Sunday, December 14, 2008

Am I a "Right Winger"? (re. Hell on Earth)

During the course of reviewing Professor Kowalski’s Hell on Earth, one of his colleagues, Professor S, voiced several opinions about one of my notes. One of those opinions was that I was a “Right Winger,” so it is fair of me to ask what that means and determine whether or not I fit into that category.

Is being a “Right Winger” the same as being a “Fascist”? If that is true then I am not a Right Winger. Fascism involves a belief in a totalitarian state, which I oppose. In fact my opposition to one such totalitarian state, namely the USSR was what elicited the accusation in question. I note in passing that Fascism and Communism have much in common. After the Second World War, there was a great cry for security. The people wanted social entitlements of all sorts and supported government planning. They believed “that a well-planned economy meant a richer, fairer and better-regulated society . . . The English historian A. J. P. Taylor told BBC listeners in November 1945 that ‘[n]obody in Europe believes in the American way of life – that is, private enterprise; or rather, those who believe in it are a defeated party which seems to have no more future than the Jacobites in England after 1688.’ Taylor exaggerated as always, he was wrong in the long run (but who isn’t?) . . . .” [Judt, op cit, p. 69]

Many believe that Europe’s great interest in economic planning after WWII owed much to the Communist System, but when the various European nations were setting up their Welfare States and developing economic plans, the nation that made the smoothest transition was Italy. “In Italy the Fascist institutional legacy – which had brought large tracts of the economy under state oversight – was left largely intact after the war. What changed was the political colour of the parties now benefiting from the industrial and financial power base . . . .” [ibed]

I suppose Professor S would accept the fact that both Communism and Fascism are totalitarian in nature. We see that they are also Socialistic in their economic planning. It interests me that Sayyid Qutb in developing the ideology that became “Islamism” was attracted to the “tactics” of both the Nazis and the Communists. We might suspect that he would be more attracted to the Nazi approach because of its opposition to the Jews, but he seemed equally attracted to Communist tactics. If we studied the biography of Saddam Hussein, we learned that he too was attracted to the tactics of both Nazis and Communists. Totalitarian States have a great number of similarities, but if being “Right Wing” involves advocating Totalitarianism or Socialistic Planning, then I am not Right Wing. If that were the definition of “Right Wing,” I suspect Professor S would come closer to fitting it than I would.

I’m no doubt taking the words of Professor S far more seriously than they deserve. As I have indicated elsewhere, I have been almost uniformly unimpressed with the reasoning ability of Left Wingers (which I have defined elsewhere). They are far more adept at invective then at logical reasoning. I once challenged a host of Left-Wingers to mount a logical argument opposing the arguments of mine they were railing (but not arguing) against at the time. And not one was disposed (or, I suspect, able) to do so.

Is there any definition of “Right Wing” I would sign up to? Yes. If we consider the American Conservative position to be “Right Wing,” then I would sign up to that. This position used to be called “Liberalism” but the Left seems to have laid claim to that term for reasons that escape me. Their totalitarian and anti-American positions do not fit any definition of “Liberal” I am familiar with. I might with justification call myself a “Classical Liberal” meaning the sort of Liberalism associated with the creation of our form of government. Back in those days it was opposed to the Totalitarian flavor of the age: Monarchism. I approve of our Bill of Rights protecting individual freedoms. I believe in a centralized government that is only large enough to do the tasks assigned it. Ultimate power in a Liberal system resides in the people and not in the Government. Think of an ordinary policeman. He has power when he is doing his job, but if his misuses his power he can be fired. The same is true of any individual in a Classical Liberal (Conservative) government.

So my ultimate answer to the subject question is, “it depends.”

No comments: