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Tim Gratz: Right-Wing Extremist


John Simkin
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Tim, I have noticed that you have started answering student questions on politics. Could you please add your “political biography” to the relevant thread.

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=5051

I am very interested in hearing how you developed your extreme right-wing views.

So far 35 people have volunteered to answer student’s political questions from a wide variety of different countries (England, Wales, United States, Spain, France, Sweden, Holland, Denmark, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Thailand, Russia). Panel members cover the complete political spectrum. Please feel free to join us.

Some of the questions being answered include:

"Is it morally right for top wage owners to pay more than a 40% rate of income-tax?"

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=5164

"Is it better for our political leaders to believe in God than to be agnostics or atheists?"

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=5163

"Should governments pass legislation that might encourage behaviour that is contrary to religious teaching. For example, abortion, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, etc."

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=5165

"Should governments use military action to remove unpleasant political leaders from power?"

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=5166

"Is Iraq becoming another Vietnam? If so, should those foreign troops in Iraq be withdrawn."

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=5167

"Is proportional representation an important ingredient of democracy?"

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=5168

"Which country has the best democratic system in the world?"

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=5169

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It seems to me that you are really baiting Tim here. I understand that he is a conservative but why do you characterize him as a "right-wing extremist?"

If you read Tim’s postings in the Politics Section you will see why I describe him as a right-wing extremist.

Since John initiated this thread, I'm with Gary: let's have some of the most revealing quotes put up here. I don't want to go back and look for what John possibly means with such a characterization. Tim Gratz used to have a bit of fun with history trivia, once asking who penned Goldwater's famous line, "extremism in defense of liberty is no vice." I believe that Tim was genuinely surprised that I not only knew the answer to be Karl Hess, but that I knew far more about what Karl Hess really stood for and what had happend in his personal life as a result of being persecuted for his beliefs. Hess was a true conservative, nothing like the politicians who claim to represent conservatism. Hess ended up living like a hippie, living on a sailboat and bartering his welding skills for money and sustenance. He was legally barred from ever having any money that didn't automatically belong to the IRS.

This may just seem semantical, but I differentiate between "conservative" and right-wing" in that conservativism contains noble ideals of self-sufficiency and freedom which I admire. I have even come to realize the importance of balancing budgets, a conservative ideal betrayed by no one worse than by the purported conservatives now in power in the U.S. Right-wingers are generally focused on issues that are peripheral to the lives of most: guns, abortion, gay marriage, racism, war and paramilitarism.... On freedom to choose abortion, a pure conservative would say government has no dog in the hunt. On gay marriage, a conservative would say it's a states rights issue. On guns, even conservative policemen support an understanding that assault weapons do not fall under the protection intended by the Founding Fathers. On war, conservatives believe that we don't seek to be the world's police - that we need to mind our own business.

The topic was introduced, and Gary asked, so to both John and Tim: why not clarify this issue along the lines of the differention I propose between conservatism and right-wingism. And if that differentiation is inadequate, explain why.

Extreme Liberal,

Tim

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This may just seem semantical, but I differentiate between "conservative" and right-wing" in that conservativism contains noble ideals of self-sufficiency and freedom which I admire. I have even come to realize the importance of balancing budgets, a conservative ideal betrayed by no one worse than by the purported conservatives now in power in the U.S. Right-wingers are generally focused on issues that are peripheral to the lives of most: guns, abortion, gay marriage, racism, war and paramilitarism.... On freedom to choose abortion, a pure conservative would say government has no dog in the hunt. On gay marriage, a conservative would say it's a states rights issue. On guns, even conservative policemen support an understanding that assault weapons do not fall under the protection intended by the Founding Fathers. On war, conservatives believe that we don't seek to be the world's police - that we need to mind our own business.

I suspect the problem here is one of culture. People in Europe tend to be the left of those in the United States. For example, in most European countries, between 30 and 40% vote in elections for left-wing candidates. In the United States virtually no one does (most Europeans see the Democratic Party as a right-wing party). George Bush is seen as an extreme right-winger. Tim is a passionate supporter of Bush, in fact, on some issues like abortion, he seems to be to the right of Bush.

I was of course goading Tim. He has been asked several times by email to explain his political philosophy on this thread:

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=5051

He has refused to do this but has participated in the debates. As I explained earlier, the purpose of this exercise is to help students discover how people develop their political philosophy and how this influences their political opinions on various topics.

I hope you post on the political philosophy thread and take part in the debates. It is indeed fascinating to see people from very different countries debating these issues.

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The other Tim (whose political views are quite divergent but with whom I share a lot of perspectives on the assassination--don't over-read anything into that remark, I refer specifically to our belief that Santo Trafficante, Jr. was a conspirator and may have been solicited by groups with divergent views) and the (speculative) possibility that Oswald may have been lured into participating in what he thought was a "fake" assassination attempt) noted the interesting and intelligent fellow Karl Hess who penned the famous (infamous?) sentence in Goldwater's acceptance speech: "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

In many senses I agree with that statement but it depends of course on how you apply it. I highly doubt that Goldwater or Hess used it to justify violence or even non-violent disobedience of laws. But apply Goldwater's remark to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, which was certainly a fight for liberty and justice for those Americans who had been denied those fundamental rights for far too many years. Of course, Goldwater was opposed to the civil rights movement (although he himself was a supporter of civil rights). In the sixties, when I was quite young, I did not endorse some of the actions of the civil rights movements out of concern that it would only increase the antagonism of the whites. I was very much in favor of black rights and was sickened and appalled by the attitudes and actions of the southern racists. I used to hate the south not only because of the violent acts of the racists but because of the denial by southern society in general of the basic civil rights of blacks.

I think many of my political attitudes were influenced by my religious upbringing. Of course, Communism was an evil system and it persecuted people of all religious backgrounds, Christians and Jews. We were in a real battle with the Communists and it is fortunate that the West won. Even now, on a weekly basis, people are risking their lives to cross the dangerous Florida Keys in make-shift rafts to escape Cuba. But on civil rights my views were shaped by the children's song one verse which was: "Red or yellow, black or white, Jesus loves the little children of the world." Of course, as John has recognized, many of the leaders of the abolitionist movement were motivated by religious concerns. Then again, many of the racists claimed to be Christians, but the Bible teaches that many who call themselves followers of Jesus or not. I suspect that the hottest places in hell are reseved for those who violated the rights of God's children while claming to act in the name of God.

Back to the title: Am I a right-wing extremist, or have I ever been one? I think not. One issue is, of course, who defines "extremist" and John notes his views may be influenced by the fact that many Europeans are far to the left of Americans. (Many Europeans of course hate George W. Bush while at least half of American voters at least thought him a better alternative to Kerry.) So it is not fair to call me a right-wing extremist merely because my master's thesis in political science (never completed) was in defense of the foreign policy of Attilla the Hun.

Back to the serious: I consider myself a "traditional" conservative. Going back in the sixties, I applauded the efforts of William F. Buckley, Jr. to divorce the legitimate conservative movement from what I would consider to be "right-wing extremists" such as some members of the John Birch Society. No quetion there were some kooky right-wingers back then.

Tim made some very excellent points about some of the values of traditional conservatives, including concern over an over-reaching foreign policy. I will post later some links to speeches and articles of a famous conservative thinker named Russell Kirk who articulated some of the ideas that Tim mentioned.

Out of time for now but thanks to Gary and Tim. People who intelligently read this forum should understand that I respect the intelligent views of those with whose politics I differ. A respect and appreciation for intelligently-held divergent views is, I submit, a characteristic both of intelligence and of a truly liberal mind.

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I suspect the problem here is one of culture. People in Europe tend to be the left of those in the United States. For example, in most European countries, between 30 and 40% vote in elections for left-wing candidates. In the United States virtually no one does (most Europeans see the Democratic Party as a right-wing party). George Bush is seen as an extreme right-winger.

Ouch! John's remarks are painfully correct. A comparative analysis between the U.S. and European political dispositions makes the U.S. look like a bunch of cavemen. There are so many issues on which, among the advanced industrialized nations, the U.S. ranks at the bottom. It's one thing to be the only advanced nation with a death penalty, but to actually execute children under the age of 18 truly makes me feel ashamed of my country. George Bush is indeed an extreme right-winger. Some, like me, who believe that both of Bush's elections were illegitimate, compare these recent electoral thefts to the assassination of JFK.

Tim

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Of course, Communism was an evil system and it persecuted people of all religious backgrounds, Christians and Jews.

Isn't there a difference between Communism and tyrannical governments who profess to be Communist? I'm no political scientist, but I suspect that Stalinist Russia, "Communist" China, and the regime that Castro set up in Cuba were no more "Communist" than the United States is a "democracy."

The fact is that the U.S. government always needs (in its own mind and for its own political purposes) an "evil system" as an enemy. (Today, with the demise of the Soviet Union, it's a global monster called Al Qaeda, mightier than the U.S. Air Force and the entire defense system of the Fatherland. I mean the Homeland.)

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I suspect the problem here is one of culture. People in Europe tend to be the left of those in the United States. For example, in most European countries, between 30 and 40% vote in elections for left-wing candidates. In the United States virtually no one does (most Europeans see the Democratic Party as a right-wing party). George Bush is seen as an extreme right-winger.

Ouch! John's remarks are painfully correct. A comparative analysis between the U.S. and European political dispositions makes the U.S. look like a bunch of cavemen. There are so many issues on which, among the advanced industrialized nations, the U.S. ranks at the bottom. It's one thing to be the only advanced nation with a death penalty, but to actually execute children under the age of 18 truly makes me feel ashamed of my country. George Bush is indeed an extreme right-winger. Some, like me, who believe that both of Bush's elections were illegitimate, compare these recent electoral thefts to the assassination of JFK.

Why do you think this is? I think it has a lot to do with the power of the FBI and CIA (combined with the power of big business).

Look what happened to Eugene Debs. In 1918 he was arrested and sentenced to ten years in Atlanta Penitentiary for making a criticizing the Espionage Act. He was still in prison when as the presidential candidate of the Socialist Party he got 919,799 votes in 1920. The largest number of votes any left-wing candidate has achieved in America.

I suspect it has a lot to do with the Red Scare that followed in the 1920s when people were imprisoned and in some cases deported for having left-wing views.

Upton Sinclair, a member of the Socialist Party stood for governor of California in 1934. He lost but he won 879,537 votes against the winner's 1,138,620. However, afterwards he wrote to Norman Thomas and argued: “The American People will take Socialism, but they won't take the label. I certainly proved it in the case of EPIC. Running on the Socialist ticket I got 60,000 votes, and running on the slogan to 'End Poverty in California' I got 879,000. I think we simply have to recognize the fact that our enemies have succeeded in spreading the Big Lie.”

McCarthyism destroyed what was left of socialism in America. After that, the only choice was between two right-wing parties.

I hope you will get involved in our political debates. So far, Daniel Brandt is the only left-winger from America (we have plenty from Europe and Australia) taking part in this debate.

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Of course, Communism was an evil system and it persecuted people of all religious backgrounds, Christians and Jews.

Isn't there a difference between Communism and tyrannical governments who profess to be Communist? I'm no political scientist, but I suspect that Stalinist Russia, "Communist" China, and the regime that Castro set up in Cuba were no more "Communist" than the United States is a "democracy." The fact is that the U.S. government always needs (in its own mind and for its own political purposes) an "evil system" as an enemy. (Today, with the demise of the Soviet Union, it's a global monster called Al Qaeda, mightier than the U.S. Air Force and the entire defense system of the Fatherland. I mean the Homeland.)

The above quote of Tim Gratz reveals the emotional basis that generally dominates discussion about communism and religion in America. No one wants to argue the issue of Stalin's totalitarianism. When I was a young boy in Catholic school I believed that Communists persecuted Christians the way the Nazis had persecuted the Jews during the Holocaust. Ron is absolutely correct that the public support of corporate control of society by the Military Industrial Complex requires enemy-making. There is plenty of reason to question the origins of the Cold War and whether the Soviets and communism weren't demonized as an integral part of maintaining the war-footing of the U.S. military. The U.S. implemented numerous provocative policies which would not have been tolerated reciprocally. We encircled them with first strike missiles such as the Jupiters in Turkey. We overflew their territory with the U-2, despite Eisenhower's own private admission that nothing would start WWIII as quickly as an overflight of the U.S. by a Soviet military aircraft. During the fifteen years between the end of WWII and the 1960 election, the developed arsenal was not reflective of Ike's policy of Massive Retaliation; it was a preparation for a window of opportunity to enact a First Strike Final Solution far more brutal than anything Hitler ever imagined. Kennedy's greatness was in his ability to restrain the impetus of the war plan he'd inherited.

Back to my differentiation between conservatism and right-wingism, and despite Tim Gratz's emotional linkage of an economic system and religion, typical of the propoganda and enemy-making pervading the Cold War, communism is generally seen as the extreme left side of the political spectrum, with fascism representative of the extreme right.

I suspect it has a lot to do with the Red Scare that followed in the 1920s when people were imprisoned and in some cases deported for having left-wing views.... McCarthyism destroyed what was left of socialism in America. After that, the only choice was between two right-wing parties.

Lenin's comment about religion being the opiate of the masses was no worse than John Lennon's comment that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus. They were both intelligent men trying to express complicated points to soundbite religious yahoos. Christian fundamentalism is at the root of the current betrayal in the U.S. of genuine conservatism by right-wing fascism, much like the way good-hearted Christians are being convinced of the necessity of intolerance for other faiths. This has been an undercurrent in American politics since McCarthyism, but now it is arrogantly flagrant.

The division of church and state is under serious attack, with the Orwellian twisting of language making it appear that it is the godless atheists and agnostics leading the attack, rather than defending it. A father who legally argued that the two words "under God" should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance all of our children are required to recite every day at school was portrayed as a virtual soldier for Satan. In all of the news coverage and demonizing of this man, it was never mentioned that those same two words didn't exist in the original Pledge; they were added in the midst of the McCarthy red scare era. There is even a debate going on about teaching creationism rather evolution to our children's science classes.

I believe that the Christian fundamentalists have managed, in McCarthyistic fashion, to promote a literal biblical interpretation that is no less dangerous in the world of international relations than Muslim fundamentalism. It wasn't so long ago that Rabin was assassinated in Israel by a Jewish fundamentalist. An understanding of the overriding impact of religious fundamentalism on all aspects of personal psychology, social attitude, tolerance for other positions and civil liberties is pertinent to understanding the true threat under which we are living today.

Tim

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An understanding of the overriding impact of religious fundamentalism on all aspects of personal psychology, social attitude, tolerance for other positions and civil liberties is pertinent to understanding the true threat under which we are living today.

George Bush on his mission from God:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressrele...r/06/bush.shtml

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Part of the difficulty in any trans-Atlantic political debate is one of language. The similarity between English and American is sometimes superficial! Thus an American "liberal" would make a "one-nation tory" look like a raving trotskyite...

On the other hand, I think people on both sides of the Pond, we hinder communication when we resort to hyperbole by hurling around words like "extremist", "fascist" and so on. One example is the suggestion that Bush has embarked upon a "genocidal" attack on Iraq, or even on Islam. This clearly doesn't make any sense at all. The Bush-Blair policy may be misguided, or dictated by sinister oil interests (or by the military-industrial complex), or just plain stupid. But without an Orwellian re-writing of the dictionary, there's just no way it could be defined as "genocidal"...

There are many, many things about Bush I find abhorrent -- his unwavering support for the death penalty, his consistent intent to permit the destruction of the remaining wilderness sites in the US, his self-serving denial of the very concept of global warming, his theft of at least one of the two presidential elections which he "won", the "cronyism" which has typified his administration, the outrages he repeated commits against the English language, etc, etc -- but even so, I'm still not convinced he's what I'd call an "extremist". Doesn't the concept of the extremist imply that there are very few to the right of a right-wing extremist? From what I've read, there are quite a few people in the former-colonies way to the right of Mr Bush...

BTW why is a thread which seems to have more to do with the political ideology debate aand it's subheadings posted under "JFK Assassination Debate"? I almost missed it!

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BTW why is a thread which seems to have more to do with the political ideology debate and it's subheadings posted under "JFK Assassination Debate"? I almost missed it!

As I admitted earlier, the reason I started this thread in this section was to persuade Tim Gratz to post on the ideology thread and to get involved in the political debates for the good of Andy’s students. Tim has constantly defended George Bush on this Forum and would make an ideal representative of the “Far right, born again Christian, lobby”. I think Andy’s students (and those from around the world who read this Forum) would benefit from seeing Tim Gratz justify what I believe to be a non-Christian ideology.

Despite my goading he is still refusing to post in the “political ideology” thread. I wonder why?

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=5051

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John, I will as soon as I can but I am under time constraints. A friend and I are trying to put together a very small business before the end of December. I would say that I think Christianity has more to do with one's personal morality than with one's political ideology and I think it can be a dangerous thing if one attempts to use religion to evaluate or criticize one's politics. The Bible has a lot to say about personal morality, and I believe that you concur with many (but not all) of the moral points in the Bible. But I do not think the Bible necessarily should dictate one's politics. I think one needs to recognize and respect that reasonable and moral men can differ about politics and what constitutes a just society.

I would raise this question which has often arisen recently with respect to Catholic Democrats such as Senators Kennedy and Kerry. Can a Catholic politician be sincerely opposed to abortion but also believe the state should not dictate abortion policy? Should one judge the sincerity of one's morality by their stands on political issues? I think that can be dangerous.

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