I’ve always been uncomfortable with a number of sentiments presented by people who claim to lean to the left. I’ve never really understood why, but a number of the statements and ideas just don’t feel right to me. I consider myself to be something of a moderate (I think all political parties are very capable of being dumb and policy should decided on a case by case basis) and a little bit libertarian (I think the best government is the smallest one that meets the needs – not wants – of the people it serves).
I finally figured out part of what it was that didn’t feel right to me. A great number of the “left”‘s argument amount to society should adapt so that specific groups of people don’t have to. These groups are usually minorities of some description. This is really interesting to me. I’ve spent a lot of time in situations where it was up to me to adapt. I moved around a lot – the local culture certainly shouldn’t be expected to adapt to me – I had to adapt to it. Camping in fairly remote areas – the wilderness wasn’t going to adapt to me – I had to make sure I didn’t screw up too bad. If somebody drops the food in the river – we’re hungry. I realize now that I was never in very much danger in the bush, but it sure felt like it at the time. When a bear is looking at you like you might have something tasty to eat across a frozen river she sure isn’t going to embrace your right to exist – even if you explain it really well. You’d better have a coping strategy or a gun.
The interesting thing about most of arguments I hear from my leftist colleagues (remember I work in the “Academy”) are that the world should adapt to a particular point of view because it is somehow the correct point of view. There are 2 things that really intrigue me about this view point. One, most of the people making these statements have never really been able to adapt to anything. They seem to have convinced themselves that they’ve always had the moral high ground. I’d bet if you travelled back to when they were 15 they’d be making essentially the same arguments. Two, it is always their own point of view that the world has to adapt to. The statements boil down to – the world would be perfect if everybody thought the way I say they should think. (the speaker not me – if everybody thought the way I say they should think the world would be perfect J).
This is what we’re seeing with the proliferation of “Studies” disciplines. Women’s Studies prof’s are all women. A Black Studies prof certainly can’t be white, the same with Native Studies. I’d like to know what happened to the idea of objectivity.
The problem boils down to the problem I have always had with the NDP politically. They are totally unwilling to accept that most of the country does not support their views. This is why they cry for proportional representation. And when you point out that this will primarily benefit the NDP and take power away from the voting public (remember you don’t get say specifically who gets to go to Ottawa - Jack Layton will) there really isn’t a response. This is just another example of those on the “left” claiming that the world should adapt to them.
I know a kid about age 6 who thinks the same way. We’ll play games, and if he doesn’t win he claims the game is unfair and that we should change the rules. It never occurs to him that practising might be a good idea, or maybe he’s doing it wrong.
I’m going to end this with a line I fed to a friend of mine who’ll be running for the NDP in the next federal election. He might even use it. The NDP – so left it’s right! I wanted to add the tag line: Fascism - it covers the whole political spectrum! But it's too long.