A wonderful time to be on “The Right”

Capitalism in crisis. Economy in recession. Israel in the dock. A populist Democrat in the White House. What a wonderful time to love being on “The Right”. And it is surprisingly confident, too.

The reason’s simple. These are quite troubled times, but there’s hardly anyone credibly arguing for anything like a return to the policies and prejudices of The Left.

Yes, a generation of capitalists, politicians and journalists have misunderstood how risky finance can be. But the sense is that they failed capitalism rather than that capitalism failed them.

Yes, the world is in recession, but one hears rather little commentary which suggests that we should return to a vast amount of state involvement or state ownership. The taxpayer owns much of the banking system, and seems to see that the sooner they can get rid of it again, the better. People are openly saying that the recession will be survived and ended better because labour markets are fluid. (That is, “nasty”.)

Sure, Israel is attracting a lot of criticism, but the general view seems to be that what ever else happens, Israel’s most committed enemies need to stop imagining – and can’t be allowed – a terrorist victory.

And Barack Obama? He looks as though he’s going to govern as a liberal Republican. We could have predicted that because he always seemed intelligent. One imagines that he will see that the West more or less honours its commitment to Iraq and will intensify its operations in Afghanistan. I know that involvement in overseas adventures divides The Right as much as it divides The Left, but I am taking it that a willingness to use force is a Right sort of a thing more than a Left one.

I say The Right is quite confident because it isn’t very neurotic. The Right is never loved or liked. But it can be rather jumpy. The Right has often indulged in a rather surly hatred of The Left.  The Right felt themselves to be unjustly disliked and returned the favour with a vengeance. I suspect now that The Right is a bit easier in its skin, and neither triumphalist nor embittered.

All this is reflected in the media. Consider the ease with which one can now discuss the causes of The Right. Wearing fur, scrapping the BBC, supporting Israel, downsizing a firm, rebuilding capitalism, limiting immigration, boosting the military – these are all much “cooler” subjects than they have ever been. Great.

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Publication date

27 January 2009