By Doug Newman

January 4, 2010

Posted at Bartleby's Blog, The Tree of Liberty, Blue Carp, People's Press Collective, The Libertarian Enterprise,
Daily Paul, Novakeo, Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, Facebook and Freedom4um.

The mainstream media – including Fox News, Limbaugh and the big-time media that calls itself "Christian" – would have you think that the grand battle is between the left and the right.

This is such a lie.

Here are some examples.

GW Bush outspent Clinton by $1 trillion per year and continued every last federal welfare program – and added a few of his own – and left-wingers hated him.

Obama has continued all of Bush’s wars – and added a few more – and right-wingers hate him.

Left-wingers say they support civil liberties, yet look the other way while Obama continues with the Bush surveillance state.

Right-wingers say they support individual freedom, yet have no apparent problem with rogue police and the fact that America has the world’s highest incarceration rate.

Left-wingers want us to panic and give up our freedom out of fear of global warming.

Right-wingers want us to panic and give up our freedom out of fear of terrorism.

Left-wingers say they are tolerant, but want to stifle public expressions of Christianity.

Right-wingers oppose Obamacare because it puts medical decisions in the hands of the government, yet they get their undies in a bunch about the idea of legal medical marijuana.

Left-wingers want to regulate how fast your toilet can flush.

Right-wingers want to ban online poker.

The left has its limousine liberals.

The right has its chicken hawks.

The left has Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy, John Edwards and countless others.

The right has Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and countless others.

No matter which wing gets the upper hand in government, the result is the same: perpetuation of the welfare-warfare-police-nanny state.

As Butler Shaffer once wrote, “Left and Right are only two wings on the same bird of prey.”

The hypocrisy is endless.

In the words of REM, elections anymore are just tournaments of lies.

As I wrote just before the 2008 election:Ultimately, the same people run the show. They set up this false left-right paradigm and get people fighting endlessly over meaningless junk. There is a great line in Macbeth about "a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing." The real problem is not the media, Washington, Hollywood, etc. The real problem is that so many people are so willing to believe what their chosen spinmeisters tell them, no matter how absurd.

The grand battle is between liberty and tyranny. I woke up to this in late 1991.

When will you wake up?

If you would like to post this, please e-mail me and include this URL.

JN in Colorado writes:

I recently read your note about right wing and left wing contradictions and lies. I offer these comments for your consideration and feedback.

I agree. The typical left-right stereotypes and debates are insidious distractions, lies, as you illustrated nicely. You also answered the right implied question, "Distraction from what?" It would have been better to ask this directly. Saying the right-left debate isn't the answer coupled with the answer you gave in the end, "The grand battle is between liberty and tyranny." implies this question to me but it may imply other questions to other readers.

The momentum of your message fell apart with the assertion that "The grand battle is between liberty and tyranny." You managed to see through all the right-left tricks and absurdities but then just repeated a slogan prepared by your enemies. Tyranny is a means, a tactic, while liberty in this context is a vague, un-actionable ideal. Until one understands the difference they remain vulnerable to the lure of comfortable herd behavior despite its obvious futility. The Tyranny-versus-Liberty perspective is the same us-versus-them, good-versus-bad, Christian-versus-Heathen template that the left-right paradigm defines incessantly in our culture. This is a faith-based template. 

For many people faith justifies the use of force to impose the tenets of their faith on others of different faith. The problem with the Tyranny-versus-Liberty version of the template lies in the template, not in your usage of the template. The template demands those using it dismiss their opponent's faith and the logic by which they rationalize that faith. This ensures that much of the interchange between those on the side of "good" and those on the side of "bad" is pointless, one-way jibbing just as is taught in school by convincing one small town that kids in the neighboring town are the enemy. Any objective observer can readily see that both sides believe theirs to be the side of "good." That fundamental misconception is at the heart of the whole contrived right-left stereotype.

A war against tyranny is no more focused or appropriate than a war against terror, or poverty. Wars against tactics are rallying cries for . . . well, nothing specific. It gets some folks all worked up but doesn't inform their behavior.

Rather, the struggle is between two kinds of individuals: those who struggle for "freedom from" things they don't like and those who struggle to defend their "freedom to" exercise a diversity of individual choices. Liberty demands tolerance and is only available through its eternal defense by individuals who act in constructive endeavors.

The notion of a "grand battle" is another bit of manipulation intended to convince the current generation that "freedom from" the struggle lies in this battle's victory. In both religion and politics the "ultimate climax" must be constantly perpetuated as an eventuality to keep new generations willing to suffer. The truth, that the struggle is eternal, doesn't wield sufficient influence over large numbers of voters or faithful followers of any chosen religion.

This right-left paradigm deliberately creates a "fog-of-war" intended to mask two strategies shared by both the left and the right.

1. The political battle is for the centrist voters. The only thing that matters is control of the margins in the central density of voters, this is what drives the traditional left-right stereotypes you exposed. Those at the fringes in any direction can be counted on to do exactly what is expected of them without any manipulation from the herd master.

2. The divide and conquer mechanism eliminates the need for the political power-masters to care a bit what happens at the outer fringes. Even the far-right and the far-left political factions focus their energy on the center of the herd, not on their own kind. Those on the fringes are self-marginalized; the divide and conquer strategy ensures they remain so as wave after wave of new members are adopted after leaving the indoctrination system our youth experience as public schooling. The LP is living proof of this in the real-world. Convincing the masses that their liberty is an ideological debate ensures they remain futile in their behavior.

These two primary strategies are effective at causing masses of people to be unable to grasp that Liberty is the consequence of Action, not talk, not debate, not chanting or mooing in unison with a comfortable herd. Liberty is expressed by performing constructive actions in its defense. Relationships between action and consequence, cause and effect or goal and means, these are the things those who pursue "freedom from" hope to obfuscate. 

When these actions are adopted by supposed defenders of liberty I consider them to be working to aid the forces of oppression by carrying out their ingrained doctrines.

When these relationships are blurry it is easy to entice masses of people to expend their energy doing absolutely useless things...like screaming oneself hoarse at a high school pep rally or a Tea Party. Our society ingrains these useless behaviors into citizens starting when they are very young. By the time they can vote most of them actually think that screaming themselves hoarse in a large crowd is an effective, constructive behavior capable of ensuring they meet their intended goals. What a load of hooey; yet most Americans behave in this manner...reinforced at every opportunity by professional sports, the media and politicians.

The vast majority of folks I've met from the so-called liberty movement, whatever that is, are seekers of "freedom from" the eternal defense of liberty. They are not willing to follow that to the logical conclusion that only overwhelming force can guarantee "freedom from." The only liberty worth defending is the one defined by "Freedom to". Very few individuals know the difference even after nearly continuous exposure to Dr. Ron Paul's archetypical behavior in the constructive promotion and defense of "freedom to."

Finally, putting differences aside, let's assume that last night while you were sleeping everyone who is going to "wake up", woke up. Now what? If you can just get right to the answer of "Now what?" you'll find you can skip the whole "waking up" part. I think it is better to assume everyone is awake and they are wondering "What now?" Mostly what I've seen over the past 3 years is a lot of people reaching the "awake" state then not doing anything constructive once they wake up. I don't know if I'm awake or not but I think I can still take constructive actions even in my sleep.

Freely Speaking: Essays by Doug Newman

Email: dougnewman@juno.com