Menckens Ghost

More About: Philosophy: Political

No Left Wings at WSJ, Barnard, and Buffalo Wild Wings

About ten years ago, I counted the use of the adjectives "right-wing" and "left-wing" in the media and academia and found that the former adjective was used ten times more than the latter.

Nothing has changed in the intervening years.  "Right-wing" is still used as a pejorative much more than "left-wing."  It's akin to going to Buffalo Wild Wings and finding that the restaurant chain serves only right wings, because the chickens it uses don't have left wings.

Another analogy would be going to the airport to catch a flight and finding that the airplane is missing a left wing.  Would you board such a plane?  Of course not, but you no doubt read and watch news and political commentary where a left wing is curiously missing, a sure sign that the coverage is not balanced.

Even the Wall Street Journal, which has published seven commentaries of mine, thus showing its poor judgment, is missing a left wing sometimes.  Take a commentary written by a professor that ran in the September 8 – 9, 2018, edition, with the title, "A Populist Surprise in Sweden."  The subheading read, "As a right-wing [emphasis added] insurgency upends the country's politics, traditional parties face a challenge shared by other Western democracies:  offering a new vision of national identity."

The commentary was 27 column-inches long.  Unsurprisingly, "left-wing" wasn't used once, even though one of the so-called traditional parties in Sweden used to be known as the Communist Party of Sweden, a point that wasn't mentioned in the commentary.  It's hard to get any more left than communism, but in media and academia thinking, even that political extreme doesn't warrant using the pejorative "left-wing."

The author of the commentary is a learned professor of political science at Barnard College, which has a reputation of being far left of center—so far left that a student would probably risk expulsion for microaggression if she referred to a fellow student as left-wing.  That's because, in the minds of leftists, it's impossible for leftism to have an extreme wing.

In the spirit of openness, let me confess where I'm on the traditional left-right scale.  I'm not on it. 

Like a lot of overlooked Americans, I'm on a different scale than the traditional scale, because the traditional scale is a de facto binary choice between too much government power on the left or too much on the right.   There is no place on the scale for someone who believes that the limited purpose of the national government is the protection of life, liberty and property. 

  

Those on the left side of the scale believe in the use of force for redistribution and collectivism; those on the right, for militarism and nationalism.  Taken to the extreme, communism resides on the far left; fascism, on the far right.  Both extremes have been responsible for killing over 100 million people in the 20th century alone.  But the unbalanced use of "right-wing" implies that only the right has blood on its hands.

  

Even libertarian publications use "right-wing" more than "left-wing," although the left is not bashful about accusing libertarians of being right-wing, which is completely ludicrous, given that libertarians abhor excess government power.  Libertarians are shooting themselves in the foot by using the enemy's pejorative.  How stupid is that?

There's a better scale to use in determining someone's politics.  A 12-inch plastic ruler will do.

The larger the number on the ruler, the more that someone favors the use of government force for more than the protection of life, liberty and property.  Zero, then, would represent someone who wants no government force; that is, someone who is an anarchist.  Twelve would represent someone who wants an authoritarian government, whether communist, fascist, or some combination.

Numbers in between would represent varying degrees of support for the use of government force.  For example, a three would represent libertarians, a six would represent the constitutional republic established by the founders (as written, not necessarily as practiced), and an eight would represent the Democrat and Republican parties, which deserve this relatively high rating because of their support for a powerful extra-constitutional government and for non-defensive wars.  Regarding the last, there is no greater abuse of government power than to send people to their deaths.

In terms of specific individuals, a nine would be given to Bernie Sanders for his socialism; another nine would be given to Dick Cheney for his wars; and a seven would be given to Donald Trump, whose tariffs, bizarre behavior, and seemingly autocratic tendencies are more than offset by the fact that he hasn't gotten us embroiled in another foolish war—at least so far. (I didn't vote for Trump or Clinton.)

Numbers also could be assigned to media and academia.  Fox, CNN, and the other three-letter networks deserve an eight for their statism, but for different ends.  Colleges deserve a nine, especially humanities departments and schools of education and journalism, because, in spite of their rhetoric about civil liberties, they really don't believe in the equal application of the Bill of Rights for all people, as evidenced by speech codes on campus and different admission standards for different people.

Of course, media, academia and the two political parties will never embrace my scale, as it might reveal how close they are to a twelve and how similar they are in the abuse of government power.

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