The EyeOpener Report- Divide & Conquer: Politics and the Left/Right Fraud

From education to the environment, business to banking, housing to health care, it seems that there is no issue in the world that the industrialized western democracies cannot reduce to a simplistic paradigm of “liberal” vs “conservative.” In fact, this point has been so hardwired into the modern political system that it has been distilled into childlike shorthand: political positions are “left” or “right,” “blue” or “red.” These convenient, color-coded political choices infantilize the political process, making the public little more than spectators at a sporting event, rooting for one team or another without even having to understand the issues being debated. Nowhere has this process of simplification become so refined as it has in the United States of America, sometimes laughingly referred to as the “leaders of the free world.”

Find out about the Left-Right politics- the inane lowest-common-denominator reduction of all political thought has taken its toll on the public in the United States of America in this week's edition of the Boiling Frogs Post EyeOpener Report with James Corbett.

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  1. metrobusman says:

    More disinfo’ from JC.

    The Left/Right divide goes as far back as the Roman republic and probably farther. They didn’t use the terms Left and Right, but the polarization existed. As the world’s greatest historian, Karl Marx, pointed out, behind all these conflicts lies class struggle. He writes abt it brilliantly and at great length in volume one of Das Kapital. I urge people to disregard what the plutocrats say about that book and read him.

    And any discussion which attempts to analyze the very real Left/Right divide absent of any class context, is wrecked upon the rocks of that conflict, and is rendered facile and infantile like the nonsense above.

    The real Left/Right divide is not “liberal versus conservative” as Corbet insists, that’s the charade. The crucial Left/Right distinction is democracy/hierarchy (i.e. self rule versus republicanism, monarchy, fascism etc) and public enterprise/private enterprise (i.e. we the people own the land, industries, resources and determine how they are used versus ownership by a small elite who privately control them).

    There is of course more words written on this topic than a thousand people could read in a lifetime, and none of it ever penetrates Corbet’s musings on the topic.

    Lastly, Corbet uses George Carlin to reinforce his arguments. It should be said that George Carlin was an anarchist, a real one, unlike Corbet! He is criticizing capitalism from a Left perspective. In other words, Carlin, as he stated clearly, believed that capitalism (rule by an economic elite who privately own just abt everything) was the problem. He did not believe that it could be reformed, but had to be eliminated. Carlin, in short, did believe in the Left/Right divide which Corbet dismisses.

    • Anarchist beliefs have nothing whatsoever to do with the false dichotomy of the “left/right divide”… and Carlin most certainly had not fallen for it. He did make jokes about it though… at the public’s expense. lol

    • I may get to the rest of your post later but the Carlin comment jumps out immediately. Assuming what you’ve claimed about the specifics of Carlin’s political/social ideology is true, does Corbett’s use of the Carlin clip (not Carlin himself, as you’ve errantly alluded) somehow negate his (Corbett’s) point? It seems that you perhaps misunderstand the use of something as non-ideological as video editing.

      Or perhaps Corbett was correct in saying ( and I paraphrase) that the ability for nuance has all but been wiped from the masses?

  2. carolcrumlish says:

    Mr. Metrobusman,

    Mr Corbett is talking about the fact that our minds have been manipulated into believing that there is this divide, a la Bernays. Where there are boundaries, there is fear. And it is fear that the SOBs are exploiting.

  3. CuChulainn says:

    It is remarkable that JC is capable of acute and penetrating investigative work, while his political sophistication is what it is.

  4. Totally an opinion. But I think James Corbett uses the liberal/republican meme because that’s what the public can identify with. It’s the “current” divide. Just labels in a long line of divisive terms to separate people. He could have as easily used the labels “black” and “white” or “Stealers” and “Cowboys”, although that last is a bit dated.

  5. metrobusman is absolutely right. Corbett has the right to have his own opinion and to be whoever he wants: a right-wing ideologue of small-bourgeoisie,defender of the spotted owl and liberalization of dope, trade-union organizer or trade-union basher, but as journalist he has no right to corrupt language, above all, the language of politics. One of these words is ‘anarchism’. ‘Anarchists’ are those who sat together with communist Karl Marx in the presidium of The International Workingmen’s Association (IWA, 1864–1876) where their leader Mikhail Bakunin fought with Marx and his followers only about a single point of the communist doctrine: whether the state must be abolished together with the abolition of private property or it has to be preserved as ‘the dictatorship of the proletariat’ for the long period of transition from capitalism to a communist society. The anarchists’ demand of the immediate abolition of the state is the only one that separates them communists. Anarchists are those who in 19th century organized communist communes in the United States, who fought the police in Haymarket, Chicago and established the International Workers of the World, still existing in the West Coast, who were hanged like Sacco and Vanzetti, who fought Fascism in Spain and organized socialist communes in large parts of Catalonia. In short, anarchists are implacable enemies of capitalism. Even the modern middle-class anarchists like Bookchin. So when Corbett calls himself anarchist he acts as marauder stealing words and ideas from the dead who gave their lives in the struggle for the emancipation of Labor, and twisting their meaning to the opposite. In a country like the US, infamous for its tradition of anti-intellectualism and brainwashed populace, Corbett’s tricks with words should be condemned as maliciously dishonest journalism no different from that of the mainstream capitalist press he’s so found of “unmasking.”

    • Your rant, dating “real” (my interpretation) anarchists to the 1860’s reminds me of contemporary European Americans who rant about foreigners coming to the US and ruining the country. I suppose history can begin as far back as one wishes to see.

  6. William Tonner says:

    Most people in this world, given the chance, would prefer to live in their own Nation-State which would promote true Competitive Capitalism.
    ‘Capitalists’ (business owners) or true ‘Labour Unions’ (those that would concentrate on jobs, wages and working conditions) are NOT the problem.
    Those who work to dominate people, suppress freedom and establish tyrannical, centralised control are the problem.
    The people of the world are sickened by the workings of ‘Corporatist Elites’ (so-called) and ‘Socialist’ half-wits.

  7. No common property = no public. Survivalism on Liberty Island, now showing at a theater near you.

  8. Mgrdichian says:

    We all need to be relentless in illuminating the left/right fallacy. To the same extent oligarchs and the PTB use the paradigm to divide us, we need to constantly bring up the left/right fallacy. James, you made a great video about this. Keep making more, and more, and more….. We can’t drive this point home enough.

    I was one of a handful of organizers of the ’06 Tea Party in Boston, so thank you for (again) correcting history on the origins of that movement. You can only imagine our surprise as we watched our non-partisan movement get co-opted the following year. That, in and of itself, is a testament to the threat non-partisan activism poses to the establishment. The 9/11 Truth Movement is (IMO) the best example of an organic awakening of non-partisan activism around a volatile political subject. It’s no wonder “they” go out of “their” way to paint us as lunatics.

    So what’s it gonna take to end this L/R facade? A victory….. somewhere…. on some issue….. like 9/11. Or NDAA. Or….. JFK assassination…. or……….?? We need to demonstrate political strength. And it needs to be strength accompanied by real healing and personal empowerment, which is something L/R paradigm advocates purposely avoid. They refuse to recognize the emotional and functional damage corruption has inflicted on society at both an individual and community level. It’s not in their interest to do so. Government/political corruption is the world’s second oldest profession. Most people understand this and choose to disengage rather than fight it. I don’t blame them. If we’re gonna present an option, it needs to be a real option, not simply a philosophical one. What I’ve learned from the Ron Paul Movement is the power of local activism with a common national mindset…. a true belief that our local actions WILL make a difference and that the people at the top are listening and feeling it. The same is true about “Occupy.”

  9. Well it seems as if many people watching this video have already fallen into the left/right divide of the anarchist movement. You are either a Marxist or an anarco-capitalist. James has stated numerous times that he subscribes to Voluntarism, so perhaps you should do a little research before you attempt to sully his name.
    More to the point, this bickering that goes on about how one defines anarchism is extremely asinine and counterproductive. Not to mention that the authoritarian way with which you shove Marxism down peoples throats seems a little bit like a coercive government.

    • James does quite a bit of trashing of collectivism and treats it as the root of all evil on a regular basis. He is righteously condescending when he talks about it. He characterizes people who think that collectivism is part of the solution as sheep who love their own servitude and may never wake up from their slumber.

      Unless of course he’s advocating collective engagement as a solution, as in this weeks follow-up to this eye-opener:

      My only criticism of James is that he treats collectivism so harshly, when he does.

      • I don’t think any form of collectivism can function in today’s governmental structure. In every country there are those people who believe themselves above the law. They believe that rules apply to others, not themselves. Unfortunately those people are ruling their countries, in deed if not in name. We’ve seen how collectivism has failed by the actions of these same people. So James is right, in my opinion at least, to point out that collectivism isn’t an alternative form of societal structure. Unless major changes are made. Changes that countries like the US have ensured can never happen thanks to the “continuity of government” type legislation.

        • James is right when? When he is bashing collectivism or promoting it? Do you disagree with his suggestion this week, 2/4/2014? If so, then stop disparaging James for his collectivist ideas!

          If you missed the point I’ve been making, it’s about James’ inconsistency on the subject and unnecessary insults to those who have suggested similar things. He doesn’t need to be so anti-collectivist, especially when he’s not. That’s all. I’m not arguing for collectivism only. I’m pointing out why he can tone down the anti-collectivist, and anti-engagement, rhetoric, and live with himself (and others). I’d sure appreciate it.

          That said, I should add that having James here is awesome and I learn a lot from his great work. This is my only criticism of him. Let’s shoot for a balance and realize the context of liberty and value of the public.

      • I don’t know why but it always surprises me when people conflate collectivISM with something like collective action. How does that happen? There is, after all, a difference. Either the message is flying over your head, which I doubt; the message is muddled, which I don’t believe it is, at least I don’t believe it is for me; or you’re seeing the issue as you wish to see it – making up an inconsistency where there is none.

        A brief analysis, of 15 minutes or so, takes some effort on the part of the viewer – to understand some history, context, subtlety, etc. It’s pretty clear to me, unless I’m wrong of course, that Corbett’s message is pretty straight forward with regards to collectivism as opposed to collective action.

        • Collective action and shared interest is what collectivism means to me. Am I conflating? Of course I can see the difference between an action and a system, but do you see no relation? Does James get to have his cake and eat it too?

          • Well, if you’re critiquing Corbett’s analysis, it would seem prudent to use his definition, not yours. When I searched for “collectivism definition”, in my search engine, these are the #1 definitions from the first four I was offered:

            : a political or economic theory advocating collective control especially over production and distribution; also : a system marked by such control

            : The principles or system of ownership and control of the means of production and distribution by the people collectively, usually under the supervision of a government.

            : a political theory that the people should own the means of production

            : the practice or principle of giving a group priority over each individual in it.

            They went on from there. Collective action was a little harder to come by (as per a definition) but I’m guessing (forgive me) that the images Corbett showed of people marching for this or that, is descriptive enough for us, here and for me, show that collectivISM and collective action are not one-in-the-same. Therefor, the rather ridiculous (no offense, I know you didn’t make it up) saying about having a cake and eating it (who wouldn’t do this?) makes no sense.

          • I wasn’t critiwuing his analysis.
            You showed me definitions and then guessed.
            I was listening to James when he said let’s all engage in a collective fashion with shared interests. Whoa, Nelly, who’s going to split hairs to defend the indefensible after that?

            What you may nor know yet, Andrew, is that you are asking the impossible. Collectivism is part of nature. Government is part of nature. When you want me to take Corbetts positive, true, and helpful suggestions (there’s my critique) and let them stand disconnected, in a sea of anti-public interest and collectivism fear mongering, then you are going to be disappointed. Sorry.

          • BTW, have your cake and eat it too means have it both ways. Think of “have” more like “keep”. If you eat it you don’t have it anymore. I’ll try to use better figures of speech though.

          • “You showed me definitions and then guessed”

            I’m trying pretty hard to make this exchange constructive. Imo, definitions are pretty crucial to understand what another person is trying to convey – that is why I chose definitions for some key words. Words that you seem to want to define for yourself and then use your definitions (even though we haven’t exactly established your definitions) in order to criticize someone else. Mostly, in this instance, you seem uninterested in moving forward using shared definitions for terms. That is fine if you chose not to define the key terms of a discussion. I however, do not have the time or interest to keep going in circles.

            Beyond that, I don’t know what is “indefensible”. Further, I don’t really understand most of your second paragraph. I do however, know that I don’t WANT you to do anything. Because of that, I suppose I will be able to avoid being disappointed. At least about that.

            I understand what “have your cake and eat it too means”, I just don’t like the saying. But it is irrelevant whether I like it or not and is unimportant to the exchange so I should have let it be.

          • I think this excerpt from the following paper might be helpful to move our discussion forward a little:
            Triandis, H. C., & Gelfand, M. J. (1998). Converging measurement of horizontal and vertical individualism and collectivism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(1), 118-128. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.74.1.118

            Practical Implications
            It is important to note that none of the four cultural patterns is necessarily better or worse for human functioning. Instead, each of these cultural patterns is probably functional in different situations. Specifically, the HI pattern allows individuals to do their own thing without the restraints provided by in-groups; the VI pattern, with its emphasis on competition, is likely to result in creativity and high effort. By contrast, the HC pattern is likely to lead to much social support and sociability. The VC pattern can allow the in-group to produce more than the sum of its parts. This cultural pattern provides protection and security and reduces the need for personal decisions, which some people find anxiety provoking. In Eric Fromm’s (1941) terms, this somewhat authoritarian pattern allows individuals to “escape from freedom.”
            On the other hand, there are probably costs associated with each pattern. The HI pattern may result in social isolation, in which individuals do their own thing but no one approves of what they do. The VI pattern may result in extreme stress, especially after failures in competition, and thus may reduce the effectiveness of the immune system and increase the probability of both cardiovascular disease and ineffectiveness in battling infections (Triandis et al., 1988). The HC pattern could absorb much of the individual’s energy in social relationships, thus decreasing productivity. The VC pattern could result in authoritarian regimes and ethnic cleansing.

            Sample items
            I often “do my own thing.” (Horizontal Individualism)
            The well-being of my co-workers is important to me. (Horizontal Collectivism)
            It annoys me when other people perform better than I do. (Vertical Individualism)
            I would sacrifice an activity that I enjoy very much if my family did not approve of it. (Vertical Collectivism)

            You see, the suggestion by James that we work together, based on shared interests, was, as I understood it, concerned with the welfare of the group. That is how it relates to collectivism. You seem to be saying that, if he didn’t promote a total governing social system where individuals sacrifice for the group, then he didn’t betray all those statements he made, that portray collectivism as the root of all evil. I disagree with your evaluation, obviously.

            It has been my contention that we need a balance of approaches and I find the attacks to be divisive and deleterious. I find the explanation quoted above as a good academic description of what I was intuitively promoting. These are all tools and the more we attach and align ourselves with a single mode of thought, the more easily we are disrupted as an effective resistance to tyranny. This is why I am curious about the funding aspect.

          • How about have your savings account and spend it too?

            The replies are only nested so many levels, in order to save horizontal space.

          • You dropped me into the excerpt, a little lacking in the proper jargon, I think. Overall though, I’m pretty sure I get the context.

            “You seem to be saying that, if he didn’t promote a total governing social system where individuals sacrifice for the group, then he didn’t betray all those statements he made, that portray collectivism as the root of all evil.”

            First, I’m not promoting the notion that Corbett believes collectivism is, “the root of all evil”. Clearly, he’s not fond of it. However, I believe you have found the crux of exactly what I’m saying. More or less, that when Corbett speaks of collectivISM, it is essentially, as you’ve said, “a total governing social system where individuals sacrifice for the group”. This is different than a group of individuals VOLUNTARILY (I really wish we could have italics without resorting to word docs) come together in a mutually agreed upon, shared interest. One is externally imposed, the other is not. Since you essentially seem to equate the two, I disagree with your evaluation, obviously.

            I agree that one needs a balanced approach. That balance should be found within ones own choosing and as long as it doesn’t violate another – this part perhaps, is where some of the dirty work must be done.

            I had something else but it must’ve slipped into the ether.

            Thanks for the replies clarification.

          • You still don’t see the crux of what I’m saying, unfortunately. I do not equate what you just said I did. In fact, I just gave you a detailed explanation of the differences between types of collectivism and individualism! Sheesh!!!

            He needs to tone down the blanket negativity about collectivism. That’s my opinion. He does not specify what type of collectivism when he makes these attacks. They are spiteful, inconsiderate, and condescending, not to mention deleterious. I guess I said that already.

            I have a feeling, I’ll need to hire a damn attorney before you let me have a point here. 😉 Your going to ask me to cite every instance of his collectivism attacks next, aren’t you? I’m not going to. Because this is my evaluation over a couple years of noticing them and I haven’t kept track. But, you don’t need to trust me either, of course. I’ll just ask that you please keep an open ear for this in the future and leave it at that.


          • “He does not specify what type of collectivism when he makes these attacks.”

            This, I believe, is the issue. You don’t believe that his criticism is based on A definition of collectivism. You believe it to be based on some loose, malleable definition. Imo, when Corbett speaks of collectivism (perhaps it should be written Collectivism – big C), he IS specifying. That is why I quoted your phrase from above, as paraphrase of his (and most dictionary definitions) use and here, I’ll do it again: “a total governing social system where individuals sacrifice for the group”.

            Even if one uses your academic paper examples, the four sample items you provide are all based on voluntary association. A systemic Collectivism, such as the example you gave and I’ve now quoted twice, is imposed from the top – down. Is that difficult to see the difference or in the case of having to use your four notions, differences? Sheeesh!!!

            I understand your point. It’s not a difficult one. I didn’t think this was a discussion about YOUR liberal use of the word collectivism (is that too many political crossovers). That’s why I tried to pin you down on a definition and when you finally gave me one, you gave me four. Sheeesh squared.

            I’ll keep an open mind, if you agree that in the future, we begin with defining terms and attempt to limit them to something less than one for every season 😉

            Btw, Corbett answers questions on a podcast every once in a while. Perhaps you’re interested enough seek an explanation for his alleged crimes against consistency? Good night.

          • Man, you’re too much.

            I never said a lick about Voluntary one way or another, so you’re arguing with yourself on that one.

            Also, no he does not specify what he means, each time. There may be times when he explains what be means, but it definitely becomes blanket statements about “collectivist garbage” over time.

            I have not used questions for Corbett yet. Maybe probably should. I don’t think he’s ever replied at BFP or even commented here. I think he’s mentioned reading the comments here, but I’m not sure about that either. I really like the fact that some of BFP’s producers will respond to what they publish here, though I’ve always accepted that he’s too busy.

            Oh, and I’ll keep that dictionary handy before ever speaking again. Pshh… What did you mean by “good night”? I’m not exactly sure what you mean because you didn’t give me the exact definition. Was it an expression of fare well? Or an exclamation of surprise or irritation? Bill Clinton would love it.

            BTW, there were two types of collectivism in that paper, not four.

          • It’s not just Corbett, BTW. There are a whole slew of media people who use the same disparaging language when they generally speak about collectivism. Most of them talk about anarcho-capitalism and/or the need for the state to not exist. They use lots of emotional tie-ins when they talk about that statist, collectivist garbage. If you don’t realize that everything comes down to individual property rights, you are a slave who has been duped into loving your own servitude. If you don’t want to disengage from the system and stop trying to correct it in any way, the same applies. Get yourself a ranch or a gulch, an Ayn Rand poster for those lonely nights, some chickens, silver, water filters, and live out your liberty! Yee-haw! It’s all voluntary, on liberty island. Wait, where’s my damned dictionary?!!! Oh, no!!!!!

          • Of course you didn’t say a lick about voluntary, even though it’s the key distinction between your collectivism and Collectivism as enforced from the top-down. This began as a critique, of yours, about what Corbett calls Collectivism. I’ve offered my interpretation. You seem to think he’s talking about something different each time. Essentially, that’s the end of the conversation since we’re not even starting from the same ground.

            If you enjoy going in circles, continue to mock defining the terms of a conversation. I have neither the time nor inclination to enable you any further. Working through your veiled insults and appeals to ridicule in order to get to something substantial, is tiresome.

            Good night means, I’m going to bed. Good morning means, this “conversation” should have been put out of everyone’s misery long ago and I’ m over it.

          • You still don’t get it, Andrew. I’ll give up too, but end by saying that I never tried to say what James meant or what was in his head. I tried to criticize his foul language when it comes to collectivism. Many people listen and interpret what he says and do not know what’s in his head when he says, off the cuff, things like “collectivist garbage”, as he and the others do so frequently. You could have attempted understanding me, instead of trying to teach me a lesson about proper communication. I’m sure you would have done fine.

          • I’m not trying to change James’ mind! I’m trying to ask him to change his language and manner of distastefully disparaging, in a blanket fashion, the C word. You have been twisting this into something you can defend.

          • (his mind about his own philosophy)

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