For as long as I’ve been writing about these topics, I have described the two political groups in the United States as “left-wingers” and “right-wingers.” I did this for several reasons, one being the term “liberal” has a very different meaning in Europe than it does in the USA. Another was that many on the right have disowned or moved away from the term “conservative.”
I thought the terms “left-winger” and “right-winger” were clearer and more encompassing. And they were, to a degree, when I started using them around 15 years ago.
But since then things in America have changed. Radically.
Most people think that the political landscape in America looks something like this:
In other words, about half the country is left, half is right, and there’s a very small percentage of those weirdo libertarians like me. Some may argue about the specific percentages of right vs. left; perhaps it’s 55%/43% or whatever, but the general shape of that above chart is what most people think America is today.
But it isn’t. It isn’t even close.
This breakdown was accurate several decades ago. However, over that time, the right wing in America went through several changes…
- Republicans started to slowly and secretly embrace big government starting with Nixon and then with Reagan.
- Many of those who self-identified as conservatives began openly supporting big government under George W. Bush, creating a new category: the neoconservative.
- Conservatives lost the culture war under Obama and were finally defeated by the insane left. A few years after this, American right-wingers lost their minds, becoming just as insane as the left.
- Under Trump, “Conservatives” shifted to the left. The majority of Trump supporters and self-identified Republicans now openly support left-wing policies. I showed the data here.
Here’s what most modern-day right-wingers don’t understand. If you dislike feminism, political correctness, and Hillary Clinton, but think the welfare state is a pretty good idea, and “free” government health care is a pretty good idea, and universal basic income is a pretty good idea, and free college is a pretty good idea, and guys like Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang have some pretty good ideas, then guess what? You’re a left-winger. You’re not a right-winger at all. You’re a left-winger who doesn’t like feminists, but you’re just as socialist as a standard Democrat.
What I just described is the vast majority of today’s Americans who self-identify as conservative, Republican, or Trump supporters.
Therefore, the right-wing in America isn’t just smaller, it actually doesn’t exist anymore. What passes for “the right” in America today is a guy who loves big government, agrees with the welfare state for the most part, thinks the government should give us even more free services, doesn’t mind that much that we taxpayers spend trillions of dollars on a global military empire, but who bitches about feminists and SJWs on the internet.
That’s a left-winger, folks. It’s just a new flavor of left-winger we haven’t seen before.
That not only describes today’s “right-wingers,” but with the possible exception of Ben Shapiro (the only political commentator remaining of any strong repute who is still a real conservative), it describes pretty much all “right wing” American political pundits.
The problem is most Trump supporters would vote for Bernie Sanders, who would give them lots of the free stuff they want, over Ben Shapiro, who would take it all away. Yes, I’m serious; in a presidential election held tomorrow of Sanders vs. Shapiro, at least 51% of Trump supporters and Republicans would vote for Bernie Sanders, meaning Sanders would win. They would do it very quietly and the polls would absolutely not reflect it pre-election, but that’s exactly what would happen. I’d seriously bet $100,000 of my own money on that. And I’d win.
What few libertarians there were have also been sucked up into the big government “right wing” Trump craze. Vox Day, Stefan Molyneux, Alex Jones, and many others who used to be small government libertarians are now big-government alt-lite Trump followers. This has essentially destroyed whatever tiny libertarian movement there was in the USA.
So, today’s America actually looks like this:
Today’s USA has essentially become like Europe. In other words, various factions of big-government leftists who argue with each other on how best to be left. Like in Europe, some of these left-wingers may call themselves “conservatives” but these “conservatives” love big government and the welfare state which is very unlike the real American conservatives of a bygone era.
I break these left-wing American factions into three groups.
The Corporatist Left – This is the faction with the most power, at least at the moment, though they’re currently in trouble. These are the standard corporatist Democrats like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and so on. They pretend to be anti-war, but they actually love war. They occasionally pretend to be anti-business but are actually in the pocket of big business and the big banks. They love massive government spending and the welfare state, but not too much. For example, they love things like Obamacare but are horrified by things like single payer health care or Medicare For All. They don’t mind raising taxes on the rich, but not too much, since the rich are their donors. This is currently the largest faction, but they are rapidly losing members to the other two factions.
The Progressive Left – These are the real left-wingers like Bernie Sanders, The Young Turks, and other SJW left-wing internet movements. They’re soft socialists who believe strongly in free government services for everyone including “free” health care, “free” college, near-unlimited welfare, a very high minimum wage, a universal basic income (at least in some cases), and so on. They are for ending the wars abroad. They utterly hate anyone they perceive as rich, think billionaires should be outlawed, and want to jack up taxes on the rich as much as humanly possible. This faction is currently at war with the Corporatist Left (the Left–Wing Civil War I’ve referred to several times before) and is rapidly growing as the Collapsing USA moves further to the left.
The Trump Left – These are Republicans, Trump supporters, the alt-right, alt-lite, and anti-SJW internet trolls. They are who I described already. They love big government and support a strong welfare state in all respects (free money, free health care, and so on) provided it doesn’t go to any illegal immigrants. They are left-wing on most economic issues (welfare state, universal basic income and so forth) and the surveys clearly show they are left-wing on most social issues as well (weed legalization, gay marriage, climate change, etc), but unlike the Progressive Left, they have a limit on the social left-wing aspects they will support. They are usually nationalist (or at least lean in that direction) and anti-immigration. They are irritated by the Corporatist Left and utterly hate the Progressive Left and spend most of their time trolling and arguing with the SJWs and socialists on the Progressive Left as a means of entertainment. The Trump Left will sometimes pretend to care about the future of America, but their real priority is making the Progressive Left angry. If Trump does things like bomb a country for no reason, doesn’t build a wall, or increases spending by $1.8 trillion, they don’t mind at all as long as he keeps making people in the other two factions furious. This is the smallest of the three factions but is growing slowly (though not as fast as the Progressive Left, which is growing faster) as more and more people get sick of things like political correctness.
I don’t know the precise breakdowns of these three factions, but based on the data I’ve seen my rough guess is something like this:
As of now, I will no longer use the terms “left-winger” or “right-winger,” in my writings, since there is no “right wing” in the USA anymore. Yes, there are a tiny few conservatives like Ben Shapiro, but like libertarians, these people are now a teeny tiny group of oddballs with no power in American government or culture whatsoever. There is no right wing, since these tiny few conservatives aren’t big enough to be a “wing” of anything.
Going forward, whenever I talk about politics I will instead refer to the more accurate breakdowns of most Americans, the three big factions controlling American zeitgeist: the Corporatist Left, the Progressive Left, and the Trump Left.
As usual, since I’m a libertarian and I’m moving out of the USA in a year, none of this really matters to me on a personal level. I just think about what would happen if someone from today went back in time to people in the 1980s and explained to them what would happen to American political leanings in just a few short decades…
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I’m hoping that as the collapse of the USA progress, the 1% of Libertarians that remain in the USA band together, buy off land from the debt-ridden USA and form their own sovereign country.
Since when were Alex Jones or Vox Day ever libertarians? (I’ll grant you Molyneux as a former libertarian.)
Couldn’t agree more with such distribution. Sometimes I meet americans, some claiming they are leftists, some righwingers, but, honestly, I can’t stand their talk more than 10 minutes. Obsession with government is so rooted in any idea they say, I tell them I am so busy I have to leave ASAP.
Just a waste of time. Heads in the clouds, no matter what generation they are..
Keep up a good work, Celeb.
People always loved populism, what changed is the ease with which the populists can reach out to the masses.
The movie Joker… western people became Joker. It is documentary actually.
During the entire decade of the 2000s and much of the early 2010s. I started reading Vox’s blog back around 2001 and did so loyally for many years. He was a Christian but as hardcore a libertarian as I am. I loved the guy. Around the same time Alex Jones was a small-government libertarian who rose to prominence attacking the big government policies of George W. Bush. (Now he supports a president who is acting just like Bush did.)
I suggest you take a look at some blog articles / videos from Vox and Jones from pre-2010 to see what I mean.
Yes. Massive government systems are always the answer to most of the big problems they see in the world.
More accurate to say Trump supporters became the Joker. (“Fuck it! This all sucks! Burn it all down! This fun!”)
The left was always irrational.
I’ll try not to just shout my own political opinions but —
Yes both parties pretty much suck, obviously.
Corporatism and money in politics doesn’t help, not to mention the media and political advertising on Facebook.
There’s not even much sense in having honest policy debate when both parties (R and D) are incredibly corrupt. Trump is incredibly corrupt. The Dems are too, but so is Trump. If you don’t believe that, you haven’t investigated anything.
I’m not even sure what the answer is.
Part of is switching to Ranked Choice (http://zesty.ca/voting/sim/)
Long story short: our politicians would actually match voter preference. Look at the mathematics above. We need some kind of proportional representative system too.
That won’t solve the big problems but it would be a step in the right direction.
Won’t happen though. We’re probably screwed regardless.
Alex Jones by the way, is a nut of the highest order. He’ll say anything for cash. He gets $40 million a year.
Ben Shapiro — look I can respect the libertarian viewpoint, but 1. He isn’t much libertarian and 2. He’s a nutjob.
He’s extremely religious and anti-gay — which is fine if it were just a personal opinion (I don’t agree with it but free speech and religion), but he wants to push it into the political sphere. That is decidedly not libertarian or “live and let live.” I find he often argues in bad faith as well. You pretty much have to when you’re defending fundamentalist believes (Jewish in his case) that were written during the Bronze Age.
Voting rights need to be restricted-only those with skin in the game should be allowed. Universal suffrage is a bad idea-it’s just mob rule. Voters should be net tax payers, military past and present, that’s about it-maybe also raise the voting age to 21 and cap it at 80.
Also I think the electoral college could be tweaked to a proportional system, not a winner takes all votes. That would be much more representational. Obviously not every person in California is a Democrat nor every Texan a Republican.
Guess it doesn’t matter at this point really-as you’ve stated, the time to turn the ship around is long past. The fact that socialism is becoming more popular shows how dumb the average voter is.
Incorrect. The neoconservative movement came about in the 1960s when certain Trotskyite intellectuals broke with the new left and became aggressively and hawkishly anti-communist. It initially centered around the late Norman Podhoretz and the magazine he founded and published, Commentary. Another early exponent was Irving Kristol, father of Bill Kristol. They were heavily influenced by ideas of the philosopher Leo Strauss. In the 90s, the movement coalesced around The Weekly Standard, and with the demise of the Soviet Union they trained their sights on other places, notably Iraq. Working through think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), these guys got their way with GWB in the post-911 days when the clueless President needed a policy agenda, and they had one all ready to go. Their movement was a good 35 years old at that time.
I know this because I was a regular reader of Commentary in high school/college back in the late 70s, early 80s.
Go back and re-read the article. Where did I say he’s a libertarian? He’s not libertarian at all. I said he’s a conservative, specifically a paleoconservative. If the country were run by him it we’d have lower taxes but very few social freedoms; a virtual theocracy. No thanks. Ben Shapiro sucks.
Correct. I said it here. Not that it will ever happen.
I know. That doesn’t conflict with anything I said. Read the your own quote of mine in your comment. I said conservatives started openly supporting big government under GW Bush (not just in conservative-only publications for policy wonks, but in open speeches and commentary on national TV), not that the neocon movement started under him. GW Bush is when neoconservatism became normal and mainstream. I’m well aware it started many decades before him.
Yeah it does. Any reasonable reading of your sentence implies that you were saying that the category was created during the time of GWB. Plus your origin story is wrong …. neoconservatism didn’t arise from traditional conservatives deciding to embrace government, openly or otherwise. I gave you the origin story, which is clearly different from that. Nice try though.
Hear! Hear! There are things we can agree on.
That was not my origin story, but if you really think that’s what I said (I didn’t) then let’s just agree to disagree.
I’m a libertarian and you’re a liberal, so I’m sure we agree on most or all social issues.
Democratic socialist 😉
Let’s see here,
1) Drowning in debt.
2) Can’t balance the budget for economic growth.
3) Private sector shriveled, absorbed into increasingly woke corporations.
The solution from all wings? Moar gubment!!!!!
It’s good to be back.
Caleb do you think weed legalization is only a leftwing thing? Many libertarians think that every drug should be decriminalized.
Who is the least bad president in usa in your lifetime?
I believe Caleb has said something similar.
If either of you are serious, (most people are just talk) look into Saipan, CNMI. It is a US territory in Asia (the growth engine of the world), its territorial tax autonomy allows it to have the lowest income tax rates in the country, marijuana has been legalized, and because of its small population senators are elected with as few as 600 votes.
By most measures, the CNMI is already the freest place in America, AND its territorial status and small size makes it uniquely suited to become even more so. That is why big names in the libertarian community such as radio host and activist Mark Edge have decided to move there. If you a man of action and actually believe
believe what you say (most people aren’t) so should you.
Ive been toying with the idea that first world governments are measuring technological “deflation” somewhere. Perhaps Theyre spending and going into debt based on some projection of automation and AI essentially providing free labor in the future, which will recoup their losses at some point. (It seems China ran their entire manufacturing sector at a loss for 35 years, for example, planning to eventually raise prices on us. ). Some technologists are pointing out that the relationship between inflation and QE is changing. Inflation in some hyper technological areas isnt increasing at the same ratio as the money printing. Some other mechanism is adding value to the currency at a rate that almost compensates for the QE. Im not defending the Fed or Big Spending, just hoping the answer is something other than “politicians think we’re stupid and dont care.”
Of course not. It’s a left-wing and libertarian thing, as I already mentioned to Ken above. Left-wingers and libertarians usually agree on social issues, though with minor differences. For example, left-wingers want weed legal AND taxed to shit AND regulated as fuck (these stupid government approved “dispensaries”) whereas libertarians just want it legal without any of that big-government bullshit. But they still both want it legal, yes.
Almost all libertarians want that. Including me. Yes.
Ford. He was a dolt and his his “Whip Inflation Now” stuff was laughable, but he’s the least-bad president since 1972 because he was only president for about two years and didn’t do very much as compared to the others.
I like presidents who sit on their asses and play golf and don’t do anything. (I was hoping Trump would be like that but I was wrong.) The press always complains about when presidents spend X number of days per year golfing, but I love it when they do that. Yes, please stay the fuck out of the White House and just golf! The more you’re golfing the less new laws you’re passing and the less money of mine you’re spending.
Yes, that’s entirely possible. Some of the elites may be banking on the possibility that some time down the road technology will change the game so radically that all this debt and spending could become irrelevant. Which may happen, as I’ve said many times before.
My deal is that while this might happen, I’d rather not bet my entire life on it. Thus Alpha Male 2.0 business and financial structures, five flags, etc, at least for me. Then I can relax and not care if it ever happens or not, since I’ll be covered either way.
Can you write a blog article about drug policy?
How regulated and taxed those should be or almost not regulated?
I think drugs (and brothels) should be decriminalized and regulated at least a little because point is put the blackmarket in marginal for a long term and offer legal option. But its not going to happen 🙂
California just decriminalized theft and public recreational drug use including injections. Im sure prostitution might be next. Hell if they lower taxes, end the welfare and relax the gun laws, theyd be onto something!
I wouldn’t conflate politicians with the voters.
I’d say most liberals haven’t though of the tax philosophy. But the “standard” liberal viewpoint is that sales tax is generally a regressive tax that hits the poor more than the rich (since poor people spend a greater % of their income) — thus liberals are generally against sales tax.
Usually mentioning that weed = tax revenue for the state is just an ‘incentive’ to get legalization pushed faster with inert, fat government beuracracies.
In terms of dispensaries only —- no pothead or liberal wants that to be the case, at all. Why would they?
This issue is the exact same as banning online poker — it offers nothing to voters, it’s just a “lobbyist” pet issue that NO voter wants. The dispensaries and corporate farms want a monopoly on production.
Hell in Chicago, where weed was just legalized, they banned GROWING your own pot plants. Why? Why on earth would growing a LEGAL plant be illegal? For hard alcohol, it can explosive and dangerous — fair enough. A weed plant? Absolutely no valid reason, other than — the state wants a monopoly on tax revenue and being a King-maker for who can make tons of cash. It’s absurd. No liberals want that, believe me.
All drugs should be 100% legal at the federal level and state level, and individual cities should make up their own minds about what should be legal, illegal, regulated, or unrelated.
And no, that will never happen. Both the left and Trump supporters are way too authoritarian for that kind of decentralized thinking.
Haha, would be nice, but nope. Legalized prostitution is the one thing you’ll never see wide-scale in the US because it’s the one area where traditionalists and left-wing women agree. Read this.
I have heard perhaps hundreds of liberals (including many in my own family) throughout the past 30 years say of weed, “Make it legal, tax it, and regulate it.”
Yes, that is also true.
You’re mixing “potheads” and “liberals.” Potheads hate the dispensaries, oh yeah, I know. But most liberals are not potheads.
Haha! Then it wasn’t legalized! Hilarious!
But wow, Fuck Chicago. Seriously.
To me it’s all a matter of old traditions being replaced with new ones that leave the old traditions behind. Tradcons are simply scared that the traditions they held so dear will lose agency (and it will). The degree to how much this rocks or sucks depends on how much you agree with the tradition. To me, progressive SJdubs have become the new tradcons. They represent a new tradition and are making sure others not of their kind follow it or else lose all agency. Same strategy that theocrats were using in the 14th century during the Inquisition.
And the reason why there are so few libertarians is because they don’t want traditions of any kind to have agency in anyone’s life: They value an individual’s ability to make their own choices over the group’s ability to make choices for them. There aren’t supposed to be a lot of libertarians around, if there were, the world would be in a natural state of chaos all the time lol.
The thing is that progressive viewpoints and ideals of today contain the same kind of energy that traditional conservative ideals had decades ago in that they are culturally enforced, meaning if you don’t accept them as “fact” you will be ostracized and seen as a threat.
This is nothing new, it is how groups of human beings organize their own kind and defend themselves from those who are not their kind.
So a culture where it is seen as a social “fact” that white men are superior to nonwhites and chicks, that there are only two genders, that governments should stay out of people’s lives (unless they are protecting said people from invaders from overseas) and other tradcon stuff is now becoming a culture where it is seen as a social “fact” that white men are natural-born oppressors, women and nonwhites deserve constant reparations from said white men, femininity is superior to masculinity, and governments should hook everybody up with stuff…provided their income is low enough.
No massive group of humans can maintain the same cultural structure or governing structure for too long. History has proven this time and time again.
It makes me laugh when I see tradcons get upset about what SJdubs do. Tradcons themselves were SJdubs back in the day, the same strategy is being used: Coercion through social pressure (as well as legal enforcement, but that’s relatively new when accounting for all 200,000 years of human history). It’s not supposed to stay the same way forever, peeps. If things stayed the same forever, the average life expectancy would be like 25 lol.
I somewhat agree.
Uh, no. The USA was (largely) a libertarian nation for a very long time, and it did just fine.
The problem is that pretty much all cultural structures involve way too much government. Every new culture and every new governmental structure is just another form of big government (with extremely rare exceptions like the founding of the USA and Hong Kong).
It’s a flaw in the human design. At least in my opinion.
Yes. I grew up in the 1980s when the conservatives were in power. Normal, everyday people were horrified back then that I played Dungeons and Dragons because it meant I was worshiping Satan or something. They gave my parents all kinds of hell and it really caused some problems. And I mean that, many normal, everyday people back then were like that, not just the extreme Christians. And I still remember the national uproar people had back then when the movie Last Temptation of Christ was released. Everyone had a fucking meltdown. Over a movie.
We’ve just moved from one irrational extreme to the other.
Human design again.
Left = common sheep (including your new definitions). But why bother talking politics, since the public doesn’t decide anything anyway? Yeah, the public is delusional and confused… but the number one way is thinking that their opinion matters in the first place. You’re disturbed because they can’t get their own definitions straight, but what does it matter anyway? Like arguing about a fictional TV show. What they show you in the media is for entertainment purposes only. They show it to keep people thinking that they have some kind of choice, and that their friends who don’t agree are the enemy. That’s the purpose of the media- to divide people, and get them blaming each other. Whereas none of this really matters. Even the Libertarian party – fake. People don’t have control of government. The entire idea started with the French/American revolutions, but it was fake from the very beginning. People before these would have laughed at the idea – why would the rich people give you any power whatsoever? Back then, they at least knew they were simple peasants.
No, I’m not disturbed. Re-read the final paragraph in the above article.
Sigh… you’re one step ahead again, Caleb! And you’re right, this article does make a worthwhile point. Sorry I said anything. (Though, maybe it was worth saying for some of the other readers here.)
Remember, my version of libertarian is different. I’m talking about anarcho-capitalism.
So I guess I meant that there aren’t supposed to be a lot of anarcho-capitalists like myself.
I definitely agree with that. Government should have never had this much agency in our lives. We’ll pay for it as a species somewhere down the road. In fact Great Purges might actually be a thing in the US going into the 2030s if we decide to become too much like the USSR used to be lol.
Agree 100%, it really sucks. Seems like we’ll never understand that understanding works better than force/justice/vengeance. Oh well, that’s the way it is. Meh.
Politics in America is two groups screaming lies back and forth. Any talk of gov’t is completely intolerable to me. I have a tape in my head that I play when ever the subject comes up:
Please, no politics. I respect your opinion but please don’t try to convert me.
I use the term “convert” intentionally because it’s exactly like a religious debate. Nobody listens or cares about facts, so why bother? Life is too short to lose your happiness by getting dragged into their toxic world.
Agree over 9000 million percent.
However, our current culture (at least here in the US) does all it can to brand you as a “bad American” if you are not losing your happiness being dragged into their toxic world.
It is especially like this on social media lol. I did a little test on election day 2018. On that day, I set a definition of anarchy as my default picture, shared this article from my blog, said in my status “to vote is to allow other people to determine how you should live your life: Prove me wrong” and waited.
Within minutes, I lost about a dozen or so “friends.” And these were people who I actually knew.
American politics and social media have shaken human connections to its foundation and as the 2020s come to an end, so too will our concept of connections and community if this keeps up.
This is why I teach the art of enjoying your own company. It is going to be a necessity going into the 2020s and especially the 2030s.
1956 GOP platform:
Dunno, how is it more ‘left-wing’ today? Seems to me more right-wing in many ways, but certainly way more stupid and crazy.
You’re talking about the 1% at the top of the elite Republican food chain, who have probably always been socialists. I’m talking about the rank-and-file “right-wing” voter on the ground.
I said it a few comments above, but the “left wing” has become the right wing. It’s just an old tradition being replaced by a new tradition.
tbh there isn’t even a left or right wing anymore, it’s all abject statism at this point. The government is gonna start running our lives more than ever, whether it’s progressive minded people or tradcons. Makes no difference. Both groups don’t want citizens to be able to live their lives by their own terms.
Is this gonna bite westerners in the ass? Oh yeah. It’ll be a hilarious mess if you don’t live in the US or Europe but if you do live in the US or Europe it’s gonna suck really bad.
I think Naval made a good point of remarking that Libertarianism should be at the top of the food chain in a political system.
Socialism gets confused because governments try to apply it to large swaths of people.
Instead, it works best with friends and family and locally in small community settings.
Putting it at the top of the political system, rather than at the bottom where it belongs, seems to bring cyclical damage again and again.
Assuming Caleb’s charts are correct or close to it, and they probably are, Five Flags is a good thought to have in mind or be planning for.
Caleb, you severely overestimate how people feel about Bernie Sanders and his policies. Even the Democrats on the left are rejecting him as too extreme. Even if people want Medicare, they don’t want single payer. No Trump supporters would vote for Bernie if only for the fact that he wants to offer medical care to undocumented and also make it easier for them to enter the country. After a proper campaign, Ben Shapiro would ‘destroy’ Bernie in an election.