Conservatism vs. Liberalism, and The New-Age Fanatic Left
The concept of what is politically “right” versus what is politically “left” seems to be changing. Perhaps we need to put the brakes on and have a good look.
This is a subject worthy of a PhD study if not a few. It requires quite a bit of fact-finding and research. It cannot be given enough justice herein, but it won’t hurt anyone if we try to poke our noses into it.
Many opposing terms can be used to describe what is right and what is left. But this is not all. The way they are defined and perceived depends on one’s own position and views vis-à-vis the right-versus-left divide.
From a leftist perspective, the divide is based on issues that include tradition versus reform, past versus future, old ways versus new outlooks, stagnation versus moving forward, compliance versus questioning and rejection, exclusivity versus equality, racism versus inclusiveness, and many other descriptions and ideologies of similar context.
From a rightist perspective however, the vantage point is quite different. The differences include preservation of values and traditions that have proven that their worth versus risking new ideas, discipline versus chaos, stark reality versus wishful thinking, pragmatism versus fantasy, and also many other related ideologies.
In citing the above differences, care was taken not to mention the differences on economical philosophies. This has been done because the objective herein is to focus on the underlying philosophical heart-felt differences.
For one to be fair and honest, both the right and the left have valid arguments. Therefore, for anyone to take a firm stand on either side of the fence without considering the counter argument is in reality tantamount to absolving oneself from the onus of responsible and fair decision-making.
Politics has however become one of the new world religions. The right will never formally consider having a look at the left, any more than the left will ever consider to do the same.
But the difference between right and left is not like the difference between good and bad, light and darkness… it is rather a conditional difference that changes with the changes of issues and circumstances; and most of all, perception.
There is therefore a lot of room for middle ground for the right and the left to come together. It is the extremists and zealots on both sides that dig the heels in and refuse to budge.
It should not be therefore surprising to see that a Western right protagonist supports an issue such gay marriage; a commonly Western left-wing ideology. Likewise, it should not be surprising to find a European left winger getting seriously concerned faced with what he/she sees as irresponsible European refugee policies coming into effect.
The difference between rightists and leftists is not at all different from that between right and left. It is not black and white as it is made out to look like. Most rightists have some left attributes within them and vice versa. Most of them, on both sides, will reject that they have anything in common. They will forcefully try to emphasize how different they are, but in reality, they have more in common than what they will ever be prepared to disclose and confess.
As a self-proclaimed staunch leftist, the left for me means much more than its political context. It means caring, giving, thinking long-term, helping others and so forth. On the mental/spiritual level, leftism to me stands for open-mindedness and rationality.
This however does not stop me from having views and aspirations that are perceived by many as right-wing. I therefore hereby confess that within my views of the world and humanity, I harbour many passions and outlooks that are regarded as conservative.
The right inside of me believes in God and this is an understatement, because I believe in nothing but God. I believe in traditional family values, cultural values, and the good-old principles of what is right and what is wrong. I don’t advocate arranged marriage, but I don’t stand against it either because I have seen how successful it can be. I totally reject new-age ideas that promote that there is no such thing as good and evil, as I believe that the human journey is nothing but a pursuit of the truth; a journey full of challenges to the soul and a test for her to discern good from evil and developing her wisdom enough to enable her to make the right choices.
This article is obviously not about me, and using myself is only intended to be an example, and each one of us is in fact a microcosm of humanity.
The “funny” thing however is the major shift that we see today, a shift that has dramatically changed the definitions of right and left from wherever we left them back where they were during the Cold War. The old USA versus USSR definitions of right and left do not seem to be valid anymore.
If anything, modern Russia, the heiress of the USSR at many levels seems to be more conservative than the EU and the USA. On the other hand, whilst the NATO alliance remains steadfast with its political and geopolitical Cold War era policies and agendas, the EU is now, at least at the surface, engaging in what would be described as some leftist policies.
There is perhaps no better example to elaborate the seismic shift than the refugee crisis in Europe.
When speaking of Europe, both Eastern and Western Europe, we cannot but isolate its colonial history from the great achievements that it offered and afforded to humanity. Europe did not only give the world two world wars, Napoleon, Mussolini, Hitler and Tony Blair. Europe was the birthplace of Aristotle, Plato, Pythagoras, Socrates, Beethoven, DaVinci, Newton, Tchaikovsky, Tolstoy ….just to name a few.
Europe has been right at the centre of human development and its beacon and throbbing heart for centuries. The modern world, its technological achievements in medicine and industry, have almost all originated from Europe, and any denial of this is an act of ingratitude.
But apart from this, unlike the “New World” (ie the Americas and Oceania) the array of many cultures in Europe are all indigenous and based on traditions that are centuries old. The music, folklore, architecture and even fairytales are all the labour of ancient cultures that ought to be preserved.
Europe does not “need” migrants as such. However, it has a moral obligation to accept refugees given the EU has been instrumental in destabilizing many countries and creating refugees.
The irony here is that the traditional global right, specifically the EU governments are cloaking themselves with a humanitarian guise and taking a leftist stand vis-à-vis the migrants. Though the actions of Merkel, to be specific, are dubious to say the least, her stand towards the migrants are, without any shadow of doubt, ironically much further to the left than those of Russia.
Russia can read in between the lines, and it is not going to allow its vision to be muddied by political correctness. Russia fully understands that first of all 1) many terrorists have embedded themselves with genuine refugees and that 2) Europe needs to protect its culture from dilution.
The biggest irony here is that there is now a new version of the left, a fanatic left that has inadvertently made itself a pawn under the microscope of political correctness. As an example, if and when someone speaks out truths relating to religious zealots taking advantage of loose laws of freedom of worship, then some loud-mouthed, and mostly ill-informed new-age fanatic leftist, will stand out and cry out mercy and start making accusations of Fascism and other descriptions. Those incurable irrational leftists seem to find it much better to allow mosques in the West to continue to teach and preach Jihadism than putting a moratorium on their teachings and activities. If this is left, I don’t want any part of it.
The fanatic left runs on witch-hunt passion and boogieman fear. It is irrational and ought to be faced where and when seen. It will only prosper if ignored and endorsed with silence. Its advocates are fifth columnists and they do not represent the true spirit of the left movement.
This is not a call for the left to attempt to monopolize goodness, but as the political dipoles of the world are no longer based on Communism versus Capitalism, and as the world is screaming out for a new reform platform and directive, the brave new world that humanity needs is one that can embrace human goodness. As the right is always fearful of change, only the left can lead such a quantum leap, but first, it will need to be prepared to reject its radical component and to allow its conservative side to come out of the closet.