Why I am NOT left wing or right wing
This isn’t likely to be a popular article. Blogs that attack ‘both sides’ very rarely are.
We all like easy answers. Nobody likes a fence sitter.
In the minds of some people, those who don’t take a position are too apathetic to decide properly, or are bedwetters that are too scared to choose. You’re either left-wing or right-wing, and your party is either Labour or Conservative.
That is because those are the two most powerful political parties that have any chance of getting into power in the UK. It is a similar situation in the US, across Europe, and indeed, the world. So people simply accept the boxes that have been provided for them.
The trouble is that the divides between both sides are only growing deeper, resulting in political partisanship on a scale that has never been seen before.
Even when you look at the smaller parties, the majority of those parties also fall into the left vs right paradigm. I just don’t think it’s a paradigm that works.
Life is Not One-Dimensional
The idea that my views on education, crime, foreign policy, human rights, ethics, medicine and many other subjects can be neatly boxed into one ideology pre-decided by untrustworthy political parties and vested interests is frankly absurd.
We all like to believe that we think “outside the box”, so why do so many people complain when some people refuse to fit inside the box?
For example, I have always been an active campaigner against all wars and I’m a strong supporter of abortion rights, anti-racism movements, and migrant rights. Perhaps that makes me a lefty.
Moreover, my personal view is that all tax should be scrapped (a little bit like Dubai) and this country is far too soft on crime. For that reason, I believe life in prison should mean life. I’m also wary of political correctness and cancel culture going unchecked. In the eyes of most people, that would put me firmly in the right-wing category.
In the past, I identified with the libertarian movement . I don’t mean the gun-toting, right-wing, anti-abortion, f*ck-the-minorities brand of libertarianism that tends to be prevalent in the US today. But true libertarianism that calls for a smaller government. I believe every law-abiding citizen has an inalienable right to be secure in their life, liberty, and property. These rights are not granted by the government or society; they are inherent in the nature of human beings.
The old libertarians were also in favour of the progressive extension of dignity to women, people of different religions and different races. They were also against war, regardless of which political party waged it.
Libertarianism was never left or right. But we’ve seen it gradually adopted by those on the right, and even by those who don’t quite agree with the idea of equality or the anti-war sentiment. This is one of the reasons I would never join a libertarian party. Because while I agree with the fundamentals, this does not imply agreement with whatever ideology or ideas are later tacked onto that.
Disillusioned by Political Parties
Frankly, I’m a bit bored of these watered-down, scheming, conniving, untrustworthy political parties in the UK that are run by a bunch of Etonites that represent 00.001% of people in society.
Sometimes I gaze across the pond in America and I’m equally disillusioned by what passes for Democrat and Republican over there too. The tinfoil hatter in me can’t help but wonder if our political parties and even the very ideologies we subscribe to have been hijacked by a bunch of gangsters.
In the UK, we have Tories and Labour. The Tories are the Conservatives who vote against everything from higher education grants, social safety nets, employment rights (which would reduce the welfare burden) and they even take aim at the NHS (all the while pledging to protect it). Labour does pretty much the same thing but in a much more slow and genteel way.
All parties supported the Iraq war — a conflict that nobody wanted — or needed. All parties in the UK treat immigrants poorly. The Windrush scandal in the UK is a good example of that. Both parties have been implicated in attacking human rights through legislation. So even though we are just tipping the iceberg of political party corruption and vested interests, it is no wonder more and more people (such as myself) are disillusioned by party politics. A report by the Electoral Reform Society revealed that almost half (47%) of people do not feel represented by political parties.
It seems that the two opposing political ideologies are no longer fit for purpose in a world that can’t be conveniently boxed into left or right.
Now you may argue that left-wing or right-wing ideology does not imply affiliation with any political party.
But let’s face it, nowadays if you identify with either the left or the right, then you are considered a pariah or a flake if you do not then align yourself with the requisite political party.
But actually, I consider ideologies themselves to have similar constraints to political parties. Society and the policies that govern it are infinitely more complex than one simple ideology. Sometimes you need legal elements of both the left and the right to provide true balance, democracy and perspective in society. It is shocking how few people understand that. Have we been hoodwinked?
Party whips demonstrate the trap we’re in quite well. A whip is an official of a political party who act as ‘enforcers’ to ensure the members of a political party vote according to their party’s official policy. Members who vote against party policy may “lose the whip”, effectively expelling them from the party.
The term originated from the “whipper-in” during a hunt, which is a person who tries to prevent hounds from wandering away from a hunting pack.
I have a problem with this.
So if a member of parliament who is supposed to be a free agent and represent the people decides to vote according to their own opinion and conscience, they are essentially forced to toe the line. While many political parties across the world adopt this ‘party whip’ system, it paves the way for corruption and stands against democratic principles. Party whips are only necessary in a corrupt system that doesn’t want people to vote according to their own principles.
One of the most insidious additions to left and right-wing ideology is identity politics. The toxic culture of racial discrimination over the years has now morphed into this weird no-man’s land of identity politics which now swings between extreme levels of political correctness on one side to the denial of any racial inequality or injustice on the other hand.
The truth is identity politics was never a part of left or right-wing ideology, or at least, it wasn’t supposed to be. Yet, here we are.
But I don’t want to choose between snowflakes and bigots. Neither represents me. I don’t want to burn people at the stake for accidentally saying something offensive. Nor do I want to throw shade on those who dare to oppose extreme levels of police violence meted out primarily against minority groups or those with unpopular opinions.
I’m not in favour of aligning myself with any ideology merely because of my skin colour, reproductive organs, sexual identity or any other superficial reason. I’m in favour of equality because I am human.
Both the left and right have been plagued by identity politics.
Whether you believe in the mythical ‘white genocide’ on one hand, or you get upset if people forget one of the 78 pronouns on the other, this cancerous scourge of ‘us’ ‘and ‘them’ will be the death of us all.
What happened to just being human?
So What Has This All Got to Do With The Left Vs The Right?
While it may be somewhat comforting to separate political ideology from the ruling parties, you’d be hard-pressed to find a political party that is not affiliated with either the left or right.
Indeed the very ideologies themselves sprung up from the movements which were the forerunners to today’s political parties. Whether you’re attracted by the left-wing unionist movements that eventually formed the Labour party, or the right-wing barons that kicked off the Tories, the truth is that it’s difficult to imagine being ruled by a party that refuses to align with one or the other.
But let’s be clear. Even without the joke that passes for our political parties, the very ideologies themselves have been hijacked by people that have an all or nothing approach.
How often have you seen a celebrity, politician or political commentator being rejected or cancelled after supporting a position that is more commonly associated with the opposing team?
I myself have been privately cancelled by friends and acquaintances for advocating for tougher sentences for criminals, forced STI testing for rapists and advocating against convicted rapists being able to transfer into a women’s prison if they self-identify as female.
But I didn’t find a home in the right either. I’ve been privy to one too many ‘chocolate biscuit’ jokes from some of the libertarian groups I tried to join and subjected to pure contempt if I dare to voice support for ant-war movements and anti-racism marches.
I’m like a “problem-child” that is rejected by both ideological group-thinks.
It all boils down to my belief that life is infinitely more complex than the neat labels we like to stick on it.
If we were ever to gain true freedom on this planet of ours, we would need leaders that create policies based upon issues rather than ideology. Why should we accept a raw deal on crime or education just because “the wrong party with the wrong ideology” is the one pulling the strings?
Rejecting the toxic partisanship will require what seems beyond the capacities of either side: transcending the left-right spectrum rather than thinking from it.
Why should I be afraid to take up a cause for fear of being considered a traitor?
In a way, I am. I have no loyalty towards any political party or ideology. I’m loyal to society, to the people I know and to humanity. If that means I don’t ‘get to choose’ because both sides are missing the point, then so be it.
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Originally published at https://akashictimes.co.uk on June 28, 2021.