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Odds and Ends
21 4, 12:01am
The whole right/left thing is confusing even to us, and besides that, it works differently in the U.S. than in most of the world. Elsewhere, the "right" supports a monarchy or authoritarian central government which makes the important decisions, and the "left" supports a system where the people make the decisions through elections and referendums, with more local political control . Since our whole system is "left" by those standards, we divide up over other issues. In the U.S., the Right is generally in favor of a strong business and economic system with minimum government control, letting people free to make as much money as they can and build up their personal wealth, paying as few taxes as possible; and poor people should be helped out by private charities funded out of the pockets of wealthy people. The Left is more focused on equality and opportunity for everyone, focusing especially on certain minority groups which have historically been ignored and left out; and that poor people should be helped through government programs funded by taxes, with the wealthiest people paying the highest taxes. Both sides say that they're working for maximum freedom for all citizens, but it boils down to both of them working to give citizens the freedom to do things
way and no other.
It's much more complicated that that, of course, and every issue and opinion gets sorted these days into "conservative" and "liberal" boxes. Truth be told, the Right is no more interested in "conserving" things than the Left is interested in "liberating" anything, but we're stuck with those words. In the Eighties, most liberal Republicans joined the Democrats, and conservative Democrats joined the Republicans, so there's not much middle ground for compromise any more. And with Trump taking over a large part of the Republican Party and turning it into some kind of radical fringe group that even Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon wouldn't recognize; and with the "progressives" taking over much of the Democratic Party with the idea of "progressing" to a European-style social-democracy; the name-calling just gets worse. If you criticize Trump, you must be some kind of lefty or commie, and if you have doubts about the Progressive agenda, you might as well be working for Hitler.
As for weird things: I'm a true skeptic, in the sense of not taking anything at face value, and insisting that claims should be backed up by good arguments and evidence. The further out the claim is from what is already accepted reality, the stronger the evidence should be for it. As a writer and an artist, of course, everything is food for thought, no matter now far out it might be, but it's a good idea not to believe everything you think.