Do left wing people practice self-delusion?

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LoveNotHate
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13 Jul 2014, 3:37 pm

How can left wing people believe that more government is better ? Inherent in left wing ideology appears to be the belief that government workers truly care about the citizenry (i.e., not just a superficial concern for holding onto one's government job)?

As a government worker, I never heard one of my fellow government co-workers express any sentiment concerning "serving the public". My experience tells me that government work is about self-service, where one tries to minimize work, and maximize pay and benefits. I contribute to my union to accomplish just that.

How do left wing people get the notion that people work for the government to help the citizens ? It seems like self-delusion.


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13 Jul 2014, 5:46 pm

People are motivated by a variety of things. One of them is self interest. They are also motivated by a desire to conform, and to take the path of least resistance; and to those ends, employees tend to fall in line with whatever workplace culture they find already prevalent. If that culture encourages them to take their mandate to act in the public interest seriously, then that's the way they will tend to operate.

It's worth remembering that the U.S is a plutocracy, and economic neoliberalism is the state ideology. The opportunity for public servants to bypass those imperatives in the public interest is often limited.



Last edited by Stannis on 14 Jul 2014, 12:49 am, edited 2 times in total.

thomas81
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13 Jul 2014, 6:33 pm

LoveNotHate wrote:
How can left wing people believe that more government is better ? Inherent in left wing ideology appears to be the belief that government workers truly care about the citizenry (i.e., not just a superficial concern for holding onto one's government job)?

As a government worker, I never heard one of my fellow government co-workers express any sentiment concerning "serving the public". My experience tells me that government work is about self-service, where one tries to minimize work, and maximize pay and benefits. I contribute to my union to accomplish just that.

How do left wing people get the notion that people work for the government to help the citizens ? It seems like self-delusion.


You're not understanding the point.

The argument is bigger than any one government or any one political party. Government representitives of industry that are accountable to their electorate can be voted out. That is a key issue. Private ownership of industry is motivated by, and is answerable only to spending power not by the consensus of the majority. That is why public ownership irrespective of the government of the day, is far more utilitarian than private ownership.

As a left winger, i would rather have a conservative politician in charge of the hospitals or buses than some money grabbing fatcat. The politician can later be voted out. Once an industry is privatised, its not so easy to get the genie back in the bottle.

What is more private companies are rarely more skilled than government agencies anyway. People who run companies are good at business. They aren't necessarilly more knowledgeable about the industry their company is involved in than a government body would be. Nor do they have a mandate of people who have given their sanction for them to run services they depend on.


As a left winger I'd like to counter your question with questions of my own.

Do right wingers suffer self delusion? Why do right wingers believe that the governments only role should be to oversee the running of the military and police?

How can you believe that an organisation that operates solely on the basis of profit orientated decisions can be better than an agency that has to fear the voting power of the electorate?

As an American, do you have any actual empirical experience of where a private organisation has run an essential public service better or even more compassionately compared to a government agency?


In this country, we have seen the government salami slice public ownership particularly in the health sector in favour of the private sector and we have only seen service quality and availability for the poorest rescind since there was more government control.


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Last edited by thomas81 on 13 Jul 2014, 6:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TheBicyclingGuitarist
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13 Jul 2014, 6:57 pm

Since I became a voting adult in the late 1970s, I have seen the conservatives in USA politics give blatantly unfair advantages to the richest rich people and biggest corporations to exploit the poor and rape and poison the planet just to make a quick buck regardless of the consequences to present and future generations. I have also seen the right wing of American politics get hijacked by religious nutjobs who insist on trying to legislate reality and vote anti-science anti-thinking into American public schools in the name of God.

While what they say sounds fair to those not familiar with the subject, giving "equal time" to any idea in science is only fair if both ideas are equally supported by evidence. Evolution is supported by all the evidence and is falsified by none (although it is falsifiable). Much of Young earth creationism is not even falsifiable so it sure ain't science, but that which can be tested has been proven false by the evidence of the physical world. So it is not fair to give "equal time" to such nonsense in a science classroom, although discussing such insanity in a psychology or sociology classroom would be a more appropriate venue. What they are asking for is just as ridiculous and just as wrong as to insist on equal time for the flat earth theory in geography class.

So to sum up my views as someone who is centrist but definitely towards the left side of the political spectrum: it is the conservatives who are deluding themselves by thinking that a society based on greed, ignorance and fear is better than a society that has some compassion and understanding for other people and the planet. I am not saying bigger government is better, but unbridled capitalism tends to bring out the worst in human nature with much suffering for many people for a long time as a result. The middle path seems the most logical and best even if nobody gets things exactly the way they want it.


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thomas81
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13 Jul 2014, 7:02 pm

Bigger government vs private ownership is a false dichotomy.

Big government isn't the best possible answer, but its definitely leagues better than a situation where you have a tiny government and competing private companies running everything else in the interests of themselves and the very richest.


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mr_bigmouth_502
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13 Jul 2014, 7:37 pm

I'm just not a fan of any particular person or thing having too much power over others, whether that thing is a leader, a government, a corporation, a religion, or anything really.



TheGoggles
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13 Jul 2014, 8:02 pm

LoveNotHate wrote:
Inherent in left wing ideology appears to be the belief that government workers truly care about the citizenry (i.e., not just a superficial concern for holding onto one's government job)?


It's not that it does. It's that it SHOULD.



thomas81
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13 Jul 2014, 8:03 pm

mr_bigmouth_502 wrote:
I'm just not a fan of any particular person or thing having too much power over others, whether that thing is a leader, a government, a corporation, a religion, or anything really.


the only way to prevent one or too few people having too big a power stake is to have some form of collectivism whether it be communism or anarcho syndicalism.


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13 Jul 2014, 9:57 pm

LoveNotHate wrote:
How can left wing people believe that more government is better ? Inherent in left wing ideology appears to be the belief that government workers truly care about the citizenry (i.e., not just a superficial concern for holding onto one's government job)?

As a government worker, I never heard one of my fellow government co-workers express any sentiment concerning "serving the public". My experience tells me that government work is about self-service, where one tries to minimize work, and maximize pay and benefits. I contribute to my union to accomplish just that.

How do left wing people get the notion that people work for the government to help the citizens ? It seems like self-delusion.


You have a very strange idea of socialism. Firstly the preeminent position of socialism is the removal of the profit motive, followed over time by the gradual dismantling of the state apparatus. Now if you wish to argue that the latter goal is delusional then you may have appoint but you need to argue it from the correct perspective. If you characterise socialism as being a welfare state constructed within the confines of a capitalist economy, this has been demonstrated to be unviable (hence we are seeing the implementation of Austerity throughout all the previous welfare states.

I am sorry I just noticed you talk about left wing not socialist. Yes I agree with you left wing capitalists are in my opinion delusional :wink:


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14 Jul 2014, 12:07 am

While I sympathize with the OP I try to avoid questions of that kind in an open forum. Like "All enlightened people accept X" or "If you advocate Y, you must hate the poor," it is a form of ad hominem. Better to focus on what sort of social organization will actually benefit man's life on Earth rather than speculate on the psychological state of adherents.

I will go this far: over the last century, economic collectivism has been tried in dozens of countries and in every conceivable form. For any adult to gaze blithely at that bloody history and still aver that collectivism can "work" ? if only the "right people" are in charge ? requires something I don't understand. I marvel at it.



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14 Jul 2014, 12:18 am

To luanqibazao; the word you are looking for is "faith".



LoveNotHate
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14 Jul 2014, 12:44 am

luanqibazao wrote:
While I sympathize with the OP I try to avoid questions of that kind in an open forum. Like "All enlightened people accept X" or "If you advocate Y, you must hate the poor," it is a form of ad hominem. Better to focus on what sort of social organization will actually benefit man's life on Earth rather than speculate on the psychological state of adherents.


It is generally a correct generalization though ? Left wing thinkers appear to generally advocate for more of a centralized planned economy i.e., more government to manage the economy ? Inherent in this ideology is the belief that government workers would work to benefit the citizenry and not themselves?

I have to wonder how such a conclusion is made. I would think left wing societies end up badly where the strong take from the gullible (i.e., the ones who think government workers care about them).


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The_Walrus
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14 Jul 2014, 3:50 am

In answer to the title, yes. So do all people. If we didn't live in a constant state of denial then our society would collapse.

In answer to the OP, yes, not all civil servants are motivated by the public service they perform. That doesn't mean that "less government is better".

Quality of society and size of government probably follows a skewed bell curve. "No government" is a horrible state of affairs, as are the very smallest governments that don't enforce rights. Huge government is inefficient, and often the largest governments are also authoritarian (I can't think of an exception right now but there probably is one). The best societies of human history have large governments that provide many services and uphold the rights of the people, whilst also not unnecessarily interfering with markets.

So generally, more government is better, but there comes a point where it is worse.



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14 Jul 2014, 7:30 am

DentArthurDent wrote:
LoveNotHate wrote:
How can left wing people believe that more government is better ? Inherent in left wing ideology appears to be the belief that government workers truly care about the citizenry (i.e., not just a superficial concern for holding onto one's government job)?

As a government worker, I never heard one of my fellow government co-workers express any sentiment concerning "serving the public". My experience tells me that government work is about self-service, where one tries to minimize work, and maximize pay and benefits. I contribute to my union to accomplish just that.

How do left wing people get the notion that people work for the government to help the citizens ? It seems like self-delusion.


You have a very strange idea of socialism. Firstly the preeminent position of socialism is the removal of the profit motive, followed over time by the gradual dismantling of the state apparatus. Now if you wish to argue that the latter goal is delusional then you may have appoint but you need to argue it from the correct perspective. If you characterise socialism as being a welfare state constructed within the confines of a capitalist economy, this has been demonstrated to be unviable (hence we are seeing the implementation of Austerity throughout all the previous welfare states.

I am sorry I just noticed you talk about left wing not socialist. Yes I agree with you left wing capitalists are in my opinion delusional :wink:


It has not been demonstrated to be unviable at all. The people who live in Australia, New Zeeland, and the countries of Western/Northern Europe are among the wealthiest humans to have ever lived. The austerity is quackery: it has made things much worse and delayed the economic recovery. Debt is not the problem, it is the solution. We can do austerity after everything is back to normal (if we would want to). Anti-cyclic spending.



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14 Jul 2014, 12:23 pm

luanqibazao wrote:
I will go this far: over the last century, economic collectivism has been tried in dozens of countries and in every conceivable form. For any adult to gaze blithely at that bloody history and still aver that collectivism can "work" ? if only the "right people" are in charge ? requires something I don't understand. I marvel at it.


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