On Political “Right” and “Left” and the Nationalization of Everything
By RU Twisted
I’ve written a lot here at The Rhino Den on political issues. Most of them are hot-button topics like gun control, education, and which elected official is the biggest Douche of the Week. But I have neglected to cover some of the theory behind all of those and address why any of it matters.
As an example, most of what we hear in political discourse today revolves around “Right vs. Left.” Yet these are not in any way agreed upon terms. For the vast majority of the population, “Right” is equated to “Republican” and “Left” is synonymous with “Democrat.” Or, in an even more main-stream sense, Fox News vs. CNN.
But this generalization furthers nothing and essentially only hinders any kind of logical debate on important issues. If an issue is presented by one camp of ideologues, those who ascribe to the opposing views dismiss their proposal out of hand simply by nature of association. If someone belongs to “the other,” then they are automatically wrong.
This is, of course, absurd; all the more so when we consider a few real world examples. For instance, Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) all belong to the same political party. Yet five minutes of Google-fu will prove how incredibly different these men are from one another on fairly fundamental principles of government. Similarly, people such as Sen. John Tester (D-MT) and Rep. John Conyers both call the Democratic Party home and house wildly divergent viewpoints on representing the people of this country.
Even less helpful is the continued association of a certain political bent with a particular news outlet. Calling Fox News “on the right” or CNN and MSNBC “on the left” makes about as much sense as Sandra Bullock still having a career. Yes, Chis Matthews is a raging liberal; yes, Sean Hannity is a Republican shill. Guess what? No one deeply involved in the political game takes any of those people seriously—so why should the public care what they say?
24-hour news stations need their own party—it should be called “Sensationalism.” Their platforms will consist of anything and everything that grabs headlines as well as turning really boring stories into exciting ones by using inflammatory language, hyperbole, and flashy graphics while blatantly inciting their fan base (that being the proper term for anyone who would get worked up over what a few talking heads would shout about on either side of a debate).
We have a significant number of people in this country allowing their blood pressure to rise over issues that are made far more complicated than they need to be simply because a couple people in Washington with (R) and (D) following their names are debating them. These arguments become far worse when a media, hell-bent on garnering ratings for advertising, gets involved. By demonizing certain terms and increasing the viral nature of others, the core of most discussions is lost by the time they hit the airwaves.
If you believe that I am headed in the direction of advocating for a third party, stop—that’s a topic for another time and a whole separate can of worms.
What I am writing on here is the simple understanding of terminology and why it matters. We live in a time when “Republican” and “Conservative” have become synonymous, “Liberal” and “Democrat” are interchangeable, and “Libertarian” and “anarchist” are ignorantly substituted one for another. As such, many of our current debates are wrapped up in party politics that get carried away by using jargon that may work on a show hosted by Bill O’Reilly or Rachel Maddow but is frankly beneath us and should remain so.
Republican and Conservative are not the same and this should be understood. So it is with the title of Liberal or Progressive and Democrat. Some of these are world views and others are political parties.
The normal debates in our country, then, are less about Republican vs. Democrat and more about some very basic ideologies which often fall outside the realm of both groups. In our modern era, most arguments truly boil down to the topic of whether one is for more government intervention into a problem or less. Unfortunately, as mentioned above, this becomes convoluted upon labels being ignorantly thrown about as soon as an ideology is presented. “You’re wrong because you are with the party of _____!!! “ (insert baby killers, old people haters, unicorn lovers, etc.).
Regardless of where your affinities lie, I encourage every one of you to take an honest look at the ideology behind each and every supposed hot-button issue and follow it through to its inevitable conclusion. We live in a time where significant numbers of politicians and their constituents would like to see nearly every issue nationalized and brought under federal control. In some cases, this may very well be a good thing; in others it is decidedly not. The point is that we are moving in that very direction and staying educated on why something is a good or bad idea is invaluable—in other words, turning Sean Hannity off and doing some serious homework is going to be required.
Our country did not start out with the idea that a strong national presence should be felt at every level of our lives, but that may not matter because it is where we are headed. Simply shouting that the founding fathers wouldn’t have wanted something a certain way is not enough and labeling an idea wrong because it belongs to a different political party is equally inadequate.
Election season is just around the corner. Before it arrives, become educated on the important issues, the terminology used, and why it matters. Like it or not, the government is growing. Make sure you know the how and why of that change.