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Far-Left Fantasy Land

Entry 1980, on 2019-05-22 at 11:47:14 (Rating 3, Politics)

Think about it: on one hand we have Brexit, Trumpism, and nationalism. On the other, we have inclusivity, globalism, and diversity. The correct choice seems obvious, but is it? Well, maybe not. Instead of using the labels I did, why don't I re-state the argument in different words...

On one side we have freedom from unelected bureaucrats, a dedication to helping the country you are leader of, and the belief that your own values are worth preserving. On the other we have the compulsory acceptance of foreign ideas no matter how distasteful, the wish to make one giant global bureaucracy with little room for distinctiveness, and the necessity of adopting ideas from other groups even if they are contrary to existing hard-won rights.

Now which side are you on?

Which description seems more realistic will usually depend on whether the person making the evaluation is politically left or right oriented. I know these descriptions are difficult to apply sometimes, but I think they are useful despite the fact that political opinion is probably better thought of as being two dimensional (social on one axis, economic on the other) rather than one. For example, I identify as libertarian socially, but I reject most traditional libertarian economic theory.

Looking at those descriptions, it can be seen that there are two ways of looking at the big questions society is dealing with today. How often do we hear these problems described in the second way compared with the first? Well, if you get your news from mainstream media (commercial or public TV, almost every newspaper, most web sites run by corporations) then the answer will be "almost never". But are people aware of the second description? Considering political trends around the world, which often favour the right, I would have to say yes.

How do I know this? Well, despite the overwhelming propaganda supporting the first view there still seems to be a lot of awareness of alternatives and a deeply held skepticism of the standard "politically correct" views from most people. Because the right, who tend to see things similarly to my second description, seem to be enjoying a lot of support around the world. The recent surprise victory of the right in Australia, the victory of Trump in the US, and the success of the Brexit campaign in the UK are all examples of the right succeeding where they should have had no chance.

So it seems that people aren't being fooled by the simplistic narrative offered by the MSM. Note that I'm not saying the "standard narrative" is wrong. For example, I think the EU is a useful organisation and I support it in some ways, although I agree it is too bureaucratic. And I don't support many of Trump's policies, but do agree with others, because I am not a simplistic Trump basher like many people are. And while I support distinct countries as a way to support different ideas, I also think cooperation and assimilation of other ideas is useful.

So maybe both descriptions I offered above are right, and both are wrong. And that's why the one-sided narrative we get from most sources annoys me. It's not as simple as we are lead to believe, and the more only one side is presented the more people see they are being deceived and retaliate at the ballot box. So the rather counter-intuitive conclusion I reach here is that in order for Brexit, Trumpism, and nationalism to be defeated or reduced the people against them should be more honest and accept that those ideas have some merit.

And the same applies in reverse, of course, although that isn't really the important issue of this point in history. Because it is the left who have gone to the extremes and abandoned the majority of moderate people. The right haven't actually changed that much.

Don't believe me? Well a recent survey of political opinion in the US (it would be better to have a more global view, but this is all I could find that was current) showed that political views amongst Democrats have drifted significantly to the left, but the views of Republicans have only moved slightly right. So the gap has widened - a point which seems obvious to most people - but it is the left who are at fault. And assuming most people are near the center, it seems that it is the left who are responsible for their own failures because they are leaving most people behind as they themselves move into some crazy far-left fantasy land.

So someone like myself who has moderately left views is actually, in some ways, closer to the right than the left now. And that's what might explain the continual failures around the world such as the recent "shock defeat" of the leftist Labour party in Australia.

To finish my discussion of this let me offer my opinion on a few subjects which tend to elicit clearly distinctive answers from the left and right, and show why the left has failed on these issues...

Climate change. I think there is no doubt that climate change is happening and that we should act. That should make me clearly on the side of the left, shouldn't it? Well yes, but it is the type of response which is the problem. The answers espoused by the left should be better than no response at all, but they are so compromised that their superiority is highly questionable. Whether a small country like New Zealand plants more trees will make no discernible difference at all, because the real problem comes from places like the US, China, and India. Maybe we would be better to plan for the worst effects of climate change, because it seems unlikely that it is going to be stopped any time soon. The left's response seems to be more a case of window dressing (or "virtue signalling") than doing anything truly effective.

Social justice. Few people would say that they want groups within society to be treated differently based on their ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. But the left again favours a fake virtue signalling response rather than anything real. You can't make society more fair by giving one group advantages that others don't have, just because your narrative assigns some privilege to the group not getting the advantages. And if you are going to make claims that one group has an unfair advantage you really should have some proper evidence of that, and be aware that even if privilege is shown, that other groups might also have other privileges in different areas.

Economic equality. This is one area where I think the left could be effective but seem to have no clues what to do. Raising the minimum wage will not really make anything fairer because our economic system will just compensate with increased prices, lower employment, and other factors which most affect those which the change was supposed to help. So in this case the left aren't bold enough. This might be because they attach so much importance to superficial issues, like social justice, that they miss what actually matters more to people.

Freedom of speech. This is an area which I have concentrated on a lot recently. Again the left seem to think that by stifling free speech - but only when it is against their standard narrative - that they are helping the cause of understanding and tolerance in the world. I would say they are achieving the exact opposite. I follow some fairly extreme views on-line and have noticed an increase in resentment and a rejection of alternative views as free speech has been successively diminished over the last decade or two. Of course, here in New Zealand, the PM's idiotic response after the mosque attacks has made resentment towards Muslims much worse than before. In fact, I don't know if I can vote for Labour again unless this behaviour is changed significantly. This would probably mean removing the current leader, who ironically I recommended to the party that they should take on in the first place!

Environmentalism. I have always been a strong advocate for looking after the environment, and have sometimes voted for New Zealand's Green Party. But I'm not sure if I can do that any more, because their social policies, and some of their environmental ideas have just gone too far. My criticism of social policy is covered above, but their environmental ideals are maybe even more disturbing. For example, using genetic modification and nuclear power are two very reasonable options for solving many of the world's problems today, but these are rejected out of hand by the Greens. So ideology is getting in the way of achieving practical results, and that is maybe the one thing which I find inexcusable in the modern left.

In fact, that should be the theme of this post: that practical, fact-based solutions have been abandoned by the left who now pursue ideologically driven ideas instead. They need to bring their extremist ideology back to something more reasonable, because as they drift further and further left the people left behind start looking at the more moderate alternatives.

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