Sunday, December 03, 2006

Retrieved from the Guido Maw

A rather elaborate comment I put on a Guido Fawkes post was buried in the usual tirade of rage, incoherence and occasional clarity. Guido has a rare gift for setting his comment crew aflame. Anyway, the post raised an interesting question about why the big political blogs were all right wing and/or libertarian and very few - any? - came from the left. My response was:

"It is, Guido, a question of rhetoric. The success of the rightish British blogs is based on the same rhetoric as that of American right wing shock jocks like Rush Limbaugh. The first point is that both blogging and radio chat form themselves naturally into a free, generally extreme form of expression. The second point is that the left's rhetoric has been inhibited by a variety of self-imposed restraints - broadly those known as 'politically correctness', but also by certain, as it were, theological dogmas such as the need to blame America for everything and to insist that America can only do evil. PC and dogmatism have progressively tightened the gag on the rhetoric of the left so that, in effect, they can say less and less about more and more. The right, in contrast, has not really acquired any such fixed dogmas. It is more pluralist. The reason for this is the left's dogmatism and package of prejudices combined with an 'if you're not for us, you're against us' mindset. This restricts entry to the left club and excludes anybody who might dissent too readily from the prevailing orthodoxy. This results in the right being defined not positively but negatively as 'not left' - both by the left and the right - and, therefore, it becomes a loose coalition of variously dissident voices. These derive their energy from the easy shockability of the dogmatic left and from their freedom to say anything about anything without being damned for heresy. This is, of course, very entertaining. Hence your success."

I just didn't think it should be lost.

10 comments:

  1. Reactionary pig.

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  2. Welcome, Karl. How was death? I fear you have some explaining to do about events in the interim.

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  3. I dunno, I thought I'd it all figured out. Means of Production plus atheism= Heaven on Earth. I have a sneaking suspicion Lenin, Stalin and Mao weren't sufficiently atheistic. Too much love of one's neighbour going on for my liking. Well I suppose I can always say, "There hasn't been a proper Marxist state yet. If there was, it'd be perfect."
    Karl

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  4. You sound depressed. Perhaps you should get out more.

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  5. I've often wondered why the rightist blogs were far more free wheeling. Perhaps another factor is that rightists tend to be pro-business, which requires a certain seat-go-the-pants mentality, free and easy and open to offers.

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  6. Unfortunately, those who espouse even vaguely left-wing ideas in this country (Ireland) are considered eccentric, at best, or more generally, absolutely bonkers. As someone with fairly respectable left-wing credentials, I am perturbed by this - not to the point of foaming-at-the-mouth dogmatism but more like a feeling of nausea that is heightened every time I here some mealy-mouthed politician speaking to the pockets of the comfortable, smug middle classes. The economy, the economy,the economy: that is all I hear these days. The word 'society' has no currency. Of course, I live in one of the most unequal societies in the Western World and our current Deputy Prime Minister/ Minister for Justice had the audacity recently to state that he believed inequality is a good thing and is worth preserving. Now that is enough to wind-up anybody who would like to see a fairer society and believes the market is not the answer.

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  7. Neil, I think you feel queasy because of the diet you've described to us elsewhere! I recommend bran muffins, fresh juice, and lean meats only. (I would recommend exercise, but since you have two little kids, I imagine you're getting plenty of that.)

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  8. Inequality is a good thing.

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  9. Thanks for the advice Susan. Although I have used my working-class cunning to acquire many of the trappings of the lower middle-classes, I still can't quite manage to fully integrate and smooth over some of the rough edges. Hense, the smoking, drinking and penchant for peasant food (of the unhealthy kind. I believe certain varieties are considered haute cuisine these days). As Goethe said: We cannot rid ourselves of what belongs to us, even if we throw it away. By the way, I like blueberry muffins but I hate neoliberalism. The former may make me unhealthy, the latter will ensure I can't afford any health care.

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  10. Perhaps the liberal agenda (in the UK) has become overtly mainstream in recent years, and that popularity has nulled the struggle in the liberal sense for equality between the little people and the big people. I suppose the qualities of all the people now being medium sized are clearly false, and are consequently available for criticism; which the right are apt to follow - because the world is populated by individuals just like themselves.

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