I’ve got a feeling that certain capitalist/conservative governments have turned me more onto the Left. I used to have nebulous ideas about being “left-leaning”, and I liked it. I didn’t know exactly what it meant, didn’t really care for the difference between private or public ownership, but I knew that I was “left-leaning”. I was always interested in environmentalism, and I liked the word “liberal” better than “conservative”. I had an idea that there was something “unfair” about which way the money and power flowed, but it wasn’t elaborated. However, now I feel a distincly socialist type of thinking has taken hold. I’ll explain.
A couple of years ago I took the Political Compass test and ended up smack-bang in the middle of the lower left corner, “Left Libertarian“. Close to the Greens in the UK parties pages (no surprise there). But I recently took it again, and ended up further to the “Left”, which coincides with more exposure to what the Conservative government have been doing in the UK.
There’s been a lot of talk about privatisation, tax cuts for the rich and benefit cuts, to the extent that it is no longer looking at all like a way to balance the economy but to make the rich richer, keep the poor where they are and remove all sorts of restraints and regulations on “making money”. On another political questionnaire, I got “environmentalism” at the top (absolutely no surprise) and after that Social Liberalism. In principle I agree, but as a political stance it seemed a bit weak, directionless and a compromise between what I think and the way the world works.
I decided to take the questionnaire again, this time not holding back and really going for what I believe in, not just a practical compromise. Again, environmentalism appeared at the top, but underneath anarcho-communism appeared. So I read up about it, and read a book I’ve had lying around on the shelves (The Conquest of Bread by Peter Kropotkin) and I was impressed, this did sound me. It sounded ideal, an absolute utopia, a world I would like to live in – everyone recieves what they need, and everyone contributes to society in whatever way they can, and no need for big government. Not an ideology for public policy, but can be pursued on the small scale, as in grass roots movements and local government. – a scale that doesn’t need to abolish big government, but simply make it obsolete over time (probably a lot of time, but we got to start somewhere).
I think I may just stay with Left Libertarian, which encompasses several similar ideologies, or even making it simple like “liberalish, left-leaning and Green,” like it has always been. It’s more understandable by most, anyway.
I can’t say I’ve gone completely to the Left; I get chills when I hear “nationalisation” as much as “privatisation”. There should be a good balance between the two, a way to neutralise two dire extremes (that would end up with the same thing, anway: world controlled by centralised/monopolised organisation that exists to make its leaders rich and everyone else work for them). Keynesian? Possibly.
Anyway, if there’s any leftish thinking in me, it’s the rightish parties that made me do it. Once a leftish government gets in I may return to “normal”, possibly.