May Day 2018 – In search of an independent left and right (Part One)
By Mark Wegierski
The author tries herein to grapple with the conceptual implications of the post-2008 financial and economic crisis, suggesting there are difficulties with the conventional views of both left and right. One should try to look at what the so-called “anti-system opposition” may hold in common.
The financial and economic crisis which has overtaken America, Canada, and the rest of the planet since 2008, certainly strains the conventional views of what constitutes capitalism or socialism, or indeed conventional right and left. The U.S. government has extended over a trillion dollars in aid to the banking and financial sectors. This seems to be a situation where profits are private, and losses are made up for by the public. One can’t even think what this type of system could be properly called – bankers’ socialism, perhaps. The financial and banking sector is not averse to be part of the “welfare-state” gravy train.
The strictest competition continues to exist for small-businesses – who will not be receiving bail-outs in this increasingly difficult economic climate. Considerable numbers of persons – especially in the private sector -- are losing their jobs – and without those sorts of golden parachutes available to the highest-ranking executives. The current real unemployment rate in the United States has been estimated by some economists to be around fifteen percent.
Former President Obama has attempted to extend government-funded healthcare “for everyone” – which cannot be a seriously possible undertaking in the face of a massive financial crisis and a federal deficit that has been be reaching over a trillion dollars – year after year.
In the face of this conceptual confusion, one can see that the central conflict of our current-day period is not between nominal right and left, but between two contrasting visions. One of these could be termed hypermodernity -- the extension of various negative tendencies of the late modern world such as American imperialism, consumerism, antinomianism, and “political correctness.” Hypermodernity is the system of what has been called “the managerial-therapeutic regime” – a combination of soulless capitalism and the total administrative state. The alternative vision is so-called postmodernity – a term which is highly eclectically used here to denote a better synthesis of the old and the new – such as a return to heroism and “the erotic” sense of belonging, a more artistic and creative existence, and real ecology. There are elements of both the traditionalist right and the ecological and truly alternative left that participate in this type of postmodernity.
Unfortunately, there are various processes today by which the so-called New Class (the worldwide corporate/media oligarchy centered in North America) tends to delegitimize certain concepts and programs, whether these are critiques emanating from an anti-consumptionist and consistently anti-capitalist left (typified by figures like Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader, and Ivan Illich), or those associated with the pro-ecological and pro-cultural aspects of certain serious thought on the true right (typified by figures like G.K. Chesterton, Wendell Berry, and J.R.R. Tolkien). The contribution of serious-minded forces, conventionally said to be on the right, can be a critical element in the struggle against hypermodernity. Therefore, the New Class propaganda and conditioning techniques, which act as "inhibitors" toward even the slightest consideration, of the most serious thought, when it is considered "right-wing", and therefore unacceptable, might well tip the ultimate balance in the struggle in favour of hypermodernity.
The New Class propaganda tends to frequently diminish serious social and political questions through the “reductio ad Hitlerum”. Although those who, for whatever reason, are seen to be “on the right” today, are almost invariably derided by many pejorative terms, the overwhelming majority of them remain convinced of their honesty, moderation, and ultimate humanity. They refuse to be tarred with the Nazi brush.
One should not take the current-day Conservative Party of Canada, with
its focus mostly on tax cuts and budget cuts, as the best that the right can
offer today. In fact, the cutting-edge thought of those persons said to be on
the right today is rather closer to social democracy, or at least making an
argument for the better aspects of social democracy, while discarding the
worse. At its best, the right argues for a situated community, an authentic
sense of meaning and belonging, which then serves as a real and plausible
rationale for the welfare-state. In more recent decades, social democracy was
in retreat, under the pressure of globalizing and Americanizing
hyper-capitalism. The true right would argue that the best defence of the
welfare-state would be its ultimate rootedness in what must to a considerable
extent be a commonly-held national culture, which allows for a true sense of
the common good. Immigration is not a natural process: it is the product of the
ongoing uprooting of peoples by the transnational corporations in search of
cheap labour pools, as well as of diverse strife in “the South” caused by the
stresses engendered by "McWorld". Immigration into Western societies
is a profoundly unsettling force, subversive of rooted identities and cultures,
which only strengthens the transnational corporations, as well as the
administrative regime. It could be argued that the offer of massive,
meaningful, truly extensive aid to “the South” can only be made when “the
South” mobilizes to fight its overpopulation, and no longer expects that ever larger
numbers of its people can simply move north.
To be continued.
Mark Wegierski is a Canadian writer and historical researcher.