Most people think of Politics along a spectrum of Left to Right. Those terms originated from a seating arrangement that developed during the French Revolution. When I was in high school, back in the late 1960s, I got the idea that there was a second spectrum of political thinking at right angles to the first one, which together would make Politics a field. This second spectrum extends from Totalitarianism, (place that at the bottom) to Anarchism, (place that at the top).
Totalitarians believe that government should control everything, and that the general public should be slaves for their elite. This would make Hitler a right-wing totalitarian, and Stalin a left-wing totalitarian, and there sure wasn’t much difference between the policies they enacted.
The Key thing in right-wing thinking is personal responsibility, and individual initiative. The Key thing in left-wing thinking is social responsibility, and collective organizing. I’ve never seen anything that would really be mutually exclusive about any of those ideas. As a matter of fact, I don’t think you can have a healthy society without all of those things being considered, and in active play.
Now on the left-wing people are Environmentalists, but on the right-wing people are Conservationists. About the only differences between those two notions, are a couple of words… and as far as the general public is concerned, the terms are pretty much interchangable.
Have you figured out where I’m going with this yet?
Progressives are left-wing anti-totalitarians, and over on the right-wing, there are a whole bunch of Conservationists, who can’t stand totalitarians either. These two groups really do have a tremendous lot in common, and what at core they feel diferently about is miniscule. (IMHO). Many times I’ve seen right-wing & left-wing groups get together for specific Environmental Causes. And just in the last “election”, the Green Party, & Libertarian Party cantidates did some Civil Disobedience together, getting arrested by attempting to get into the “Presidential Debate”.
There are two impulses in human nature that always recur, and are always present. One is that we like to compete with each other, and the other is that we also like to cooperate. As a matter of fact, none of us is ever really all that happy with ourselves or each other, except when we are doing both. This leads me to think that any social/political/economic arrangement that we make, can only be fruitful, when both of these natural impulses are satisfied.
So what we have here is a potential coalition, one so large that even a rigged election could not stop it. Note that at the top end of right-wing thinking, that they are real big on Free Enterprize, but they really don’t like Monopoly Capitalism at all, because Monopoly Capitalism is totalitarian. A left-wing policy that allows for Free Enterprize, but which prevents the abuses & concentration of power of Monopoly Capitalism, would be quite acceptable to them.
So if we put together the best ideas of the top end of left-wing thinking, and the best ideas of the top end of right-wing thinking, then we have a complete package. I suspect that those ideas combined together, would be something much, much better than anything that either side of right & left has come up with so far. Moreover, it would also appeal greatly to the top end of the Center. And now we’re talking about a majority that would change politics as usual forever…
I wish I could claim credit for these profound insights, which so match the directions (even the title and the trigonometry of the opening paragraph) that my thoughts have taken – especially over the past year or so.
But today’s blog is a guest blog from an almost unknown British (possibly Welsh, Scotts or Irish ?) philosopher, James Clair Lewis, written in 2006.
You can view James Lewis’s original piece and savor some of the delights of his blog via this link here.
I would like to dedicate James’ blog to three of my political heros: (1) Christine Assange, who along with her son, Wikileaks founder (and future Australian Senator) Julian Assange needs no introductions, (2) Australian Journalist, Historian, Filmmaker and all round extraordinary human being, John Pilger, and (3) Tireless and brave Birgittta JonsDottir of the Icelandic Political Party The Movement.
The picture I’ve used for this blog is from the “Racy” paperback cover of 1984 and made available by one of the best tribute sites, and one of the best tweeps to follow on twitter: @OrwellGuy .
I will have much more to say on this theme of “Politics Beyond Right and Left” in future blogs and in the lead ups to the next Australian Federal Election (scheduled to be held no later than August 2013).
James Johnson CHR, the Independent Federal Candidate for Lalor (Australian House of Representatives, Canberra)