Between The Right And A Hard Left




I’d like to thank you all for nothin’ at all.

By you I mean you generally. Not you, them. I don’t know exactly who they are, but it isn’t you and we can all agree they’re the problem and why we’re doomed.

It’s now clear that Fine Gael think that they are the hard left.

It’s not enough to be left, you have to be hard. We’ve ditched ‘far’ as a tag. The far right are now Alt.Like some emerging music scene, kinda pleasant and revolutionary, you crazy kids.

The left are hard. An unmoveable force hell-bent on giving stuff away for free.

We’ve ditched the ‘far’ because it implies a distant, small fractional wing. People aren’t scared of small groups of extremists.

It’s easy to pretend that this is a new thing, but it isn’t. Politicians have always led us down a path of division. There has always been a them that we must fear or hate.

It doesn’t matter if it is terrorists, immigrants, travellers, social welfare claimants, feminists, literal Nazis, alt right, neoliberals, bankers or elites.

It is a them, someone else. I don’t need to provide an answer or a solution. I can give you a bogeyperson of non-specific gender identity to be scared of. It’s better than trying to stand over bad policy.

Both political sides have always created a them and then pointed to the extreme idiots to prove the point. On the left we use the rich capitalists as our them. Tax dodgers, party donors, sometimes criminals.

We don’t use the lower-middle class right wing voters as our them or the working classes that vote for right wing leaning parties. Instead we label them as “lacking formal qualifications”.

You know, stupid. But we can’t say stupid, so we pretend that a generation that never had the opportunity to go to college to get a degree in golf course management is stupid. It’s even better if we can call them racist.

The change has been in who they are. It’s no longer a small group of extremists or elitists; it’s become anyone who disagrees with you. Think that promising to build 2000 social houses and then questioning the government’s record when it only builds 650 is reasonable? Then get your application in to become a member of the Hard Left.

Oh you also think that the government shouldn’t provide State Aid to corporations, like…umm…EU Law says they shouldn’t? You’re Hard and a Bolshevik. See it’s not welfare when it’s in the name of the Free Market and its rich people accepting the aid. It’s only scrounging when poor people do it.

OK, some were always prone to painting everyone who showed dissent to their opinions as being a them, but they were mocked for it, like Rick in The Young Ones. Now everyone is something and usually something negative and we stopped laughing at the people who did it.

The Brexit campaign was one of fear, lies and overt xenophobia (a term we use when we don’t want to say racist). But not all votes for Brexit were because people were against immigration or because they were racist.

For years, leaving the EU and the dangers of the EU (a capitalist, free market stalwart) has been a big issue on the left. Not the hard or far left, just the left. The left that isn’t moderate and didn’t go willingly with Blair. The New Statesman made the left case back in 2015, a year before the referendum.

Now, you’re just a bigot if you support or even offer the slightest hint of being pro-Brexit, even if you’ve opposed the EU on left-based principles for decades.

The swing towards the bigotedthem is so significant that we celebrate Macron’s election as progressive, just because he defeated Le Pen. Even though we lament Varadkar’s election, despite being Macron’s political doppelganger. And we do so without a sense of irony or hypocrisy.

You don’t need a them if you have good policy or an actual injustice. You only need to create one when your argument doesn’t work. Where facts or logic don’t back up your view to the full extent, you need to create a shadowy cabal that is behind the opposition or nefariously supporting the injustice.

It isn’t enough that you overheard one guy being a arsehole, it has to be an example of why the patriarchy are evil. If I countered that with examples of role reversal…well, I’d be part of the same evil patriarchy.

And rightly so. It isn’t enough that you failed on your own promises to build social houses, you have to say criticism of the failure is down to the Hard Left.

There is one thing that unites all humans and it is that we’re predominantly stupid creatures. But in a nice way. It isn’t our fault that we are driven by pattern recognition and confirmation bias. They kept us safe and allowed us to evolve to what we are. It’s still a weakness in our judgement though.

No one is the popular fictional character driven only by logic and reason. We like to think we are and like to think it’s everyone else who is led by their more primitive instincts, but we are all apes looking for tigers in the Savana, jumping at shadows.

That’s why we need to create a them because most times facts, logic and reason only work when it is something we agree with. Facts that are against our views are dismissed as being something the shadowy them would say. We use the counter argument, no matter how reasonable, to prove our proposition of a them.

When links are posted to counter an argument, it’d be fascinating to see what the google search was to get those links. Was it a simple “evidence of X” and then the individual reviewed all the facts or was it “why X is wrong” and then posting the first counter argument we come across?

But using evidence does work, eventually, sort of. Policy on climate change became more effective when the NGOs and advocates moved away from their Fossil Fuel Industry bogeyman to evidence. Eventually, the weight of evidence was in the favour of action.

For any doubters out there, you don’t convince emerging industrial countries that rely on cheap fuel to action unless there is convincing evidence hand-in-hand with suitable alternatives. Does it really matter if the science is a bit off if India is self-sufficient in renewable energy?

Try it. Try looking in a non-partisan way at arguments or a discussion point; see how many rely on an intangible them. Take out the them and then see how the argument stacks up.

Sometimes you’ll be surprised and the argument still has weight. Sometimes, you’ll see it for the irrational rambling it is. Elections, referendums, debates, discussions, we’re swamped with imaginary groups that probably don’t exist beyond a few very small ineffectual people.

It’s a pity that they will never see how they are misleading them.

Now considered a Content Creator due to a few contributions to this site, Listrade is looking to expand his empire of condescension into new markets and sponsorships areas due to the poor quality of tea in the Broadsheet offices. He is planning on launching his Youtube channel, “Badly in need of an editor”, at some point when he gets around to it. 

23 thoughts on “Between The Right And A Hard Left

  1. Bertie "the inexplicable pleasure" Blenkinsop

    I always think the header photo is of Ruud Gullit strangely enough.

  2. Increasing Displacement

    if movies have thought us anything only alien invasion will bring us together

  3. martco

    enjoying these posts very much, it’s very nice reading a clear and well thought out essay

    thanks a mil Listrade!

  4. Liam Deliverance

    Well written, looking forward to the next part. I have always wondered why we don’t have a government watchdog of sorts, a non-party affiliated group, made up of citizens, aka customers of the government, or a “We” if you like. Their purpose would be not to lobby for change but to pressure the government to follow through on their promises and legislation. For example Rebuilding Ireland’s intentions to build 2,000 new social housing units by local authorities, only 650 were built and 1,000 rapid units and only 150 were built. So this watchdog does not rest until the precise factual reasons for the failure of these promises is discovered by continued questioning of those involved. It might also establish how much it cost the state to instigate “Rebuilding Ireland” and if it is a waste of time and money and if they must return to the drawing board and establish a new solution that is not a replica of past mistakes and failures. Otherwise it will be sometime next year when they announce “Rebuilding Social Ireland” and its grand plans to build 3000 homes and the same rubbish starts all over again. It’s fine as long as there is an appearance of doing something about the problem. As it is the government answers to nobody and therefore is able to do as it pleases. Until this changes Ireland will remain the same. Full of aspiration but ultimately going backwards.

    1. Listrade

      This isn’t intended to be a glib reply, though it may come across as one, but we are supposed to have at least two such watchdogs in the form of the Opposition and the Press.

      1. Liam Deliverance

        I would agree Listrade but neither of those groups take on that role for a myriad of reasons.

      2. edalicious

        I’ve got a half-baked theory knocking around in my head that the recent rise of the right might have something to do with the failure of the 4th Estate to hold politicians accountable, essentially caused by the internet making proper independent journalism commercially unviable. Kind of ironic that the internet, which SHOULD be this amazing boon to democracy, could actually be inadvertently undermining it.

        1. Listrade

          There’s some truth to it. I think the press legitimised the far right, though not sure whether that alone contributed to the rise. Populism requires more than a complicit press. Though the press are ducking out of responsibility by only running stories about Facebook and twitter…Funnily enough the platforms that have helped lower readership.

          But also don’t ignore the impact Murdoch had in journalism. Not so much pushing an agenda (press barons have always done so), but in cutting journalists and investigative journalism especially.

          Holding powers to account requires long and expensive investigations. All those teams were cut at Murdoch papers in the 80s. Others followed suit to cut costs and compete with Murdoch.

  5. Dough Berman

    Could have saved a lot of rambling by just typing “Both sides do it” and a rolleyes emoji tbh.

  6. Frenchfarmer

    Exactly why France voted for Macron and will continue to.
    The people want management not politics.
    We are sick of parties squabbling for petty points while we pay for it.
    These “Politicians” are employed by us it’s not “the Governments” money that they pull out of a magic bag.

  7. mildred st. meadowlark

    “Now everyone is something and usually something negative and we stopped laughing at the people who did it.”

    Brilliant. Sums up exactly what has happened.

    We all identified as something, in some way, and if someone didn’t agree, well tough. There wasn’t much by way of a platform for expressing disagreement, barring the letters page of the Irish Times.

    Now, however, we are more than capable of expressing our feelings -and to the whole world, no less- and we can find those who agree with our stance, and be soothed by that, or those who disagree, and let them know exactly what we think of them.

    And it’s so easy to demonise someone for that, for what they think, or believe, just as it is easy to find your own echo chamber.

    And then, somewhere in the depths of our earnest internet discourse, we started taking ourselves a bit too seriously, and yeah, forgot to laugh at how silly we are for doing precisely that.

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