TED Conversations

peter lindsay

Physics Teacher,

TEDCRED 50+

This conversation is closed.

The traditional Left V Right picture of the political world has become a destructive force.

This topic is inspired by my experiences on TED. I often find myself in total agreement in one instance and total disagreement in another with the same tedsters. Political ideology isn't a linear scale and the pre-judgement of some ones opinion on one topic based on their opinion on another topic just gets in the way of constructive debate. For the record I am pro-choice, pro-freemarket in general but pro public health and education. As far as utilities are concerned I'm pro-freemarket, but a level of government regulation ensures compatability between different providers. I'm anti-censorship and ambivalent aboutJulian Assange. I really don't know if I'm right or left or up or down.

Share:
  • Jun 22 2012: I had the same thought the other day. Do people follow policies or ideal becuase it is right to do so; that it benefits the here and now or do they follow policies or ideals that fit in with their political spectrum despite it being right or wrong.
    As a voter to I vote for a party that fits in with my political spectrum or do i vote for a party without thought of being left or right winged.
    I think for me labels such a right wing or left wing are very distracting. The merit of a policy or ideal should be judged apart from such labels, in light of whether they are of the greater good or not for the time.
  • thumb
    Jun 21 2012: A destructive force has been created by those who cannot think for themselves and allow a "party" to make their decisions.

    Peter you appear to be capable of conducting your own thought process. You are all over the political map. If I agree with you or not, I congratulate you on your ability to think for your self. In the US we are becoming a nation of sheeple. There is hope though as in the last couple of years the "Independents" have beconme the largest growing group. That is probally where you would fit in if you would like to be classified.

    I do try to vote for the best person ... never a straight party ticket. I do my homework prior to voting.

    I one saw a documentary on Parliment and view our US system as quite tame. That is close to open warfare.

    The best hope for a cure to the political delima is education ..... However, even there the instructor can influence the students thoughts. This is occuring in the US. My friends duaghter spoke against Obama when the Professor was stating he was the only one for the job. They got in a argument during class. She has challenged her grade and won. The professor is still employed. Nothing has changed.

    All the best. Bob.
    • thumb
      Jun 21 2012: Thanks for the input Robert. From an Australian perspective the US system is amazingly polarised. At the moment in AUS the senate is controlled by our third party (the greens) so neither of the major parties can do anything without negotiation. The lower house has sufficient independants so that the PM has to get at least 4 of them on side to pass legislation so the power is very diffuse and people with very different views must negotiate middle ground to get anything done. In some ways this is a very inefficient way to run a country, but it does tend to keep the politicians under control.
  • Jun 20 2012: The idea of left right is an illusion, created by democracy. People are too dumb to figure out what a certain political idea means for them, and especially what ideology created that political idea, so they have gathered various ideas and ideologies (many of which should NOT be in the same category) and put a stamp on it, like this: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/36/European-political-spectrum.png/372px-European-political-spectrum.png

    The truth is that, because of democracy, politicians want to differentiate themselves from "opponents", even if they think the same way. Because the average voter will vote for the politician who just copies that other guy. This is why you will never get the same answer on a question, if one politician says 2+2=3 the other one will say 2+2=5, simply because that makes him unique, and then we will have a long and pointless discussion about things that don't matter, only to win votes from the stupid consumers because they don't know that 2+2 is actually 4.

    And it's not even the fault of the politicians, it's a fault of the system. Every day politicians have to struggle for their power, to be able to exercise their ideas, they *have to* engage in the political games and discussion, which leaves them with less time to make proper decisions.
    And not even talking about how we managed to rape democracy since the second World War, how did democracy go from "the people govern" to "each individual has equal democratic power to everyone else, but there is no longer a collective power because nobody even listens to the opinion of others."

    Democracy went from *power for the people* to *power for the individual*, and now we are on the brink of various political crises, it is time to change something.
    • thumb
      Jun 20 2012: A very interesting diagram Mr Pinter. By this analysis i fall to the left of your centre, but not all the way to the left. Interestingly, by Australian standards I am considered a bit of a conservative. Here we have a lot of people who drift left and right depending on circumstance. eg complain about taxes being too high and also complain about the lack of funding in public education etc. I would be interested to know where you stand on unions.
      • thumb
        Jun 20 2012: as long as unions are voluntary, does not enjoy special privileges, and don't violate laws, i think unions are perfectly okay. whether an actual union does any good or not, depends on the case.

        you see, for a libertarian, most questions are easy. we have this moral compass. is that violates other people's rights? or is it based on mutual consent? that's the only thing i care about.
        • thumb
          Jun 20 2012: Just to make it clear Peter, public unions are another story.
        • thumb
          Jun 21 2012: I would assume that in Krisztian"s world public unions would be irrelevant as there are no public institutions in which to form one.
  • thumb
    Jun 20 2012: If there was only one view there would be nothing to compare. Is that view smart or dumb, is that view old or new, is that view benign or malevolent. All evaluation or assignment of value comes from comparison. It is required unless of course the zombies take over.
  • thumb
    Jun 20 2012: Hi Peter,

    Yes, I agree the left / right idelogies actually stunt politics and action. Politics gets stuck in the argument and very little that needs to be done gets done - especially regarding environmental protection. It's sad, but I suspect that Rio 2012 will end as a talking shop with little agreements for global action.

    In the US this political polatiry is so striking I'm surprised anything gets done. In the UK the politicians tend to fight over the middle ground to the degree that Tony Blair (as a left wing Labour Party leader) was closer in ideology to Margaret Thatcher (the former right wing Tory leader) than some in his own party.

    Of course, those in power want the status quo to be maintained so endless argument is great for the rich and powerful.





    As for Julian Assange, he's done a bail bunk into the Equadorian Embessay...I guess if I faced extradition to the US I'd do the same.
    • thumb
      Jun 20 2012: The US political debat does seem amazingly polarised from an Australian perspective. It seems as though if you want to be pro free market you also have to beleive in God and be anti abortion. I fail to see the connection. The Australian situation is similar to the UK. There was a cartoon with both party leaders sitting in the middle of a see-saw (teeter-totter?) with a bystander suggesting it would be more fun if they sat at each end.
      Re JA think he might slip off to Equador quietly one night and everyone will be relieved except for the plaintiff in Sweden perhaps. The UK US and AUS governments probably just want him to go away