Tuesday, August 9, 2016

What to Call a Reformed Left?

I mean a Left not made useless by neoliberalism, identity politics, French Poststructuralism, Marxism, Postmodernism, cultural and moral relativism, extreme multiculturalism, the cult of open borders, and the bizarre excesses of SJW nonsense.

Some things spring to mind:
Reformed Left (well, obviously… )
Rational Left
New Left?
Alternative Left
Old Left
Uncucked Left (this is nothing but a *joke*, people… )
Realist Left
Sane Left
21st Century Left.
Of course, “New Left” is already taken (e.g., 1960s New Left), as is “Alternative Left.”

I like the ring of “Old Left,” since I think the Old Left got a lot of things right, but one can’t live in the past.

But, in the end, I rather like “Realist Left.” A Left that is realistic, pragmatic, in touch with what its traditional voters and ordinary people want, and not deluded by utopian cultural leftist nonsense.

Though I have serious criticisms of the politics of Noam Chomsky now, I would like to think that this new vision of the Left is broadly in the spirit of his ideas about the Left, because as a young man I was firmly part of the Chomskyan Left. For example, the single most influential book on politics I ever read was Noam Chomsky’s Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky (eds. P. R. Mitchell and J. Schoeffel; New Press, New York, 2002), which I would still recommend, and I think is very insightful, and meticulously footnoted with evidence, as anyone can see here.

My politics, as influenced by Chomsky, was mainly focussed on economics, a rigorous critique of free market capitalism, against US and Western imperialism in the Third World, criticising the excesses of fundamentalist religion, and in defending ideas, broadly speaking, associated with the Enlightenment (e.g., freedom of speech and thought).

As you can see here, here, and here, I would still defend Chomsky against charges that he is the father of the modern regressive left, because this is, quite simply, not true. A man who dismisses French Poststructuralists and Postmodernists as charlatans, who defends free speech, who thinks Freudianism and Marxism are irrational cults like organised religion, who defends the best values of the Enlightenment, and who rejects extreme social constructivism and the “blank slate” view of human beings and instead maintains that human beings have a real human nature caused by biology and evolution, as Chomsky is, is far from the modern unhinged cultural regressive left.

Even in the 1990s, I recall vividly finding the SJWs of my day to be ridiculous, Third Wave Feminism to be a step too far, and Postmodernism to be outrageous nonsense (although I probably kept these views largely to myself or only discussed them with like-minded leftist male friends who also agreed on these points). I am sure there must be many Leftists like me, and it’s not really we who have radically changed (except perhaps on some issues like mass immigration), but the Left that has changed: the cultural left has become worse and worse over the years, and is now infected with all the worst, most idiotic ideas of Postmodernism and the irrational, intolerant SJW mentality.

That is why a massive reform of ideas on the Left and a new Realist Left is vitally important now.

I’m on Twitter:
Lord Keynes @Lord_Keynes2


  1. What's wrong with 'Social Democracy'? Sounds good to my German ears.

    1. I agree. I think Social Democracy is good. "Social Democratic Left" sounds good too.

      I like to use the term "Populist Left" but populism has been given a bad reputation by the media. Now when people hear the word "populism" they think solely of demagoguery, charismatic leaders with personality cults, and racism.

      I think this does not do historical populist movements justice but I fear the word is tainted for the near future.

    2. Social Democracy is already somewhat associated with neoliberal center left parties around Europe, so it will be misleading.

  2. Alt-left?

    Gains instant currency as 'alt-right' is already a thing. Might as well piggyback off it. It worked for the 'new right' that took the moniker from the 60s new left.

    If it ain't broken, don't fix it!

  3. 'alt-right' is basically fascism with a new label.

    I don't think you want to piggyback on that.

    You're probably joking though.

  4. LK

    i got it lets call it Paleoprogressives
    actually its a cool game of words (paleo old and progressive combined together).

    maybe somehow its describing well our set of ideas haha.

  5. LK has already written on the altleft types, and unless his position had changed, he didn't approve. His piece seemed to suggest it was an example of why identity politics can be so toxic, as this seemed a natural progression, just with a pro-white slant.

    Can't help but feel this is one of my usual terrible contributions, but since much of the cultural elements are predicated on a rejection of postmodernist absurdities, would "modern left" be an appropriate moniker?

  6. Why not "reclaim the left" ? or simply the left (since there are cogent arguments to deny that blairites all around the world are genuine left of the centre politicians...
    On the other hand you have those many people(many many blue collars I guess) who could agree on left policies but came to dislike the world... a rose by any other name...

  7. True Left.

    Because aside from anything else you need to relentlessly disassociate from the current, regressive, mainstream Left.