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The Thoughts Of Chairman Dave

The Thoughts Of Chairman Dave | Dick Puddlecote.

I agree with almost every word of Brother Puddlecote's critique of David Aaronovitch's article on the obesity "epidemic".  I only question his focus on "lefties" and their "belief in the weakness of all humans". Quite a lot of "righties" believe in that too. Almost every politician became one because he believed he knew better how people should live.
 
Mr Trump, for example, who proposes to "make" America great again, when all that requires is for parasitical politicians to leave Americans be. Not to mention Mrs May, who uttered the vile words "social justice" on the doorstep of Number Ten the first time she entered as Prime Minister. "Social Justice" is a euphemism for "collective punishment" or for setting one group against another by framing one as oppressor and the other as oppressed. It's a traditionally leftist phrase now used by authoritarians of all hues to justify the extension of state power to line their parasitical pockets while they right imaginary wrongs.
 
Brother P. may rightly say I am an hypocrite. I have used my modest pulpit here to berate "the Left" for over a decade. However, I sense that the Left/Right divide is breaking down. Once Gilbert & Sullivan could write that
Every little girl and boy, that's born into the world alive,
Is either a little Liberal or else a little Conservative
Then the Labour Party came along and those Liberals who did not politically zombify fled to either side of the new binary. Left/Right, Labour/Tory, became the lens through which we saw our political world. Now, however, the Labour Party has already died in Scotland and seems mortally wounded in England and Wales. A new binary may be about to emerge. The political spectrum within the Conservative Party – home of paternalistic knights of the shires, Thatcherite Hayekians and everything in between – has always been far wider than the divide between relatively sane Labour and the relatively unsound Tory Wets.
 
If Labour had not united the Conservatives in opposition to its constant demands for a more powerful state, they could easily have broken into a range of parties offering a rich, nutritious (and far less fattening) political menu. The Tory spectrum was certainly far wider than that within the Labour Movement. There the only real difference of opinion was not about how much socialism is needed, but how much can be slipped past an electorate in a single parliament. Their ideal society is identical, whether they are for Corbyn or Blair. Their only differences are presentational; whether to be open wolves or wear the Fabian sheepskin.
 
A new political balance, if there is really a seismic shift in progress, may make us Classical Liberals no happier. Trump's supporters are tired of being triangulated, ignored and sneered at by a Washington elite with a narrow spectrum of poltically-correct opinion and a disdain for regular folk, but they seem (with the honourable exception of Milo Yiannopolous) to be quite authoritarian by inclination. Corbyn's bespectacled hordes are similarly over-triangulated, but are crying not for freedom but more of the ideological lash.  Tired of the corrupt, the dishonourable and the undemocratic, a disgruntled populace may yet develop the old yearning for that most dangerous of creatures, a political "strong man" (or woman). May, Erdogan, Trump, Putin; let's hope it's not a trend.
 
My point, if I have one (and I am not sure why I am making it to the amiable and admirable Brother Puddlecote) is that perhaps we should stop reinforcing the left/right distinction that seems to be breaking down. Free market classical liberals are open to all kinds of societal arrangements as long as they are voluntary. I can better handle a democratic socialist prepared to argue openly for a more communitarian society that a Teresa May singing of the rule of law while quietly building a police state.
 
I can certainly respect anyone who wants to live his ideals; set up a commune, "social enterprise" or cooperative business for example. Even if I confidently predict his ideas will make people poorer and sadder in the long run. What I can't live with is anyone – Left, Right, Religious fanatic, evangelistic atheist or whatever – who wants to boss his fellow-humans about when they are not offering others violence or committing fraud. And here's my point, Brother Puddlecote. A lot of Labour-voting people who think of themselves as "left" feel the same way. They like their pies, their pints and their ciggies and they instinctively dislike Jamie Oliver (my current litmus test for a decent human being).
 
It's a small, pedantic point, but I suspect your joyful approach to personal responsibility when it comes to food, drink and stimulants resonates just as well among soon-to-be-former Labour voters as Tory ones. So why drive them into Aaronovitch's arms by calling him a name they identify with?

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