By Your existentially subversive sweetheart
Right, okay. I met up with a high school friend recently (LSE, high-fly, business owner), who’s further down the right-spectrum than me. In talking to her I found a rather uncomfortable mirror. This is my letter to her. Listen in, if you like.
We think we are the rational ones – the left has no basis in economic theory, the “hard economics” that counts itself a science and boasts Adam Smith’s pedigree. The left has theories whose results aren’t verifiable in fact, citing obscure sources or obtusely interpreted historical data. The leftist experiment failed with the USSR, fell into ice and fire and famine. The left is dangerous because the stripping of individual rights in favor of collective can only lead to dictatorship, to removal of agency, to blasphemy in human rights parlance. The left is utterly closed off, fraught with insurmountable divisions. The left is the picture of hypocrisy; champagne socialists tweeting unfairness while they benefit from capitalism, busy decrying a system from their phantom moral high ground whilst we, the realists, roll back our sleeves and get about trying to make things work. It’s scary that no one seems to see it, that everyone – especially the youth, the ones with the biggest potential, the economic drivers, the idea generators – would choose the system that doesn’t allow them to breathe. You told me, when we met up, that you’ve been studying how to develop countries. It worries me.
Do you understand poverty? I was taught the right-wing by people who do understand it, and you were too. But I don’t think they were the full picture of what poverty is. Who designs the poverty models we use? How much data do we have from real experiences – what do poor people think they need? Why are they not getting it? Where does morality fit in?
You grew up in a communist country. I grew up with my grandfather, for whom hunger was a fixture as a child, who owned one change of shirt until he was well in his twenties, who couldn’t afford a coffee, let alone his education. It’s easy for us both to think we have the insider knowledge, the silver bullet needed to understand why capitalism is an imperative, why the right wing is the best way to survive. I’d like us both to learn that experiences are always multifaceted; I’d like us to learn that listening to people is the only way to broaden our perspectives, to be correct in an inclusive, intersectional setting. That would be really, really nice.