Date: 25 March 2005
This is so key, so key. Just been reading Bill Moyers in NY Review of Books talking about visiting southern churches in the US where they call leftwingers Satan and include in that definition...CNN. A large measure of the history of the last hundred years - at least - seems to be the story of the working classes jeering at exactly the people who would like to improve their quality of life - and if that sounds holier than thou, well, that's part of the problem. From Bauhaus dreams of mass produced rationalism for all to Socialism to any kind of intellectualism, it all gets converted into an invasion of sinister, limp-wristed aliens out to destroy what's proper in the minds of malnourished, under-educated, paste-faced bullies. And it's true - us leftwing types - we don't love the working classes. We hate them, wish they'd shut up, fuck off and stop being ugly, messy, loud and conventionalist all over the place, stop pouring money into Murdoch's untaxed account, stop voting for wankers who also, secretly hate them, stop stinking up the place with their fried reconstituted meat and stop influencing public policy with their deeply primitive hatred of the foreigners. These are deeply stressed people and stress distorts them, makes them a pain in the arse.
I recently got talking to an engineer who had a good art collection with a bias to minimalism and most of whose work was in environmentally sound architecture. He was also surprisingly rightwing and, after mouthing some of the usual superstitious, basically metaphysical bromides of his creed (there is a hidden hand that regulates the market, pace Adam Smith; free market capitalism is the end of the dialectic, pace Francis Fukuyama) he managed to wrongfoot me interestingly on the queston of rights - what are they and how do we know they have them? Of course, the free market could be said to be about rights as much as progressive social policy, but still, what does it mean to say that someone has 'the right' to free healthcare or education? Who gave them that right? God? In the end, I realised I want people to have these things not for their own good, but for mine. Quite apart from the really serious stuff, like knowing I'm protected against wrongful arrest and curbs on my freedom of speech, I want people to be less stupid, less sick, less stressed and less scared so that, ultimately, I can be less lonely and scared too. And ultimately so that we can all live side by side happily in flats laid out on the principles of Le Corbusier and get around on bicycles and fuel cell powered vehicles, eating organic vegetables bought from small shops and cconvert all the churches into cultural centres.
Pardon? Uh, no, no, YOU fuck off.[_shared_elements/comment_on_this_review.htm]