Like many other Catholic bloggers, I have been accused of being right wing
. Now, I think that needs a close look. Am I right wing? Does it matter if I am?
I suppose it depends what you mean. Going to the usual sources for a definition
The political term right-wing originates from the French Revolution when liberal deputies from the Third Estate generally sat to the left of the president's chair, a habit which began in the Estates General of 1789. The nobility, members of the Second Estate, generally sat to the right. In the successive legislative assemblies, monarchists who supported the Ancien Régime were commonly referred to as rightists because they sat on the right side.
So not immediately relevant to the current political situation. Indeed if one thinks of the current regime, supporting the status quo and the institutions of society means being in favour of gay civil partnerships, agnosticism or atheism, legalised abortion, dishing out condoms courtesy of the public purse and multiculturism. To be a faithful Catholic would therefore seem to be against that and in a sense radical
or left wing
I grew up in a fairly traditional North of England, Catholic, Labour-supporting family. Our MP was a Catholic
(loyal to the Church, pro-life) and I went to school with his children (selective Catholic grammar, since abolished). The MP for the constituency over the road was Denis Healey. His agent lived in the house opposite ours. When I first came to any sort of political consciousness, in about 1976, I understood this Labour-supporting business to be about left-wing politics. It was the height of union unrest, the time when people like Tony Benn and his ilk were eviscerating the Labour Party of its Christian roots (Methodism and the like) and supplanting it with Marxism.
I spent some my youth thinking myself a Marxist atheist in the way perhaps that only a pubescent grammar-school boy can. The residuum of this was some lefty views that persisted into my thirties and made me receptive to some pretty destructive feminist and pro-gay ideas. My discovery of the thrill of orthodoxy was liberating. I am probably a bit of an embarrassment to some members of my family now.
So where am I now? I have no idea, to be honest. In the past ten years I have gone from reading The Guardian
to reading The Spectator
and The Telegraph
(though I can't quite swallow Simon Heffer - who could?). I read Theodore Dalrymple
and find myself agreeing with much of what he says about society, medicine and Islam. I read Roger Scruton
in much the same way. I have gone from being a tribal anti-unionist (all those pissed-up sentimental uncles singing Kevin Barry
) to being a committed unionist (and lover of my now native Scotland, but with a fond regard for the England of my birth). I hate racism but can see no sensible way of organising a society other than civil nationalism and loyalty to the 'tribe'. This finds it's manifestation in a respect for the monarchy as a continuing institution ('though I don't like personality cults. Her Majesty seems like a very nice woman. I've met her daughter a couple of times. She's nice too). That's probably laziness, though. I just can't think of any reason to change the status quo. I'm not interested in repealing the Act of Settlement, either.
I work in the one of the poorest areas of Europe with people of little aspiration, with poor expectations of their often short, brutal lives. I see the hopelessness of their welfare-dependent, client-state existence. I see the crappy call-centre jobs they are offered and see that globalised capitalism has little to offer them either.
I look at the Left such as it is these days and don't see much to like. A bunch of grievance merchants and self-hating whiteys hitched up to a range of (often contradictory) causes - Gay 'Rights', Islamism, 'anti-racism' (i.e. bashing whitey), wimmins rights (Harmanesque man-hatred) and crazed, neo-pagan, anti-rational environmentalism, the Daddy of them all at the moment.
Am I right wing? Does it matter? Or is that just Tabletista
Labels: politics, The Faith