I have been reading more and more about American politics and recently been pushed more and more to the right of the political spectrum. So, I looked at how the system fares in my home state of Kerala and was surprised to learn that the Congress ( the supposed right wing in Kerala politics ) is actually center-left. So I want to talk to you about the importance of having a proper right wing party in Kerala.
But first, what is left-right politics ?
The term first appeared after French Revolution when the people who supported the King sat on the right side of the President in the National Assembly while the people who supported the Revolution sat on the left. This was because the supporters of the King wanted to avoid the shouts, swearing and other indecencies that enjoyed a free reign on the left. The Left was the ‘party of movement/change’ and the Right was the ‘party of order’. But over time left right division has been associated with different political ideologies.
What is the Left-Right divide in American politics ?
If you look at contemporary American politics, it seems to me like the Left’s central ideology is ‘Social Justice’ ( supported by the Democratic party ) while the Right’s central ideology is ‘Individual Liberty and Individual Responsibility’ ( supported by the Republican party ). This division is absent in Indian or Kerala politics. Also the problem here is that since French Revolution’s slogan was ‘Liberty, Fraternity and Equality’ how can the Libertarians be on the Right ? The best explanation I can think of, is since the country is majority Christians and since most ( not all ) Christians believe in gentle persuasion as the only acceptable tactic for spreading their ideas it boils down to traditionalists enabling liberty. I have talked about the three rules of freedoms and rights. Most libertarians are for maximizing freedom, not for anarchy. They understand the symbiotic relationship between self-control and freedom. If I have a belief that I must not take your life, you have the liberty to your life. If you want liberty to your property then you want everyone to be convinced that it is immoral to steal. So since most religious people are mindful of other people’s rights this maximizes the freedom available to everyone and therefore they are on the Right side of the spectrum.
The Left side of the political spectrum consists of Socialists, Communists etc. But even though I am for equality of opportunity I can not be for equality of outcomes. I suspect that inequality is a natural state and different people have different motivations, ambitions and inclinations. Ensuring equality of outcomes will be oppressive rather than liberating. That being said, I agree with a lot on the American Left. There is an intellectual corruption on the American Right, with their support for creationism and denial of climate change. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, nobody on the Right is attempting to reform it like Dave Rubin is attempting on the Left.
After I noticed the problems with the Left’s argument on pro-choice I started to learn about Republican positions. For the longest time, I thought that if I went to US, I would be a leftist ( or a liberal ), but now I think I would be a right-winger ( or a conservative ). I think shows like ‘Last Week Tonight’, ‘The Newsroom’ and ‘The Daily Show’ misrepresent the Republican viewpoints.
What is the major problem with Leftist philosophy ?
To me the main oversight in Leftist philosophy is the potential for evil in human beings. Most Leftist parties are ‘for poor people’ and ‘for oppressed minorities’. If you start a party and you spend a large amount of time trying to promote it as the ‘Party of the oppressed’ or ‘Party of the poor’, then if these people who vote for you stop being oppressed or stop being poor, then they will no longer vote for you. And since most important thing that politicians care about is ‘coming to power’, parties for the poor tend to become parties for poverty. Parties for the oppressed tend to become parties for oppression.
How is all of this relevant to Indian or Kerala politics ?
In Kerala our choice is between Congress ( center-left ) and Communists ( far left ). Why is there no party that supports individual liberty ? All political parties want to expand their power while we know the government is a corrupt machinery incapable of getting much done. Why is no one advocating for limited government ? Even if you believe that leftist philosophy is good, you must believe that there needs to be a strong opposition to the left, for purposes of balance. Otherwise those of us who are Keralites will have to live as an alien outside Kerala to further our career ambitions and live in a corrupt state when we return.