‘Far left’

In this morning’s LA Times, in an article about the impeachment vote that wasn’t, the sponsor of the resolution, Dennis Kucinich, is referred to as “a far-left Ohio Democrat running for president.” Well, it was good of them to acknowledge his scarcely visible presidential campaign, but just what does “far left” mean here?

Does Kucinich advocate the nationalization of the means of production? Is he promoting the establishment of workers’ collectives? The creation of a national planning board? Last time I checked, no.

0 thoughts on “‘Far left’

  1. Oh, that’s nothing–I once heard someone on C-SPAN refer to Howard Dean as “hard left.” I just about choked.

    Gave me another reason to be glad to get back to Canada after that trip, though…

  2. The notion that people who oppose a policy of war of aggression are “hard” or “far” left is patently ridiculous.

    The hard or far left has long been quite willing to carry out and support wars of aggression. All in the name of the proletarian revolution, of course.

    Opposing a policy of war of aggression is an absolute requirement of serious libertarianism–war being the greatest threat to individual liberty, not only at the locus of the battles themselves, but at home in the country prosecuting the war.

    Of course, that is why the likes of Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Gravel all oppose this war and the policy consensus that led to it. They are all libertarians, whatever their position on the left-right dimension may be (and Paul is indeed hard right, whereas there is nothing “hard left” about Kucinich and Gravel, even if they are certainly well to the left end of the truncated US political “mainstream”–something we can’t even say about Dean, at any point in his political career).

  3. The phrases “hard right”, “far right”, and other such phrases implying extremism are applied liberally to Canada’s Conservative party, which is scarcely more right wing than the US Democrats, if at all. The terms “left” and “right” are convenient but mostly meaningless. Adding adjectives like “hard” and “far” to them is yet more meaningless in common usage, and is used mostly to scare people in the absence of rational arguments.

    I nearly fell off the sidewalk when one of my friends described Canada’s three main federal parties as centre (NDP), right (Liberal), and hard right (Conservative).

  4. It would make more sense to have a four-way matrix, with two axes:

    (a) communitarian vs individualist, and

    (b) redistributive-equalising vs desert-based accumulation (ie, how far should a person be “locked in” by their own past actions and, indeed, by the results they inherited from their ancestors’ actions?).

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