I received this essay from a current Labour party member. It is someone I have not met but was able to verify who they were including their current occupation. Suffice to say they are a pinko, after having read this they are a pinko I could certainly enjoy sharing a beer with.
They have requested, at this time, anonymity. I have agreed.
Reclaiming the Left
Caveat: I am a member of the Labour party so if you don’t want to read something by a filthy socialist, click away now.
Caveat 2: I sent this column here because I doubt the Standard would take it, and if they did, I’d be worried about anonymity.
The more I read, the more I hear, and the more I see, the more I think it is time to reclaim the left from the people that have taken it over. I am not talking about Waitakere Man. I am talking about getting rid of the hippies and “liberals” – I use quotes deliberately – that have taken over the left. The same people who have helped make the left almost unelectable, except in cases where the right shoots itself in the foot. If we weren’t dealing with an incompetent National government, we’d be facing losses in 2014 and 2017.
Boiled down to its absolute core, the difference between left and right is this: leftists believe in altruism and the collective, rightists believe that selfishness is morally right. As a leftist I obviously disagree that selfishness is ethical, but there are plenty of arguments out there (Ayn Rand being the most popular). The problem is that hippies and “liberals” have ignored this with their constant and distracting focus on individual rights, forgetting that individuals have a responsibility to the collective that outweighs those rights.
The classic example is unemployment. The right blows its dog whistle and talks about the bludging poor and people spending their dole on booze and ciggies. The left says “BUT WHERE ARE THE JOBS”. I’m not going to criticism the idiocy of the rightists, because they’re rightists and don’t need any more criticism, but rather the leftists. Sure, there aren’t enough jobs, and the government needs to do something about it. But there are still plenty of people out there who aren’t merely unemployed, they are unemployable. There are people who blow their dole on booze and ciggies and won’t look for work. Leftists make excuses using fifty-cent words like hegemony and colonisation, ignoring the simple truth that as individuals we have the ability to overcome broader structural issues – all it takes is will and drive. We can’t all have a job, but we can all try our best to get one. And that’s what matters.
I often like to use the following thought experiment with my leftist friends. I am a big fan of work for the dole. I think there are plenty of opportunities to introduce a “Community Wage” alongside major public works projects. I think this can be done without distorting too many other markets too much (and if we do distort them, tough titties capitalists). When I talk to my left wing friends about it, you should hear the whinging.
“But what about their families?”
“Is it fair to put someone in some cabin in a logging camp?”
“How can they better themselves if they’re digging ditches?”
To which I say: so what? Real leftists ask themselves the following question: “What’s best for the collective (New Zealand)?” When you start getting into arguments that focus on the individual, you are using the same moral code as the rightists. And if you honestly believe in the sanctity of the individual to the extent that some hippies and “liberals” do, then if you’re intellectually honest you should become an Objectivist/Randian/Libertarian. Nothing annoys me more than half-wit “leftists” talking about liberalising cannabis reform and other things, then complaining about the free market. You can’t have one without the other – either you’re collectively minded or you aren’t.
Some of my leftist friends agree that we need work for the dole. I then ask them: “What if someone refuses to work?” The right often talks about the overhead costs of such schemes, and how much money is spent on enforcement. Well, it’s simple. If someone refuses to work, I say, they don’t get paid. Full stop. If someone is not willing to contribute to a stronger and better New Zealand, then we have no need for them.
Recent debate on the brain drain to Australia shows just how far the left has fallen. The right says Kiwis are leaving because they can earn more in Australia. The left agrees. What the left needs to do – David Shearer especially – is say this:
“If someone puts forty pieces of silver for themselves ahead of the contribution they can make to this country, then we don’t need them. Good riddance to the selfish.”
So, how can we reclaim the left? We can focus on what matters – as JFK put it “not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” We can institute welfare policies that focus on the collective good. We can build a strong army and police force, realising that our national identity relies on strong external and internal security. We can institute progressive economic policies in taxation that eliminate selfishness.
We can build a country where we think about others. And when we do that, when we throw the hippies and “liberals” onto the rubbish heap, we can reclaim the left. We can build a truly progressive political movement – not the homophobia of Waitakere Man and South Auckland Labour, but also not the “any cause in a storm” insanity of the Greens.
Reclaiming the left in this manner would, in my mind, bring many people over from National. There are many in National who deep down are collectivists. They need to come back.