Saturday, July 08, 2006

Fan Mail

Dear Heretic,
"As a long-standing Left-wing sympathiser, I am deeply offended by feminism's appropriation of the Left and of 'progressive' causes".

In the context of the present day that is an irreconcilable paradox. Feminism is the cherished sceptre of the modern left.

Identifying oneself as a 'Left-wing sympathiser' (the left having evolved into something that is now both inhuman and anti-human), whilst at the same time claiming to be offended by feminism would be no different to a hypothetical statement, made by a 1930's German Nazi, declaring outrage at the anti-semitic propoganda and practise of his time.

The tide of political opinion has changed dramatically over recent decades. But extremists lurk deceptively behind old ideological names and labels. Even the Tory Party is being used as camouflage for such people.

Regards,

Peter.

Dear Peter,
Thank you for your message. I am glad that you found something of value in my site.

I think we disagree on the definition of what constitutes the Left. I have always been a secular thinker, and deeply opposed to totalitarianism in any form. When I refer to the Left therefore, I am not referring to the governments of China or the Soviet Union, whom I would strongly oppose. The Left in a broad sense has always concerned itself with the plight of the underdog, the poor and dispossessed, and with attacking unwarranted privilege. This is the sense in which I am a Left-wing sympathiser. Many commentators have pointed out that Jesus of Nazareth was, in this broad sense, one of history's greatest Left-wing activists, in his teaching that all men are created equal, his promotion of social justice, and in his concern for the poor, sick and needy. These are all classic Left-wing causes.

As the South American priest Dom Helder Camara once said "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist"

In fact, the terms Left and Right do change meaning, and they are used in a different sense in the US and Europe. In the US, 'Liberal' seems to mean the same as Left-wing, whereas in Europe, a Liberal is a person of the political centre. These days, I would regard myself as strongly liberal in the European sense.

A very good resource to look at is the Political Compass, an interesting and unbiased look at these concepts. Take the online quiz to find out where you stand on the political map. As the site explains, there are really two different political axes, not just one.

There is, firstly, the degree of government intervention in the economy. Left-wing governments exert a high level of control over the economy with high taxes and high spending. Right-wing leaders such as Thatcher and Bush promote a free-enterprise economy with low taxes and low spending. The two ends of the spectrum can be called Left and Right.

Secondly, there is the level of government intervention in private behaviour, or social policy. How liberal is the government on issues such as sexual behaviour, homosexuality, abortion, recreational drugs, gambling, prostitution and pornography? Is there a free press, or is the media heavily censored? How much free speech or private freedom do people have? The two ends of the spectrum can be called Libertarian and Authoritarian.

By plotting a position on each axis, you can locate yourself on a 2-dimensional plane.

Although the conservative regimes of Thatcher and Reagan were extremely liberal on economic issues, they were deeply authoritarian on social issues. China is extremely authoritarian on both axes, with a high-level of government intervention in both the economy and private life. The site has many more examples.

I found myself located alongside Mahatma Ghandi and the Dalai Lama, which I dont think is too bad! I am slightly Left on economic issues, in that I support free education and health-care for the poor, for example, while at the same time recognising the need for free enterprise. I'm sure Jesus would have agreed with me on that. I am libertarian on social issues. People will pursue their sex lives whether you like it or not, so you may as well let them get on with it. Education, not legislation, is their best protection in my view.

Many people embrace Left-wing causes in their youth and later move to the Right once they get more life-experience, and this is true of myself. Someone said, "If you are not Left-wing at 20, you have no heart; if you are still Left-wing at 40, you have no brain". I recognise what they meant by that.

Now to explain what I meant about feminists appropriating Left-wing causes. I have abandoned Left-wing causes partly because I found myself no longer welcome. I was driven out by feminist hostility. They make it clear that men have no place in humanitarian organisations, child-care, or charity organisations. Part of their evil mythology is that all the world's problems are the fault of men, and it is the task of women to fix the problems. They have systematically penetrated charities, aid agencies, media organisations and government departments in the last four decades, and turn these institutions to promoting their own agenda. Read my piece about Amnesty International for a good example. Naomi Wolf advocates that women should take control of all such organisations; women, in her view, should enjoy a monopoly on compassion.

I hope you are not implying that I am an extremist (although I am extremely anti-feminist). I oppose feminism precisely because it is so authoritarian, on both economics and social policy.

I hope this clarifies things.

Enjoy your weekend.

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