I describe myself as being liberal. I’m certainly not right-wing, but I don’t think of myself as left either. I’m moderate, a strong supporter of capitalism, and have socially progressive views. In the old days I might have been described as a social democrat. Ideally I might be a swinging voter, but it’s a long time since that’s been the case.
This is how I see myself, but I’ve been called a leftie on Twitter, and in forums like that would be identified with that side of the political ledger. My social views certainly place me well within that categorisation, but that’s only because there has been a general shift to the right over the last 20 years. I’m still pretty much in the same spot I was then. Then I was a true moderate, with a good choice of views to the left of me.
Most of those left views have shifted. There’s a few hold-outs on the left, but they’re increasingly seen as kooks, which is disappointing. The ALP as it is today is – in terms of social policy – a little to the right of me. As for the Libs? Once upon a time I’d have toyed with the idea of voting for them. These days I wouldn’t piss on them if they were on fire.
This is a very sorry, sad state of affairs. The right has gone hard right. It’s no exaggeration to think some of their policies verge on the fascist. They are hard nuts with regressive views on the many social issues that matter. It’s a battle played out on social media (though, sadly, rarely in the press) between the regressive, conservative right, and the progressive left. It’s a surprisingly violent, and often personal battle.
To my way of thinking – enlightened I believe, liberated, liberal – the conservative right is narrow and fearful and lacking any positive imagination. Economically they’ve become arid dries, locked into a rationalist philosophy regardless of the circumstances. No matter the question that’s the answer, which is dumb, ideological nonsense. In Australia there’s no Tea Party, but there are powerful interest groups, the IPA, the Murdoch press, the hideous mining oligarchs.
In any case, the point I want to make is how the political landscape has shifted while I’ve remained pretty much in place. And yes, what ugly people those on the far right are.
You know I had no clue there were so many nasty and evil people in the world. One thing social media does is expose the inner tyrant to view. Perhaps it gets magnified by the medium and in the glare of the spotlight, but nonetheless the medium brings to the surface something that obviously exists in latent form otherwise. Should we be grateful for that?
I often find myself reading rants on Twitter in a state of semi-disbelief. Do people really think like that? How can they hate so much and think it reasonable? How do people form such toxic views? When did human life become so cheap, and thought so shallow? And when did racism, homophobia, sexism, etc, become acceptable again? Really, much of it is toxic and hateful.
I watched a movie last night that reminded me of that. Pride is the story of how a small bunch of London gays and lesbians raised money in support of Welsh miners striking in Thatcher’s England of the eighties. It’s an unlikely union, fully and entertainingly explored in the movie. It’s a fun movie, but it’s also a magnificent true story.
Against the odds a bunch of the disenfranchised offered their help to the embattled, but initially unsympathetic, miners. What the LGBT realised is that what they had in common with the miners is that they were both minorities facing overwhelming opposition. The miners ultimately came to understand this too, and there’s a lovely karmic pay-off when the Welsh miners support the gay pride movement.
It made me think that there’s generally a human truth when we support those in minority, those oppressed, and those without a voice. It’s very rare that such support is misplaced, but such support in itself is pretty rare. Certainly it is these days.
Thatcher’s England is a good example of that. She still has adherents today, while there are many more convinced she’s now burning in the fires of hell. At the height of her power she said something that epitomises between those of us who seek to look after each other, and those who see only to look after themselves. I paraphrase, but basically she said there is no such thing as society, it’s a myth, there are only individuals.
You either buy into that view, or you don’t. I think it’s bollocks, and even if I didn’t think it would strive to prove it so. I’m a strong individual, I cherish my independence, but can’t believe in such a cold hearted world. If there’s one thing I know with certainty, it’s that it’s not how it’s meant to be. Often it’s how it is though.
Let’s make it clear. Those who seek to perpetuate such oppression are not worthy of our support. They govern for the few rather than the many. Often they leverage the misery of the oppressed for the benefit of their own.
That’s certainly the case with our government, who have made an art form out of further marginalising minorities (occasionally in perverse ways such as when they refuse to allow into the country refugees fleeing from regimes they themselves have called evil – but then that’s politics). They hammer minorities and stand up making a virtue of it, and in doing so appeal to the bigots and dunces and generally nasty people out there happy to believe in their worse fears.
I think it’s time to say it. There are fuck-all decent human beings on the far right. And if you’re one of those happy to see minorities oppressed, innocent Muslims persecuted, refugees drowned at sea, and gays and lesbians with less rights than the rest of us then you’re just a cunt.