Sunday, 16 May 2010

Indulgent ramblings on political position and a further chapter in my vain search


The game of positioning ourselves within some accepted political taxonomy is a fascinating one but, for many of us, we end up wondering just how such positioning assists us. Especially when we encounter other people who adopt the same positioning. Moreover, why should we define ourselves through some game of political positioning and not through other traits, characteristics or preferences?

However, I will indulge you will a little speculation – a moment of wordplay. Here are some words that, on occasion, I have used to describe my self politically.

Conservative; Liberal; Libertarian; Right-wing; Tolerant; Intolerant; Sceptical; Doubting; Cynical; Optimistic; Anarchist; Tory

To this might be added a similar list of descriptions given to my manifest politics by others – some of which might be appropriate in polite company!

Now the wise among you will have spotted just how contradictory some of these words are – how combining them creates a concept as incongruous as to be impossible to parse. However, I do think that such an exercise is useful. If you read about me on this blog, you will see I describe myself as an “occasionally intolerant libertarian”. Clearly a contrary statement? How can you be libertarian and intolerant as the moment you move away from tolerating something you move away from liberty?

So it is with being a Conservative anarchist. After all anarchists wish to destroy, to pull down the state – anarchy is the very antithesis of conservatism. And does not a conservative wish to maintain the proper order of things (I always think of this as librarianship rather than conservation)? The problem comes when the “proper order of things” is wrong – we keep Sauron in power because that’s always been so, it is the proper order.

We live in such a time. For approaching 100 years, the proper order has been for important things in our lives to be ordered by the state – health, welfare, education, protection. This is the proper order – it is what we must conserve come what may and despite the growing evidence that its outcomes no longer serve our interests (where we are the “people”) but instead serve the interests of those who administer the system. The conservatives in this system are not those usually labelled in such a manner but a different group – a group who consider themselves liberal, social, caring and progressive.

So we must change. And the change must allow those people currently conserving a system that does not serve the people to be what they proclaim themselves to be – liberal, social, caring and progressive. And to achieve that we must remove the methodology of the modern state and replace it with a democratic version of that which went before – voluntary action (both individual and collective) overseen by a government tasked solely with upholding the protection of the law and of our freedoms. And within that new order, as conservatives we act to protect and maintain its hierarchy, structures and methods from those who would seek some form of permanent revolution.


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