- About: British Chinese poet, writer and broadcaster Anna Chen
- On the radio
- Arts Reviews
- The Steampunk Opium Wars
- Foot and Mouth Campaign
- RSC The Orphan of Zhao controversy
- A Bad Case of the Trots
- Reaching for my Gnu: poetry
- Print Room protest: In the Depths of Dead Love chronology
- Poetry Live!
- Yellow Peril Orientalism
Saturday, 17 November 2007
When wise monkeys rule ...
In my own naive way, I like to think that lefties can think and chew gum at the same time, whatever the evidence to the contrary. Right now that means opposing another bloody fiasco in the middle east in the form of an attack on Iran AND having the capacity to criticise the revolting practices in that country.
Yet, with the ratcheting up of the west's war machine, suddenly we've gone deaf, dumb and blind to the actual suffering in Iran. Homophobic persecution of gays is wrong in any society with a claim to civilisation. Hanging kids for sexuality expressed before they're out of puberty is straight out of a horror film. Violent hatred of women is well creepy. But mention these and you run the gauntlet of furious lefties screeching, "Move along. Nothing to see." (See an example here. And here.)
Surely, any warmonger who can use criticism of the Iran regime to make a case for yet another armed conflict is clearly barking and should be argued with on principled terms, not terms dictated by them in a deformed debate.
There's a tendency on the left to focus on The Big Picture and ignore the nuts and bolts of human misery, preferring the rarified atmosphere of their mountain-top Theoryland from where they can hand down The Knowledge to the rest of poor deluded fools. I have my suspicions that for some, revolution in the head is easier to cope with than change on the ground. I favour both.
We've all seen the lefties who love the masses but hate the actual flesh 'n' blood people in the masses (or even the poor grunts in their own organisations). They'll make the most piteous noises of solidarity with the oppressed in the abstract but ignore it when it happens to real people under their own noses. They will even abandon their own stated objectives of republicanism, secularism, working class socialism, open borders, abortion, gay rights, etc, when it suits them.
The trouble with the half-smart white middle-class boys (mostly) running the left and dominating the net is that their experience is drawn from a very small pool. Wade through their thoughts and you wouldn't get your ankles wet. Like the frogs in the well, they look up and see the circle of sky and declare it to be the entire world. Anyone contradicting that view has to be crushed using a variety of sleight-of-hand methods including diversion, smoke and mirrors, vilification, anything but dealing with the issues in a productive way that reflects the supposition that we are all on the same side.
The first rule of the bureaucrat; protect the system. The second law of the bureaucrat ... (yeah, we know.)
I think we should remember why we are lefties in the first place. The system has to serve humans, not the other way round. Some people have forgotten that.