There’s an overwhelming groupthink among left-wing liberals right now which pretty much invalidates their being called ‘liberals’ at all.
It’s not the jackbooted conformity of the far-right, it’s a rigid intellectual purism, and a supreme sense of cocooned arrogance. It resembles not socialist principle, but rather the hubristic conceit of French aristocrats.
When I present a dissenting point of view among left-of-centre, usually nice people it’s as if the aging family dog has released a noxious fart on Grandma’s birthday. There’s a wrinkling of noses, sideways glances, and pitying, polite smiles. Just ignore it, the poor thing.
My disagreeable opinion will be brushed aside as an unfortunate mistake and the conversation hurriedly re-routed to something which I might find easier to understand. Mental notes are taken all round. He might be a bit right wing. Keep an eye on him and no more wine, he could do something weird.
At the same time, I’ve heard friends who regard themselves as liberal progressives say, after Brexit and the US election, that democracy doesn’t work and should be replaced with something else. They’re half joking. But they’re half not.
And that thinking is just fine. No stink, no awkwardness—screw democracy because chavs don’t understand it and they keep voting wrong. Great. Pints all round.
It can feel beyond the pale to challenge the liberal consensus in supposedly polite company. Even standing up for freedom of expression, which requires, for example, not thinking that the Daily Mail should be censored, is a little infra-dig at the moment.
Whatever faults modern conservatism might have, it understands the necessity of heterodox opinion, respects freedom of expression, and tends not to sulk when it loses.
And then there’s the problem of the modern left’s unthinking embrace of identity politics, moral relativism, and all the anti-Enlightenment vandalism of political correctness, which can do nothing but undermine the more workable, potentially popular aspects of leftist thinking. Criticise any of this and you’ll be shunned by ‘progressives’ who ask few questions, and have almost no understanding of just how ideologically contorted PC thinking has become. But there’s simply no way of challenging their orthodoxy on this—it’s like a religious devotion.
So in light of the social leprosy attached to being anything other than left-wing among metropolitan ‘liberals’, I’m thinking about using a new political identifier.
It’s very right-on to be campaigning for trans rights at the moment. Proclaim that you’re furious about mis-gendering, go off on one about restrooms, and you’ll immediately gain clout among the identity politicking liberal set.
With that in mind, when discussing politics with the regressive progressives, I’m not right-wing, I’m trans-conservative. I was raised to be a Labour voter but then became aware that I’d been mis-winged. In fact, I’m wing-fluid, and today I’m feeling a bit Ukip with a dash of Rousseau.
So respect my trans-opinions, you wretched bigots: no, you can’t shut down the right-wing press for disagreeing with Gary Lineker.