Reasons to be Right

There are obvious reasons not to be on the right of the cultural and political debate. You won’t be liked, for start, and people will think you are selfish or even fascist. Here are some reasons in favour.

(1) The left is boring. Its tone of voice is whinging. Its middle class pretends to talk as though it had never attended school.

(2) The left makes life miserable for as many people as possible. It tries to make people guilty about any form of success they may have won (or been lucky enough to have dumped in their laps).

(3) The left is selfish. In order to satisfy its desire to lecture and control the rest of us, it scuppers the life chances of the feeble. That’s what happens when weak people get to be dependent on the state’s mercies.

(4) The extremes of the left are at least as nasty as the extremes of the right. But the extreme left is close to the idealistic left. The intellectual right has always hated totalitarianism, whist the clever left has often condoned it. Now go and add up the body counts of the 20th century dictators of Germany, Russia, Spain and South America and see how the math goes.

(5) The left winger is always trying to work out how to restrain people whilst the right is trying to set people free. Besides, the right is always trying to work with the grain of the normal, ordinarily human world.

(6) I must be careful here. My kind of right winger is reformist, and not revolutionary (more going with the grain stuff). But can one such be radical? We’ll come back to that.

(7) The left is not creative. It doesn’t do great artistic endeavour. Even art of routine quality is an act of entrepreneurship and individuality. This is true even when one remembers that dissent is sexy and bigging up the Establishment hardly ever is.

(8) The left is unproductive. In its bones, it dislikes the private enterprise which not merely feeds the world, but feeds the world’s aspirations.

(9) The left dehumanises people because it thinks in terms of sociology and classes. The right begins with individuals. It’s harder to be a right winger than a left winger: there’s nowhere to hide on the right.

(10) The left feeds on envy and anger. The right works on making things better.

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Publication date

19 November 2008