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Can One Be Informed on Foreign Policy Without Understanding Left and Right?

October 19, 2009
Perhaps to my new debating partner this is just a red flag, nothing more.

Perhaps to my new debating partner this is just a red flag, nothing more.

I’ve been embroiled in a foreign policy discussion with a commenter named Jeremy in the thread on my final Crackpot Conspiracist piece. (This is my second back and forth with Jeremy. The first was on my Ron Paul/Glenn Beck piece here.)

We’ve mainly been talking past one another and now it’s clear why.

In the most recent turn of our dialogue Jeremy has revealed this:

2009 October 19
Jeremy permalink

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// David,

I really don’t understand your leftist comments. How does one become a “leftist”? Is it hardcore support from the Democratic party or something like that? I seriously don’t understand the label. Left and right doesn’t compute for me… it’s all the same below the surface of rhetoric that’s spewed everyday. I guess that’s a whole other discussion… just a side note.

Yes, clearly I believe that our foreign policy as a whole is inherently evil. I would make this argument regardless of what party is / was in office going back several decades, and in some cases almost a century.

Our current discussion of support for the Mujahadeen is an example of why I think our policies are “evil”. I clearly showed that we didn’t need to fund terrorists to hold back the Soviet Union, and in fact the interview that I sourced openly says it was the funding of the terrorists that brought the Soviets into Afghanistan in the first place. We pushed and poked the Soviets from right across their border with terrorists that we funded until there was an invasion, and then the media jumped all over Russia’s actions because they were misinformed about U.S. actions (at least most of the media was). I find supporting terrorists to be evil regardless of whether or not the Soviets were perceived to be a bigger evil of the time, hence an evil policy.

Is there a particular area of our foreign policy, current or past, that you would like to focus on next?

Jeremy wanted to make this observation of his ignorance of the Left as “just a side note,” but as those familiar with my writings and life history would probably guess, I preferred to give it a whole page. This was really the root of our disagreements about foreign policy:

2009 October 19

“The Left” refers to a political movement which really began with the French Revolution and evolved from there over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries on into the 21st century.

http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/guideDesc.asp?catid=144&type=issue

If you don’t understand the Left then I strongly suggest you get acquainted with it because understanding, critiquing, and fighting the Left are some of the main activities of the Freedom Center (and therefore one of the main activities of NewsReal.)

David Horowitz, the Freedom Center’s founder and president, was one of the founders of the New Left in the ’60s. He’s not a leftist anymore obviously (read his memoir Radical Son.) As a result many of us working or writing for the Freedom Center have similar backgrounds to him in that we’re often ex-leftists.

Many of the arguments and ideas you articulate have their origins in leftist thinkers. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re all wrong, bad, or can be automatically dismissed. (To do so would be an ad hominem logical fallacy.) It’s just a fact that’s worth being kept in mind because a failure to grasp the roles the Left and the Right have played over the course of history can make one a bit confused in interpreting historical events.

If you don’t understand Left and Right — and I do — then any discussions we’d have about foreign policy would be like two people talking in different languages.

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22 Comments
  1. October 19, 2009 8:44 pm

    Intentional ignorance is a tactic often used by the left. Liberals believe that if you’re ignorant of facts, terms, or events then you can’t be held responsible for the consequences or results. It’s dysfunctional and very close to Orwellian “doublethink.” When you choose not to know something, you can pretend that your position–no matter how flawed or destructive– is sound and virtuous.

    Being stupid on purpose is no way to go through life.

    • Jeremy permalink
      October 20, 2009 6:40 am

      Hey David,

      Way to tell the whole story David…

      Here is my immediate response:

      “Don’t get me wrong… I understand the difference between left and right. I don’t understand how someone could / should be called a Leftist because of their views on supporting terrorism. If you really break it down that’s all I’ve been talking about here… various instances where we funded the same terror that we now claim to be fighting. That’s not a left or right argument at all, which is why I become confused when you the term “Leftist” towards me.”

      Congratulations David for taking my original comment out of context… typical for this level of news coverage really. Also, thanks for allowing me to get under your skin so much that you decided to write an article about me. I’m flattered, but you should really get upset over the information not the person delivering it. Next time you should attack the data and not the person if you want to look less childish.

      David, I find it amazingly ignorant that you acknowledge that the United States supports terror (“Yes, we were involved with supporting the elements which would one day become al qaeda”), while at the same time you are shaking in your boots over the threats about the destruction of Israel. You can’t support and fight terror at the same time, David. How you can accept this is beyond me.

      So the statement by “Tar and Feathers” is correct, “when you choose not to know something, you can pretend that your position–no matter how flawed or destructive– is sound and virtuous.” David doesn’t seem to care to know about how much terrorism the United States, Israel, and many other “allies” fund so therefore his position of protecting Israel is right on.

      (Go get those Leftist bastards all you Rightist champions of political knowledge!)

      • October 20, 2009 6:52 am

        I posted this before you made your additional comments. I haven’t taken anything out of context and I’ve provided links to the original exchange.

        The fact that you try and backpedal now only makes you look worse. You’ve admitted ignorance. You’ve claimed that you do not understand what it means to be a leftist. And once I confront you on it you say that actually you do understand but you just choose to ignore Left and Right. So you’re being intellectually dishonest.

        It’s a waste of my time to engage with you when you’re going to behave like this.

        • Jeremy permalink
          October 20, 2009 7:46 am

          “It’s a waste of my time to engage with you when you’re going to behave like this.”

          Yet you take the time to write an entire article… hmmm.

          I like your journalism tactic of directly pasting what you want to reader to focus on, and then providing a link to your entire thread (which is full of various comments) if the reader wants to find my response. I think you probably took more time setting up your article this way then you would have just copying and pasting the entire discussion for all to easily read.

          You put the words you want to attack and have others attack right in their face, and then you hide the defense / clarification behind a link. Real honest…

          David, why didn’t you take the time to paste my response in the manner that you pasted your response to my original confusion about your use of the term “Leftist” against me. That would have allowed readers to see the full exchange and also given readers a better view into what I was actually questioning when I expressed confusion about the term “Leftist”. I take it you don’t want readers to understand my position, which is why I am providing further clarification… again.

          You have also failed to show how someone who does not support terrorism is a Leftist, which has been my stance here all along. As of yet, your labels and assumptions are bogus and so is this article based on the way you covered the debate.

          You don’t have to be on the left or right to know that supporting terrorists is wrong.

          What’s the matter with you?

          (Get those Leftist bastards before they allow the destruction of Israel!!!)

          • October 20, 2009 8:01 am

            I wrote this post before you made your response. There’s a link to the thread, I’m not hiding anything.

            I’m not pasting the entire discussion. (It’s really long and people have better things to do with their time than wading through it.) If people want to read the discussion they can but blog posts need to be focused on individual subjects and individual arguments. Given that you’re prone to rambling comments that jump all over the place and include a half dozen arguments it’s not a surprise that you wouldn’t understand this.

            • Jeremy permalink
              October 20, 2009 8:58 am

              I will repeat my past words:

              “You have also failed to show how someone who does not support terrorism is a Leftist, which has been my stance here all along. As of yet, your labels and assumptions are bogus and so is this article based on the way you covered the debate.

              You don’t have to be on the left or right to know that supporting terrorists is wrong.

              What’s the matter with you?”

              David, why does not supporting terrorism make me a Leftist again? You completely turned the course of our debate when your favorite word, “Leftist”, came up. We were talking about Israel and her allies and their support and funding of terrorism until I asked for clarification on why you continue to label me a “Leftist.” You obviously took it as me saying, “Dum deee dum… what does left and right mean…… duhhh…. I don’t get it…..”

              From your (my!) article… “Jeremy wanted to make this observation of his ignorance of the Left as “just a side note,” but as those familiar with my writings and life history would probably guess, I preferred to give it a whole page. This was really the root of our disagreements about foreign policy:”

              It just so happens that you are obsessed with the “left” and “right” so naturally you would think that is the root of the issue. It’s hard to disagree on whether or not supporting terrorism is good, which was the point of our foreign policy debate, but somehow you are still holding out on saying that the U.S. and Israel should not fund terrorists. Astonishing when you continue to argue that Israel could be easily destroyed by terrorists without our aid.

              So, here we are now on my own little special article that takes my original questioning of “Leftist” out of context and I still wonder… what is it that makes me a Leftist according to David Swindle?

              • October 20, 2009 9:15 am

                When did I call you a leftist?

                • Jeremy permalink
                  October 20, 2009 9:52 am

                  Are you f’ing serious!? When did you call me a leftist!? Here are all of your leftist and left references towards me in an attempt to label my positions.

                  It’s quite a nice read actually… maybe you don’t realize how obsessed with the Left you really are.

                  9/22/09 – “You are aware of the fact that your foreign policies views are all but identical to that of the anti-American Left don’t you?”

                  9/22/09 – “Does it make you pause at all, knowing that you find common cause with those who seek to destroy America? Who will you quote next? Noam Chomsky? The Nation?”

                  9/22/09 – “… your views align with the Chomskys of the world. I’m not going to label you as an individual as somehow anti-patriotic of un-American. (Not yet at least.) I don’t know you.” (This one is especially funny is you refer back to your first quote!)

                  9/23/09 – “…Paul’s foreign policies views and those of his supporters line up with the views of people in the political Left who openly denounce America.”

                  10/19/09 – “You mean he’s a war criminal according to leftist foreign policy analysts. I think I know what books you’ve been reading and who’s influenced your foreign policy views…”

                  10/19/09 – (In reference to me saying David assumes my views are “Leftist” based on his own experience as one… I said, “Laying some ground work helps to convey my point, especially when I know the information is probably brand new to the reader.”) “As an ex-leftist the views certainly aren’t new to me since I used to hold variations of them myself. But I imagine they would be new to others.”

                  10/20/09 – “You provide further evidence that Paulastinians such as yourself are possessed of the same religious approach to politics as the Left.”

                  • October 20, 2009 9:59 am

                    Wow. How long did that take you to do? What a waste of your time to find nothing. I haven’t called you a leftist for the simple fact that I know you aren’t one. You’re a Ron Paul True Believer or a Paulastinian. Such people are not leftists but have a great deal in common with leftists. Thus I have not applied the label to you, merely pointed out the similarities in thinking.

                  • October 20, 2009 10:25 am

                    BTW, “It’s quite a nice read actually… maybe you don’t realize how obsessed with the Left you really are.”

                    Given the fact that I’ve chosen to work full time for an organization whose principle activity is fighting the Left I’m quite aware how “obsessed” I am with it.

                    Your key problem here Jeremy is that in unleashing your attacks on me you have sought to criticize before seeking to understand. As such your criticisms (as incoherent and scattershot as they are) are ineffective.

  2. Louie723 permalink
    October 19, 2009 9:53 pm

    The Lew Rockwell types (of which Jeremy appears to be one) prefer to look at the political spectrum as running “vertically” from anarchism (“complete individual liberty”) through total statism (“Facism”), and generally discount any left/right differences as irrelevant. If pressed they will admit that it exists, but that such distinctions serve no purpose in their way of thinking, and so they ignore them.

  3. James permalink
    October 20, 2009 7:25 am

    WOW! I have no comments to describe the way that you have treated Jeremy! How on earth can you pretend to have a website that is supposed to be both informative and give the readers an opportunity to comment on the discussions that are taking place, and continually shoot people down because they believe something different that your “truth”? That sir is the most ignorant part of it all!

    “It’s a waste of my time to engage with you when you’re going to behave like this.”
    Mr. Jeremy has made some very valid points, most of which I have researched and his information is correct. Thank you Jeremy for not being a sheep. Why is your time so important, David Swindler (not a type-o)?

    By the way, your Wikapedia defenition of Leftist was good, but you left out some stuff —– “In politics, left-wing, political left, leftist and the Left are terms used to describe a number of positions and ideologies. They are most commonly used to refer to support for changing traditional social orders or for creating a more egalitarian distribution of wealth and privilege.” Clearly Jeremy’s comments are from a point of view affirming, promoting, or characterized by belief in equal political, economic, social, and civil rights for all people. So as I read that it tells me that he wants equality for all right….. so what’s wrong with that. Do you like people telling you what to do David? For the people, by the people!!!!

    • October 20, 2009 7:32 am

      When people make fun of someone’s name (whether it be mine or anyone else’s unusual last name) upon first encountering someone for the first time then they demonstrate that they are horrible human beings unworthy of being engaged in intellectual discourse.

      They show that they never matured beyond third grade:

      http://newsrealblog.com/2009/09/13/newsreal-sunday-bill-maher-reveals-himself-to-be-a-horrible-human-being-with-an-empty-soul/

      Further, if you’re going to comment at NewsReal then I encourage you to read the commenting guidelines which I wrote:
      http://newsrealblog.com/commenting-guidelines/

      I’ll let your ad hominems in your first comment slide but I might not be so charitable with future comments that violate our guidelines.

      (Yes, that’s why my time is limited – because I’m this site’s managing editor.)

      • Jeremy permalink
        October 20, 2009 7:58 am

        James,

        David doesn’t like harmless cheap shots taken at him. Only he can label people as crackpots, antisemitic, etc.

        It’s all business here when it comes to taking down those Leftist bastards… no time for jokes or humor. One should not take a joke when locked in battle with the slimy Leftist goons.

        If one does joke you must threaten their freedom of speech and ban them from this almighty Rightist blog of virtue and political genius.

        • October 20, 2009 8:09 am

          I don’t have to tolerate cheap shots at me at my own blog. Disagreeing with my ideas is fine, making fun of my last name is not. Commenting at NewsReal is a privilege, not a right.

  4. James permalink
    October 20, 2009 9:04 am

    David,
    Feel free to poke fun at me I am grown up enough to take it. And if you must kick me off your blog, well so be it! By the way, ARE YOU SREIOUS. So I altered your last name. How does that even begin to label me as a “horrible human being unworthy of being engaged in intellectual discourse.” This horrible human being fought for your country, this horrible human being actually excercises his right to vote, this horrible human being is a teacher and currently works tirelessly to ensure we have some honest forthright individuals growing up to be productive members of this country. Commenting here is a right, to make it a priveledge you would have to have a membership then you could enforce your homegrown guidelines. Have a wonderful life!!! Enjoy the NWO!

    • October 20, 2009 9:13 am

      Read the link I provided. I’ve addressed this subject:
      http://newsrealblog.com/2009/09/13/newsreal-sunday-bill-maher-reveals-himself-to-be-a-horrible-human-being-with-an-empty-soul/

      The great thing about my last name is that when I meet someone for the first time and they choose to crack a joke about it then it’s an IMMEDIATE reflection of character.

      Commenting here is not a right. I run the blog and I enforce the rules. Your comments show up because I allow them to show up. If you’re not going to abide by the commenting guidelines that have been written then I don’t have to let you continue to poison the community.

  5. James permalink
    October 20, 2009 9:47 am

    “As my Dad drove me back to school he explained to me one of those lessons that has stuck with me ever since: “As soon as someone makes fun of the last name it immediately identifies them as a jerk.”

    Ok read it. Ummmm………. speechless! I respect that as a life lesson between you and you father and will never poke fun at people’s relationships with parents or family, that is wrong. However I will point out that it is opinion!

  6. Judy permalink
    October 20, 2009 3:16 pm

    David,
    Good grief!!! Just reading the tripe from Jeremy and James has given me a pounding headache. What is even more frightening is that James claims to be a teacher and teaches those to be “honest forthright individuals”. It is true that first impressions are lasting. A lesson not learned by Jeremy and James. Hopefully the children in James’ classes are intellegent enough to see past his failings and stick to using the library.

    • October 20, 2009 3:25 pm

      Thanks for your support Judy.

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