Living today in longstanding democracies, it can be hard to comprehend why so many people living in the past, or other countries, would permit or even enthusiastically support the unchecked power of their monarchs and dictators. Wasn’t it obvious to them how dangerous and corrupting the accumulation of power by individuals could be?
You have data now; I think it leans convincingly towards Robin's explanation.
Protestant German monarchs. Ethnicity isn't the only, or most important, aspect of identity.
There's an obvious alternative explanation for the same observation: Democrats who complained loudly about this during Bush, and now ignore it during Obama are being politically strategic. They needn't embrace any principle, they only need to prefer Democrats as a preferable alternative.
I believe that your explanation - hypocrisy - becomes the only explanation if the same Democrats who opposed Bush's expansion of power are now openly embracing Obama's expansion of the same powers. That seems very unlikely to me, though data would be convincing. If instead one faction has just become quiet about this issue for now, it seems more likely that they just aren't willing to air dirty laundry.
Hard to get rid of a bad one. The key advantage of democracy is that you can get rid of bad rulers bloodlessly.
No guarantee of getting a good one though.
" Yet people will fight and die to support having their own ethnic group be dictators over them"
A significant proportion of the people in Gaza were ethnically cleansed from "Israel". The very last thing "Israel" wants to do is to allow them back. For a first world country, it is quite medieval on this point.
One more question; why do you put "Left" in quotes but not Right? Right means authoritarian/Facist to some, Libertarian/small government to others. That's broad enough to make Right an ambiguous term. I doubt the term Left carries anything like that ambiguity - an interesting asymmetry.
I disagree that your friend has a Marxist understanding. Marxists have a profound understanding of the travails of thelower petty bourgeoisie like your friend.
(To see something of what Marxism is really about, see my just-posted "Capitalism and socialism express conflicting reciprocity norms: A reinterpretation of Marx’s theory of capitalist decline." — http://tinyurl.com/blhdluc )
I put your Left in scare quotes because I agree with you they're not qualitatively different from the Right, which really is Right (defenders of economic inequality). I understand the distinction you are making between episodic acts and unconscious social roles, but my point is that where the "left" acts routinely to save capitalism consciously, it is somewhat unsurprising (and ultimately somewhat trivial by comparison) to discover that they also support capitalism in more subliminal ways. Still, it's a valid point you make but only as applied to the "establishment" "left."
" But the "Left" (since by that you must mean liberals, "progressives," and rightwing Social-Democrats) has never denied that they are the best supporters of capitalism"
... Or their immodesty? "She had an almost cartoonish understanding of what it meant to be a 'Capitalist'" means her outlook is quasi-Marxist, not Liberal or Progressive.
"The brag (I think probably correct) is that F.D.R. "saved capitalism." It's the Right that says the "Left" is socialist, not the "Left."
So no one of the Left is, or has ever been, Socialist? Okay, so it's the Left that says the Right is Fascist, not the Right.
Whatever the case, you have missed my point. No doubt the Liberal/Progressive Left believe they support Capitalism both conciously and on their own terms. In the example above, i'm seeing the Left (generalized) support Capitalism unconciously, and on social terms. That might offend some people's sense of self-control, but that's not my concern. My wider point (@original comment) is that both the Left and Right are social role-players. It is pure collectivist thinking, and not the normal analysis of self-interest or even obscured self-interest. I prefer to see the Left and Right in terms of handedness, not their respective marketing.
As far as your specific point re F.D.R. saving Capitalism, that is era specific, not ongoing. Role-playing is not something one does once every half-century or so. As for the mythology of F.D.R., maybe you should reflect on the fact that the United States economy almost uniquely suffered depression in 1937, before committing to a World war - so what did F.D.R. "save Capitalism" from? Perhaps leaders even more left-wing and business hating than he was?
"As far as the near left propping up capitalism, the far left beat you to the accusation by more than a century."
Oh yeh, why 'prop-up' such a wretched system when they could be leading us to the promised land instead? Except what would that far left nirvana be, if not Socialist, given that the equating of Left with Socialism is just right-wing propaganda?
But the "Left" (since by that you must mean liberals, "progressives," and rightwing Social-Democrats) has never denied that they are the best supporters of capitalism. The brag (I think probably correct) is that F.D.R. "saved capitalism." It's the Right that says the "Left" is socialist, not the "Left."
As far as the near left propping up capitalism, the far left beat you to the accusation by more than a century.
"We misunderstand the purpose of the political left and right in our society."
So recently i was talking with a woman who was doing the short course required to take up a franchisee position in a coffee shop chain. She was looking forward to having lots of free time each week and living a fairly luxurious lifestyle. She imagined that staff would be doing most of the opening hours and she would live off the generous profits the franchise would generate. She had an almost cartoonish understanding of what it meant to be a 'Capitalist'.
Now which political group is most reponsible for this woman's perception of life as a franchisee or small business owner - the Left or the Right? The Left. Who benefits from her perception? The coffee shop chain - in other words, private enterprise, and probably her customers, because the more commonly shared her perception is, the greater the supply of franchisee applicants.
Most people overestimate the average ROI of companies, often hugely. This ensures a strong and steady flow of people willing to try their hand at owning and operating a small business. Without this overestimation, ROIs might have to be much greater. What political group is most responsible for creating this society-wide perception of huge returns to companies? The Left. Who benefits, in mostly private enterprise societies? Everyone (except perhaps, the struggling small business owner), but not the Left specifically.
The Left exists to support Capitalist society, every bit as much as a right-wing think-tank or the Libertarian Party. Ostensibly the Left support's it's own principles and agendas. In reality they are social actors with an important role to play in maintaining Capitalist society, not the independant observers with private goals we see them as - that would be an example of being fooled by formatting.
Good point. We've seen the same thing in South Africa.
People are illogical in this area of who governs them. Consider, if one were living Gaza the best possible outcome might be for Gaza to be incorporated into Israel with the current inhabitants given the right to work there. Israel is real a first world country, It is unlikely that Gaza will be first world for a long time apart form Israel. Yet people will fight and die to support having their own ethnic group be dictators over them.
Why is a king a bad idea, again?
Another example of hypocrispyare filibusters: http://freethoughtblogs.com...
Just one example: "It was the fear that he might lose the election", which is not supported by evidence, but a projection based on bias."
He got it from Greenwald, who had evidence.
But be honest: isn't this exactly what Obama would be apt to do? (Because it's actually completely rational and not hypocritical except rhetorically.)
But "civil" standards are the relevant ones, in that the administration admits that it only resorts to drones against individuals when there's no workable extradition law. In other words, we're seeing an expansion of war standards into what was once a civil (actually, criminal) matter.
I'll say it again: the lack of process is only extraordinary by civil standards, not those of war.