Public debate works best when there are two or more compelling sides in the tussle, with each putting forward its strongest arguments and thoughtfully countering the opposition. In this way we can best examine these cases and decide the most appropriate path. Often we reach a conclusion that is somewhere in the middle.
The problem with current political and cultural discussion is that one side has gone completely crazy and is no longer attempting to argue. The New Left simply screams insults that end in ‘ist’ and tries to shut down the debate. Neither side is bothering to listen to the other any more.
Most of my readers are on the right and hold me in contempt for my infuriating fence sitting, especially because I do so due to indifference rather than indecision. You are probably wondering why you should bother trying to listen to the Left – anything you read on Slate is nuts, after all.
And this is a fault shared by left and right – being absolutely certain about everything. All my favorite bloggers are guilty of it, and you almost certainly are, too. I’ve said it before and I will keep saying it ‘til my fingers stiffen: what are the chances that there’s a person on this planet who is completely correct in all his beliefs? And further, what are the chances that that one person happens to be you?
Legend has it that an oracle declared Socrates the wisest person in the world and he was confused because he thought he didn’t know anything. He went around asking questions and finally concluded that he must be the wisest because those who thought they knew things were mistaken.
Confucius said, wisdom is knowing what you know and knowing what you don’t know.
The world’s simplest minds think they understand everything. Ask them any question and they’ll say, ‘Because God did it.’ Once you realize that this is another way of saying ‘Fucked if I know,’ you are getting closer to wisdom.
But we are off track.
I feel like starting a second site under another name that unironically presents moderate left wing positions. Not because I necessarily agree with them, but because there needs to be a more sensible counterpoint to the right-wingers who are presently doing all the world’s thinking. Through this elenchus, both sides would sharpen up and we could make more intellectual progress.
I would eliminate from my site the current madness clogging up the skulls of the coastals: obsession with transgenderism, seeing racism and sexism in every shadow, continuing to venerate Marx, and all that bullying and blockading of alternative views.
I would replace this with left wing views that have stronger legs, and that deserve a more serious and determined response:
- A generally free market with light-touch regulation and public health care and education
- An end to sexism and racism, meaning that everyone ought to have equal opportunities. No university course, profession, or geographical area should be restricted on these grounds
- An end to the stupid wars, a winding up of the unsustainable US global empire, and massive cuts in defense spending. A return to the principle of non-interference in the affairs of sovereign states as agreed at the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. This really ought to have been low-hanging fruit for the Left but these days they want more than anything else to get into a nuclear war with Russia. How things change.
- A continuation of the welfare state but with tougher restrictions and limits on recipients
- Increased spending on infrastructure
- Cracking down on tax rorts for the rich and global corporations such that they pay their fair share, though this share should not be punishingly high
- A firm commitment to free speech, that is, any speech that does not openly advocate committing a crime
Please don’t argue against these suggestions in the comments. That is not my point. Rather, don’t you think that a Left that espoused the above policies would be much more intellectually competitive? It would be worth arguing with, and minds on both sides would thereby be exercised and improved.
Perhaps a leftie out there has put together his own ‘sensible right’ platform. Link it if you see it.