A Free Left Blog: What’s it all about?
A Free Left Blog will hopefully be just that. My aim in setting it up is to explore in one place how the political and cultural Left remains constrained by old ways which often serve to reduce human freedom. Also, of course, I will look to put forward some better ways.
What especially interests me is the censoriousness and opinion control that is so pervasive on my side of the political fence. It seems that, far from being a free-minded and free-thinking Left, we are stuck in a denuded, conformist and also rather boring rut.
I believe the Left should be generous and welcoming, open and tolerant, but also committed and ethical in the way it behaves. I am against ideologies like neoliberalism and ‘Vulgar’ Marxism, and also some of the forms that have emerged around the politics of identity, including strictly deterministic versions of feminism. Ideologies like these offer simplistic, all-encompassing explanations about the way the world is while setting different groups in society against each other. They give people an excuse to stop seeing, hearing and thinking for themselves.
Any theory of society that disregards human freedom to do good and bad is also probably not a very good theory. This world of ours is largely a mystery; it will always remain so, and therein lies much of its beauty and our responsibility.
I see better ways to be found in a culture of democracy, something that remains weak in Britain; a deeper version of equality than the simplistic version that is currently dominant; a respect for land and the natural world with which we are so connected; economics as a means not an end; and freedom, not just as an absence of constraint, but as something rooted in a shared good life.
I hope you enjoy the site.
8th February 2013