In the interest of balance we let Noam decry the left’s hijacking of the moral high-ground in his opinion and how it is so easy and fashionable to demonise conservatives. ‘So the debate ends up controlled completely by the left – therefore is not a debate.
Conservative opinions on social issues are now dismissed as retrograde at best, and intensely vulgar and selfish at worst. And anyone who doesn’t embrace multiculturalism, third-wave feminism, gay marriage etc etc, is automatically delegitimised as anti-progressive. ‘
It’s only bigotry when conservatives thinkers do it..
Just because you consider yourself on the political left, doesn’t mean you magically have a monopoly on fact and progress.
These days, it’s quite striking how easily, in an exchange, a leftist will charge a more conservative thinker with ‘speech crime’ (‘you can’t say THAT anymore!’) and how there’s often a ready and reliable stream of ‘isms’ and ‘phobias’ that apparently the conservative can be summarily diagnosed with.
Throughout my 20’s I was a pretty staunch leftist. And as is the leftist way, I made it my business to ‘educate’ and ‘enlighten’ conservative thinkers whenever our paths met. People who expressed merely some reservations about mass immigration, the political drive of multiculturalism, the ‘equality’ of cultures, the paternalism of Political Correctness, a socialist top down government, pacifism, modern feminism, homosexuality etc etc, were ripe for my scorn and battery. ‘How can ANYONE in this day and age by AGAINST gay marriage?’ I would scoff. How DARE you call for military intervention in [insert conflict]? Don’t you know we’ve already killed millions of people?’ ‘And what about the crimes of the British Empire..?’ And on and on.. It wasn’t long before they were dismissed as a ‘bigot’ or a ‘racist’ or (my favourite) an ‘apologist for violence’. To even slightly grant a conservative’s point of view, would feel like legitimising it, which would be a veritable capitulation on my ‘progressive’ principles. The leftist simply must have a monopoly on ‘progress’, at all costs…
The truth is conservatives tend to be more realists. More pragmatic. More balanced than many on the left – not as puritanical. They don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water, they think it is morally wise to overturn society or completely change it. Of course, they want to have a certain amount of social diversity, they want to protect people’s rights and liberty, they want to protect the environment. They just don’t believe the leftist (or socialism) necessarily has the answers. It is a debate. It is to be negotiated, between left and right. Not hijacked by the left. The conservative, more often than not, appeals to an idea of balance.
Leftists are not the de fault guardians of civilisation. And as it turns out, one person’s views on a range of topics may jump about the political spectrum. Leftists must remember; like the great Roger Scruton says, there is a conservative in each of us. It is part of our default nature – to ‘conserve’. And not to fix things that many of us think are not broken. Unfortunately, it is also in our nature to ‘deconstruct’ – which is not always the answers. It will always be easier to break things than fix them. The left seem to have made a fetish out of destroying things in the name of ‘progress’.