Friday, March 30, 2007

To Lean to the Left

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.


Anonymous said...

oh Dr.J, this is one of the best pieces I have ever read.
I laughed so hard, I almost burst.

So true though, look down south, democrats look so left they are right, just like here, and the right look so right, they're left...look at Harper and the gang.

Too bad Dr.M....wrong camp.

But I agree, whenever a society is "leaning" toward just one point of view and not accepting dissent or other "correct" positions, we are all in trouble. It is even more frightening how words are now being taken back and perverted to suit one's specific need or point of view, even though the word(s)originally perhaps never were to mean that particular point of view. What's even scarier is when facts become open to manipulation.

So what does this mean to an economy, that an economy too is open for manipulation to the forces that are in the majority or have the power to influence things. Usually, this has meant economic malaise. History has many examples of this and we must always take heed of those missteps.

Off to another topic, and I would love to hear what you say about this: Am I the only person who actually thinks that the Federal Reserve is close to being absolutely lost. I don't think Bernanke knows what is actually happening. He seems to be giving all the danger signs just a hope and prayer and waving them off. That is dangerous and I feel that the American taxpayer and us Canadians too are going to be in for a long period of stagnation, while the rest of the world moves on. The world has changed and I really believe that us North Americans fail to realize that even though we're important, we are definitely not the movers or shakers anymore.

Don said...

It's interesting how you set up the argument. It is always a competition. When I was six, rules were not that important, the play was. Yeah, we jumped up and down when we won, but I jumped up and down when something cool happened also. Ultimately who makes the 'rules' for this society? Why can't rules be changed? Have you ever given a handicap to a weaker player?

While the greater society 'adapts' to the minority's will, I find it hard to believe those groups have not also 'adapted' to society. Ever been a francophone in Saint John?
Despite any accomodations we make, they are not getting by in this place without losing something of their old ways, language and culture.

And if the greater society 'adapts' to the minority group, is that a gain or a loss? Is the society as a whole better or worse for this adaptation? Why assume it is for the worse?