I do. I blame the French.
It is a British tradition.
But, more specifically, I blame them for messing up our perception of politics.
The whole concept of Left Wing and Right Wing comes from French Revolutionary days, when liberal deputies generally sat to the left of the president’s chair and the nobility, members of the Second Estate, generally sat to the right. And, of course, in the UK Parliament, there are two sides facing each other.
But I have never thought of politics as Left and Right facing each other.
I have always seen it as a circle.
If you take the Left to an extreme and you take the Right to an extreme, they end up meeting in exactly the same undemocratic authoritarian place.
The last line of George Orwell’s Animal Farm is:
“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
I might as well have been in Berlin in 1938.
In yesterday’s blog, which included in its title the phrase “liberal Fascism” but which could equally have said “international Socialist Fascism”, I wrote a paragraph (quoting something I had actually said) almost just to see what reaction it would get. I wrote:
“I’ve always thought that Socialism is not a political system; it’s a religion. If you follow the true path of Socialism without deviation, it will create a perfect heaven on a perfect earth. That’s bollocks. That’s religion not reality. If you’re a Conservative and someone disagrees with you, then you think: Someone disagrees with me. If you’re a militant Socialist and someone disagrees with you, then you think: They are evil.”
One reaction to this on Facebook was:
“People who are against socialism aren’t evil because they happen to have different views. They are evil because they are in favour of inequality, exploitation and the suffering and death of the poor.”
I had to say I thought this somewhat proved my point.
It seemed to go along the same path as the religious zealots of ISIS/ISIL/IS – If you are a Shi-ite or Christian instead of a Sunni, then you are an evil creature beneath any level of existence deserving any humane consideration.
If you are against Socialism, then you are “in favour of… the death of the poor” and, to re-quote something else mentioned in yesterday’s blog: “if everybody who opposed liberalism were to be shot, the world would be a much better place.”
Comic Trevor Lock yesterday put it perhaps better than I could. He said a propos the recent criticism of comedian Andrew Lawrence’s views that what terrified him was “this certainty – this chilling certainty – that they are right. That is how most of these people think. They are certain they are the good guys. Did the Nazis walk around thinking they were the bad guys?”
Unswerving certainty in your own righteousness and the evil (as opposed to misguidedness) of anyone with an opposing view to your Truth seems to me more the basis for an extreme religion that a political ideology.
There is nothing wrong with religion. But organised religion tends to enter areas of authoritarianism and tyranny.