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20 December 2017

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Chris asks “where is the Left’s alternative economic vision”, and he laments how the progressive forces in politics are “so obsessed with identity politics, asylum seekers, special interest groups and what I regard as the ephemera of politics.”

He’s correct. Unlike the Old Left, today’s Left don’t seem to have a vision beyond things that are destructive, like identity politics.

In 1978, Deng Xiaoping rejected the communist economic system and embraced a market economy, and Vietnam did likewise with its Doi Moi reforms in 1986. Thereafter they both flourished economically. As Paul Oates writes, you look to see what has worked.

However the European Left appears to have learnt nothing. Britain’s distinguished Marxist historian, Eric Hobsbawm, wrote:

“If the Left have to think more seriously about the new society, that does not make it any less desirable or necessary, or the case against the present one any less compelling.”

So after a century of bloody failures, Hobsbawm doesn’t know what his future will bring, but he knows it’s both desirable and necessary. And he knows that there is a “compelling” case to destroy the present system, even if he can’t say what will replace it.

In other words, “Trust Me”. In essence, Hobsbawm is appealing to tribalism. And you can see that on university campuses today. You are either with the feminists, radicals, activists and so forth or you’re on the other side.

Philosopher Roger Scruton put it like this:

“The inescapable conclusion is that subjectivity, relativity and irrationalism are advanced not in order to let in all opinions, but precisely so as to exclude the opinions of people who believe in old authorities and objective truths.

"This is the short cut to Gramsci’s new cultural hegemony: not to vindicate the new culture against the old, but to show that there are no grounds for either, so that nothing remains save political commitment.”

Dear Paul,

This is worth a read:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-social-thinker/200911/why-don-t-we-help-less-is-more-least-when-it-comes-bystanders

The first issue to get one's head around is that this situation is nothing new. It's been around since recorded human history. It's called human nature.

As a species, we haven't evolved past a certain point given that most evolution takes millions of years to achieve any real change in the DNA.

Therefore, the answer to the question raised by Chris' article is simple: Look at what worked in history and what didn't.

Unfortunately, that's too easy to say and obviously too hard to do on a grand scale. Remember the quote: 'The poor will be with you always.'

The essence of the problem is one of responsibility. No one wants to take any and that includes ordinary voters who simply think someone else will do something and why should they bother. That is until it's too late.

Good luck with trying to change that aspect unless one declares martial law.

Whilst I would agree with much of what you say, Chris, surely you sell Trump short when he is actually cleaning out the swamp and appears to have done more for the US economy in one year than the insipid Obama did in eight.

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