Things are indeed more complicated than a single bipolar axis. And you are right that few people want a purely libertarian system. I am among them. Here's where I stand:
In spite of the complexities of politics, there is a single axis that can be considered operative over the whole system. Forget the terms left and right, let's just say that at one end is an all-powerful state, and at the other end is no state at all. The "right" that I consider myself a part of is the right that believes that we should have a state that is just large enough to protect people's freedoms and rights, provide a reasonable level of security, and create an environment in which people are free to pursue their dreams, so long as they are not harming their neighbors in the process. That is an oversimplification of a complex issue, but that's where I stand, and that is where most of the people on my side---the people we call "conservatives"—stand. Pinochet allowed some capitalism, which was good, and he opposed the communists, which was good. Those things are both associated with my ideology. But a military ruler is not. There is nothing conservative, in my understanding of the term, in military dictatorship.
I am in favor of a reasonably small government that is limited in its coerciveness to the bare minimum required to create the climate I described above. I am in favor of free market capitalism. I am a classical liberal.
I oppose statism, an all-powerful government, severely reduced freedoms (even for some conception of a common good), and command economies.
Because of where the left comes down on both economic and governmental models, I oppose the left. Because of the way the left conducts itself across the globe, I oppose the left. Because wherever the left gets complete control, the result is slaughter, misery, and dystopia, I oppose the left. Because the Democrats in America have become increasingly associated with the left---and when added to their shameful slavery/segregation past—I oppose the Democrats.
The reason I do so so vigorously, with reference to metaphors like Thermopylae is this: the left does not play nice. It never has. It has no interest in compromise. That the Democrats are forced to compromise is because our system is brilliantly designed, and because they are a political party. But the ideology that seeks complete control over that party will never compromise. It never does. Two years ago, I would have agreed with you on all this "catch more flies with honey" stuff. but not now. I have learned too much. The ideology of the left must be destroyed...in all of its manifestations, in every corner of the globe, for all time. Not the people, mind you---the ideology. The people must be rescued, as I wrote here. Thanks, Herodotus. It's been great.
Posted by Christopher_Cook on 2008-06-27 10:31:54
Hey, thanks for the wankery. Let me clear something up for you--
Admiring someone like Pinochet reveals you to be a raving psychopath. His goons tortured, dismembered, abducted, disappeared and killed human beings for no reason other than that they could do it--probably the sort of thing that gives you instant wood. You'd love to torture and kill, wouldn't you, because your powerlessness is what informs you. Actual facts don't work. Living in the real world doesn't work. You have nothing but whatever bland occupation you inhabit to inform you, and because of that, you have lived a worthless, meaningless life of self-indulgence and debasement.
What causes all of that death, starvation and strife you talk about is extremism; that is, the absence of political parties that work together and the implementation of "mob rule" and "criminal thugs" taking over and subverting the rule of law. When you say you want to be an extremist and admire Pinochet and destroy liberalism, you've already lost the battle of ideas and entered into a madness that goes beyond being a mere sociopath.
Who subverted the rule of law in America? The Bush Administration. Who has used fearmongering, intimidation, and lawlessness to get what they want politically? The Bush administration. Who launched an unnecessary war against a country that didn't attack us? The Bush administration. Who let an American city drown? The Bush Administration. Who has cut benefits for wounded Veterans and cut health insurance for poor children? The Bush administration. You confuse GREED with austerity.
Who has brought back into our national discourse a responsible debate on privacy rights, habeas corpus, the rule of law, a fair and impartial judiciary, better benefits for Veterans, health care for poor children, relief for people affected by natural disasters, better pay for the working poor, and help for people who are being thrown out of their homes? The Democrats. Who favors the ultra-rich and fucks over anyone who has to work for a living? The Republicans.
You are a man-child with no life experience who is fundamentally ignorant of American political history. You have found yourself clinging desperately to lies your ignorant ass couldn't be bothered to sort on its own and you've set up shop on a sheet of loose sand, thinking it to be the foundation of actual knowledge and fact. You've grasped a kernel of nothing, thinking it to be the island on which you will live a grand and fantastic life. All your life, you will rail against liberals and find yourself with nothing to show for it. You will blink your dead eyes and pound small, soft fists onto soft surfaces and reach for junk food and chemicals and try to make your pain go away. All your life, you will blame everyone except yourself, because if you ever do take a look at the ridiculous shit you publish on your ridiculous blog, you'll see yourself holding a screaming hot conflagration of bullshit and ignorance like a tattered jack-off rag.
Try and "destroy" me in any sense, literal or figurative, and I'll laugh in your fat little face, dude. And you will know me by the trail of your various body parts that I leave behind me.