Wednesday, July 12, 2006

"The problem with the left"

Some Poondoodle over at group blog Larvatus Prodeo, a supposed Lefty, has written one of the stupidest posts I've ever read, about the apparent problems besieging the left:

"Don't bath for a few months and go on a demo about nucular (sic) power with paint dawbed (sic) signs and dogs on strings with the same old bollocky "2 4 6 8″ chants whilst bonging up a dooby and saving some whales."

When I read that paragraph for some strange reason images of corn fields filled with straw men came into my mind. I always love attempts to tar whole groups of people with simplistic stereotypes; but the least our straw man building quasi-leftist could do is get his terminology correct - how does one bong "up a dooby"? And, perhaps he’d be more engaged in nuclear issues if he discovered how to spell the word correctly…

Moving on to the next bit of dribble:

"I am as economically lefty as they come, and pretty bloody libertarian to boot. I care about people. I don't give a shit about:

Nuclear power if it's economically feasible
Global warming if there is no catastrophe"

See, the problem with the left is that the blogger in question doesn't share all the same beliefs and principles as those which some on the left espouse. An expectation of that ilk sounds more like right wing groupthink to me. That could be a problem for the left; or, it could be that our blogger has no fucking clue, which would be a major problem for him.

Okay, this is the last bit of dribble, I promise:

"I do care about:

Equity of rights and opportunities regardless of socioeconomic status, race, gender, any other label you can emboss on a strip of plastic that is bound to slice under your thumbnail when you peel the backing off. You know the drill, the higher taxes, more services kind of thing that we all know and love."

Well, whoopdeefuckingdoo – in a global warming scenario (and, by the way, isn’t the whole discussion about global warming centered on its catastrophic potential?) who will be the most likely to suffer? Could it be the small communities who rely on local ecosystems for their survival? Could it be the poor and the downwardly mobile? Sure you care about equality of rights and opportunities. Sure you care about people - just as long as they are washed and behave in a manner that conforms to your limited notion of respectability.

Me, I like to be clean. I like to smell nice. And, I don’t smoke as much dope as I used to. Taking a cursory examination of my leftist friends reveals that most of them are fairly similar to myself; but, that said, I don’t think for a second that cleanliness, attending a protest, or even smoking the occasional spliff invalidates a person’s belief structure – the only thing that should do that is the logic upon which their arguments are predicated.

And one last thing: how did women win universal suffrage? And that continuing fight for racial equality thing, how have inroads been made in that battle? Oh, and the workers, how did the workers manage to escape their Dickensian entrapments? Fuck me; it wasn’t through protests, was it?


Boysenberry said...

The poondoodle (love that name!) sounds like someone trying really hard to convince themselves and/or others of their leftist credentials.

Me, I recognise that on somethings I'm a lefty, and on others, well, I dress to the right. Isn't that what makes us individuals?

Don Quixote said...

Yeah, it really does sound that way, doesn't it?

You're right - politics, like the people that think about it, doesn't come in black and white. It takes all shades and colors to make up this weird world.

TimT said...

I think Flutey does nail some examples of left-wing groupthink. Global warming is a good one; we're told, simultaneously that it will cause floods and droughts, that it is happening, that it will soon be happening, that it is the fault of humans, that it is a combination of human and natural causes, that it is real but we don't know what it is; and that it is real because we can accurately predict what it will cause. You don't have to sort out all the contradictions in that to get published in the mainstream media - you just have to acquiesce to it. Say things like 'Climate change is real', and you're virtually guaranteed to get published.

Flutey's rant might be cliched, but hey, a little criticism never hurt anyone.

Don Quixote said...

I think of all the things global warming is the least subject to groupthink. The whole 'floods and droughts, how is that possible?' tack is a very simplistic Tim Blair-esque attempt to undermine what is clearly a general consensus amongst nearly all scientists not funded by the energy industry. I mean, it isn't that illogical, really; in order to have a flood an excess of water is required, and if an excess of water is being distributed in a certain area, well, then a deficit in water will be the logical result in another place; and a deficit in water is a drought. The rest of the supposed arguments are just obfuscation and misdirection - that we are currently going through the fastest rate of temperature acceleration in the history of the planet, whilst also pumping the most toxins into the planet’s atmosphere of any time in the planet's history is no coincidence. I mean, what is the vested interest behind all the eminent scientists proclaiming global warming as fact? To scare everyone into falling prey to the vast left wing conspiracy? If you argue long enough with GW deniers they’ll eventually say what Tim Blair said earlier this year – it’s not that we don’t believe GW is fact, we just don’t care.

But, to your point – I think the nuclear debate is probably an example where you could suggest some groupthink. I don’t think that there is an alarming risk posed by modern nuclear power plants, and that is where the protesters don’t seem to have done their homework; however, I do think there’s some serious questions to be asked about where the waste from reactors will be stored long term; and if governments are concerned about the risk of global terror ™ then I have some questions about their desire to export uranium to countries that are currently building up their militaries at an alarming rate.

All in all I found his post to be total shit – he made no real argument, and he rehashed a whole heap of tired stereotypes.

TimT said...

I think those people with the most interest in global warming are in fact the media. They scare people in order to sell papers: global disasters sell better than minor mishaps, an end of the world story is easier to write than a detailed chronicle of meteorological theory.

I'd hazard a guess that 98% of what people recognise as the global warming debate is not being talked about by climate scientists, but is being put forward by politicians and media figures.

I note on that thread there are some prominent lefty bloggers objecting to the characterisation that a good example of lefty groupthink is their reaction to nuclear power. C'est la vie, and all that!

Don Quixote said...

I'm not sure I'd lump someone like, say, crazy old Al Gore in with the media. And - yes - he is a politician, but I'm fairly certain that he's not going to run for the presidency.

I've done the fair portion of my reading on global warming on books written by scientists (ergo, not books written by the media)and the conclusion that I've come to from that reading is that it (GW)is a very real threat to the stability of the earth's environment.

But, I do take your point about the vested interests of the media in general. And C'est la vie with respect to the nuclear debate - the fact that we all hold different views shows that we ain't thinking as a group, which kind of negates Flute’s original thesis.

TimT said...

I'm not sure whether Flute's criticism applies to me, though. Am I left wing? Probably not. I'll probably vote Liberal next election ... does that make me right wing? Though, admittedly, one of my motivations for that will be a Federal ALP that is both deceptive and comprehensively stupid when it comes to matters of economic and social policy.