THE LIBERAL LEFT, THE RUSSIAN RIGHT & HOW SUCH CATEGORIES FAIL US
The entire spectrum of right and left has become hopelessly confused in recent years and the categories within it have therefore become almost useless for any kind of meaningful discourse.
I am of a traditional left that seeks to bring those at the bottom of society who are underprivileged up to a comparable position to those who begin life in a privileged position to one degree or another and tend to stay in that position for their entire lives. Those starting from the much lower baseline by majority tend to stay in a lower position regarding privilege and potential also for their entire lives. In this modern world in the West ushered in by Thatcher and Reagan and left in place and further bolstered by those who followed has virtually no answer to the problems of inequity the traditional left wished to address and resolve.
Western society is now thoroughly individualistic, status-based and essentially ambition-driven where unity of purpose, selflessness and communal solidarity are committed to random factors hopefully arising in between the more primary characteristics first named. Both major political parties in the USA and UK clearly agree on the agenda of further liberalisation and individualisation of their societies while reinforcing the freedoms enjoyed by the capitalised class.
Are these societies left of centre or right of centre? It could be argued both ways and is by those actively engaged in politics. But I would argue that they are part of what could be called the Liberal Left which I find a wholly different beast from the traditional left.
Now we can compare these western societies with what were once considered very much of the left, the now departed Soviet Union and present-day China. The Soviet Union was certainly not governed in anything comparable to the Liberal Left of the West today. Centralised planning and control was the order of the day and sought constantly to discipline the markets and people in a way that was considered for the benefit of all. This then was an attempt to resolve the issues that made me a traditional leftist. But it cannot be said that it was liberal to any degree. It can easily be argued that it was indeed a right of centre programme and very rigorously so.
Russia after the end of the Soviet Union experienced a period of widespread anarchy before it was stabilized in the early 2000s. This involved the liberalization of whole swathes of the economic and social life of the nation. With the exception of one area, however, that of traditional values seen as basic to the structure of Russian society and culture. This introduced a robust level of conservatism into the mix which we can see continued to this day. This latter element is one of the most targeted by the Liberal left of the West today.
In China also a similar political evolution occurred but having quite different elements involved. To a certain point in time Chinese communism mirrored much of the top-down planning and control seen in the Soviet Union. Then a radical change was instituted liberalising the creation of wealth. The overall goal was the same, to increase the living standards and life chances of all Chinese, but through the mechanism of allowing free-market capitalism to prevail while holding fast to central planning to guide the overall direction of Chinese society. Is this a left of centre approach or a right of centre approach? Again it can be argued both ways.
In the West, the Liberal left appear to desire complete freedom of expression for all citizens without a great deal of concern for traditional values. The human right to individuality in its fullest expression and the right to organize, proselytize and advocate for ever-extended rights and power are seen as sacrosanct. Traditional values are left to those who are proponents of them to fight for their corner and win out, or not. The states of the West are clearly on the side of those minorities fighting to become accepted and be granted ever greater power. Due to this traditional values are rapidly becoming seen as part of the problem and oppressive of the rights of others. Is this at its roots a left-wing trend or a right-wing one?
The virtual opposite can be seen in the agendas of both modern Russia and China. The emphasis is on the traditional values and cultural norms of their nations rather than on nurturing the right to disrupt those, whether by intent or consequence.
I find myself still having the left-wing views I talked of initially, yet I see what I consider to be the enormous benefit to be gained by conserving many of the traditions I would once have welcomed seeing broken down and removed. Perhaps it is as a result of my advancing age that I have become increasingly more conservative in my approach. Perhaps it is the descent in decency and integrity and the rise in avarice, greed and vanity I have seen over the last 50-60 years in the West that colours my view. It is most likely that both these factors have combined to have this effect.
For the last several years I have wondered why many on the so-called left have been so antagonistic to Vladimir Putin and also to the leadership of China. In earlier years the left saw in the Soviet Union and China examples of great progress regarding leftist concepts and goals. The totalitarian aspects of the Soviet Union were largely overlooked. Such right-wing behaviours were ignored in favour of the belief that all the people of Russia would ultimately benefit. Modern-day Russia, which is clearly far more liberal than the Soviet Union ever was, is however condemned by the majority on the left and the new system in China also. So, what do those on the left now want? It appears they desire what those liberal elites in the West want, endless culture wars for the right to dismantle every possible tradition and create a comprehensive and thoroughly corrosive anarchy where all rights and privileges are falsely claimed as equal. This can never be more than a fantasy with has no chance of reaching any form of ideal society within a system where those at the top maintain their position and do their evil as usual while endless culture wars go on down below.
At least now I believe I understand why the Liberal Left talks in condemnatory terms regarding both Russia and China. They have fully signed up to the belief that the only idealistic platform left to them now is the agenda of the Liberal Left, who have achieved permanent power now in the West. The intent of both Russian and Chinese leadership may well be aimed at the benefit of all their citizens as leftists like myself have always desired. Their methodologies however are seen as authoritarian by those who wish to have their cake and eat it, i.e. a completely free-form anarchy of human expression and rights all in the belief that they can also have societies that are stable, rich and economically equitable for all. In my view, this is a dangerous pipe dream considering the income gap that is growing ever wider in the West, the genocidal war-mongering of their political class and the rampant corruption of their corporate sector. But, it is at least much clearer to me why those who would claim to be on the left see the leadership in the east in such derogatory terms and cleave closely to their own western systems of governance. Systems of governance they once attacked as good leftists in terms of being almost the epitome of all evil.
The political arena, in general, has become as mistrusted as it is possible to be, especially in the USA and UK where, in the absence of Jeremy Corbyn, the UK Labour Party is now a farcical shadow of its former self. Both parties have a similar agenda with policies to suit. In the USA also, both major parties seek the popularity of the traditional warmongering right when it comes to foreign policy and in general work solely for the benefit of their corporate sponsors.
The result in both the UK and USA is a political class that should be anathema to anyone on the left. Yet, due to the elite liberal consensus in both nations, a semblance of anarchic idealism is broadcast, a sop to leftist thought, and this appears to be enough to win the loyalty of leftists and gain their support in the western liberal elite hate campaign against Russia and China.
It is a sorry state of affairs and has led to a world influenced by the West into an abysmal condition of mistrust, lies, covert destabilization, mainstream propaganda masquerading as news and a split right down the middle of our planet with the world’s two greatest power blocs on either side.
The next decade is likely to see us slip ever deeper into a world of threat, fear and division and old concepts such as left and right will be of no use whatsoever in understanding, nor ameliorating, our constantly deteriorating and thoroughly lamentable situation.
It is my firm belief that only when the economic power of the east totally eclipses that of the west and by a substantial degree will we see the level of threat subside. At that point, I would strongly contend that the absence of any consideration of right, left or centre will become the norm.
And with a sigh of relief, I believe we can then wish an extremely heartfelt good riddance to these now useless categories of right and left.