Since I’ve been out of communication for so long, I thought I ought to re-state my position and some of my core values, while continuing my long-running diatribes.
Everything I write, these days, seems to align me with the intolerant, conservative right-wing, in Britain. Honestly, I’m not one of them.
Ever since I was a student, I’ve aligned myself with the left. It is my natural constituency, but that’s why I am concerned by the direction their journey has taken them. You can’t expect the right to do the right thing, but when the civil rights movements lose their way, who is left to stand for justice and truth?
I believe every individual human being is equally valuable because each contains a small, flickering flame of human consciousness, of sentience: by far our most precious asset. The same flame, of the same brightness and quality, seems to burn in each of us, and we crave communion – a merging of these tongues of fire – but we are condemned to live alone, because we don’t have direct access to each other’s experience.
Our sealed-in individualism makes us self-serving and overly indulgent of our own needs, but also flawed and limited in our abilities. We need to co-operate to survive.
We should, therefore, strive to build and maintain societies that foster empathy and compassion, that demand equality of respect for all individuals. In other words, I am a socialist: a believer in the virtue of civil society.
Such societies need to be organised and administered. Its members need to agree on a set of rules that all will follow, because we can’t be certain to always make the right decision, no matter how sincerely we believe in our perspective on a thing. This is The Rule of Law, and it needs to be inviolable. To take the law into your own hands, even if you truly believe that your position is morally justifiable, is to break the pact with the other members of your community. If sincerity of belief allows you to break the rules, then, presumably it allows everyone to break the rules.
One thing we should have learned from Donald Trump’s America, from Charlottesville and the storming of the Capitol, is that the far right is always going to be more willing to take direct action to more violent extremes because, by definition, the left enshrines respect and care for others, and the right does not. So, if we resort to methods of unilateral violence, if we pursue conflict, we are enabling the far right and they are likely to be more ruthlessly destructive than we are. The fact that they are short-sighted in their violence, and will live to regret it, will be no comfort to us when they have dismantled everything we value and have worked for.
We should remember, in our antipathy to society that it was Mrs. Thatcher, our most ultra-capitalist political leader who stated that there was “no such thing as society.” The Alt-Right have adapted very easily to the role of the rebels. Perhaps we shouldn’t be so ready to celebrate Social Justice Warriors. Warriors live by, and spread, conflict and division. Conflict and division will destroy us.