Thursday, 17 January 2013

Sorry Ms Moore, I'm right wing and I believe in freedom

There has, it seems, been some great debate amongst assorted "equalities" mongers - indeed the debate has descended into a row and from there spiralled down into political protest. And all because of something that Suzanne Moore said.

So the Guardian, seeking to pour oil upon these troubled waters, gives Ms Moore the space to explain herself (as it were). In doing so she launches into a justification founded on a belief in freedom:

...I feel increasingly freakish because I believe in freedom, which is easier to say than to achieve and makes me wonder if I am even of "the left" any more.

Of course, Ms Moore spends the rest of her article explaining how she's still a leftie really and that believing in freedom is a good thing. In doing this she can't resist positioning herself away from those on the right who claim to believe in freedom:

What we have is a few rightwingers who took some E in a field once and so claim to be libertarians, but are in fact Thatcherite misogynists. We have the double-think of "free schools", which exclude those who most need them. We have "freedom" for the very rich to take from the very poor while lecturing them on their moral poverty. We have women and gay people pushed into the conformity of lifelong monogamy, even though it clearly does not work for so many.

You see what Ms Moore has done here? That's right, she's parked the idea of free speech (that she claims to support) and sought to redefine freedom as something that cannot reside with the right. Now I'm a right-winger (although I never took an E in a field) and I don't recognise Ms Moore's argument. For sure, I've no time for those patronising sorts who want to judge the lifestyle choices of working-class people - you know the drinking, smoking and shagging. But I don't see this sort of middle-class disgust at such lifestyles as a peculiarity of the right. Indeed, the Guardian-reading left is perhaps more guilty of wanting to make moral judgements about lifestyle.

The problem for Ms Moore is that she likes the license of sexual liberation and the idea that no-one should have their talent dismissed simply because of their gender, sexual preferences, skin colour or accent. But she can't get her mind round the idea of economic freedom - the free enterprise and free trade bits of the great triumvirate of liberties.

As a Conservative, freedom is central to be world view. It is what we fought to secure, it is why we stand in silence every November to remember and it's why we get involved in politics. If freedom were secure - and secure for ever - then we could return to the plough and get on with the joy of life. But that freedom is threatened - by the sorts who would deny Ms Moore her words but also by those who would let others starve to protect their own income and position, by those who would create monopolies and by those who would castigate someone for the dreadful crime of creating jobs, wealth and success.

Suzanne Moore is right about freedom. But wrong to try and suggest - even to hint - that freedom can only be owned by the left.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Strangely enough, the Political Compass puts me as left-wing, however, I, too, believe in freedom, though not the "I-believe-in-free-speech-but-his-views-should-never-be-allowed-in-public" freedom that many Ms Moore's persuasion espouse.

It makes me wonder about the validity of the Political Compass.

As for Mrs T; she showed her true face in one memorable (for me) occasion in Blackpool. She was entering the conference hall, being crowded by the press, when one of the photographers fell over a pot-plant. Any male politician would have guffawed and pushed past; most females would have paused, and considered their options. The "Iron Lady" did neither - without thought, she went to the hapless chap, helped him up, and made sure that nothing more than his dignity had been hurt. I mean, just how heartless can a person be?

(Talking of Ms Moore, have you seen "philosopher" Kathleen Dean Moore's talk at the Nobel Conference 48? I found it frightening. Very, very frightening.)