It might be just me, but every time I pick up a newspaper, listen to the radio or the TV, all I seem to be getting is not unbiased news, but it is more based on what the writer or publisher thinks – Right or Left. I ask the question, why do people, corporate and otherwise, paint themselves into one of these corners?
Surely it is ridiculous to suggest that everything a person says, who has placed themselves squarely into that Right or Left corner, is correct. Why do a large percentage of the population consider that any other opinion is automatically wrong? Why do they never believe that the other side may have some views that deserve merit? Surely only accepting information and opinions from one side of an argument severely limits your ability to think in a rational, logical and objective manner. Why is this “Them and Us” stance so regularly taken?
Now that I think about it, many of my friends and acquaintances lock themselves into taking one side of the question or the other. This is usually consistent with stances they may have taken in the past, and very rarely could be considered a well thought our position. Why is this so? Is it because it is a lot easier to automatically take one side of a particular question? Is it just too hard to consider other, wider views, or is it just laziness?
As an ex politician, and reflecting on the reasons why one is successful or otherwise at any election, I can now fully understand why politicians very rarely take a firm stand on a matter of principle. I used to be of the view that a sensible centrist view, neither Right or Left, would pick up electoral support from those in the center, those in the center Right and those in the center Left. This seemed to me to be the sensible place to be, and that stance would gain the most support. I have found out that that is not the case. The main reason, in my view, is that, consistent with what I have said earlier in this piece, compromise is a dirty word, just because it is not of the Right or Left. The thinking seems to be that if you are not with me, you must be against me. It is that “Them and Us ” syndrome again. That then extends to party politics.
I think many would agree with me when I say that there have been very few true “statesman”, or “statesperson” to be politically correct, on the world stage in recent decades. Politicians are in the business of trying to gauge what support they can gain from whatever they say or do. The most advantageous policy position to take, whether it be on the local, state or national stage, is not what is best in the long term, but what brownie points one can gain in the short term. This is one reason such policies, stated by a particular individual, often change over time. Where is that extra vote coming from at the next election?
It is my opinion that most politicians take up the challenge in the first place with the best intentions in mind. As most political arenas are based on systems where party politics predominate, they soon find out that it is expedient to support the correct faction, bend to their thinking and hopefully ride the wave. It becomes obvious that re-election is the name of the game and sometimes those best intentions are lost. They get caught up in the machine of government or opposition. In many cases that is on the Right or the Left. Some well known individual said “Politics is the art of the possible”, one meaning being, “Its not about what is right or best, its about what can actually get done”. Those original well meaning intentions of that virgin politician get lost in that environment.
My father said on many occasions that “Common sense is extremely uncommon”. I did not fully understand where he was coming from at that stage, but with the passing of time and experience I can now see clearly where he was coming from. Ah! The vagaries of the human race! To be quite honest, for me, right or left is the direction one takes when you get to a “T” intersection.
One thought on “Right v Left”
Otto von Bismark is credited with “politics is the art of the possible” over 100 years ago. People’s belief sets, often called ideologies, form a set of filters and make it easier for them to decide if they are for or against something without thinking. If a media group, political party, or even a corporation can tap into a belief set held by enough individuals, the media group, the political party, or the corporation can get rich or powerful without having to think either. Belief sets generally make people, media groups, political parties, and corporations lazy and have them living in fantasy worlds that eventually fall apart. unfortunately, before fantasy worlds fall apart they do a lot of damage. While I have no evidence to support this thought, I do think that going along to get along is the start of a belief set catching hold of a person, Then since critical thinking is not a real part of any education curriculum (indeed, accepting the local history and belief set (nationalism and local pride) is part of most curriculums), people are generally ill-equipped to think for themselves.
Warmest regards, Ed