New Paradigm: The Center vs The Extremists

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I may be on a completely wrong footing, but I'm starting to think the new political atmosphere has stopped being about the left vs right for a time now, and more the centrists vs the extremists.

With political extremism at such a high point, and many who want to tear down the status quo, without caring what that means, or what happens.

Is that assessment correct for wherever you are?

Centrism isn't a thing anymore. It was bought by the economic establishment, dismantled and sold as parts.

I can't think of any politician or political movement I would describe as "centre" without it being a part of a longer descriptive. And as it stands the same is true about that part of the spectrum as it has always been: there's overlap between the centre left and centre right, but but tend to gravitate towards their wings.

If anything I'd say the new paradigm is either one of authoritarianism vs libertarianism, globalism vs nationalism, corporatism vs personalism (not a word but I can't think of one that works for it at 3am), or centralised authority vs decentralised authority.

Funny enough, all of them can also be boiled down to rich vs poor class warfare, though most socialists don't want you do frame it that way because it makes them look anti-poor.

Change vs Status Quo, you mean? Which is a flawed analogy, because after a couple of terms in power you become the status quo. Look at the Democrats under Obama.

The fact that both wings demanding change are on the rise indicates that something needs changing. It's also possibly to do with the narrative that has been pushed in recent years which delegitimises opponents on the wings by declaring them raving nazi's / borderline communists, which results in only the more extreme groups breaking through because they don't give a shit.

It's not the centre vs extremists. It's about the extremists driving the centrists further left and right in response to them, and the ones that aren't changing or playing along being lumped in with whoever one is disagreeing with by said extremists.

Also what Zontar said.

People think "extremism" is automatically bad. Ending slavery was rather extreme though. Founding a new government after rebelling against an oppressive, essentially foreign one is extreme.

And as I said in the "Opinion on Centrism" topic, few people really are centrists. Many say they are to arrogantly sound superior to the "crazed volatile extremists" while really just being pawns of a different set of extremists.

I think the political centre is an entirely fictional construct. So's the left and the right of course, to a degree, but as contextual and vague as their meaning is, these terms still have a purpose. You could say it's more like the establishment against the extremists but even that isn't true entirely. I think both the left and the right have their grievances with the establishment, mostly that both of them think it's enabling the other. And both of them are correct, in a way, in that our current understanding protects both the far left and the far right. And whatever weird fringe believes don't quite fit into either of these descriptions. I think that led to a very fragile power balance and is breaking down now. Mostly because the far right has invaded and subverted the establishment and is in many countries preparing to take it over or has already done so. Which leads to a funny situation where self-proclaimed leftists and "liberals" suddenly start to have sympathy with with "moderate" conservatives despite them being what has enabled the far right in the first place.

Of course there's a certrain irony that neofascists hate the moderate right almost more than they hate the left. You find more rightists calling for Merkels head here in Germany than for that of left wing politician. Which would be cathartic, in a way, to see neocons be destroyed by the monster they created if that monster wasn't running amok and threatening to dismantle western civlization.

But I digress. See, centrism doesn't really exist because the centre is constantly shifting depending on the situation. What it boils down to now is, really, a conflict between the advantaged against the disadvantaged, the rich against the poor, the majority against the minority, the selfish against the selfless, the chosen against the preterite as Thomas Pynchon sez.

The problem is that when you start defining "extremist" purely in terms of the political margins, it becomes apparent that almost all "extremists" believe they are centrists, and that the centre is not actually.. well.. central.

Also, I'm going to propose an alternative. The political atmosphere today is what it is because there are no ideological conflicts any more. We had a cold war between two competing ideologies, liberal capitalism won and now we're all stuck here trying to figure out what that means.

You can talk about "authoritarianism" versus "libetarianism" but regardless of how you draw the lines both sides will ultimately base their arguments in terms of freedom (freedom of speech versus the freedom from persecution, freedom of religion versus freedom of sexual expression). There is no such thing as authoritarianism as an ideological alternative to liberalism. There is only liberalism.

You can talk about "globalism" versus "nationalism", but it's a false dichotomy. Nationalism won in January 1919, when it became apparent that the world revolution and the abolition of nation states was not going to happen. What we call "globalism" today is global capitalism, which has existed for a very long time in tandem with nationalism (except we used to call it "colonialism").

Francis Fukuyama's claim that we are living in the end of history seems incredibly naive in retrospect, but in a sense it is also correct. Those of us who live in the wealthier part of the world are facing something unprecedented, the absolute victory of a single governing ideology with no serious rivals. Even fascists today use liberal appeals to freedom and affirm their respect for the primacy of the individual even as it goes against everything they supposedly believe.

The dark side, however, is that political conflicts haven't ended, they've simply become divorced from the ideological foundations. The world is a confusing place where "freedom" can mean many different things because there's no longer any meaningful "unfreedom" against which to define itself. Different sides of the political conflict tell each other ghost stories about dead ideologies (communism, fascism) or inflate ultimately insignificant trends into global threats which they can imagine themselves fighting (islamism) but ultimately, at the end, we are all disgustingly the same. We think the same, we value the same things, and yet we still can't get along..

..and that state of being inherently similar enough that we can coexist and yet just different enough that we can't like it is something which human history hasn't prepared us for.

evilthecat:
..and that state of being inherently similar enough that we can coexist and yet just different enough that we can't like it is something which human history hasn't prepared us for.

Yes. And also, the rich people are trying to destroy the Earth and make everyone else serfs (possibly not in that order). At least, that's what's going on in my country.

Weber's value rationality-- such as it ever was-- has been replaced by nakedly self-interested instrumental rationality with obscurantist justifications (just listen to any argument in favor of austerity measures and you should understand what I mean).

The true centre I guess would be sitting down in a corner in complete silence, slowly curling into a foetal position while sucking your thumb. A Schrodinger's political compass. Safe for business though.

I think if we looked at all the politics there has ever been. Compared them all, arranged them left-right-up-down and whatever ways, we'd eventually find some centre. But, in the modern sense, it's seems that there's too many Yes or No questions at this point for there to be all that much of a centre.

I guess "I have no opinions on anything, please leave me alone" would technically be truly centre.

Even self-proclaimed centrists like Macron are extreme in some regards. Macron is very Pro-Europe, which, some would argue is the current defining political argument of this era in Europe.

Some further, would argue that Europe itself represents Pro-globalism, and therefore, to be Pro-Europe is to be Globalist and Anti-nationalist. (Though, it's worth noting, we're talking Nationalism in the sense of wanting to retain independent nation-states, as opposed to the make-up of these states.)

People would argue that Globalism vs Nationalism is the current big issue that humanity is facing. And therefore to be very Pro-European is to take an extremist stance on what may be the biggest issue that our generation will decide.

So, yeah, I'd say that Centrism doesn't really exist in much actual form these days as there's a lot of issues where one simply has to take a side, and there's not really a centre ground.

Zontar:

If anything I'd say the new paradigm is either one of authoritarianism vs libertarianism, globalism vs nationalism, corporatism vs personalism (not a word but I can't think of one that works for it at 3am), or centralised authority vs decentralised authority.

I doubt this. When you talk to an average US voter, they don't really care about big-picture issues like globalization or philosophical authoritarianism/libertarianism. Your typical Trump voter isn't some new-wave libertarian rebel or (to hear it from the other side) a Nazi sympathizer, they're interested in the same "God, guns, gays" issues that the rank-and-file Republicans have always been concerned with, and the converse is true of the average Democratic voter.

The only real paradigm shift is that the fringes of politics have become slightly more visible.

OP is in the ballpark and I'll clarify.

Political spectrums are imaginary which means an extreme end of the spectrum for one person is a perfect center for another.

By old United States standards Democrats and Republicans are fairly different. By newer United States standards Democrats and Republicans are vastly different. By modern United States standards we now have Social Democrats and National Republicans in the mainstream which is tremendously different.

However, you have to ask yourself a key question:

Are these two new mainstream political views of Social Democracy and National Republicanism both extreme, or are they both just extremely different?

I view Social Democracy as a dead center on a political spectrum and National Republicanism as far alt-right. Others strongly disagree. It is highly opinionated where a political philosophy can lie on a political spectrum given both the spectrum and political philosophy are completely imaginary. Not to mention, whether it is good or bad to be left or right of the dead center is also completely opinionated especially since the dead center in itself can be bullshat to favor any political leaning.

Frission:
I may be on a completely wrong footing, but I'm starting to think the new political atmosphere has stopped being about the left vs right for a time now, and more the centrists vs the extremists.

With political extremism at such a high point, and many who want to tear down the status quo, without caring what that means, or what happens.

Is that assessment correct for wherever you are?

I think people are moving goalposts to distort matters that are clear. It's still left and right.

Epyc Wynn:

I view Social Democracy as a dead center on a political spectrum and National Republicanism as far alt-right. Others strongly disagree.

That's probably because with that spectrum there is no far-left, once you get to full on Stalinist and Maoism with no where left to go you're still only in the moderate left range. I also don't think fascism and Nazism could even fit on that given how far-far-far right they'd be on it.

renegade7:

Zontar:

If anything I'd say the new paradigm is either one of authoritarianism vs libertarianism, globalism vs nationalism, corporatism vs personalism (not a word but I can't think of one that works for it at 3am), or centralised authority vs decentralised authority.

I doubt this. When you talk to an average US voter, they don't really care about big-picture issues like globalization or philosophical authoritarianism/libertarianism. Your typical Trump voter isn't some new-wave libertarian rebel or (to hear it from the other side) a Nazi sympathizer, they're interested in the same "God, guns, gays" issues that the rank-and-file Republicans have always been concerned with, and the converse is true of the average Democratic voter.

The only real paradigm shift is that the fringes of politics have become slightly more visible.

I don't think it's all down to "guns, god and gays" given the GOP just elected the first president who was pro-gay before taking office (inb4 "but he chose Pence as his VP, and we all know he has to agree with them 100% or else it doesn't count" nonsense) and Trump isn't exactly the most religious man in the world.

I honestly think it's right down to exactly what the people behind it have been saying: Trump got support for taking stances on issues that are major ones that other politicians either pretend don't exist or call you every name in the book for even acknowledging. That put him leaps and bounds ahead with the people who are effected by these issues, and so they voted for him.

No need for the type of conspiracies I've been seeing that racism or fascism or some other "ism" that doesn't mean what people seem to think it means is secretly at work.

Zontar:

I don't think it's all down to "guns, god and gays" given the GOP just elected the first president who was pro-gay before taking office (inb4 "but he chose Pence as his VP, and we all know he has to agree with them 100% or else it doesn't count" nonsense) and Trump isn't exactly the most religious man in the world.

He has done nothing to help the LGBT community and has actively taken away protections that were put up for their benefit. He passed a "religious freedom" order that people are concerned will be abused to discriminate against the LGBT community. Every single LGBT person I know hates his guts. This man is not pro-LGBT. You need to do more than hold up a fucking flag when you're the president of the goddamn United States.

And just a question Zontar. Are you LGBT?

Naaah...

Left v. Right remains the main axis on which political clashes take place.
Authoritarian v. Libertarian remains the second main defining axis.
Insularism v. Globalism is taking more and more space in the public consciousness though.

"Center" is the most vague and subjective term possible, it doesn't make up this whole new paradigm as OP suggested, it stands for nothing but the status quo.

erttheking:

Zontar:

I don't think it's all down to "guns, god and gays" given the GOP just elected the first president who was pro-gay before taking office (inb4 "but he chose Pence as his VP, and we all know he has to agree with them 100% or else it doesn't count" nonsense) and Trump isn't exactly the most religious man in the world.

He has done nothing to help the LGBT community and has actively taken away protections that were put up for his benefit. He passed a "religious freedom" order that people are concerned will be abused to discriminate against the LGBT community. Every single LGBT person I know hates his guts. This man is not pro-LGBT. You need to do more than hold up a fucking flag when you're the president of the goddamn United States.

And just a question Zontar. Are you LGBT?

I did let out a laugh when the one defense against the 'guns, god and gays' was nothing more than the faintest attempt to paint trump as 'pro-gay' based on...what? One thing he said? When so many that voted him admitted to knowing he's lying by out his ass all the time, yet somehow it's ok this time? He's only lying or joking when it's convenient to lazily deflect criticism. There is no defense anymore! There really wasn't in the first case, but for crying out loud, people are seriously fucking worrying. Why is there no critical thinking being utilised? What the hell is in the water??

Xsjadoblayde:

erttheking:

Zontar:

I don't think it's all down to "guns, god and gays" given the GOP just elected the first president who was pro-gay before taking office (inb4 "but he chose Pence as his VP, and we all know he has to agree with them 100% or else it doesn't count" nonsense) and Trump isn't exactly the most religious man in the world.

He has done nothing to help the LGBT community and has actively taken away protections that were put up for his benefit. He passed a "religious freedom" order that people are concerned will be abused to discriminate against the LGBT community. Every single LGBT person I know hates his guts. This man is not pro-LGBT. You need to do more than hold up a fucking flag when you're the president of the goddamn United States.

And just a question Zontar. Are you LGBT?

I did let out a laugh when the one defense against the 'guns, god and gays' was nothing more than the faintest attempt to paint trump as 'pro-gay' based on...what? One thing he said? When so many that voted him admitted to knowing he's lying by out his ass all the time, yet somehow it's ok this time? He's only lying or joking when it's convenient to lazily deflect criticism. There is no defense anymore! There really wasn't in the first case, but for crying out loud, people are seriously fucking worrying. Why is there no critical thinking being utilised? What the hell is in the water??

This is what happens when standards are extremely low.

"Donald Trump lies constantly and says horrible things but also occasionally says agreeable things, vote for him!"
"Hillary Clinton wasn't convicted of a crime, vote for her!"

When standards have fallen this far, people will grasp at anything to defend their chosen candidate, whether that's Trump or Clinton.

Xsjadoblayde:

erttheking:

Zontar:

I don't think it's all down to "guns, god and gays" given the GOP just elected the first president who was pro-gay before taking office (inb4 "but he chose Pence as his VP, and we all know he has to agree with them 100% or else it doesn't count" nonsense) and Trump isn't exactly the most religious man in the world.

He has done nothing to help the LGBT community and has actively taken away protections that were put up for his benefit. He passed a "religious freedom" order that people are concerned will be abused to discriminate against the LGBT community. Every single LGBT person I know hates his guts. This man is not pro-LGBT. You need to do more than hold up a fucking flag when you're the president of the goddamn United States.

And just a question Zontar. Are you LGBT?

I did let out a laugh when the one defense against the 'guns, god and gays' was nothing more than the faintest attempt to paint trump as 'pro-gay' based on...what? One thing he said? When so many that voted him admitted to knowing he's lying by out his ass all the time, yet somehow it's ok this time? He's only lying or joking when it's convenient to lazily deflect criticism. There is no defense anymore! There really wasn't in the first case, but for crying out loud, people are seriously fucking worrying. Why is there no critical thinking being utilised? What the hell is in the water??

Any possible excuse to suggest Trump is not anti-LGBT was thrown way out the window when he chose Pence as his VP.

I dont think Trump cares if LGBT people have rights or not...but see, HE DOESNT CARE, which means he is fine with throwing us to the right-wing wolves if it means some added support.

erttheking:

And just a question Zontar. Are you LGBT?

Not personally. Have 3 close family members that are though, one of whom is American.

And yes, he voted Trump. Though then again the gay right shift isn't exactly an isolated phenomenon, even if a right wing gay is more common in Europe due to existential concerns.

Why, you doing to pretend Trump hates the LGBT community and that because he chose Pence as his VP that makes him hate gays in defiance of the fact it's the equivalent of someone picking someone who doesn't like atheists taking office in that it makes no difference because how how completely and utterly his hands are tied on that one specific issue?

Zontar:

erttheking:

And just a question Zontar. Are you LGBT?

Not personally. Have 3 close family members that are though, one of whom is American.

And yes, he voted Trump. Though then again the gay right shift isn't exactly an isolated phenomenon, even if a right wing gay is more common in Europe due to existential concerns.

Why, you doing to pretend Trump hates the LGBT community and that because he chose Pence as his VP that makes him hate gays in defiance of the fact it's the equivalent of someone picking someone who doesn't like atheists taking office in that it makes no difference because how how completely and utterly his hands are tied on that one specific issue?

Why do you pretend he gives a damn about them? I mean, have you been paying attention to anything he does? It must be easy to be hopeful and not think that things will be that bad because you don't have to actually live with the consequences of his actions, but for someone like me, I don't have the time to be idealistic with this cunt. And why are you baseless assuming that it's just because of Pence? Nice strawman argument there. Trump has killed federal LGBT protection acts. He does not give a FUCK about the LGBT community. And if you'd like to prove me wrong, I'd like some evidence. Evidence about things he has done AS PRESIDENT because so far I haven't seen him do one single fucking pro-LGBT thing when he was in office (holding up a flag doesn't count, I mean something that had an actual impact)

erttheking:

Why do you pretend he gives a damn about them?

Why do Democrats pretend to give a damn about minorities?

Zontar:

erttheking:

Why do you pretend he gives a damn about them?

Why do Democrats pretend to give a damn about minorities?

Because they're not the ones that are actively suppressing their right to vote. So is that deflection an admittance that Trump doesn't give a crap about the LGBT community? Because that's what it looks like.

erttheking:

Zontar:

erttheking:

Why do you pretend he gives a damn about them?

Why do Democrats pretend to give a damn about minorities?

Because they're not the ones that are actively suppressing their right to vote. So is that deflection an admittance that Trump doesn't give a crap about the LGBT community? Because that's what it looks like.

No, it's my being upset about your insinuation, where in 10 words you made managed to give me incentive to never respond to you ever again, and I think I'll do just that.

Zontar:

erttheking:

Zontar:

Why do Democrats pretend to give a damn about minorities?

Because they're not the ones that are actively suppressing their right to vote. So is that deflection an admittance that Trump doesn't give a crap about the LGBT community? Because that's what it looks like.

No, it's my being upset about your insinuation, where in 10 words you made managed to give me incentive to never respond to you ever again, and I think I'll do just that.

Yeah, I'll take that as an admittance that you know Trump doesn't give a crap about the LGBT community. All you need to do is pay attention to all the legislation he's been passing to figure that one out.

And what insinuation, may I ask?

And oh no please...come back...our conversations were so stimulating and informative or something...

Trump cares so much about the LGBT community, he made sure that discriminating against them is now much easier!

With friends like that....

Zontar:

erttheking:

Zontar:

Why do Democrats pretend to give a damn about minorities?

Because they're not the ones that are actively suppressing their right to vote. So is that deflection an admittance that Trump doesn't give a crap about the LGBT community? Because that's what it looks like.

No, it's my being upset about your insinuation, where in 10 words you made managed to give me incentive to never respond to you ever again, and I think I'll do just that.

Making highly insensitive comments, and then getting (allegedly) offended at other people. That's definitely a penalty somewhere. Zontar, when you are an apologist for people who do bad things, you are not allowed to get miffed when called out for it. Gets worse when you attack people who aren't doing nearly as bad, but you still decide to call them just as bad. It just looks bad, all around. You aren't making a point to us. You're dropping your pants at us. Not cool.

Zontar:

erttheking:

Why do you pretend he gives a damn about them?

Why do Democrats pretend to give a damn about minorities?

Trump. Wall. Trump. Wall. Trump. Wall.

Seriously.

FalloutJack:

Zontar:

erttheking:

Because they're not the ones that are actively suppressing their right to vote. So is that deflection an admittance that Trump doesn't give a crap about the LGBT community? Because that's what it looks like.

No, it's my being upset about your insinuation, where in 10 words you made managed to give me incentive to never respond to you ever again, and I think I'll do just that.

Making highly insensitive comments, and then getting (allegedly) offended at other people. That's definitely a penalty somewhere. Zontar, when you are an apologist for people who do bad things, you are not allowed to get miffed when called out for it. Gets worse when you attack people who aren't doing nearly as bad, but you still decide to call them just as bad. It just looks bad, all around. You aren't making a point to us. You're dropping your pants at us. Not cool.

Jack, you don't pretend someone is something their not, something that is revolting, and then expect anything resembling an proper debate as the response.

Tell me, what was "highly insensitive" about asking why Democrats pretend to care about minorities (a statement one can actually defend given how the Democratic Party views Hispanics in its own documentation, as well as the fact local level policies have been even more disastrous for minorities then the supposedly inherently racist ones of the GOP) in response to someone condescendingly asking me why I pretend to care about members of my own fucking family, because he can't comprehend the fact that I don't, in fact, hate most of my family, and due to the prevalence of identity politics on the left he likely thinks they all agree with him (spoiler: all three of them are right leaning, the two up here voted Tory and the American one votes GOP consistently, and his own husband went to a Trump rally with a MAGA hat).

Zontar:
Snip

Oh, I dunno, Zontar. I think defending people who actively shit on everything and then taking said shit and throwing it at people not responsible, pointing fingers at them and not the shitters in question is offensive enough. Seriously, if you're shoveling manure by choice, quit complaining about the smell.

FalloutJack:

Zontar:
Snip

Oh, I dunno, Zontar. I think defending people who actively shit on everything and then taking said shit and throwing it at people not responsible, pointing fingers at them and not the shitters in question is offensive enough. Seriously, if you're shoveling manure by choice, quit complaining about the smell.

I'm going to be blunt, I have no idea what you're talking about. If you're talking about ert, I didn't fling any shit at him until he insinuated that I hated three members of my family for no other reason other then the fact we don't agree on politics. As someone who doesn't come for a stereotypical Hollywood movie's broken family, I take exception to that. The only one in my extended family I dislike is 1 of my (7) aunts.

What THATS what you thought I said? I was expressing unsurprise that you weren't LGBT. I'm incapable of giving a fuck about your family. I just remembered that you acted like my Jewish best friend didn't exist and I felt no reason to acknowledge you having LGBT relatives. Because why should I after that?

Zontar:
Snip.

Zontar:
a statement one can actually defend given how the Democratic Party views Hispanics in its own documentation

Citation needed.

as well as the fact local level policies have been even more disastrous for minorities then the supposedly inherently racist ones of the GOP

Citation needed.

and his own husband went to a Trump rally with a MAGA hat).

And in doing so, he's shot himself in the foot by supporting a member of a party that made it part of their party platform to oppose LGBT rights. Even the fucking Log Cabin Republicans (the US' largest organization representing LGBT conservatives) called the GOP's 2016 platform the most anti-gay in the party's history.

You have no footing to stand on, Zontar, you never have.

As made clear this election, people are quite capable of voting against their own self-interest.

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