Russell Taylor – In praise of conservatism

Lefties are given an easy ride by the media. They can say the most God-awful things and earn themselves a place on a Radio 4 panel show – or, if they’re particularly obnoxious, a programme of their own. Right-of-centre views are given somewhat shorter shrift. If someone had the audacity to voice a conservative opinion on one of those BBC liberal love-ins, I’d half expect them to be dragged out of the studio and stuck in a wicker man for their blasphemy. As it is, conservatives have to put up with being misrepresented, denied a voice or turned into figures of fun.

There’s nothing obviously entertaining about attacking immigration, welfare and the public sector, which might explain the shortage of conservative panel show contestants; but that’s not the same as saying that these subjects are beyond the bounds of respectable debate. Yet, in the black-and-white, good-versus-evil paradigm of public discourse, there is a dismal conformity of opinion that assumes the liberal position to be the right one. Political and media figures increasingly resemble Stepford wives in their diversity of thought, only more smug and dogmatic.

Not everyone on the Left is quite so objectionable. I wouldn’t put a man like Frank Field in the same camp as ‘funnymen’ Mark Steele, Mark Thomas and Marcus Brigstocke. Field appears to be genuinely concerned about the welfare of others, whereas the Marxist Marks Brothers are everything that is wrong with the modern Left: posturing, resentful and dripping with self-righteousness. I don’t believe they or their ilk are motivated by a profound love of the downtrodden, whatever they might claim. The object of their concern is much closer to home: themselves.

I’ve never bought into the notion that the Left is comprised of earnest care-givers, with such acute powers of compassion that their first instinct is always to give up a little of what they have to help others. For starters, it’s not their cash that they’re eager to give away, it’s everyone else’s; and as the old aphorism tells us, you can’t be generous with other people’s money. To demand that the rest of us sit quietly while the state picks our pockets is really an act of profound arrogance. It’s like choosing to leave a thousand pound tip in a restaurant, then asking the other patrons to chip in. As far as I’m concerned, the kind of leftism found in the Guardian, the BBC and much of Parliament, is actually a form of egotism.

The greatest threat to the human ego is susceptibility to the whim of others. This explains why leftists are hostile to hierarchies, standards, traditions and behavioural codes: because they compel them to do the bidding and accept the judgment of others. It’s why they introduce hate laws that shield people from hurtful opinions, and why they like schools to safeguard self-esteem, instead of challenging abilities. It’s why they favour immigration, which dilutes conservative influences with alien ones. It’s why all the problems they identify are ascribed to us having too much freedom and too little regulation.

“But what of their willingness to give to others?” some will ask. “Isn’t this proof of their compassion?” They say compassion, I say projection. Leftists confuse their personal hang-ups for the problems of society as a whole, which explains their boundless sympathy for the underdog. It is, after all, a small jump from the leftist’s thwarted sense of entitlement to the mistreatment they perceive in others. Liberals plot against their own society through other people’s causes, then preen themselves as champions of the downtrodden.

I suspect that projection is also behind liberals’ legendary powers of empathy. It wasn’t that long ago that our chief instrument of concern for others was sympathy, then Bill Clinton came along, feeling our pain, and empathy was established as the new benchmark of emotional excellence. Suddenly it wasn’t enough to pity someone; you had to connect with them emotionally and see the world through their eyes to achieve the proper level of compassion. But if you have to imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes to feel sorry for them, what you’re doing is projecting your sensibilities onto others, then howling with self-pity. A Notting Hill liberal doesn’t understand the mind of a working class Cornishman, let alone a Saudi imam. He might pretend otherwise, but all he’s doing is using the world as a metaphor for his own obsessions.

Liberals are beaus of the bureaucrat and exalters of the expert because they want to live in a society that defers to the wisdom of an anointed elite, of which they consider themselves a part, rather than the wishes of the knuckle-dragging electorate; one that provides them with opportunities commensurate with their ‘talents’: doing something academic or creative, or telling people how to live. Hell, if they want to spend their days in a straw hat, strumming a guitar and writing anti-war songs, society should make it possible.

When leftists are understood as egotists, their thought process begins to make sense, even if their ideas remain as unpalatable as ever. Their views on everything from the EU to global warming can be seen as serving the same objective: to quash competing interests by turning the rest of us into zombified dependants, shackled to a soul-sucking collectivist machine, or into browbeaten scapegoats for all the world’s problems. Having brought us to heel, liberals flatter their egos further by telling themselves it was done in a noble cause: for peace, equality or some such hogwash.

It’s ironic that the Left describes conservatives as the self-centred ones. Conservatives don’t approach life with a list of demands they expect to be met; they seek to profit from satisfying the freely-expressed preferences of others. They don’t assume to have all the answers; they respect the accumulated wisdom of generations. They don’t lay claim to other people’s property and freedoms on behalf of groups that never asked for their help; they want to us to enjoy the fruits of our labour as we see fit.

If the selfishness of conservatives amounts to our reluctance to let liberals push us around, then I’m proud to be one.

8 comments on “Russell Taylor – In praise of conservatism

  1. rjmackin
    June 12, 2013 at 9:22 am #

    Thoroughly agree. We’ve noticed that these liberals advocate freedom of expression and pluralism, as long as it’s amongst those who share their narrow Weltanshauung. Witness the ire directed at anyone on Twitter (the new cathedral for the Left) who dares to voice a dissenting opinion that differs from the new liberal orthodoxy. Lefties also evince an innate sense of superiority in attempting to impose their beliefs upon the rest of society. They are utterly convinced that they know what’s best for everyone else and this in itself is another form of tyranny.

  2. Keith L
    June 12, 2013 at 9:57 am #

    Excellent summary. In my own experience the lefties are always the first to demand their ‘fair share’ and the last to dip into their own pockets.
    Lefty friends who are always supporting higher taxes on ‘the rich’ are usually the first ones to grab a tax dodge or offer a tradesman cash for a cheaper job etc.

  3. JL
    June 12, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    Would you believe there’s an even more sinister brood of leftist? The ones that will defend literally anything as long as it’s done by the government. The ones that are anti-corporate but pro-bailout, anti-war but pro militarised police and even pro-choice but they’ll tell what you can put in your kid’s lunchbox.

    With people like that it’s not about ego or projection anymore, and even way beyond a Nietzschean slave morality, but rather a psychotic pathological longing to control and be controlled.

    Ever met someone like that? They’re an obnoxious people, but quite fascinating as scientific objects.

    • Russell Taylor
      June 13, 2013 at 10:44 am #

      You might be interested in Jamie Glazov’s ‘United in Hate’, which discusses the phenomenon you describe. Glazov explains how malcontents want to be reborn into a society where their own identity and the freedom of others (previously impediments to their contentment) have been consumed into a totality. In its own way, this is a form of egotism: an obsession with one’s own feelings and circumstances, and a willingness to corrupt and destroy the lives of others for the sake of personal gratification.

  4. The Austrian Way
    June 13, 2013 at 9:11 am #

    I loved this from fellow blogger, Russell,


    The economics of this liberal take-over starts with unequal taxation. When we don’t have to pay our fair share of the bill, many more people start ordering steak.

    The solution: flat tax rates where we all pay the same percentage.

    I’ll be covering this in another Bogpaper article soon!

  5. RNB
    June 13, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    Starts off well…..then just gets better and better. Absolutely terrific article.


  1. The Austrian Way: Unequal taxation caused Toynbee and Monbiot | - June 18, 2013

    […] week my good friend and fellow Bogpaper writer, Russell Taylor, wrote about the tyranny of the liberal, mainstream media. We heard about how conservative voices can never get a fair hearing and are all too often the […]

  2. Russell Taylor: In praise of going offline | - September 3, 2013

    […] – an act of defiance they would like the government to outlaw. This is pure egotism and, as I’ve argued before, leftism is a fundamentally egotistical ethos; so it would come as no surprise if a correlation […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: