I like Tim Worstall’s blog; partly from a sense of lefty guilt at the dreadful business of taking money from people and calling it ‘taxation’, but mostly because it provides very snappy high-level analysis and is funny while doing it. A case in point is today’s post on the liberal-lefty reaction to people purposefully flouting a phosphate soap ban in Washington state; Tim points out that it had the unintended consequence of people smuggling in phosphate soaps from out of state, with all the environmental impacts inherent therein – more petrol used and so on. Cue lefty outrage at these dreadful people subverting a moral principle.

This makes a post by Charlotte Gore, also today, especially hilarious. She’s taking aim at the sense of entitlement displayed by many lefties and poor people with regard to public services, and arguing that it makes no sense to her that they would think it’s fine to just take other people’s money to service their own lives. But why would a libertarian find it surprising that if you promote selfishness, greed and individualism, people would become more selfish, greedy and individualistic, and care significantly less about the impact of their actions on other people? It’s almost as though moral principles about not harming other people aren’t separate from from moral principles about actively caring for other people, and if you get rid of one you lose the other too. Cue rightey outrage at these dreadful people subverting a moral principle.

Advertisements

While I still think of myself as nominally left-wing (although my despair at the insanities perpetrated by both sides of the political spectrum is pushing me into being an avowed centrist), I am nonetheless taken aback by the sheer scale of the vitriol that has been visited on the coalition government by the likes of the Guardian. It reminds me of nothing other than the petty little madmen who haunt the comment threads of Daily Mail articles, spewing venom about the dreadful things those foreigners are doing to our green and pleasant land. There’s something particularly pathetic about the intellectual laziness of simply opposing that which you don’t like while offering nothing positive by way of exchange.

That’s why Sunny Hundal’s decision to join the Labour Party came as something of a disappointment. I’d always rather liked the standard of debate on LibCon, and went so far as to submit an article of my own to it last weekend. The project of providing a proper alternative to neoliberalism – a real contribution to the national debate – is one that’s close to my heart. Instead, Sunny has decided to oppose, giving opposition to the coalition as the prima facie reason for joining the Reds. This visceral opposition has been playing out across the pages of the Guardian since the election, and thus far has done nothing but attempt to downplay any achievement (witness the BBC’s description of falling unemployment as ‘unemployment has so far failed to rise) and hypothesise awful futures based on nothing more than that opposition.

This is not the left. Like many young people, I viewed myself as left-wing because I believed it referred to a politics of constant change, constant revolution – not vicious reaction against it. The left puts forward ideas, the right opposes on the grounds of their love of stasis. This is what I believed the political wings represented. This is clearly no longer the case.

I choose to remain radical. I choose to remain for, not against. I choose to remain a Liberal Democrat.