Left, Right and Centre
March 22, 2015
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I must be frank. I started life as a leftist; a dyed-in-the-wool natural lefty. It seemed to me that the left stood for decency and justice and I felt acutely the predicament of the poor and the excluded. My actual experiences with other leftists was not always so reassuring. Many seemed heavily invested in their own egos and they were frequently glib rather than profound. But still they seemed to be on the right (or should that be “left”?) side of the fence. Even more than that I was not heavily invested in my own ethnic group or religion. I was always interested in the way of life and cultures of others – and still am, though possibly to a lesser extent.
But I was not an ideologue by nature, nor was I especially a team person. So I did not drift into an ideological camp and was always open to argument and evidence from various perspectives. These seem to me to be deeper tendencies even than my so-called dyed-in-the-wool leftism and dominate my thinking at this late stage if life. It gets little reward in terms of public recognition: people are looking for soldiers not critics, and understandably so.
But I have developed an increasing intolerance of the weaknesses of the left – its moral self-righteousness, its assumptions of natural superiority, its doctrinaire take on reality which preclude it from seeing other points of view, its sheer bloody elitist presumption and nastiness. That does not make me like all right-wing positions: their obstinate antagonisms and conspiracy theories, their lack of imagination and empathy deficit, their chauvinism slipping over into outright racism. At the extremes the two ideologies are hardly distinguishable from one another and both should be classified as social psychoses.
But all-in-all I have shifted to the right. My experience tells me the world is a more dangerous, unpredictable and complex place than envisaged by the glib, egotistical theorists of the left.
So I have selected 3 articles by intellectual heavyweights from the left, the right and more-or-less centre for you to look at.
One is by Amos Os, a writer I greatly admire, writing out of the left wing. Another is by that fierce and very smart hawk Charles Krauthammer (what a name). And the last is by the somewhat left of centre, Haviv Rettig Gur.
I do have some opinions on these articles but would prefer to first hear from readers before taking up the challenge myself. In the meantime let us congratulate Israel on running a free and fair election in a region in which such things are almost as rare as the dodo. It is a wonderful example to the rest of the world – warts and all.