Professor Laura Hicks
28 June 2014
Left to Right: From Brouwer to Horowitz
It is clear that the political spectrum has two distinct sides, where leftist or liberals are constantly competing with rightist or conservatives to promote their political ideas. In the case of Steve Brouwer and David Horowitz: it is no different. Each of these writers clearly define where they stand in the political spectrum. Brouwer’s stance is on the left or liberal unlike Horowitz where he maintains more conservative views on the right. In this essay, I will contrast the writings of Steve Brouwer’s “If We Decided to Tax the Rich”, and David Horowitz’s “The Intellectual Class War.” Although some superficial similarities exist, the differences between Brouwer’s left views and Horowitz’s right views regarding political partnerships, welfare, and capitalism are pronounced.
The first difference between these two writings is their view on political partnerships and the influence of labor unions. In “If We Decided to Tax the Rich,” Steve Brouwer claims that labor unions do not have the same kind of control with liberals as conservatives have over corporations. Brouwer says, “unions have resources that are minuscule compared to those of business interest: in 1996, all labor associations collected $6 billion in dues, as compared with the $4 trillion in revenues and $360 billion in profits gathered by corporations (Lazere 291).” He also goes on to stress the importance of labor unions on improving working conditions and pay by involving working people in political processes. Brouwer states “The emphasis on raising the wages of those at the bottom is crucial in two ways: it stresses the equal status due to all those who are willing to work, and it protects the wages and benefits of those already organized (Lazere 291).” Labor unions are a controversial issue between liberals and conservatives because they are viewed as putting more regulation on an otherwise free market. A free market most conservatives or people on the right side of the political spectrum favor.
A second significant difference between Brouwer and Horowitz’s writings is their opposing views on welfare. Brouwer supports more welfare programs and considers it a safety net which can be used to provide for the necessities of the poor. Brouwer views welfare as imperative to restore fairness to American economic life. In restoring fairness, welfare would bring higher wages and other benefits giving the poor the tools to prosper. Brouwer says, “This kind of practical social democracy, grounded in the culture of working people, would quickly deflate the false claims of the right, that the poor are “lazy,” “shiftless,” and worse (Lazere 292).” Brouwer also believes that working class people have suffered so the rich could get richer and places a significant amount of responsibility on the Reagan-Bush-Clinton administrations for making conditions on the poor worse.
Another notable difference between Brouwer and Horowitz is their disagreement on the subject of capitalism. Brouwer embraces a more egalitarian society that allows for intervention in the market by government that reduces inequality, regulates economic activity, and redistributes wealth. Brouwer says, “The old structures of capital accumulation have brought us regular cycles of poverty and depression in the past (Lazere 292).” Brouwer believes that the as capitalism spreads globally and that it will continue to decrease living standards and increase inequality of which will eventually be the downfall of democracy because capitalism does not account for everyone. Brouwer believes that because too few people control wealth that it is easy for them to buy political power and keep accumulating wealth, which promotes privatization, and is why capitalism will fail in recessions and poverty.
In David Horowitz’s “The Intellectual Class War,” he sees things differently than Steve Brouwer...
Cited: Lazere, Donald. "Chapter 13 Thinking Critically About Political Rhetoric." Reading and Writing for Civic Literacy: The Critical Citizen 's Guide to Argumentative Rhetoric. Boulder: Paradigm, 2009. 267-301. Print.
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