Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Left and the Prison of the Past

One of the many sad things about the Left is that it is hopelessly stuck in the past. Modern leftists are the heirs of 19th century ideologies and they seem to be unaware that the 19th century is over.

They still see politics in terms of the class struggle, a Marxist belief that had been well and truly exploded by the time of the First World War when the workers of the world conspicuously failed to unite to throw off their chains.

Trades unions still view employers as Dickensian villains who force children to work in coal mines. Feminists still believe that conservatives want to force them to wear corsets and keep them in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant. Gay activists still believe that conservatives want to turn back the clock to the days when gays really were an oppressed minority.

Conservatives have long since moved on. Leftists have not. Leftists still want to fight battles that were either won half a century ago (or in some cases a century ago), or were never relevant in the first place.

The reasons for this backwardness in thinking are not difficult to find. The stronghold of the modern Left is the university, where they are safely shut off from the real world. Leftwing university lecturers whose experience of real life is exactly zero can still happily pontificate about the state of the world without ever having to apply the test of reality to their theories.

For the Left the Culture Wars are merely a means to an end. The end has never changed. It is still viewed in terms of the socialist utopia imagined by 19th century thinkers.