Auto-liberal politics #3 Rethink “left” and “right”

Posted by RDN under Politics & campaigns on 17 July 2016

In a nutshell: the artsy, right-on liberal ought to consider voting Tory. As an alternative he or she could have the role of transforming the Labour party (or the Conservative party), or helping to form a new centre-left grouping. 

I have posted four linked posts on what bright, educated, nice, liberal-minded and especially young voters ought to do instead of feeling disquiet about Brexit, the disaffected white working class, and the Tories.

Artsy liberals #3 Rethink “left” and “right”
I argue that the educated Auto-liberal (habitually, soft-left liberal and green in character) ought to consider voting Conservative, and failing that ought to consider helping the moderate, realist centre left to get electable. That is: they should stop being manipulated by the hard-left and consider where the nation’s bread is really buttered.

I think there is a strong tendency in the Auto-liberal mind to avoid the difficult, real, issues in society and instead to find shelter in grand Causes. In the past this mindset has been suckered by various superior missions, from pacificism to the Green Dream and on to post-bureaucratic Google-ocracy and the wisdom of the Crowd and the Cloud.

In the June 2017 election we saw that the old, hard left – always lurking in the Labour Party, and in a way its most honest part – suckered the dreamy soft left – the liberal delusionists. The Corbynistas are a cocktail of the softest artsy left as manipulated by the hardest machine left. The missionary tendency is being played by the militant tendency.

The difficulty even for the reformed, modernist Nice Tory (actually a reborn 19th and 20th century One Nation Tory), is that the Auto-liberal has cast the Conservatives, and the right in general, as the animal which it is always safe to hate and oppose. It seems that the post 1960s Auto-liberals and Bossy Liberals have persisted with a knee-jerk leftism into their mature years. This over throws the old idea that people used to be liberal when young and conservative when old.

We need a sea change. It is not good enough to write off young people as romantic, idealist, delusional but decent as they vote left. Young graduates should not require to grow into their 40s before addressing some realities. Even as youngsters they ought to read some history, economics, political philosophy and ethics; to face up to admitting and celebrating their selfishness in wanting a career and prosperity; to wondering if women  really can “have it all”; to realising that the private citizen owes something to the public service of the ambitious; to understand that wars have to be fought; that the graduate class (the liberal elite) have failed the working class by failing to pass on the 4R’s (reading, writing, articulacy and ‘rithmatic).

They might even consider the idea that prison ought to be hard as well as transformative; that maybe the Arab and Islamic world has been very badly led for decades and maybe centuries; that economic life can’t be fudged away: it is in some crucial way about competition. In short, they might see that both heart and mind may suggest to reasonable and feeling people that the Tory party, even as it now is, might be a decent home for them.

Many people feel warm about the Labour party, but the party in its present is surely  dangerous to modern Britain. A modern, affluent society must be capitalist; to that extent it cannot usefully harbour socialism as a big wheel on its political chariot. Those who seek to moderate or reform capitalism’s hard edges must do so from other vantage or leverage point than clumsy and ill-considered state control. Further: a modern society has no need of a working class and no need for a national politics dedicated to maintaining such a class, in its ignorance, subservience, dependency and inarticulacy. So, the politics of being to the left of the Conservative party now requires a party dedicated to getting rid of the working class rather than one which belongs to those whose careers might be caricatured usefully as creating a dependency culture for the poor.

One could keep things simple. The Conservative have a positive mission: a prosperous capitalist society with opportunity and decency for all. The left needs to acknowledge that it has no beef with that mission, but a better approach to lightly and cleverly deploying the state to further it. What the left would lose in class-based, liberationist, dissident rhetoric, it would gain in realism and positivity.

And yet the Conservatives would still merit support. The liberals I have been discussing might consider as positively as they can this proposition: the Tories are not all bad, and Tory realism may be rather a good thing. If the Tories were never very, and certainly aren’t now, nasty as matter of their social instincts, why not look dispassionately at their claims to be good for our polity and economics? And if there are bits of the Tory party one doesn’t like, why not join it, and try to persuade it in whatever direction you fancy?

For those liberals who remain rather more leftist than would allow them to join the Conservatives, might they not consider that the Tories have undergone very great transformations in their thinking? Labour now need similar changes, and need young, vigorous, realistic people to join them to make them happen. If neither of these strike the young as attractive, why don’t boost the LibDems, or start a new party, or sponsor an independent useful, charismatic MP in their constituency?


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