ross douthat: sanders is "arguably technically further to the left than trump is to the right." it seems to me like it would be hard to throw this shit around all day, as people do, without reflecting that you yourself have no idea what you could possibly mean. it doesn't seem to give even really smart people pause that the whole thing makes no sense, which is a real problem in this case, because it leads to unmeaning assertions. you can see that even douthat knows there's something wrong: "arguably technically": why not about seventeen other qualifiers?
not to get technical and shit, but just what sort of facts would be determinative in this matter? what would go to show that sanders is further to the left than trump is to the right? for decades, people have been arguing about who's left and right, or whether bill clinton or tony blair are on the left, etc. everyone who has a position somewhere along the spectrum (has an internally inconsistent position and) sees the whole line from their little point: everything to the left of their point is on the left, everything on the right is to the right, so it all depends on who's talking. but then, there is no line. also, even if there was, i don't really give a shit where any person is on it. those aren't the issues i'm worried about, and they concern social positioning rather than any substantive characterization of positions.
like i really, really don't see how people keep talking this way without quite becoming aware of their absolute inability to clarify the basic terms of their political structure. this inability issues not from their intellectual limitations but from the fact that the underlying concepts are inarguably technically gobbledygook.