Posted by PintofStout on April 17, 2007
When the word “left” is mentioned today in relation to politics, it implies the dichotomy with it’s rival the right. The dichotomous nature of the two words will never change, but the connotations have changed and moved closer together, in some respects. Kurt Vonnegut (may he fart around in peace) gave us a similar dichotomy of utility in Cat’s Cradle with Bokononism and the government of San Lorenzo. The religion of Bokononism was illegal but everyone, including the government, were practitioners. The government created the dichotomy to provide tension. The Left/Right dichotomy of today, which I talk about in a post about positive and negative freedom, has turned into a dichotomy of utility in certain respects, especially for the media, pundits, and politicians who benefit from it. There is tension between the two classifications (at least as the sides are portrayed and represented in the mainstream), but no real difference in terms of state nannyism .
Libertarianism (small “l”, not party politics, per se) would have a true home on the left when political rhetoric is stripped away. Jeremy, over at Social Memory Complex, has a nicely written up explanation of why libertarians should feel cozy as the prodigal partisans of the left. When people can think and read further than a headline, the differences in officially propagated dichotomies disappear leaving a infinite range of choices beyond the false choices presented. The difference in these choices is like saying “Cake or death?” and “Death by cake or just death?” The decision is yours.