Skip to comments.Ultimately, it's left or right (deconstructing the marketing slogan of a talk radio station)
Posted on 12/08/2006 3:26:44 AM PST by ajolympian2004
'Not left or right; right or wrong!" That's the current marketing slogan of a local talk radio station (not mine). It's a clever turn of a phrase and an interesting approach to establishing product differentiation from competing talk stations that promote the conventional split between liberals and conservatives. This imaging strategy is designed to convey the impression that the programmers, personalities and producers on that station somehow rise above the limitations of ideology and the pettiness of partisan politics.
The station and radio show (Caplis & Silverman) that Mike is talking about -
In theory, this might attract listeners that supposedly want something different from the standard, issues-oriented talk radio fare. In practice, that station is pretty much like any other of this genre and the hosts and topics split along the same liberal-conservative divides on political, social and economic matters.
But let's get back to that slogan: "Not left or right; right or wrong!" It's catchy, but does it hold up rationally? Right or wrong is highly subjective. Now, I'm not one of those abstract moral relativists who flatly declare that there are no rights or wrongs. Sometimes there are. But irreconcilable disagreements on public policy are often based on honestly conflicting differences of ideology, values, religious beliefs, notions of human nature, economic understanding, concepts of the role of government, and objectives, to name just a few variables. In those cases, right or wrong cannot be objectively determined. That becomes simply a matter of opinion. In the final analysis, it usually does come down to left or right.
Thomas Sowell, in his book, A Conflict of Visions, addresses the ideological origins of political struggles. He observes that competing notions of fundamental concepts like freedom, equality, justice and rights are dependent upon either a leftist's or rightist's beliefs about the nature of man.
Today's leftists - or liberals - are ideological descendants of the likes of William Godwin, Rousseau and Harold Laski, and have an "unconstrained," utopian view of man's perfectibility and the unlimited potential of government programs.
Rightists - or conservatives - have a "constrained," practical view of man's imperfections and limitations, and the limitations of government. Adam Smith, Thomas Hobbes, Edmund Burke and Milton Friedman are in this camp.
The fundamental socialist notion that a man will work as hard and as creatively for the benefit of strangers as he would for himself and his family is a classic conflict between the unconstrained and constrained vision. Such community selflessness might work for a while on a homogeneous Israeli kibbutz, but not in a diverse society of 300 million.
And make no mistake about it - contemporary liberalism is rooted in socialism, the Marxian Prime Directive: from each according to his ability to each according to his need. The historic, literal definition of socialism: state ownership of the means of production, has evolved over the years. The model today - and the goal of American liberals - is a European-style democratic socialism. As Friedrich Hayek noted some 30 years ago: "Socialism has come to mean chiefly the extensive redistribution of incomes through taxation and institutions of the welfare state." The appearance of private ownership is maintained but it becomes increasingly an illusion as government dictates the terms of production through regulations, and reallocates the fruits of production through taxation and social spending.
It's currently fashionable among liberals, especially those of a more radically leftist variety, to shun the "liberal" moniker - which suffers from bad public relations these days - in favor of an oldie but goodie: "progressive." But little has changed from the Progressive Era of 100 years ago. It still means "progress" on the road to socialism.
The right believes in individual freedom and responsibility, property rights, free markets, limited government, nationalism, sovereignty, peace through strength, and traditional American values. The left believes in collectivism, entitlement, social engineering, multiculturalism, racial preferences, expansive government, central economic planning, peace through world government and post-modernism. Conservatives believe in equality of opportunity. Liberals believe in equality of outcome, the kind of leveling egalitarianism that punishes excellence through high taxes in order to subsidize mediocrity, misfortune, sloth and failure.
Capitalism works because it's consistent with human nature. Rewarding excellence breeds more of it. Socialism is doomed to fail because it misreads human nature and sends counterproductive economic signals, discouraging behavior that breeds prosperity and encouraging behavior that breeds poverty. Conservatives believe in voluntary economic exchanges. Liberals believe in mandates, controls and requirements that direct individuals to behave in a socially desirable manner - as determined, of course, by liberals.
Conservatives believe they are right, and liberals believe themselves to be right. That argument can't be won. Ultimately, it's not right or wrong; it's right or left.
Mike Rosen's radio show airs daily from 9 a.m. to noon on 850 KOA. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make sure to leave a comment for Mike at the link to his column at the Rocky Mountain News here - (top right side of the page)
Socialism is doomed to fail because it misreads human nature
Both of these statements are right. So perhaps it is a question of "right or wrong" after all.
"Thomas Sowell, in his book, A Conflict of Visions, addresses the ideological origins of political struggles. He observes that competing notions of fundamental concepts like freedom, equality, justice and rights are dependent upon either a leftist's or rightist's beliefs about the nature of man."
All conservatives hoping to understand liberals should read that book. Then read another Sowell masterpiece, The Annointed.
I would tend to agree. Mike is non-religious so that might explain his thinking. The two talk show hosts Mike is talking about, Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman, are both religious.
The only reason this statement has any meaning is because one side of the equation (liberals) LACK reason. In true Orwellian form, Liberals believe in what they feel. To them, the truth is malleable. Facts are open to interpretation. Most of all, language is meaningless to them. Words can be whatever they want them to be. There is a REASON Conservatives are called "The Right".
You know what's funny? It's self promotion for a sister station owned by the same company. Both are in Denver and owned by Clear Channel. How clever!
And socialism will always be attractive to certain "articulate" segments of our society precisely because success under socialism depends on how good you are at political intrigue, rather than how good you are at figuring out how to meet customer needs
Mike didn't mention the sister station or the talk show hosts by name in his column. The only way you would know is if you are a regular over the air listener to these talk radio stations here in Colorado, or via on-line.
That man is a real gem. I have read two of his books, "Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy" and "Black Rednecks and White Liberals". I am currently working on "Applied Economics".
Thomas Sowell EXEMPLIFIES what is wrong with Liberalism. He should be lauded by the Left for achieving greatness (which I think he has) but instead, he is reviled by them. It proves to me they don't really want minorities to succeed.
Wasn't that "Visions of the Annointed?" I read that. Missed the other one, though. Sowell is dead on.... He's totally convincing.
Nothing like creating a little buzz for your in house sister station.
Mega dittoes to that!
I like my local station's catch-phrase: WINC - 1400 AM in Winchester, VA: "on the right-side of your AM dial!"
I added that link for reference. If you goto the column as posted at the Rocky Mountain News you will not see that mentioned.
Even better, read the Ludwig von Mises book "Socialism".
Agreed. I also believe in honesty in advertising, another reason Conservatives are, in my opinion, "right".
Nearly ALL conservatives I have listened to will unashamedly classify themselves loudly and publicly as "conservative" and make no bones about it. They don't view being conservative as "biased" or wrong in any way.
Liberals are another matter altogether. The verbal and rhetorical gymnastics they go through to deny bias is astounding.
Ping to read later
I agree... Liberals are so fearful of the "L" word that they have now abandoned it in favor of "progressive" -- we shouldn't let them get away with it. Whenever we hear "progressive", we should clarify: "progressive-liberal?" "Progressive-collectivist?" "Progressive-socialist?" "Progressive-communists?" All progressives belong in at least one of those camps.
Rosen could have really created a buzz, which wasn't the reason he wrote the op-ed, by mentioning that Silverman is his attorney and that he regularly plays golf with Caplis.
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