Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Problems with the left?

"The Right looks for converts, the Left looks for traitors", is an old saying, apparently - although like Norm I'd never heard it before. But it's true of course - fratricide has always been a strong tradition on the left and I've been wondering whether and to what extent this has to do with the way in which at least a significant proportion of those who would describe themselves as 'left' understand morality.

If it's right to say that this is often still understood by many as a function of being on the 'right side of history', this means in practical terms that a measure of a person is often taken from the 'correctness' of someone's views in relation to big geo-political issues, rather than the more mundane business of how people conduct themselves towards their families, friends, neighbours and work-mates.

Burke wrote that, "To love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections." But certain sections of the left (not all of it, by any means) have not only tended to reverse this but sometimes to act as if love for one's little platoon should be viewed as something that is potentially detrimental to 'public affections', as if the former 'crowds out' the latter, as it were.

It's a problem because - and if I can be permitted to use this suspect phrase - I don't think 'ordinary people' have a lot of sympathy for this. It's a feeling I share.

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