Where’s the Outrage?

It’s a  futile pass-time, but I like coming up with definitions of ‘left-wing’ and ‘right wing’. For most people it’s like the difference between pornography and art in that “I’ll know it when I see it” but it’s fun to deconstruct the mindset of the two tribes of politics.

There are many theories which try to put policy answers – Left-wing is statist for example but few argue the idea Fascists are other than right-wing collectivist totalitarians, while anarchists are mostly creatures of the left. Nazis and Communists are right and left-wing respectively. The former are dictators allied to the owners of capital, the latter to the means of production. The effect of both is big piles of corpses. Policy is unsatisfactory to define what they are: ‘Left’ or ‘Right’ is about a mindset.
Here’s a thought: Where’s your outrage directed? Are you outraged about policy on behalf of people you know or yourself? High taxes, too much ill-thought-through legislation? Do you campaign against roads cutting through YOUR back yard? Then you’re probably right-wing. The left-wing get outraged about things that happen to OTHERS, specifically people they don’t know. ‘The Poor’ whether here or in the third world and so forth. While the right are demanding/opposing a bypass in the local area, the left are outraged about Roads round someone else’s town that cut through a site of environmental concern for example.
The problem with the right-wing world view is that it tends towards nimbyism and rather ignores social problems once they’re put out of sight. The problem with the left-wing view is that it tends to see people as mute recipients of state charity, and tends to stick its nose where its not needed or wanted, to everyone’s cost. It sees the problems of the prosperous majority as very small next to the problems of their clients, and ends up seeing the Bourgeoisie as a mere source of funds.  
Both views are necessary to temper the excesses of the other. Without the right, the left over-legislates to solve perceived social problems, and in doing so, kills the golden goose of private business and wealth-creation. Left wing outrage, because it’s on someone-else’s behalf, is likely to be less accurately directed. As are the perceived solutions, which are often more about the left-winger’s own prejudices. However, without the left, genuine social problems can be left to fester.

And there we have the glorious creative tension built into the combative two-party politics, which is being lost in the multi-party system which will gift power to party managers and consensus-seekers. Consensus is almost always sub-optimal. Without the tension created by competing outrage, “consensus” will end up being in effect “the man in Whitehall knows best” when all the evidence is clear that, in the long-run, he doesn’t. Of course there are exceptions. Any left/right rule is bound to be simplistic, and riven with exceptions. But think about the things you’re outraged about. How many of them directly affect you?

3 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I am outraged by the blanket smoking ban as it means I can not longer enjoy a visit to the pub in the way that I could before July 2007, and half the pubs in my neighbourhood have closed down.

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    After reading your opening paragraphs I thought that was why the modern view for an X, Y axis to determine where one stands politically is in vogue. Whereby the left / right gamut runs from collectivist action to individualism and the north / south axis ranges from small state to totalitarianism.

    Mr Pants.


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