By Jon Ray Posted @ Greenie Watch
The political Left is widely and
reasonably identified as people opposed to the status quo. They sure are.
There is virtually nothing at present existing in the world that they would not
like to overturn if they could. Such a big overturn can only be attained via a
revolution but, ever since the French revolution, Leftists have managed quite a
few of those. And the French revolutionaries even wanted to change the
But the awkward fact is that conservatives don't like the
status quo either. In fact nobody does. I have yet to meet anyone who is
completely happy with the world about him. I suspect such a person would have
to be a hebephrenic or some other sort of mental case.
So how come
Leftists are so identified with opposition to the status quo? The easy answer
is that they are more passionate about it and more involved over it. They are
driven by anger about things that others feel they can live with. The emotional
importance of change differentiates and drives them. They are hell-bent
(sometimes literally) on change.
While that is all undoubtedly true it
doesn't provide a really sharp differentiation of the Left from others. And I
think we can improve on it. And to do that I think we have to refer to the
natural state of affairs. "The natural state of affairs"? What is that? It is
a concept sometimes used in both law and economics but I want to broaden its
applicability. I think it is actually quite easy to define in a generally
applicable way. It means whatever people would do in the absence of external
And Leftists are big on external constraints. They are
continually trying to make laws and regulations that will move people away from
doing what they otherwise would do. There is general agreement that some basic
laws are needed -- prohibition against assault, murder, theft etc. but Leftists
go far beyond that. In a celebrated case one of them even wanted to forbid you
from buying fizzy drinks in a container that was bigger than a certain size.
Leftist would regulate EVERYTHING if they could. And in the Soviet Union they
went close to achieving it. Leftists are the ultimate authoritarians. They
want to STOP people doing what they would do in a natural state of
So I think we can now make a pretty sharp distinction between
the changes Leftists want and the changes that conservatives want. Leftists want
change AWAY from the natural state of affairs while conservatives want changes
TOWARDS the natural state of affairs -- or at least changes that respect the
natural state of affairs.
For instance, in a natural state of affairs
people would tend to discriminate in various ways. They would and do tend to
give various sorts of preference to people like themselves. And conservatives
generally understand that. But to Leftists discrimination is an offence
deserving of severe punishment. They want to stop people doing what they are
normally and naturally inclined to do. Their need for change and the dreams of
utopia that drive them make them the enemy of the natural state of affairs.