We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
JJM: Emperor Diocletian fixed prices and froze social mobility to keep everything just perfect and stable forever.
While Diocletian is credited with stabilizing the empire, he was hardly a figure on the left. He was an absolutist, and as you said, entrenched the existing hierarchy, putting him on the political right — which goes to show that statists can be found on the political left or the political right.
The political left is generally defined as advocating for increased equality. That may or may not involve statism.
Conversely, the political right is someone who advocates for hierarchies, particularly traditional hierarchies and traditions. This may or may not involve statism.
Sowell: The Left's devotion to central planning has endured from the French Revolution to Obamacare.
The French Revolution was in opposition to autocratic and highly-centralized governmental monarchism, monarchism being the political right by definition.
The political left, like the political right, represents a wide variety of different positions. Some on the political left are libertarian or anarchist, so reject central planning. Meanwhile, some on the political right would use government to enforce their notions of traditional values.
I wasn't making any allusion to left or right (which modern political notions) but to the fact that centralized planning - the state diktat - aimed at "fixing things" belongs in the nihil sub sole novum department of shopworn ideas.
JJM: I wasn't making any allusion to left or right...
You're right. It wasn't an allusion. You used the word "leftism" explicitly. Your claim was that because Diocletian was an absolutist, he would be considered on the political left. The French monarchy was absolutist, and is on the right by *definition*. You are conflating the means, statism, with the intended results. Someone can be on the left or the right and be a statist. Someone can be on the left or the right and be a libertarian or anarchist.
"You used the word 'leftism' explicitly. Your claim was that because Diocletian was an absolutist, he would be considered on the political left."
Er, no, it wasn't.
If you go back to my original comment here (2015-09-17 16:57) you'll discover that I never mentioned "left" or "leftism" at all (and I wouldn't have, since being a student of history rather than politics per se, I would not have indulged in such a blatantly obvious anachronism with reference to the Fourth Century Roman Empire).
In fact, you're the one who introduced "left" in response to my comment so please stop trying to put words in my mouth, thank you very much.
Sowell anchors his claim on the French Revolution which was a rejection of absolutism and the existing hierarchies. Leftism has many flavors, and not all of them are statist; just as Rightism has many flavors, not all of them libertarian.