Left becoming increasingly isolated?

  • #1
SW VandeCarr
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Of course this depends on how you define the Left. I'm referring mainly to many in academia, as a well prominent spokesmen like actor Shawn Penn and British MP George Galloway. In the past many self-described leftists have supported Sharia Law, the 7th century code of Islamic law, under the banner of "multiculturalism". Now we have many of the same people openly supporting the Assad regime in Syria. Penn is an ardent supporter of Hugo Chavez in the upcoming Venezuelan election. There is little doubt that Chavez will be re-elected with or without Penn's help. Chavez is an outspoken supporter of the Assad regime and is diverting oil to Syria. Galloway has openly declared his support for Assad.

The recent vote in the UN to condemn Syria overwhelming passed in the General Assembly with only 12 nations voting against the resolution. These included several Latin American nations with leftist governments: Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador. China and Russia also voted against the resolution, but this is consistent with their long standing foreign policy. The votes in Latin America however were clearly a gesture against the US, but I wonder if this isn't against their own national interests.

It's clear that the broader Left is divided on these issues, but it's the so called "Far Left" that often speaks for the entire Left. My question is how those who identify themselves as "left of center", "progressive", "liberal" or some other more moderate sounding descriptives feel about the positions espoused by the those who share the views of Penn and Galloway.
 

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  • #2
phinds
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Now we have many of the same people openly supporting the Assad regime in Syria.

Can you give a reference for any prominent Americans who support Assad? I find it hard to believe.
 
  • #3
SW VandeCarr
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Can you give a reference for any prominent Americans who support Assad? I find it hard to believe.

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2012/08/07/sean-penn-campaigns-hugo-chavezs-reelection-venezuela

Note what I said. Shawn Penn has for some time supported Hugo Chavez and this support has not diminished since Chavez declared his support for Assad. Penn has apparently evaded the obvious question of whether he supports Assad.
 
  • #4
Ryan_m_b
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I find the whole left/right spectrum to be fatally flawed, as though the rationale and complement of positions people take conveniently align! It's strange how pervasive this idea is given it's origin and how often it leads to confusion.
 
  • #5
SW VandeCarr
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I find the whole left/right spectrum to be fatally flawed, as though the rationale and complement of positions people take conveniently align! It's strange how pervasive this idea is given it's origin and how often it leads to confusion.

I would agree with that, but it is nevertheless the reality, particularly in academic settings.
 
  • #6
Ryan_m_b
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I would agree with that, but it is nevertheless the reality, particularly in academic settings.
What settings did you have in mind? Perhaps it is the fault of selection bias but the type of political and socioeconomic books I have read by academics fully acknowledge the flaws in the left/right spectrum and tend to use better (but by no means brilliant) systems such as the Nolan chart.
 
  • #7
phinds
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http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2012/08/07/sean-penn-campaigns-hugo-chavezs-reelection-venezuela

Note what I said. Shawn Penn has for some time supported Hugo Chavez and this support has not diminished since Chavez declared his support for Assad. Penn has apparently evaded the obvious question of whether he supports Assad.

So as I assumed, you do NOT have any references of any prominent Americans who support Assad.
 
  • #8
SW VandeCarr
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So as I assumed, you do NOT have any references of any prominent Americans who support Assad.

I think you're splitting hairs about prominent Americans. Penn has not criticized Chavez for his position on Syria (or that of the other Latin American regimes). I would not expect him to proclaim his support for Assad in so many words. Depending on how your define "prominent" there's no dearth of veiled support of Assad on the internet. It generally takes the form of attacks on American "Imperialism"

http://www.iacenter.org/nafricamideast/syria080312/

BTW, Ramsey Clark is a former Attorney General of the US.

Besides, I did not particularly reference the American Left. You are evading my question which was how do moderates who might consider themselves center-left feel about the views of Penn and Galloway. I consider myself in this category, and have no problem strongly criticizing the positions represented by Penn and Galloway or the Latin American regimes that voted against the UN resolution.
 
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  • #9
PAllen
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Friends of mine who consider themselves very left wing (way to the left of Penn) never supported Sharia law under any guise, anywhere, and would claim such belief rules you out as a true leftist.

As a logical point, it is quite common for A to generally support B, while having a disagreement with them that they choose to de-emphasize. That is at the heart of two party politics in the US.

My overall response it that you have made gross over generalization of what is 'left wing'. Similar to proposing 'all Democrats believe...' or 'All Republicans believe...'.

All I can say is that for my remaining acquaintances who call themselves left wing [most have moved away from leftism], little of your proposed statement rings true.

[I should note, that these persons would not jump to endorse the US or the UN taking action or resolution against Syria on the basis of the pot calling the kettle black; but they all consider Assad a murderous criminal all the same. They would claim the US has done much more damage overall, and spout out a long list of US crimes.]
 
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  • #10
SW VandeCarr
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What settings did you have in mind? Perhaps it is the fault of selection bias but the type of political and socioeconomic books I have read by academics fully acknowledge the flaws in the left/right spectrum and tend to use better (but by no means brilliant) systems such as the Nolan chart.

http://digitalcommons.law.wustl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1921&context=lawreview [Broken]

It's well known that political correctness is a problem (at least for some) at many universities. This is manifested in many ways, including a degree of rigidity in how the so called political spectrum is defined. If you hold certain views that may be considered right of center, then you are a conservative and all your views must conform to the stereotypical conservative. Many of these views might be politically incorrect in academic departments that identify themselves as liberal or progressive. For a self identified liberal to criticize certain points of view considered standard liberal views such as affirmative action based solely on race, is to risk harsh criticism and possibly a failing grade.

.
 
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  • #11
Evo
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Please post the link to the actual website instead of the google link. This is something google started doing that's really annoying.
 
  • #12
PAllen
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[EDIT]For some reason, the link is taking me to a Yahoo ad.

If you remove the '.' before google, it works as is. It is a malformed url.
 
  • #13
SW VandeCarr
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If you remove the '.' before google, it works as is. It is a malformed url.

Thanks. It worked.
 
  • #14
Evo
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No the URL is http://digitalcommons.law.wustl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1921&context=lawreview [Broken]

Google has to be stopped from doing this. It's their sneaky way of taking credit and advertising themselves. They've found a way of adding themselves to every search result, don't fall for it. Click the actual website and post the correct link.
 
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  • #15
phinds
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I think you're splitting hairs about prominent Americans. .

No, I am stating that are no references to people(*)who support Assad. I don't see how you can call that splitting hairs. Supporting someone OTHER than Assad is NOT supporting Assad.

EDIT: (*) I do not include in this flakes who post trash on the internet. I'm talking about known celebrities or politicians or academics.
 
  • #16
SW VandeCarr
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No the URL is http://digitalcommons.law.wustl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1921&context=lawreview [Broken]

Google has to be stopped from doing this. It's their sneaky way of taking credit and advertising themselves. They've found a way of adding themselves to every search result, don't fall for it. Click the actual website and post the correct link.

I'm new to the Mac and I'm not sure how to do this short of manually copying the url. It takes me to the PDF, but I can't copy the url off the PDF identifier. The code available for copying is the google url at the top of the page.
 
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  • #17
Evo
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I don't think people care what Sean Penn does or says. He tied his wife up and beat her. He's a sadistic nut, IMO.
 
  • #18
SW VandeCarr
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No, I am stating that are no references to people(*)who support Assad. I don't see how you can call that splitting hairs. Supporting someone OTHER than Assad is NOT supporting Assad.

EDIT: (*) I do not include in this flakes who post trash on the internet. I'm talking about known celebrities or politicians or academics.

You're arguing against something I never claimed. Where did I say a prominent American specifically said he or she supported Assad? I did say British MP Galloway openly supported Assad. As for "flakes", are you talking about the site that was founded by a former US attorney general?

 
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  • #19
Evo
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You're arguing against something I never claimed. Where did I say a prominent American specifically said he or she supported Assad? I did say British MP Galloway openly supported Assad. As for "flakes", are talking you about the site that was founded by a former US attorney general?

You did insinuate it.

Of course this depends on how you define the Left. I'm referring mainly to many in academia, as a well prominent spokesmen like actor Shawn Penn and British MP George Galloway. In the past many self-described leftists have supported Sharia Law, the 7th century code of Islamic law, under the banner of "multiculturalism". Now we have many of the same people openly supporting the Assad regime in Syria. Penn is an ardent supporter of Hugo Chavez in the upcoming Venezuelan election. There is little doubt that Chavez will be re-elected with or without Penn's help. Chavez is an outspoken supporter of the Assad regime and is diverting oil to Syria.
Do you have anything backing your implication that Penn supports Sharia law taking over?

If not, why are you bringing him up?
 
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  • #20
rootX
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You're arguing against something I never claimed. Where did I say a prominent American specifically said he or she supported Assad? I did say British MP Galloway openly supported Assad. As for "flakes", are talking you about the site that was founded by a former US attorney general?



I recall reading about Galloway while ago. Didn't he have very close relationships with Arab leaders like Saddam Hussein/was supported by those leaders? Does he even belong to a well-recognized and organized political party?

If you feel like it's too of an extreme to support Assad argue it here:
https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=615762&page=4
 
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  • #21
SW VandeCarr
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You did insinuate it.

I can't help what you might read into what I said. I was careful to say that Penn supports Chavez who supports Assad.

Do you have anything backing your implication that Penn supports Sharia law taking over?

If not, why are you bringing him up?

It was brought up in the context of the Far Left taking positions that would seem to be highly illiberal and which could be interpreted as the representing the opinions of the more moderate left of center. Here's Maxine Waters on Sharia Law. Such claims are being made against our current president (ie birthers and claims he is a Muslim).

http://cofcc.org/2012/07/us-rep-maxine-waters-expresses-public-support-for-sharia-law-in-the-usa/

I did identify Penn as being on the far left, but did not say anything about his opinions on Sharia Law.

BTW I was forced to go to a conservative website to defend a position that the worst enemy of the moderate progressive is the far left, not the right. The moderate left should not be afraid to criticize the far left. I'm not sure why this isn't clear.
 
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  • #22
AlephZero
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I recall reading about Galloway while ago. Didn't he have very close relationships with Arab leaders like Saddam Hussein/was supported by those leaders? Does he even belong to a well-recognized and organized political party?

He joined the Labour Party as a teenager, and was a Labour MP till the party expelled him over his anti-Iraq war activites. He then sort of joined up with a few far-left groups (it's a bit hard to tell what was really going on, since he claimed to support some of them while disagreeing with their policies!) and effectively formed his own party, Respect, whcih has intermittently had one member of parliament (himself) plos a few successes in local government elections.

His latest election win (in Bradford) was a bit of lucky opportunism IMO, considering the high proportion of muslims in the constituency.

But his politics is so far off the scale it hardly makes sense to call it "left" or "right". For example he's on record as saying that a suicide bomb attack on the then prime minister Tony Blair would have been morrally justified - provided nobody else except Blair (and presumably the bomber) were injured.
 
  • #23
Angry Citizen
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Of course this depends on how you define the Left. I'm referring mainly to many in academia, as a well prominent spokesmen like actor Shawn Penn and British MP George Galloway. In the past many self-described leftists have supported Sharia Law, the 7th century code of Islamic law, under the banner of "multiculturalism". Now we have many of the same people openly supporting the Assad regime in Syria. Penn is an ardent supporter of Hugo Chavez in the upcoming Venezuelan election. There is little doubt that Chavez will be re-elected with or without Penn's help. Chavez is an outspoken supporter of the Assad regime and is diverting oil to Syria. Galloway has openly declared his support for Assad.

The recent vote in the UN to condemn Syria overwhelming passed in the General Assembly with only 12 nations voting against the resolution. These included several Latin American nations with leftist governments: Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador. China and Russia also voted against the resolution, but this is consistent with their long standing foreign policy. The votes in Latin America however were clearly a gesture against the US, but I wonder if this isn't against their own national interests.

It's clear that the broader Left is divided on these issues, but it's the so called "Far Left" that often speaks for the entire Left. My question is how those who identify themselves as "left of center", "progressive", "liberal" or some other more moderate sounding descriptives feel about the positions espoused by the those who share the views of Penn and Galloway.

Most people you think are far left, aren't. Socialism as an ideology is nearly dead. Those you consider "far left" are in fact closer to a left-of-center moderate stance than anything. Sure, Chavez is an unabashed far left socialist, and so is anyone who supports him, but they are rare. Very few people in America or in Europe seriously advocate raw socialism.

But as someone who is a real center-left fellow, I can tell you that I don't support Hugo Chavez and I think anyone who does is something of an idiot - unless they were given a choice between Hugo Chavez and, say, Ron Paul, in which case I would cast a vote for HC myself.
 
  • #24
rootX
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BTW I was forced to go to a conservative website to defend a position that the worst enemy of the moderate progressive is the far left, not the right. The moderate left should not be afraid to criticize the far left. I'm not sure why this isn't clear.
If you re-read your OP and the thread title, you seem more interested in throwing mud at the left side.

As for two jokers you mentioned, I don't even think anyone should even give them serious consideration. They are everywhere on all sides, left and right.
 
  • #25
Evo
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BTW I was forced to go to a conservative website to defend a position that the worst enemy of the moderate progressive is the far left, not the right. The moderate left should not be afraid to criticize the far left. I'm not sure why this isn't clear.
But you haven't done that. I don't know about the British MP, but Sean Penn is just an idiot actor, not even a well liked one, IMO. His opinion means nothing.
 
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  • #26
PAllen
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As an interesting example, here is a quote from the website of an organization that calls itself marxist-lenninist communist that I have acquaintances sympathetic to:

"As the battle for control of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, rages, the regime of President Bashar al-Assad is losing ground to bourgeois opposition forces in a civil war that grew out of the government’s bloody repression of a popular movement for democratic rights that began nearly 17 months ago. "
 
  • #27
rootX
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What's also interesting that many political parties that support Sharia Law are on the right side not left e.g. Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Also, many of my friends who are on extreme left (and from ME) want neither any dictatorships nor Sharia Law in ME.
 
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  • #28
Pythagorean
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Political polarization reaching crtical mass lately. Has it always been this way during election time? It seems really intense this time around, but granted I didn't pay much attention before.
 
  • #29
SW VandeCarr
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Political polarization reaching crtical mass lately. Has it always been this way during election time? It seems really intense this time around, but granted I didn't pay much attention before.

It's the worst I've seen. I think you have to go back to the Civil War to see such polarization. Also the campaign of 1800 is considered to be one of the most bitter according to many historians.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_1800
 
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  • #30
russ_watters
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Bah, you guys just have short memories. We've had this thread a bunch of times before, it just usually has the word "Right" or "Republicans" in the title. 4 years ago we had threads talking about the death of the Republican party as if it had already happened. Two years ago, people seized on the rise of the Tea Party of evidence of the Republican party becoming fringe/extreme...and then it won big in the mid-term election.

The political pendulum swings back and forth. Every now and then it takes a hit from a major event (like the recession) that makes it swing a little further, but it always comes back. The democrats had their swing and now it is coming back to the republicans. Far enough to make Obama a 1-termer? Maybe...
 
  • #31
SW VandeCarr
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If you re-read your OP and the thread title, you seem more interested in throwing mud at the left side.

As for two jokers you mentioned, I don't even think anyone should even give them serious consideration. They are everywhere on all sides, left and right.

I defined who I was "throwing mud" at. I used the term "Far Left" and "Left" interchangeably. When referring to the moderates, I use the terms center left, moderate left, etc. My point was to get comments from people who identify themselves as moderate left regarding the (Far) Left as represented not only by their most strident spokesmen, but by the leftist regimes that voted against the UN resolutions to condemn Syria. Overall, they may be small in number, but many hold influential positions and claim to speak for the poor (Angela Davis, H.Ward Franklin, etc). There are a lot of poor people in the world. When the moderate left fails to speak out against leftist extremists, they can be made to appear to agree with them by their political opposition. The comments that were actually made were argumentative and counterproductive. I showed my OP to several people who review manuscripts for a living. They had no problem understanding what I meant.
 
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  • #32
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4 years ago we had threads talking about the death of the Republican party as if it had already happened.

It has. The Republicans just don't know it yet. As sour as the economy is, the Republicans should have a death-grip on the Senate, the House, and the Presidency. They don't. It's fairly likely they won't take either the Senate or the Presidency, and with the way the Republican House is viewed, I think it's reasonable that the Democrats retake the House too (barely). The demographics are against them. If Virginia is a toss-up state, the rest of the country is gone.
 
  • #33
ParticleGrl
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In the past many self-described leftists have supported Sharia Law, the 7th century code of Islamic law, under the banner of "multiculturalism".

Who? Who supported sharia law? In what context? I find this a pretty strange claim.

It's clear that the broader Left is divided on these issues, but it's the so called "Far Left" that often speaks for the entire Left.

I don't find the idea that the 'far left' speaks for the entire left to be clear at all. I think of the 'voice' of the left to be, essentially, the president, the democratic politicians, etc. Certainly, I hear more political message from the democratic party than I do from Sean Penn.
 
  • #34
russ_watters
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It has. The Republicans just don't know it yet. As sour as the economy is, the Republicans should have a death-grip on the Senate, the House, and the Presidency. They don't. It's fairly likely they won't take either the Senate or the Presidency, and with the way the Republican House is viewed, I think it's reasonable that the Democrats retake the House too (barely). The demographics are against them. If Virginia is a toss-up state, the rest of the country is gone.
The Republicans haven't had a chance yet to take back the Presidency and only 1/3 of Senate seats were up for play. The economy becoming bad wasn't Obama's fault and a year and 9 months was a pretty short time to turn it around. The huge gains made by Repubs were thus not forseen when Obama was elected. Sheesh!

As for this election, for a supposedly dead party to be in a dead-heat for the Presidential election is an amazing thing. For a President who has only seen the economy improve under his leadership to be at risk is equally amazing.
 
  • #35
Angry Citizen
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As for this election, for a supposedly dead party to be in a dead-heat for the Presidential election

Dead-heat? A media fiction. Fivethirtyeight puts the odds of an Obama victory at 68%.
 

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