW failed on this. Total apologies. Not your fault that the diary shifts direction twice.

              At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

              by serendipityisabitch on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 05:51:26 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  oh, let me rewind (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                serendipityisabitch, Hey338Too

                I'm not spending enough time on my comments, but I don't have a lot more time to spend.

                I see what you're saying about the limits of No One True Way, but I still think it's applicable in another way, which doesn't seem inconsistent with what you've said. The "boxes" can be construed as existing within an n-dimensional space, and as varying from person to person, so some people's -isms are larger than others.

                But my analysis breaks down when I try to accommodate policy principles and content on the one hand and... I'm not sure what to call the other hand. It has something to do with the willingness to accept people as peers or collaborators.

                At any rate, I think I'm trying to solve a different problem than you were. Maybe I can think about that some more while I try to replace our back door lock....

                "Democracy is a political system for people who are not sure they are right." —E. E. Schattschneider

                by HudsonValleyMark on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 07:14:31 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  It is the neoliberal cuckoo in the Democratic (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    roseeriter, triv33, cybrestrike, Johnny Q

    nest that is causing the confusion.

    What is neoliberalism?  It's certainly ain't got nothing to do with liberals, progressives and the like.

    Neoliberalism is a political philosophy whose advocates support economic liberalizations, free trade and open markets, privatization, deregulation, and enhancing the role of the private sector in modern society.
    That political philosophy is toxic.

    Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

    by The Dead Man on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 05:25:13 AM PDT

    •  Could you be a bit more specific on how you see (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Yasuragi, Hey338Too

      your comment relating to the diary? I have no idea where you pulled the quote from, so I can't check it, but what particular part of my current confusion are you referencing?

      Confusion thrice confounded.

      At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

      by serendipityisabitch on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 05:34:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The pile of conceptual liberal boxes has (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Johnny Q

        a parasitic bird nesting in it -- those cuckoos who are brood parasites lay eggs in the nests of other birds to have them "adopted and raised" by the nesting parents.  The friction you see can in part be attributed by those who are raising the cuckoo and those who are pointing out the imposter.

        Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

        by The Dead Man on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 06:12:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Don't think of a box (6+ / 0-)

    Everything is open.  Think of a sphere, with three dimensions.  What are the axes?  The one we're familiar with in political usage, an x-axis of right and left.  Then there's thhe somewhat more sophisticated one we see on line that includes a y-axis of authoritarian and libertarian.  Then there's a z-axis we're never allowed to discuss, but equally real in how any political entity or activity plays out:  elitist or populist.

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." ~Frederick Douglass

    by ActivistGuy on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 05:26:39 AM PDT

    •  I'm familiar with the standard multi-axis (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Yasuragi, ActivistGuy, Hey338Too

      presentation. Three dimensions generally doesn't seem to be quite enough for this, and I hae ma doots about the standard patterns of using linear axes to conceptualize the variables. The question I'm posing is whether a non-spectral form of analysis might lead to a potentially more viable concept, where conflicts between the philosophies are moderated or mitigated.

      If that didn't make any sense to you, it's not likely to be your fault. Check back with me in a day or two. I may have a more coherent way to put it, or I may have to throw it out as non-viable.

      At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

      by serendipityisabitch on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 05:46:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's a terrific visualization. (4+ / 0-)

      The addition of the z-axis is thought provoking. But sitting here and considering where I'd put various world leaders on it makes me aware I'm actually more uncertain (possibly unwilling) where to put myself?!??! Feature or bug? I don't know. But I appreciate the kickstart to thinking.

      "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

      by tardis10 on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 05:50:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  lol... damned deep thoughts for this early (3+ / 0-)

    in the morning!

    The questions you're asking, those hinted at and all of their implications are fundamental to much of the low-level infighting that takes place around here day-to-day and that flares up now and again on the RecList, such as the "principled lefties" diary (and responses) by OPOL and Denise's diary (and responses) yesterday.

    How does one self-identify? How does that self-identification relate to other categories? Is it inclusive or exclusive? How do party-affiliation and political self-identifiation on some sort of spectrum relate to one another? How rigid are the categories? In short, what are the relationships between and among the following and can those relationships be visualized in a substantive way on some 2- or 3-D model of political / partisan thought?

    Democratic Party
    democrat
    liberal
    progressive
    leftie
    far left
    The Left

    Hell of a set of questions :~)

    Personally, I view political self-identification not as a linear spectrum with termini at a far left and far right but rather as a Möbius strip upon which seemingly opposite pairs (far left and far right, center left and center right) are visualized as having more rather than less affinity.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 05:32:44 AM PDT

    •  Thank you. ;) I read your last paragraph as (3+ / 0-)

      "a Mobius strip on wheels" in the first glance, and was thinking that might almost work. Maybe a box by Escher?

      I'm not so much thinking about the infighting around here, though that certainly was the spark that set things going, but the more worrisome problems in trying to build a coalition across those classes without somehow redefining them.

      The boxes are more like information clouds (but not, and trying to get from the visual to the verbal is bugging me incredibly), and I'm thinking that some of the narrower -isms might be somehow subsumed in the broader ones without having to lose the useful pieces that they each contain.

      At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

      by serendipityisabitch on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 06:03:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If Your Economic Policies Shrink and Degrade the (5+ / 0-)

    middle class, you're no economic liberal or progressive.

    At this point in history after half a century of RW propaganda this would be about 3/4 of Americans, which roughly jibes with the small number of people who identify as liberals.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 05:39:37 AM PDT

    •  Damn straight. And I have a personal interest (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hey338Too

      in coming up with something that will at a minimum stabilize or potentially enhance and broaden that structure. The social safety net is my good friend.

      But I'm not sure how this relates to the diary.

      At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

      by serendipityisabitch on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 06:11:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It isn't people, but rather issues... (3+ / 0-)

    Your nested-box (a political matryoshka?) model seems to imply two things:

    * clean divisions--subsets, if you will--among people,
    * a common "care about this issue" situation, and
    * an overarching common ground among groups members.

    In particular, it's this line that gives me pause:

    Note: this scenario doesn't require someone in a larger box to reject the concepts within the smaller boxes; they must be included in the larger picture as a component of that picture.
    So, I was recently participating in a diary concerning mandatory national service. Some speakers were adamantly against any mandatory service, some saw merit in mandatory national military service, while others supported national service as long as military service were not included...see where this is going? (Personally, I support a notion of mandatory national service that includes both military and non-military opportunities.)

    Some boxes can't be nested.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 05:48:20 AM PDT

    •  Maybe some boxes can't be nested. As currently (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lady Libertine, Hey338Too

      defined, no maybe about it. I believe I read most of that thread, and at this point, you're correct, the viewpoints are set in such a way that many of them aren't reconcilable.

      I'm looking to see if there might be shifts in the ways we think about a number of areas which would produce, rather than irreconcilable di- or trichotomies, some paradigm from which holistic solutions might come. If we could think about ways to ensure real security without necessarily having to think "military", for instance. I don't know how to get there - what I'm looking for is are better ways of creating new viewpoints that aren't essentially based in competition and othering. I don't know that it is possible, but the human mind can do incredible things sometimes.

      At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

      by serendipityisabitch on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 06:26:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Want a radical idea? (3+ / 0-)
        what I'm looking for is are better ways of creating new viewpoints that aren't essentially based in competition and othering.
        Imagine a site that didn't identify the author of a diary or comment for a period of one week after publication.

        You be surprised what happens when one eliminates cliques and "name recognition" from the mix.

        The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

        by wesmorgan1 on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 07:34:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Except, of course, that is based on assuming (0+ / 0-)

          both. True cliques cannot be subverted; they'll find ways around just about any solution designed to counter them.

          Besides, even though it can seem to be a large problem when you're in the middle of it, it's a really minute percentage of the actual diarying/commenting that goes on.

          At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

          by serendipityisabitch on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 07:49:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Liberal and Conservative have become labels (3+ / 0-)

    That have lost their meaning when used in the political sense.

    "It's not surveillance, it's data collection to keep you safe"

    by blackhand on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 05:54:35 AM PDT

    •  I'm not entirely sure they really ever had (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hey338Too, blackhand

      that much meaning in a political sense, since politicians tend to use words more for psychological effect than substantively, so meanings shift rather fast in politispeak. And yet we need labels, symbols to represent the things and phenomena we're trying to describe. Lacking functionally abstract telepathy, we communicate in symbols. Sometimes well, sometimes badly.

      But if we could see the world differently, there might be ways to use more precisely meaningful symbols.

      At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

      by serendipityisabitch on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 06:53:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Back in one of my High School Civics classes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        serendipityisabitch

        We had a lecture, or perhaps a few, on the notions of Conservative and Liberal.  My understanding was, or is, that a conservative view is one that is narrower in focus, more strict in interpretation, and, and tries to minimize the impact or change.  By comparison, the Liberal view is more expansive and open to interpretation, broader in scope, and is amenable to bigger changes.

        In this context, the adoption of social programs, marriage equality, abortion access, emancipation, suffrage, and civil rights acts, movements, and legislation would be considered Liberal because they go against the status quo.  

        When it comes to most Democrats and Republicans, or more correctly to say politicians and their related ilk (e.g. judges) in general, both tend to be simultaneously Conservative and Liberal, when it suits their needs.  As you said, using words for psychological effect and fast shifting politispeak.  

        "It's not surveillance, it's data collection to keep you safe"

        by blackhand on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 10:55:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  A problem that can occur with Liberal programs (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blackhand

          is that they push change faster than a lot of people can handle it. On the other side, Conservatives tend to try to push fear, because in manageable quantities it reduces the amount of tolerable change even farther, which means that unexpected change hits the population even harder, eventually.  

          If there were a way to balance the tension between the two, it's possible that we could actually accomplish the change that's needed at a pace that people could adapt to without too much stress. Of course, that would require both sides to be able to see the some legitimacy in the other. Or to come up with a way to look at the situation so that we weren't always playing a battle of opposites in this regard. I don't know how to do the second, but it would be a hell of a lot better in terms of unwanted side effects.

          At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

          by serendipityisabitch on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 11:22:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I tend to think visually as well (4+ / 0-)

    and have a very hard time trying to describe things verbally, sometimes, so I can relate. Seems to have something to do with that Meyers Briggs stuff, lol, intuitive, perceptive, etc. Anyway, I would suggest perhaps you just whip out your sharpie and draw it out on paper, literally, and continue re-thinking it further.

    Myself, well, okay, the spectrum is linear, right/left, east/west and one dimensional. Now, you're trying to add more dimensions with your nested boxes. I'd more okay with that if you make them round, spheres. So then you have various overlaps, yielding slivers and crescents. THEN, put all that onto a mobile! LOL, this probably isn't helping. ;-) Oh, forgot, add color. lol

    If I can't dance I don't want to be part of your revolution. ~ Emma Goldman

    by Lady Libertine on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 06:25:47 AM PDT

    •  The problem with spectra is that they are (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lady Libertine, Hey338Too

      linear functions. While it is possible for people to think linearly, and to some extent it can be trained, most modes of thought tend to be partly, sometimes substantially, non-linear. Not only do we tend to ignore that when we teach, we tend to not-notice it when it happens, at least in this culture.

      I'm suggesting that we need to change the paradigms through which we see political differences to see whether we can find better methods of organizing our thinking.

      No, it doesn't seem to be helping, nor is doing harm. Feel free to add more input as additional thoughts strike you.

      At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

      by serendipityisabitch on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 06:43:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Im agreeing with you (3+ / 0-)

        that a linear one dimensional conceptual frame is inadequate and I think its great to explore alternate ways of visualizing, and thinking, it.

        Any 'frame up' of course merely a tool. Reality is a big sloppy chaotic mess, heh. We are, we contain, each one of us individuals, an entire universe. Making sense of the chaos is a neverending task. Creating a better system for coordinating and mutually supporting and enhancing all our little universey selves, human and non human alike, is quite the challenge.

        Not enough coffee yet for this convo ... but I enjoy your creative approach to it.

        If I can't dance I don't want to be part of your revolution. ~ Emma Goldman

        by Lady Libertine on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 06:54:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Amen to this: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lady Libertine, Hey338Too
          Reality is a big sloppy chaotic mess
          But we try to pattern it; we can't help it, and it's one of the things we're really good at. It's dumping a pattern so that we can come up with something new that trips us up, especially if the pattern has gotten embedded in the culture and still seems to be working.

          I think I just said what you just said. Sorry. ;)

          At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

          by serendipityisabitch on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 07:08:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  True Liberals: (7+ / 0-)
    I cried when they shot Medgar Evers
    Tears ran down my spine
    I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy
    As though I'd lost a father of mine
    But Malcolm X got what was coming
    He got what he asked for this time
    So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

    I go to civil rights rallies
    And I put down the old D.A.R
    I love Harry and Sidney and Sammy
    I hope every colored boy becomes a star
    But don't talk about revolution
    That's going a little bit too far
    So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

    I cheered when Humphrey was chosen
    My faith in the system restored
    I'm glad the commies were thrown out
    Of the A.F.L. C.I.O. board
    I love Puerto Ricans and Negros
    As long as they don't move next door
    So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

    The people of old Mississippi
    Should all hang their heads in shame
    I can't understand how their minds work
    What's the matter don't they watch Les Crain?
    But if you ask me to bus my children
    I hope the cops take down your name
    So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

    I read New Republic and Nation
    I've learned to take every view
    I've memorized Lerner and Golden
    I feel like I'm almost a Jew
    But when it comes to times like Korea
    There's no one more red, white and blue
    So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

    I vote for the Democratic Party
    They want the U.N. to be strong
    I attend all the Pete Seeger concerts
    He sure gets me singing those songs
    And I'll send all the money you ask for
    But don't ask me to come on along
    So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

    Once I was young and impulsive
    I wore every conceivable pin
    Even went to the socialist meetings
    Learned all the old union hymns
    But I've grown older and wiser
    And that's why I'm turning you in
    So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 06:45:52 AM PDT

    •  this may be a double post, because I swear, I (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PhilJD, poligirl

      already commented...

      Thanks, I hadn't seen this one before. It made me think of MB's sigline, but that's probably because I'm starting to zone out.

      At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

      by serendipityisabitch on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 07:13:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I like it! Especially this: (3+ / 0-)
    What if, rather than seeing a spectrum, one imagines the varieties of political thought as a series of nested boxes, with each larger box tending to promote better and/or more creative thinking. Note: this scenario doesn't require someone in a larger box to reject the concepts within the smaller boxes; they must be included in the larger picture as a component of that picture.
    I'm totally intrigued, and like you, feel those little neural pops and bangs going off as I consider the possibilities of viewing politics this way.

    And it may not apply to politics.  It may apply to personal interaction, professional... hell, it may apply to the whole world.

    Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand. -- Albert Einstein

    by Yasuragi on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 07:21:25 AM PDT

  •  Where's the Overton Window in the Box? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    serendipityisabitch

    These discussions are always interesting.  I am liberal but not excessively so - perhaps kind of like the fellow in the song or poem quoted above but certainly poorer.  I've described myself as a "Clintonista," because I supported the Big Dog and now support HRC and have full knowledge they are "establishmentarian," for lack of a better term, and I have not had a problem with that.  I advocate for social change, but not so much of it at once it boomerangs.  

    For example, at one time I believed President Jimmy Carter should have withheld federal funding to states which did not ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.  I now see that would have been imprudent.  

    The term "political correctness" was actually conceived as a joke by feminists and put into wide use at the national Women's Conference at Houston in 1977 as such.  Then the right-wing appropriated it to use an epithet in support of the beleagured white male, just as they use "playing the race card," not realizing they themselves seek to enforce it, on more harsh terms than we could conceive.  Sure, we purged Holy Joe (Liebermann) but that was a special circumstance as he turned Bush cheerleader, but with less vitriol than they employed against Richard Lugar and so many others.  

    We need diversity.  We need the Bernie Sanderses, and the Michelle Nunns.  But we need to be prudent.

    I almost had the opportunity to meet Cecile Richards, head of Planned parenthood, and daughter of former Governor of Texas Ann Richards, but, alas, work responsibilities prevailed and I was unable to make the meetup.  But as a long admirer of her and her late mother, I have one question for her:  "Do you know why as Governor your mom appointed Bob Krueger to Lloyd Bentsen's Senate seat?"  She might not know, though.  Krueger was beloved of limousine liberals, but he was so much a water carrier for the oil and gas industry I despised him wholeheartedly.  He had big hair and young wife and was an erudite, educated man - a PhD who had been a Duke University administrator and came back to Texas to win an open House seat.  In my mind, that was Ann Richards'  biggest shame.  

    Now contrast that episode from 1993 (Krueger served a brief time as an appointed Senator and was defeated in the special election by [kinda maderate, but not really, but pro-choice anyway] Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison) with a more recent Senate appointment.  Governor Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii also had one of those greatest perks of service as a state's Governor, the power to appoint an interim Senator, when the late Senator Daniel Inoye died.  Inoye had let it be known he wished for Congresswoman Colleen Hanabuasa to succeed him.  Now I have no problem with Hanabuasa and her voting record, but, instead, Abercrombie appointed his Lieutenant Governor, Brian Schatz.  Schatz is clearly outstanding as a progressive and a newbie Senator, but Hanabuasa is primarying him and Abercrombie is being primaried too - part of it is personal is part of it is the ethnic stew of Hawaii's population:  Inoye was and Hanabuasa  is Japanese-American, the largest ethnic group, Abercrombie is white, and Schatz is a white Jew.  But I am so impressed with Schatz I have broken with Emily's List for backing Hanabuasa.  You don't primary out of ethnic entitlement or blind ambition in my view of political ethics.  

    So there you have two anecdotes of two political events, Governors appointing interim Senators, with different dynamics?  Which one was right and which one was wrong?  Or were they both wrong, or both right?  We will debate these things till the end of time.  As long as it advances human progress that's OK with me.  

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

    by Kangaroo on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 07:55:07 AM PDT

    •  The answer is, I do not know. The result of (0+ / 0-)

      a paradigm shift generally removes some concepts from viability, creates some that are almost entirely new, and shifts or changes what's left. Whether the Overton Window would still be a viable concept is anybody's guess.

      At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

      by serendipityisabitch on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 08:05:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Call me Chauncey Gardener. In the Springtime (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    serendipityisabitch

    the only boxes I think of, are elevated garden beds. I hope all of us  are growing the types of plants that appeals both to themselves and to fellow gardeners.  I hope we share fertilizers and compost and potting soils and we weed for each other and we help each other plant and we discourage pests from damaging our neighbor's crops.

    I fear greatly for my own garden bed of Organized Labor.  If it continues to weaken, everyone else's plantings will suffer and may fail.

    I hope my fellow gardeners will not disparage my efforts to encourage the Labor garden, even though it may not be everyone's favorite flavor, and I will try to do more than just Being There.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 10:11:04 AM PDT

    •  Don't I know you from somewhere? ;) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      6412093

      It's been warm enough the last two days to start the snow melting, but Spring is still about  a foot down from where we are.

      Labor has a real problem in the political grab bag, at least in this country, especially in a global buyer's market. I never understood how it came to be everybody's favorite target, instead of the best partner capital could possibly have for the long term if it wanted to make the investment. There's certainly a setup for mutual antagonism at this point,  that needs to shift radically.

      A partnership between labor funding and the solar industry, in terms of building up multiple small employee-owned businesses, perhaps, to both take advantage of and promote the shift to higher levels of solar power? Or possibly to see if they can promote more cost effective solar panel manufacture within the US?

      Step by step, row by row,
      Gonna make this garden grow...

      At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

      by serendipityisabitch on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 10:39:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why yes, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        serendipityisabitch

        we first met millennia ago, when the part Fish, part Human Gods Oannes, Matsya and Poseidon first brought knowledge to landlocked masses.  We looked with awe, jealousy and love upon their shape shifting forms and their articulate wisdom.

        I am thinking that within my Labor box, I am a revolutionary, ready to give all for my cause.

        but for all the other progressive boxes, I'll give a little money, argue for their causes, vote for their candidates, but I wouldn't get arrested in their name.

        The Electrical Workers and building trades unions are very strong supporters of alternative energy, and energy efficient buildings.  I found two all-union companies who would re-roof my house and install solar panels, for instance.

        Energy-efficient buildings are labor-intensive and the Plumbers and Insulators Unions, among others, have expanded their apprenticeship training to teach those particular skills.

        “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

        by 6412093 on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 12:06:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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