Am I right wing?

The political spectrum, according to the left.

I may be assuming too much, but I suspect that this question would be a no-brainer for many Whaleoil readers. However, as Spiked editor Brendan O’Neill says:

I’m always surprised when people call me right-wing.

For many of us who had hitherto considered ourselves more-or-less, vaguely, “left”, it’s mildly discombobulating, not to say amusing, to find out that we’re apparently right-wing. Indeed, actual fascists and Nazis (notwithstanding the inaccuracy of classing both as “right-wing”).

I long ago changed my mind about socialism. For as long as I could remember, it was taken as a given in the circles in which I moved that socialism – good, capitalism – bad. But as I read more of, not only 20th-century history but authors like Thomas Sowell and others, it became undeniable that, for all the rainbows and unicorns it promised, socialism was and always would be a miserable failure.

But what has really changed is that the left has shifted the goal-posts so far to the extreme left, that the rest of us, without doing much at all, have suddenly found ourselves on “the right”.

I’m not offended – I think right and left are largely meaningless categories these days

O’Neill is on to something, here. In the same way that the left has always perverted language to the ends of power, the modern left calls themselves “liberals”, when they are anything but. But distinctions are still somewhat useful. The problem is that the left has dominated popular culture for so long that, just as it was when I was younger, “left” retains an undeserved air of virtuous rebellion, while “right” carries a distinct whiff about it.

However, what does “left” even mean, these days? O’Neill offers a laundry list of ideas he supports and asks, are these really “right-wing”? For instance:

  • Defend legal rights – the right to silence, the right to trial by jury, the right to appeal etc – and do not let any government dilute or damage them.
  • Get rid of all legal restrictions on speech, a la the First Amendment in the US: “Congress shall make no law…”
  • Diminish official interference into people’s personal and family lives.
  • Trust that women are just as capable as men of negotiating public life and work life.
  • End the entire ideology of race and recover the humanist outlook that says our similarities are more important than our differences.
  • Prioritise human need over environmental concerns, while acknowledging that the more a society develops, the more resources it can devote to cleaning up the environment, and that’s a good thing.
  • People in power: never presume you know better than other people what they should think, say, read, eat or drink, who they should have sex with, how they should live, what they should believe, or how they should raise their children.
  • It is preferable to give people work rather than welfare.
  • It is better to give people welfare than to let them go hungry. But to fetishise welfare as a positive thing in and of itself is perverse.
  • Encourage excellence in the arts and staggeringly high standards in comprehensive education.
  • Encourage [the young] to respect their elders! We need more intergenerational solidarity.
  • Learn from the past, look to the future. Reject nostalgia but embrace historic achievements.

To be honest, I’d say the last two are more right-wing than they are left. Anyway, there is much more. Some I agree with, and some I don’t, but the challenge remains: are these right-wing ideas?

If that’s the case, then I’d much rather be counted among the right, than have any association with the illiberal, authoritarian, finger-wagging scolds of today’s left.

One of the most formative moments of my youth was the mid-1970s punk explosion. The punks confronted the mid-70s malaise and gave the finger to the elites. To be right of centre, these days, is as Steve Sailer says, to be a political punk rocker.

So I guess I’m in good company.



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Who is Lushington D. Brady?

Well, a pseudonym. Obviously.

But the name Lushington Dalrymple Brady has been chosen carefully. Not only for the sum of its overall mien of seedy gentility, reminiscent perhaps of a slightly disreputable gentlemen of letters, but also for its parts, each of which borrows from the name of a Vandemonian of more-or-less fame (or notoriety) who represents some admirable quality which will hopefully animate the persona of Lushington D. Brady.

To read my previous articles click on my name in blue.