Archive for June, 2009

Directional Extremism

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

By now you’ve heard most of the story about the 88 year-old shooter that killed Stephen Tyrone Johns while he was on duty as a security guard in the Washington DC Holocaust Museum.  If you’re like most people, you’re sadden at the loss of yet another productive American citizen and sickened at the reports of the shooter’s hatred for so many people.  Depending on where you get your news, you might also be confused over some misleading references to the shooter representing right-wing ideology in America.

Adding to the confusion, is a fundamentally flawed statement in the Homeland Security report on alleged “Rightwing Extremism” inside of the United States.  There were 50 uses of the term “rightwing” in the report.  It even used the term as a single word, instead of the the grammatical correct hyphenated term right-wing.   No references were made to “left-wing extremism,” leaving some to wonder if the report might condone that side of the argument.  Of course even suggesting such a thing might be classified as blasphemy in the near future, so I won’t go any further with that line of reasoning.

Are we really to believe neo-Nazism is right-wing?

If so, that would make the Nazi regime of Hitler’s Germany a right-wing government.  If true, then on the extreme right of the concept of government theory, you have Hitler and the SS running everything.  The rest of us would work as slaves in government-owned factories and fields and have to put up with soldiers banging on our doors at night only to be hauled off to the concentration camp–where we’d die.

So what is the opposite of that?  The communists?

If so, on the extreme left of the concept of government theory, you have Stalin and the KGB running everything.   The rest of us would work as slaves in government-owned factories and fields and have to put up with soldiers banging on our doors at night only to be hauled off to the gulag–where we’d die.

I don’t see a nickel’s worth of difference between those two systems, unless you happen to be a member of the small group that is controlling everything and everyone else.  Which means the popular notice of left and right must be flawed, as the two should be in contrast to each other.

Here’s something that makes much more sense.

Government theory is all about how much power the government has.  The more power the government has, the less power or rights the people have.  On one extreme, government has all power.  On the other extreme, government has no power–or doesn’t exist at all.  That’s also called anarchy.

In theory, anarchy could be a nice thing.  No taxes, no police, no rules to get in your way–every man doing what he things is right.  If everyone were just like Jesus, that might work out pretty good.  But humanity is wrought with selfish behavior–striving to advance oneself over others.  In total anarchy, only the strongest men could retain their property, which would soon be countered by less strong people teaming together to take what they wanted.  Eventually the land would be littered with myriad teams or gangs all striving for their collective superiority over the other groups.  Chaos and mayhem–anarchy is a bloody unproductive state in practice.

So with anarchy at the extreme right, what’s at the extreme left?  Government with total power, of course.

If a single person were powerful enough to control everyone else–that would be extreme left–but with millions and billions of people on earth, nobody is that powerful.  It wouldn’t even work with a small region of several thousand people.  No, the king has to have an army.  That army could consist of knights sitting at a round table or goose-stepping storm troopers–but a king without his army is a pathetic sight.

Throughout history, most kings have had some collection of advisors to assist them in their rule of the masses.  They might be family members or just ideological partners–but loyalty is generally the primary selection criteria.  Kings use a variety of job titles: Potentate, Chief, Czar, Leader, Lord, Master, Commander, Seignior, President, Chairman, Chairwoman, Big Cheese, Skipper, or any other of a multitude of “I’m-the-boss-of-you” sounding titles.  All those various titles only serve to confuse people who are trying to make sense of the left and right of things.

When a relatively small group of people control all or even most all of the power over the people it is called an oligarchy.  If you are not part of the oligarchy, you will be most severely punished by those who control the power if you should oppose any decision they make. The irony is, you don’t even have to oppose the seat of power to be oppressed by it–they have the option of abusing you at their whim.

To the right of an oligarchy, is a democracy–rule by the majority.  In theory a democracy sounds pleasant, but in practice that would only be true if you were part of the majority.  The majority can vote to take the minorities possessions or even their lives.  If the only thing that establishes right is a majority–you basically have mob rule, albeit a majority mob.  Democratic principles are good, but a system of laws that protect the rights of all people is necessary if the people are to really enjoy freedom.

Which brings us to a republic, which is more than just a government controlling the people, it is a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives.  In the great American experiment, the wonderful document called the Constitution spells out just how much power the government is allowed to control.  The rest of the power is supposed to remain with the people.

Some people argue that twenty-first century America is violating certain restrictions of the Constitution, but few people are wanting an America without a central government–the ones who advocate anarchy could correctly be labeled “right-wing extremists.”

The Constitution’s governmental concept is left of anarchy but well right of a direct democracy or an oligarchy.  Some say the Constitution is well right of our current practice and that we’re plunging into socialism.

What’s socialism?

Socialism is the Marxist theory that declares all means of production, distribution, and exchange should be centrally controlled.  The theory is that individuals won’t be able to hoard great wealth if the governing oligarchy has control.  The reality is that the oligarchy hoards the wealth and the people suffer.  You’ve seen the term used in some now defunct oligarchies.

The National Socialists (Nazis) were about a specific people-group’s oligarchy controlling all means of production, distribution, and exchange first in Germany and then hoping to spread across the world.  They were thwarted by America and her allies during World War II.

Remember the USSR (a.k.a Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic)? Soviet Communism was about world conquest by any means, most in order for their oligarchy to control all means of production, distribution, and exchange.  They also were thwarted by America and her allies during the Cold War.

Somehow the Nazis and the Communists were labeled right and left in attempt to suggest you had to go one way of the other.  History shows the two groups didn’t get along very well, but of course each side was fighting for total control.  Unless you were part of their small oligarchy, each of the systems were oppressive–each were extreme leftists.

So what would you call a person, regardless of their age or veteran status, who believes a small group of people should control all power, disregarding the concept that all men are created equal, and also believes he has the right to ignore the Constitution of the United States?

Wouldn’t that be–left-wing extremist?

It just makes sense.